Capitola Theater

120 Monterey Avenue,
Capitola, CA 95010

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dallasmovietheaters on August 12, 2021 at 10:42 pm

Launched with Gene Kelly in “The Pirate” on Aug. 6, 1948.

Patsy on January 10, 2015 at 6:58 pm

So sad that this seaside town has lost their theatre.

jake4ken on August 3, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Our family ran the Theater with Audrey Jacobs taking the job for a year and ran it for 50 years when she retired. It was a family enterprise and started with the running of both the Soquel and Capitola Theaters. The original builiding was an old quansit hut purchased from military surplus according to my father, Merton Jacobs the nephew of Joseph and Racine Jacobs.

Audrey used to say that the theater was her baby and after all she was the first woman to run a movie theater in the state of California.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 26, 2010 at 8:37 pm

A card in the L.A. library’s California Index cites a 1948/1949 theatre catalog naming the architect of the Capitola Theatre as Harold Onstead. I’ve been unable to find anything else about him on the Internet.

GaryParks on July 12, 2010 at 9:06 pm

The Capitola’s well worn parking lot is still there, but a freshly-laid L-shaped pad of blacktop marks the footprint where the auditorium and lobby once were. The front lawn has been scraped away as well. The old cement block wall that once separated the theatre from the Lido restaurant (and Mac’s Patio bar before that) still stands.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 25, 2010 at 5:38 pm

If one had the chance they should have gotten in somehow and saved some parts of that Theatre,I know i did it when they came in to wreck my favorite two theatres. Got quite a bit out of the booth and managers office.It wasn’t all going in the trash if i could help it.

Element1604 on May 25, 2010 at 10:44 am

This theatre is being demolished today.
Most of the equipment is now in the dump.

DavidZornig on October 25, 2009 at 4:22 am

BTW II: A Mr. Haven’s wrote an excellent comment yesterday that posted to that current story on the home page.
Maybe CT admins can transfer it directly to this Capitola page.

DavidZornig on October 25, 2009 at 4:17 am

I guess it’s doomed when the Mayor doesn’t consider it historic.
Then they cite the property forcing abatement due to health concerns. It’s just a route to get the owner/ developer to tear it down all the quicker.
Wonder how many of those “threatened” Eucalyptus trees will come down to build the hotel?

If the developer included plans for a small stage within the hotel, it might quell any backlash.
Though no one even commented to the newspaper’s article forum.
The link to the current status & story is on the CT Home page BTW.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 4, 2009 at 7:13 pm

The Capitola Theatre was built for Arthur Mayer of San Francisco and Joseph Jacobs of Burlingame. Although construction of the Capitola began in late 1947, materials shortages delayed its completion, and it didn’t open until the summer of 1948. The start of construction was announced in the December 6, 1947, issue of Boxoffice Magazine, and the opening in the August 7, 1948, issue. The September 3, 1973, issue of Boxoffice said that the Capitola had celebrated its 25th anniversary on August 6.

