Capitol Cinema I & II

105 N. Main Avenue,
Erwin, TN 37650

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Capitol Theatre, Cinema 1 & 2

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Capitol Theater

The Capitol Theatre opened on November 4, 1935 with John Boles in “"Redheads on Parade”. It was twinned sometime in the 1980’s. The Capitol Cinema I & II was closed in December 2018 when the roof was damaged in a snowstorm. Renovation work began in January 2024.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 6, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Thanks for the Pictures.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 3, 2012 at 8:50 am

Erwin and Unicoi County, by Linda Davis March, says that the Capitol Theatre was opened on November 11, 1935. The house has been run by members of the Hendren family since opening. The Hendrens also operated an earlier theater called the Lyric, which was on South Main Street. When the Capitol opened, the Lyric became the “B” house in Erwin.

rivest266
rivest266 on January 3, 2014 at 9:36 am

Website is closed, Facebook page not being updated, and no showtimes anywhere. This tells me that this is now closed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 3, 2014 at 11:33 am

Their Facebook page hasn’t been updated in over a year, but the website is still live and listing show times for the next two weeks. Nothing is listed on the second-party web sites, though.

ncmark
ncmark on September 11, 2019 at 8:04 am

Permanently closed after a December 2018 snowstorm caused damage to the roof. Engineering cost estimates for repair proved too high to make repairs feasible according to the owners.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 11, 2019 at 4:36 pm

The book I cited on my 2012 comment dating the opening of the Capitol Theatre to 1935 was wrong, according to Jan Bradley, the Capitol’s last owner, and granddaughter of the theater’s founder, Earle Hendren. The house opened in September, 1940, and was converted into a twin cinema in the 1980s by Bradley’s father, who enclosed the balcony to accommodate a second screen. Bradley is quoted in this article published by The Erwin Record on August 9, 2019. The article, which announced Bradley’s decision to make the closing of the theater permanent, did not give the exact date of the Capitol’s last shows.

50sSNIPES
50sSNIPES on February 8, 2022 at 3:40 pm

LaFollette, Tennessee native Mr. M. H. Parrott, the president of the Hendren Amusement Company who has been operating since 1920, took a trip down to Erwin to demonstrate the opening of the Capitol Theatre. It opened on November 4, 1935 with John Boles in “Redheads On Parade” along with a Popeye cartoon in “King Of Mardi Gras”, an unknown technicolor musical, and a Fox Movietone Newsreel.

Prior to the launch of the Capitol, there were 2 other theaters in the city of Erwin, the Lyric and the Palace, both being operated by a guy simply known as Mr. Gormar since May 1934 after living in Lenior City.

As of 1935, here is some information: The stage itself is equipped with curtains and drapes in red velour and gold which veils the stage which I cannot find the size for but its normalized, and has a deep piled carpet of modernistic pattern covering the aisles, foyer, and steps from the lobby which repeats soft shades. The floating comfort seats inside contains 12 springs, and the sound equipment that was used is Western Electric’s Wide Range. The part of the air conditioning system occupies a large part of the immense space directly over the main stage. There were 800 electrical outlets all over the Capitol and contains cylindrical chandeliers in shape which were fitted with etched glass in amber tubes, and the metal on all fixtures is of power harmonizing with the chromium used in front of the building on the marquee. There is a second floor containing the steel projection room which is largely enough fireproof, and lounges/bathrooms for both genders. The projecting room also contains a heavy underwriters fire door entering, and the windows were also covered in steel shutters which close automatically in case of a fire ad those that built it declare that a fire could rage for 24 hours without effecting the outside of the building.

CinemaScope was installed on August 26, 1954 with “Knights Of The Round Table” as its first scope film, no extras, on later that September 5th.

50sSNIPES
50sSNIPES on February 8, 2022 at 4:08 pm

A few months prior to the launch of the Capitol Theatre, the nearby Palace Theatre closed as a movie house and literally became a 5/10ยข store simply named as J.B. Dick & Company.

robboehm
robboehm on February 8, 2022 at 9:02 pm

Robert Fury purchased the Capitol in April 2021 with the intention of opening a venue for live performances. He said it would take time and money to bring it back. I haven’t seen any updates since this announcement.

robboehm
robboehm on June 27, 2022 at 9:13 pm

Supplementing my February posting. Just saw something online where the receipt of metal sconces for the remodel was acknowledged.

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