July 6, 2008

oh captain






Yesterday was my buddy George's birthday, so a few of us got together to see Wall-E at the El Capitan theater in Hollywood. The El Capitan is one of several restored old movie-palace theaters in LA, though this one was actually opened as a theater for live plays, marketing itself as "Hollywood's First Home of Spoken Drama" in 1926. Inside its Spanish Colonial exterior is a lavish East Indian themed interior. In the late 30's, movies started being shown here, including the premiere of Citizen Kane in 1941. It then closed for a year and reopened with a new 'moderne' style interior and a new name - the Hollywood Paramount. Disney bought it in 1989 and restored it to its original grandeur, and it remains one of their flagship theaters. Before the show, songs are still performed on a Wurlitzer organ, followed by an unfortunately terrible stage show of snippets from all of Disney's recent animated films (which only reminded me that they still haven't been able to match The Lion King). Its still a great theater to catch a show in if you can put up with the mess of Hollywood and crush of tourists to get there (the one salvation of the Hollywood and Highland monstrosity across the street is that it does make for easy parking - which the El Capitan validates, by the way). Great sound, big screen and comfortable seats, plus a bit of Hollywood tinsel and history thrown in. Beats a neighborhood megaplex any day.

3 comments:

Jim said...

Jon, hope you had a good 4th of July weekend.

My partner and I went to see "Wall-E" at the El Capitan on Friday. We try to visit this magnificent movie theater whenever we can everytime we are in L.A. I love old theaters like this one. Unfortunately, there aren't too many around anymore. So much for preserving American heritage and culture. Those sterile megaplexes cannot even hold up a candle to this little gem. Did you guys enjoy "Wall-E?"

Btw, we really love your blog. We're both graphic designers as well and are constantly lamenting today's so-called "design." Also, thanks for your pointers to other great websites.

jon berry said...

Hi Jim:

Thanks for the comment! I did enjoy Wall-E more than expected, watch the blog for more on that.

As for theaters, LA is lucky to still have a lot of them, like the Pantages and Egyptian and Graumans Chinese in Hollywood, the Bruin in Westwood, the Wiltern in Koreatown and the Vista in Silverlake. There are also many downtown - most are not in operation, but the LA Conservancy does a walking tour every Saturday: https://secure2.convio.net/lac/site/Ecommerce?store_id=1883&VIEW_HOMEPAGE=true&FOLDER=0&TYPE=&NAME=&JServSessionIdr009=mii4wqnsl1.app6a

Here's another site with some great info: http://www.latimemachines.com/new_page_18.htm

I think you may have just given me a topic for another post... :)

Anonymous said...

I love old theaters also, so I found your post today most interesting. I came across a wonderful site a few months back...

http://cinematreasures.org/

Have a great day Jon!