GaryParks on May 1, 2009 at 11:13 pm

As this is one of the most beloved, and most-visited theaters of my late childhood and young adulthood, I will give, for the record, the movies I saw here.
Prior to when I began keeping careful record of movies I’ve seen theatrically (1982), I can’t recall anywhere near all of them, though I do know the first visit was for a double feature, circa 1975, of “That’s Entertainment,” and “Travels with My Aunt.” The latter was the first time I ever saw nudity onscreen (a stripper in a club) albeit a rear view. I also know we saw “The Great Santini,” and “Serial” in about 1980 or ‘81—not necessarily paired. More childhood education: The latter had a humorous orgy scene, this time with frontal nudity.
By no means will I even consider blurring the eyes of fellow Cinematreasures members/readers by listing all movies seen at every theater on this site that I’ve attended (I would never have time), but as the “Cap” was my family’s most-frequented theater, and it got almost all the movies after the local UA houses were done with them, I think a complete list is in order of what I saw, in fond remembrance:
“Raiders of the Lost Ark” with “The Jazz Singer” (yes, with Neil Diamond)
“The French Leutenant’s Woman” with “Atlantic City"
"Absence of Malice” with “Seems Like Old Times"
"First Monday of October” with “Reds"
"Deathtrap” with “Victor/Victoria"
"Modern Problems” with “Tron"
"Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” with “Tex"
"Trail of the Pink Panther” with “Time Bandits"
"Missing” with “Evil Under the Sun"
"Max Dugan Returns” with “The Black Stallion Returns"
"The Verdict” with “Without A Trace"
"King of Comedy” with “Max Dugan Returns” (again!)
“The Survivors” with “Tootsie"
"Local Hero” with “Chariots of Fire"
"The Grey Fox” with “Mr. Mom"
"A Christmas Story” with “Romantic Comedy"
"Cross Creek” (We didn’t stay for the second feature. I do know that it was something we were afraid might offend the sensibilities of guests we were entertaining from then-Communist China as part of an exchange program with UC Santa Cruz!)
“Yentl” with “Best Friends"
"Silkwood” (Not sure why I—alone this time—didn’t stay for the second feature)
“Tender Mercies” with “Racing With the Moon"
"The Natural” with “Unfaithfully Yours"
"Broadway Danny Rose” with “The Dresser"
"The Karate Kid” with “Hanky Panky"
"Protocol” (Didn’t stay for second feature—perhaps I or my then-girlfriend weren’t interested)
“Falling in Love” with “King David"
"A Passage to India” (Didn’t see second feature)
“Vertigo” with “The River"
"The Man Who Knew Too Much” with “The Trouble With Harry"
"The Return of the Soldier” (Didn’t see second feature)
“Amadeus” (Didn’t see second feature)
“Clue” with “Young Sherlock Holmes"
"The Trip to Bountiful” with “White Nights"
At this point I was now living fulltime outside Santa Cruz County, so my visits became fewer*****
"Soul Man” with “Jumpin’ Jack Flash"
"Crocodile Dundee”(Didn’t see second feature)
“Baby Boom” (Didn’t see second feature)
“Crossing Delancey” with “Clara’s Heart"
"Pink Cadillac” with “Scens From the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills"
—didn’t go at all—
"Quigley Down Under” with “On the Air"
"For the Boys” with “Barton Fink"
The Capitola closed within a couple of years.

kencmcintyre on February 25, 2008 at 4:59 pm

Judging from the caption and this site, the theater is still in use as a performing arts center:

kencmcintyre on February 25, 2008 at 4:56 pm

Here is a December 2006 article. Does anyone know what has happened, if anything, since that time?

frankp2004 on April 27, 2007 at 3:58 am

I can remember the couple who owned the Capitola Theater being there all my young life. We lived in the house two doors down from the theater.This was in the 1950s and 1960s. She sold the tickets and he tore them when you went thru the door. We saw the great movies there: Where the Boy Are; On The Beach; Don’t Go Near the Water; Run Silent, Run Deep; Mary Poppins; Fantasia; The Lion in Winter; and even Goldfinger, just to name a few. This was no second run theater, but first run movies. It was even advertised in the San Jose Mercury-News. Popcorn, Sugar Babies, Milk Duds, Jujubes, M&Ms, and a big orange drink. And they all were 10 cents to a quarter. The price of admission, 10 cents, and later a quarter. In the early 1970s I would go back to the Capitola Theater with my wife. Not to watch a movie, but to buy a hot buttered popcorn and walk on the beach. When I went up to the concession counter, there she was, much older, but still the same Audrey who sold me Bon Bons as a youngster. Now the days of first run movies are gone, and the old couple surely are gone from the theater as well. The last time I was in Capitola in 2000, the theater was an Artsy Fartsy California stage theater that no self respecting kid would ever go to… and they don’t sell hot buttered popcorn. Too much fat.

tomdelay on April 24, 2006 at 12:29 pm

To Renec, et al. Let’s hope some sort of fuss IS kicked up about the Capitola Theatre. Sorry to say, Santa Cruz County (via its various municipalities) has a very poor record for historic theatre preservation.

