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Another Opening - Another Show!                                                 by Ian Williams

             Sunday November 7th,  1999. The Capitol Theatre's 75th birthday! This Melbourne icon  has gone from what must have
             been to Melbournites the eighth  wonder of the world  in  1924, to  a space that people wanted  ~ept for its architectural
             significance but bad become uneconomical to operate. For less than a quarter of its life it operated with a dazzling stage
             show on  the first half preceding the 'wonder' of moving but silent movies on its screen.
             This was five years before the miracle of 'talkies' anived on the scene; five years before the bigger but not better movie
             palaces in the Regent and State Theatres came on the scene to compete for the movie patrons visit to the dream world that
             Hollywood created. In  1940 the world was at war for the second time, and all live theatre presentations were drastically
             curtailed.  Hoyts took over the  lease of the Capitol  about  this time and it then  had  to  play second  fiddle to the larger
             Regent, Hoyts flagship.

             The Capitol screened  the bigger action  shows and  some dramas  and  musicals  that  were  not quite up  to  the Regent
             "standard'". The magnificent Wurlitzer, reputed by many as  the finest one in  the country, played on until it was eventu-
             ally sold  to TOSA (Victorian  Division), and subsequently  installed  in  the Dendy Theatre, Brighton.

             With  product deteriorating and  the  lease running out, Hoyts vacated  the  theatre  in  1964, and  we  found  television sets
             being sold from the derelict lobby. The closing night was for me the saddest night of my life. I was, however, to go back
             in triumph just over two years later to reopen the theatre in  its present form. A single screen theatre like the Capitol was
             not wanted by any of the major circuits who had built multi  cinema complexes  in  both  the city and suburbs,  and the
             Capitol  eventuaiJy  fell  to  screening double feature  revivals changing up to three times a  week,  then  fmally  showing
             Chinese movies at nights and weekends.

             With  RM£T  University purchasing the theatre and unused circle foyer this year, they  have promised to undertake a  full
             programme of refurbishment to bring the theatre back to its full  glory and make it available to commercial hirings which
             would fit in with their primary use as a lecture theatre by day. Already they have received $220,000 from a Government
             restoration fund to open up and  reinstate the original circle foyer. Texas Utilities, an American-based Power Utility that
             has bought into the Victorian electricity area, is also sponsoring the lighting of the ceiling which has always been a major
             cost in  the running of the theatre.

             On the night of November 7th,  1999, the guests entered the auditorium with their mini-torches, cleverly buiJt in to their
             invitations. Firstly. the  timpani section of the Melbourne Symphony displayed their talents in an  unusual  'fanfare' after
             which speeches were made by YIP's (including an  architect who had  researched  Burley Griffin's career), the CEO of
             Texas  Utilities.  the current  U.S.  Consul  General  and  also Vice  Chancellor of RMIT,  Professor Beanland.  After the
             ceremony of joint hands pressing down on the plunger that brought on the lights to rapturous applause, we were treated
             to a dazzling display by a performer who appeared from the ceiling on a wire rope twisting and turning in true circus style
             above our heads. (Look Mum, NO NET!)

             During the interval, prior to the presentation of a preview film "Happy Texas", guests enjoyed free drinks, ice creams and
             popcorn. The night ended about  I l .45pm, with everybody going home feeling happy that this architectural gem was in
             good hands, and assured of a bright and secure future!

             Since the above writings things have really started to happen. The southern end of the "Berlin Wall"  (the Capitol Wall)
             has already gone, and within a fortnight the rest of it will have, plus the false ceiling which effectively entombed the top
             half of the circle foyer. Then one can again see the  majesty of the vast space again.

             The Cowboy Code                                                                by Gene Autry

             He  must not take unfair advantage of an enemy.
             He must never go back on his word
             He must always tell the truth
             He must always be gentle with children, elderly people and animals
             He must not possess racially or religious (sic) intolerant ideas
             He must help people in distress
             He must be a good worker
             He must respect women, parents and  his nation's laws
             He must neither drink or smoke
             He must be a patriot
                                                     Reprinted from "Sunday Life"- Sunday Age Magazine 31/10/99
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