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THE CAPITAN THEATRE
Pasadena, Texas

Lighted marquee, Capitan Theatre, Pasadena, Texas
Capitan Theater lighted marquee
Photo courtesy Lauren Meyers, June 2006
Capitan Theatre, Pasadena, Texas
The unlighted marquee of Pasadena's Capitan Theatre
TE Photo, May 2003
Capitan Theatre, Pasadena, Texas
Pasadena's Capitan Theater
TE Photo, May 2003
Editor's Note:
Several years ago, while traveling through Pasadena, we passed by the Capitan Theatre and were delightfully surprised to see the marquee lighted. If such a list were made - it would easily be one of "The top ten surviving movie marquees in Texas."

Calling the city the next day we were eventually routed to the person who was working on the Capitan project. He assured us that we would be sent a photo or two of the lighted marquee. We didn't notice when photos didn't arrive and forgot about it until we heard from Miranda Spigener (whose letter appears below).

On our brief visit to the former downtown of Pasadena, we also noticed a shooting gallery / gun store that had to have been a theatre at one time.



More
See Capitan Theatre Forum below:
Longs Theatre, Pasadena, Texas
Long's Theatre, another former theatre stripped of its marquee
TE Photo, May 2003
Pasadena Hotels > Book Here

Capitan Theatre Forum

  • Subject: Capitan Theatre
    I just ran across your forum on the El Capitan Theatre in Pasadena Texas. It is especially sad to my wife and I to hear that the building has been sold by the City of Pasadena. I do remember going to the Theatre a couple of times in the late 50ís. But my best memory comes from another event. My wife and I got married right out of High School in 1976. I contacted my minister from my childhood years and asked him to marry us. It just so happened that his church had just acquired the theatre (possibly leasing it, not sure if they actually owned it and it didnít matter at that time) and were in the process of renovating it. From what I remember, I believe it had become an X-rated theatre for a short period and had just shut down. My preachers name was Richard Jennings and his youth group was going to use it for special events such as plays, weddings, etc. The renovation was not yet completed and ended up getting married in the foyer. I guess they eventually ran out of money because I never heard anything else about it after that day. We have been married for 39 years and the El Capitan theatre has a special place in our hearts. I only regret we did not take any real pictures of the landscape at that time. - Larry Hogan, January 25, 2016

  • Subject: Capitan Theater in Pasadena
    I was talking with an office mate today and we were discussing old theaters. I had no idea the Capitan and been purchased by the city. I spent many Saturdays there watching the news reels, cartoons, and movies. We didnít have a lot of money, but my Mama and Daddy would scrounge up the quarters for my brother and I to go to the movies. I think we also got a nickel for something at the concession stand. My daughter, having worked in an old theater in Magnolia, Arkansas, loves old theaters. She didnít have the pleasure of going to the Capitan when she was a child, but even then she loved the building. I am really glad the marquee is still in place. Thank you for the reminder. - Nancy A. Birtman, October 16, 2013

  • Pasadena Theaters - Long's
    Dear TE, I came across your [magazine] when starting to reminisce about Jackson Junior High [in Pasadena]. I remember when a child's ticket to Long's was $.09 (that's NINE CENTS). My dad worked across the street at Bob Harris's appliance store, and later Chrysler-Plymouth dealership. He would take me with him when he had to work late at night and I went to Long's. Then one day, they made a huge price increase to 20 cents. Talk about inflation!

    It wasn't as stylish as the Capitan, but, hey, I didn't go much (at 7 or 8 years of age) for the ambiance, just the movies. Double feature and refreshments for about a quarter. Pretty good deal. Got out of the theater about 8 or 9 o'clock at night and walked across the street. Kids today probably aren't going to be allowed to do that alone. - John Webb, Rising Star, TX, November 09, 2006

  • Subject: Capitan Theater-Pasadena, Texas
    It was so nice to happen upon your site. I too have memories of the Capitan Theater (although I seem to recall it being the El Capitan Theater). It was a wonderful theater in the late 1950's and early 1960's when my younger brother and I used to spend most Saturdays during the school year there. We would get out about dark and sometimes would be a little sad that we had spend most of out Saturday there but next Saturday, we'd be back again. I actually worked behind the concession stand at the theater in my Senior year at Pasadena High School in 1965. If I remember right we worked 10 hours on Saturday and 11 hours on Sunday for about a dollar an hour. My family moved from Pasadena to North Louisiana right after I graduated from high school and I've only been back a very few times since then. Thanks for the opportunity to share my memories. - Ron Mason, August 19, 2006