The 1920 Santa Cruz Theatre (remodeled in 1925 to the New Santa Cruz Theatre) was torn out and converted to retail. The 1936 Del Mar, while in vastly better shape than when UA hacked up the place into 4 screens, remains with its balcony still walled-off into two mini-theatres. The 1915 T & D/1925 State in Watsonville was converteed into a storage facility for the late Ford’s dept. store. The 1923 Fox in Watsonville has been closed for the last year. The City of Watsonville gave a thumbs-down on preserving the Fox as a civic facility some years ago (after the 1989 earthquake)and spent millions on a sterile modern facility to honor one of its local Democrat politicians.

It is more than time to turn this trend around and figure a way to fight cithy hall and preserve the Capitola (AND the Fox in Watsonville!) The Fox is a magnificent, relatively intact multiple use facility that needs just a bit of TLC to bring it back to life.

tomdelay on February 8, 2006 at 3:41 pm

This was the message in an article Fe. 3 in the Santa Cruz Sentinel"

“CAPITOLA — New owners are poised to take charge of the historic Capitola Theater, and city leaders have high hopes for the future of the oceanfront site. Again.

The hope is that the new owners â€" whose names were withheld by those involved in the transaction until it is completed â€" will demolish the now-empty theater and build a 50-room boutique hotel with a small convention facility."

I was able to see the exterior of the Capitola yesterday 2/7/06 and the place looks like it has been closed for some time. Remains of a message is still on the reader board of the marquee.

chun on May 20, 2005 at 9:14 pm

The status of the Capitola Theatre is that is in escrow and slated to be demolished – the rumor is – to be replaced by a luxury hotel. Surprisingly enough, there has been no local outcry to save the theatre, nor any attempt by the city council to establish it as a historical building. This little town has changed so rapidly in the past 10 years; it appears it’s all about the almighty tourist (not local) dollar and folks with enough “easy” money who come to purchase their way into belonging. I’m not sure many people living here now even saw a movie there, and thus have no connection to what it represents. It’s too bad, because maybe someone could become an instant local by purchasing and refurbishing the theatre and actually show movies in it. When Audrey sold it, it was the end of a great era, and the opera house, despite it’s intentions, was a poor fit for this little coastal town. How does one save a theatre? It’s probably too late.

rp2813 on September 23, 2004 at 9:08 am

Growing up, my next door neighbors had a beach house in Capitola across the street from the theatre. The “Theatre Capitola” provided entertainment for us kids in more ways than one back in the late 60’s. These were the darkest days for the town of Capitola when the beach had eroded away and the sidewalks were rolled up by 6PM. We kids had the whole deserted town to ourselves. When no stores were open at night, we could always walk across the street to the theatre’s snack bar to buy something. Our older siblings used to have fun climbing on the easily accessible marquee and scrambling all the weighty metal letters to spell out a nonsensical playbill. Poor Audrey, the theatre operator, would pull up in her red Dodge every night probably not knowing what to expect from us! The most memorable screenings for me in my youth were an Elizabeth Taylor double bill: “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” along with “Butterfield 8” both of which were beyond second run at the time, but for me it was the first time seeing either of them, and I was too naieve to understand what “No Sale” meant when Liz scrawled it across the mirror in red lipstick. I read an article within the last year or so that the opera endeavor had failed. I’m not sure what the status of the theatre is now, but I hope it’s not a candidate for demolition now or anytime in the future.

HawaiiGuy on May 10, 2004 at 4:38 am

Address for the Capitola Theatre: 120 Monterey Ave., Capitola, Ca.

William on November 12, 2003 at 6:15 pm

The Capitola Theatre seated 500 people.