A Capital Theater!

Children arising early with noisy glee. Presents opened to joyful laughter. Special breakfasts, brunches, and of course the traditional dinner.


Christmas 1920.


Along with all the happiness of the day was the excitement of the thought of going to the grand opening of the new Capitol theater in the new Kahl Building on Third Street.


The weather was not the best. There was a heavy snow storm that started about noon.  The snow was blowing about, but that did not hinder between 10,000-11,000 (estimated) people from making their way  to see the new theater.


The Capitol opened at noon and stayed open all afternoon  and into the night. Theater parties were thrown during the day. H.C. Kahl, the owner of the building where the new theater was, had one for over 100 people.


The new theater cost $900,000 and was leased by the Capitol Theater Co.  It  had the splender of an oriental palace and the art and charm of the chateaux of Louis XIV and was so designed that the orchestra and stage could be converted into a ‘legitimate’ Theater with full stage at any time.  The Theater even had a nursery equipped as playroom with a maid in attendance.


The climate within the theater was kept comfortable, as the heat and air were automatically adjusted. Since safety was of great importance, the projection room was fireproof–evidently, the type of film used at that time was very flammable.


Many well wishers sent flowers which were placed around the theater. A Christmas Tree stood in the lobby.  But, unlike the opening of the RKO Orpheum Theater eleven years later, there was no grand fanfare at the opening, just a simple ceremony.


I suppose they were just letting the theater speak for itself.


The main movie of the evening was “The Man Who Lost Himself” with William Faversham.

The second feature was a comedy with Clyde Cook called “Don’t Tickle.”  These were silent movies as Talkies did not start until 1927.   The background music for the movies were provided by Claude MacArthur and the Capitol sympathy orchestra.  The organ, one of the largest in the country, was played by Mr. William Kraft. 


The Capitol is still in existence today, although no longer used as a regular movie theater.  However, movies are still whown for special programs and the theater is still used for plays, concerts, and other entertainments.


Theater Statistics:

Seating capacity of theater –2,400


Owner and builder—H.C. Kahl

Lessee—Capitol Theater Co.

Managing director—J.H. Blanchard

House  manager—Earl Killion

Orchestra—Number of pieces 18

Conductor of orchestra—Claude McArthur

Organists—Prof. William Kraft  and Harold Sears

Hours open—1-11 p.m.

Dimensions of theater section—175×150 feet

Numbers of lobbies-three

Main entrance—3rd street

Organ cost–$60,000

Number of pipes in Moller organ-5,693

Number manuals-four

Smallest pipe of organ—six inches

Largest pipe of organ—39feet

Childrens  playground—one

Parlors for patrons—Two

Fire exits–18



(Posted by Pat)

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