Capitol Theatre

121 W. Broad Street,
Hazleton, PA 18201

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Comerford Theaters Inc., Publix Theaters Corporation

Architects: Leon H. Lempert, Jr.

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Nearby Theaters

Foyer of the Capitol Theatre, Hazleton, PA

The Capitol Theatre opened on September 6, 1926 with Bebe Daniels in “The Palm Beach Girl” plus 5-acts of vaudeville on the stage. This was the largest and most ornate theatre located in the area with 2,389 seats, 1,145 located in the orchestra, 976 in the balcony, 236 in the loge section and 32 box seats. All this was contained within a large five-story building with multiple storefronts facing the main street of the city. The exterior was done in light tan brick, had a large square shaped marquee and narrow vertical spelling out “Capitol Theatre”. The auditorium had a rather ornate balcony railing and large painted murals on the side walls. The organ (possibly a Kimball organ) was opened by organist Edward Benedict. Mona Jones became resident organist.

Many famous actors and actresses played on the Capitol Theatre stage. Some of these included Fred Astaire, George Burns, Gracie Allen, and Milton Berle.

The theatre switched to an all film policy in the 1930’s and was the most popular theatre in the city for many years. It began to suffer with television in the 1950’s and management tried many ideas to once again fill the seats. The theatre closed officially in the spring of 1963 and was sold later that same year.

The lobby was converted into storefronts, while a neighboring furniture store extended its second floor showroom into the area in front of the balcony and over the stage. Those familiar with the theatre building often remarked how the balcony was left totally intact, complete with seats and chandeliers, now facing the new drywall put up by the furniture store.

The building survived like this into the mid-1980’s when a fire destroyed it all. A one-floor office building now sits in its place.

Contributed by Bob

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

RJS on July 18, 2005 at 2:17 pm

Here is a photo showing the original marquee and exterior.

RJS on July 21, 2005 at 6:22 am

Here are a few additional images showing the Capitol Theatre.
This image shows the original marquee. View link

This image shows the final marquee.
View link

DavidD on February 1, 2006 at 8:11 am

My father,Tony DeCosmo,was the Chief Projectionist at the Capitol Theater for many years and worked there till it closed in 1963.I remember the ladder that lead to the roof of the building.We watched John F. Kennedy campaign in front of the Altamont Hotel (just a few doors away) from the Capitol roof.I believe the company that actually owned the theater had some sort of clause that prohibited the building’s use as a theater after the Capitol closed.In fact I’ve got hundreds of memories of the Capitol,most of which are very good.

Jack Theakston
Jack Theakston on February 25, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Listed as a Comerford-Publix theater in the 1945-46 International Motion Picture Almanac. The architect was likely Leon Lempert, Jr.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 24, 2014 at 8:05 pm

The August 23, 1926, issue of The Scranton Republican said that Michael Comerford’s new Capitol Theatre in Hazleton was scheduled to open on Labor Day. That would have been Monday, September 6. Jack Theakston is right about the likely architect. Every house built by Comerford in the 1920s that I’ve found attributed to an architect in newspaper or trade journal items has been attributed to Leon H. Lempert, Jr., or the firm of Leon H. Lempert & Son.

rivest266 on April 26, 2022 at 9:47 am

Opened September 6th, 1926. Grand opening ad posted.

50sSNIPES on June 26, 2023 at 7:32 pm

Closed on May 18, 1963 with “Drums Of Africa”, and was last operated by the Pennsylvania Paramount Corporation (also known as the local division for the Paramount Pictures Incorporated chain).

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.