El Capitan rich history
In the early 1920s, real estate developer Charles E. Toberman (the “Father of Hollywood”) envisioned a thriving Hollywoodtheatre district. With Sid Grauman, he opened the Egyptian (1922), El Capitan (“The Captain”) (1926), and Chinese Theatre (1927).
Today, you simply cannot miss the Theatre on a private Hollywood tour. In years gone past, El Capitan, dubbed “Hollywood’s First Home of Spoken Drama,” opened as a legitimate theatre on May 3, 1926 withCharlot’s Revue starring Gertrude Lawrence and Jack Buchanan. The design featured a Spanish colonial exterior designed by Stiles O. Clements of the architectural firm of Morgan, Walls & Clements, and a lavish East Indian interior by G. Albert Lansburgh. For a decade it presented live plays, with over 120 productions including such legends as Clark Gable and Joan Fontaine. By the late 1930s, El Capitan felt the economic effects of the Depression, showcasing fewer and fewer productions. This period saw a cycle of experimentation with entertainment. In an effort to boost attendance to the theatre, its management attempted to lure revues, road shows and benefits. Despite these efforts, business was faltering. WhenOrson Welles was unable to locate a theatre owner willing to risk screening Citizen Kane, he turned to El Capitan, and in 1941, Citizen Kane had its world premiere there. The theater then closed for one year.