Capitol Theater

600 Main Street,
Little Rock, AR 72201

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Capitol Theater

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Previously operated by: Paramount Pictures Inc., Rowley United Theatres Inc.

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Little Rock - 1950s

The Capitol Theater was opened March 13, 1921 with Cecil B DeMille’s “Forbidden Fruit”. By the early-1940’s it was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary Ed Rowley. It was still operating as a movie theatre in the 1950’s.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

hhardley on November 10, 2009 at 3:12 pm

The Capitol Theater was not on Main St, but on Capitol St. Look at the picture above. The theater is on the right and the Arkansas State Capitol is in the distance at the end of Capitol St. Robert H. Gibbons

jamestv on June 2, 2010 at 4:05 pm

The Capitol Theatre at the Main Street address was the first Capitol Theater in Little Rock, opened in the late 1920’s. The trifecta of the consent degree, the post-war drop in movie attendance and the advent of television doomed the Capitol as it did many a movie theater in the fifties. But someone at Rowley Theatres must have decided that the state capital Of Arkansas needed a Capitol Theater so they changed the name of the Pulaski Theater at 324 West Capitol to the Capitol Theater in the mid-50’s; that is the theater in the pictured mentioned above. At the same time, they upgraded the theater to 70MM Todd-AO and made it the roadshow theater for Little Rock. In the early-to-mid 70’s, this Capitol Theater bit the dust during the long goodbye to the downtown movie palaces and was replaced by a high-rise bank building.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on October 13, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Sad only this much is written.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on December 30, 2012 at 11:28 am

Looks like the Capitol had 2 organs during the 1920’s. Lostmemory mentions Wurlitzer opus 371 installed in 1920. In 1926 Wurlitzer installed their opus 1330, a style E X, (2 manuals 7 ranks in 2 chambers). I’ve noticed a couple of other examples of theatres which replaced their organs within just a few years. Of course, being played 8 to 12 hours a day, 7 days a week would wear out the leathers in the organ pretty quickly.

DaddyMac on January 22, 2014 at 8:03 pm

I worked at the Capitol Theater (Capitol & Spring) from 1965-66. We ran 1st run movies like Sound of Music and Dr.Zchivago. The theater originally showcased plays and radio broadcasts. It was converted to show movies in the 1940’s. There were props stored back stage and above the UA offices from years gone by. There were also binders of newspaper ads from shows that dated all the way back to the 20’s. I hope some of the history was saved before they tore it down.

wjerdean on August 14, 2015 at 3:52 pm

Hi, Will and folks! As a 50-year LR resident now living in East Tenn., I wanted to add there was a THIRD Capital Theatre, spelled with an A, which you’ll find in local annals. Predates me by decades, but I know it stood on West Markham near the Old State House and west of the late, lamented Hotel Marion. Probably east of Broadway and the Courthouse. THAT Capital was more a vaudeville house. Hosted Greats of that age, including Sarah Bernhardt. You’re correct that the NEXT Capitol was at 600 Main — opened 1920s with 1,261 seats — and lasted until the 1950s. That LAST Capitol we recall stood at 324 West Capitol (and Spring St.)and earlier had been the “Pulaski.” Was a first-run house for the old Ark. Amusement Co. in the Arkansas Theatre (516 Louisiana) headed, I think, by a Mr. Robin Wightman. City had a HOST of theatres, 1950s: The Main, New, Roxy, Crescent, Rex, Prospect in Hillcrest, Lux, the Lee and Heights and Nabor, not to mention drive-ins and NLR. Golden Age of movies!

rivest266 on November 5, 2017 at 11:56 am

This opened on March 13th, 1921. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

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