  • Pasadena Theaters
    I attended Garden Elementary [so] I remember the Long' s Theater. I must say that I only attended that theater about five times in my life. They built the Gardens Theater and had a lot of things for kids to do. On Saturdays we could get on stage and sing and dance. A lot of fun things like who could finish a baby bottle full of water first. Yep, the nipple was on there and they had prizes for us.

    Then it burned down and along came the Capitan. Now what I remember were the seats. They would push back to let people get by. When I got married I was able to bring my son to the crying room... We all lived in the Gardens. We had a lot of things to grow up with. My children all say they wished that they were born in the late 30's... - Jimmie Killebrew, Wade School 1944-1956, May 22, 2006

  • Subject: Capitan and Pasadena Theatres

    I happened on your mention of the Capitan and was amazed. I assumed it was derelict or torn down by now. I spent most Saturdays of my youth from 1952 on at the Capitan Saturday Matinee. Three features, a serial, and 7 cartoons. Started up at 11:30 a.m. and we usually got out about 5:00 or 5:15 p.m. Admission $.25 plus $.25 more for concessions - I supposed it was a bargain for our parents.

    The other theatre mentioned in the article (the one that is now a gun shop) was Long's Theatre. We went there occasionally but it was by far the less popular back then.

    I have lived in South Carolina for the past 30 years and have only gotten back to Pasadena once or twice. Definitely enjoyed my childhood there but seeing it as an adult made it lose a lot of its allure. Sincerely, Mark Little, May 01, 2006

  • Capitan Theatre and Long's Theatre in Pasadena, TX

    I came across your web site as I was seeking info on the El Capitan Theatre in Pasadena. You asked about the other theatre in Pasadena, that is now a gun store. It was the Long's Theatre.

    I went to the Capitan Theatre many times when I was a kid growing up in Pasadena in the late 50's and early 60's. My sister and former brother-in-law met when they both worked at the Capitan. Ronnie was a new usher and my sister, Lynda was already working there in the concession stand. I remember Ronnie saying the first time he laid eyes on my sister (at the ) it was love at first sight. One of my other sisters, Nancy also worked there behind the concession stand. I have heard many stories of events that happened there.

    I have good memories of Saturdays spent at the Capitan. I always thought it was a grand place. It cost about a quarter or dime to get in and you could stay all day and watch the movie over and over. I loved the Junior Mints (for a dime). We lived in the oldest house in Pasadena on Conrad Street, the first mayor of Pasadena (Mayor Conrad) lived in our old house. Thanks for the walk down memory lane. - Patsy Watkins, August 09, 2005


  • The Capitan of Pasadena & its sister theatre The Granada

    I grew up in Pasadena and have heard stories from my grandparents, parents, former ushers, managers, original managers, and others that remember attending or working at the Capitan in Pasadena. The City of Pasadena bought it and registered it in the history register since it's over 60 years old.

    It has sat abandoned since the early 80s and was not in the best of shape. However, the City has renovated the facade and marqee, with plans of making it a Performance Hall for Pasadena. The interior has no date for completion as its not in the budget.

    I did a story and photo shoot in '96 or '97 on this theatre. I have some original slides of its grand opening that I purchased from the photographer in the Houston Heights. The Capitan and The Granada were originally owned by Phil Isley (father of the great actress of the 40-50s Jennifer Jones). The theatres were later owned shortly by Interstate Theatres. Jennifer made a non-publicity appearance at the Capitan according to one of the orginal managers I interviewed.

    The Granada (at Jensen and Tidwell in Houston) is currently a Hispanic Church. I heard they are going to restore it. The Granada looks like a theatre inside and out last time I visited in 97, except that the snack bar had been removed, and one can't even tell it was ever there!
    - Miranda Spigener, Houston, Texas, July 06, 2005
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