Relive the Golden Era at The El Capitan Theatre!
When Hollywood Boulevard was still a quiet street lined with residential homes and agricultural businesses, Charles Toberman, often called " the father of Hollywood," envisioned a bustling theatre district. He changed the face of Hollywood by erecting 36 stylish buildings, including the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel and three themed theatres which he developed with Sid Grauman- The Egyptian, The Chinese, and The El Capitan theatre.
Dubbed "Hollywoods First Home of Spoken Drama," The El Capitan Theatre opened as a legitimate play house on May 3, 1926 with the production of Charles Revue. The who's who of Hollywood pulled up in front of the beautiful Spanish colonial exterior and stepped into the lavishly designed East Indian themed theatre. Costing 1.2 million dollars in 1926, this was one of the most elaborate and expensive interiors ever constructed.
For years the theatre thrived presenting live plays, with over 120 productions starring such legends as Clark Gable and Joan Fontaine. Then in 1941, everything changed. Orson Welles couldn't find a single movie house willing to risk screening his new film, so in desperation he turned to The El Capitan. The owners agreed, and on May 1st, a little film called Citizen Kane had its world premiere. After the enormous success of that night, El Capitan closed its doors for remodeling. One year later it was reborn as a "modern" movie house.
If you're looking for a movie experience that can transport you back in time to the Golden Era of Hollywood, The El Capitan Theatre is the placed to go. Every show feels like you've been personally invited to a real Hollywood premiere. When the film is about to start, spotlights dance across the stage as three seperate sets of curtain rise, accompanied by a spectacular 1920's Wurlitzer theatre organ. Below the stage is a small exhibition space which often displays props from the film, such as costumes and set pieces. It really is a fun way to see a show, especially for the kids.
Since Disney bought the theatre in the late 80's, it primarily screens Disney films. The El Capitan Theatre also hosts many of Disney's big Hollywood premieres and is home to Jimmy Kimmel Live! which airs on Disney owned ABC. Right next door is Disney's Soda Fountain and Studio Store. If the kids haven't been spoiled enough, you can go there and not only get clothing and merchandise, you can also get ice cream themed to the film that is currently playing!
If you plan on driving to The El Capitan Theatre, there's parking directly across the street at the Hollywood and Highland Center. El Capitan will do a partial validation. The rates are $2.00 for up to 4 hours with validation and $1.00 for every 20 minutes after that. The daily maximum is $10.00. Another alternative is the Metro Red Line. the subway station is also located in the Hollywood and Highland complex and base fares are $1.25 for each one way trip. The Red Line runs every 10-20 minutes between 4:30 am and 1:20 am daily.
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