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With an initial capacity of 2,137 patrons (dropped during   tectural  forms,  never before attempted  here have  been
             the 1930's to 2,115), the Capitol Theatre was able to cater   blended with a colour scheme of blue and gold and musi-
             for the demands of the  population to see motion pictures   cal and lighting equipment have 9een enlisted to produce
             in  tailor-made surroundings.                     the perfect palace for living pictures'.  The organ came in
                                                               for special attention by the journalist as follows 'One touch
             Whilst the unique ceiling is  retained today, the  true mag-  of the finger will bring the organ console and its player up
             nificence of the entire theatre has been diminished, when   from  the basement of the lifting platforn1. Another touch
             it was scaled down in  the mid  1960's.  More of this later.   will  cause  the orchestra  to  materialise  from  the  depths,
                                                               the lofty fretted ceiling will glow and pulsate with all  the
             To  gain  an  appreciation  of this  magnificent theatre,  one   splendour of the aurora, and all  in  harmony with the mu-
             must start at the entrance in  Swanston Street.  Situated in   sic, the scene on  the screen, and the mystic architectural
             the centre of the block, and some thirty feet wide, the pa-  fonns of this marvellous playhouse'.
             trons enter the theatres street frontage from under, for the
             time, an  impressive awning constructed  utilising a canti-  With such a rave review, it is now time to see what all  the
             lever principle, which required no visible support.   fuss was about.

             The commuters of Melbourne, on  their way to  and from   Despite  the grand  opening,  the theatre was not yet  fully
             Flinders Street Station, no doubt kept an eye on proceed-  complete.  The organ  was  not  installed  for  another four
             ings as  the  building rose.  As completion  drew closer, a   weeks.  A small portion of the upper proscenium gave away
             sign announcing the first  attraction was draped above the   and dropped into the orchestra pit, luckily not causing in-
             verandah,  announcing  that  the  theatre  would  open soon   jury, two weeks after opening.
             with  Paramount Pictures  'The Ten  Commandments' di-
             rected by Cecil B. DeMille.                       The building itself was an  example of modem engineer-
                                                               ing.  Containing electric lifts,  a  basement entertainment
             Paramount Pictures  were quick  off tbe  mark  to  link  up   area and, of course, the cinema, The Capitol Theatre was
             with the Capitol theatre when it opened, planning to trans-  indeed a novelty.  Here was a new concept in Melbourne, a
             fer from  the Auditorium  which  was  leased fi·om  the Tait   grand building with an even grander structure within it, a
             brothers  (later J.  C.  Williamson) around  the corner in   true picture palace.  Going to see a top film in town gained
             Collins StTeet,  the  Paramount flagship  for  several  years   further respectability with  such  a  magnificent theatre to
             under Frank  Latimore.  Delays in  opening were creating   attend.
             suspense.  No bulletins  issued  added  to  the frustrations.
             The Capitol was classified as the best sited city cinema in   The  foyer  itself was  inviting and as one peeked  further
             Australia.                                        inside. the stairways might have constituted a sense of ad-
                                                               venture, something to  explore and wonder at in more in-
             Pressure put on  the  builders  in  the  final  weeks  as  Para-  nocent times than today.  It is square in shape and contrast
             mount wanted to concurrently release Cecil B De Mille's   with the stairs that will soon greet the patron.
             masterpiece, 'The Ten Commandments' with the opening
             of the film  and the Prince  Edward Theatre in Sydney,  in
             November 1924.  (I)

             On 7th ofNovember 1924, the theatre was officially opened
             by  Lord  Mayor Councillor Brunton.  Other speakers  in-
             cluded the Speaker of the House Of Representatives, Mr.
             Watt and the governing director Mr.  Herman Phillips. The
             latter proudly  announced  to  the  invited  audience,  which
             included  the  Premier of Victoria,  Mr.  Prendergast and
             United  States Consul-General  Mr.  Maxwell  Blake, that
             the building bad cost 580,000 pounds to build.  The sheer
             impressiveness of theatre  itself would  have confinn  this
             figure to the awe struck guests. It opened to the public two
             days later.

             ·The Argus'. the following day noted that despite the open-
             ing being a private affair. six members of the Victoria Po-  At 30 feet  wide  it  was  inviting,  with  its  ticket  box  cen-
             lice were detailed to keep control of the crowds that sought   trally  located.  Bookings were  handled  further  into  the
             admittance.  It went on to outline some of the ·novelties'   foyer.  The ceiling to the foyer, gave a 'preview' of things
             that picture goers wi II  find  at the  new  theatre,  including   to come in  terms of architecture.  One could see the  high
             the WurliTzer organ, and  the lighting and the decoration   ceiling and stained glass inserts towering above the ticket
             which they described as being on a large scale.   box. The walls of the entrance were decorated with com-
                                                               ing attractions. In the 1930's the foyer would be decorated
             More impressive contemporary reports exulted the archi-  in  the theme of the main attraction as well.

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