Page 8 - CR-93
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A fire occurred in the theatre on 27 July 1925
        during  the  seating  of  the  afternoon  session.
        The patrons, believed to be between 700 and
        1000, were evacuated and no one was injured.
        Faulty electrical wiring was thought to be the
        cause of the fire which destroyed the screen
        along with its supports, a velvet drop curtain
        and some scenery.
        The first sound film shown at the Capitol was
        In   Old   Arizona   which   opened   on
        13 April 1929 and ran for three months. The
        first CinemaScope film was Violent Saturday
        which  opened  on  11  June  1955,  but  only
        managed  three  weeks.  At  this  time,  the
        original  curtain  was  replaced  by  a  deep  red
        (burgundy)  curtain  and  the  new  screen  was
        moved forward and placed at the front of the
        orchestra pit.

        Griffin designed four other picture theatres for
        Melbourne:  Orpheum  1922,  Ascot  1923,
        Palais 1926 and  Romance 1931. The only
        one that was actually built was the Palais St
        Kilda, but it was lost in a fire on 10 Feb 1926,
        just before construction was completed. The
        Ascot was scheduled for Ascot Vale and it is
        believed the Romance may have been slated
        for Malvern.

        Paramount Pictures had the first lease of the
        Capitol,  beginning  on  26  December  1930
        then Hoyts took over from December 1940.
        Their lease expired in October 1963 and was
        not renewed. No new tenant was forthcoming,
        so  the  Capitol  closed  on  5  February  1964.
        Plans  for  a  shopping  arcade  had  been
        considered as early as 1959. The owners were
        thinking about demolition, but the campaign
        to save it made an appeal to the owners not to
        take  any  action  that  would  prevent  the
        reopening  of  the  theatre,  even  in  a  reduced
        version. The campaign to save the theatre in  Melbourne Institute of Technology on 20 May
        1964 was headed by The National Trust, The  1999 for use as a lecture theatre.  State Library of Victoria
        Royal  Victorian  Institute  of  Architects  and                        National Library of Australia
        architect  Robin  Boyd  (1919-1971).  The  The Capitol Theatre is a unique design and  Powerhouse Museum
        entrance and the stalls were swept away, but  we  are  fortunate  that  at  least  some  of  this  Ian Williams collection
        the rest of the theatre was retained. The former  extraordinary  architectural  wonder  has
        balcony  became  the  new  auditorium  with  a  survived,  but  at  the  same  time  it  is
        raised floor raked down to the new stage area.  disappointing  that  the  lower  portion  of  the  More pictures on rear cover.
        The old staircases leading to the dress circle  theatre was lost. ✶
        foyer  were  blocked  off  and  a  new  staircase
        from the front of the shopping arcade led to  The well equipped projection room c. 1935 - Simplex projectors on Western Electric universal bases.
        the new entrance. The Capitol reopened with
        793  seats  on  16  December  1965  with  The
        Great Race and Village Theatres had the lease
        which they continued until 1987. It continued
        to operate for a short time as an independent,
        after  which  it  was  purchased  by  the  Royal
            One of the decorative wall light fittings

        8   CINEMARECORD  # 93
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