El Portal Theatre

310 Fremont Street,
Las Vegas, NV 89101

Unfavorite No one has favorited this theater yet

Showing 1 - 25 of 35 comments

CrustyB on January 17, 2019 at 11:56 am

I understand that the El Portal will be occupied by a Taco Bell and Wahlburgers now that the Indian crafts store has vacated, which doesn’t bode well for preserving the place. I hope the world’s nicer to me when I turn 90 years old.

JimPerry on June 23, 2018 at 8:08 am

New update (June 23,2018) – The “Indian Arts & Crafts” store moved next door. (East of the former theatre.) When this was done, I have no idea, but I’m guessing it was very recently (around the time that the new White Castle joint opened up – same block). Anyway, maybe the El Portal will return as a movie house. BUT here’s the thing – it would, more than likely, cost big bucks to do so. Upon looking inside (from outside), it needs, among other things, a new snack bar area (as the old one was, obviously, removed).

IndyJeff on March 20, 2018 at 8:04 am

The El Portal Theater was named after a race horse that Mr. Ernie Cragin owned. Ernie Cragin was mayor of Las Vegas for most of the 1940s. I used to work for Cragin Industries back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Horst Schmidt ran Cragin Industries after Ernie Cragin passed away. Horst passed away in 2004. Lots of good memories working for Horst and Mrs. Cragin.

DavidZornig on November 23, 2017 at 8:33 pm

March 1956 UNLV Collections photo in below link.


David_Schneider on August 30, 2017 at 11:55 am

Fremont Street is now a pedestrian only/closed to vehicles entertainment district called the Fremont Street Experience covered by the “Viva Vision” canopy video screen, three stages with live bands, some street performers, and a zip line called “Slotzilla” you can ride on between the street and the screen.

When I was there on August 19th and 20th of 2017 during my first trip to Vegas, I enjoyed the Linkin Park and Tiesto performances on the screen, the different live local bands, the people watching, and the neon lights on the remaining casinos with the feeling that there is still some history left. I liked it a lot more than The Strip.

I’ve since watched Youtube videos of what Vegas used to look like that left me feeling like I missed something that is now gone. I also would have liked to have seen Fremont Street when the cinemas were still operating.

David_Schneider on August 29, 2017 at 12:21 pm

On August 20th during what I called my “Vegas Strip Side Trip 2017” I took the “Neon Boneyard” Tour at the interesting Neon Museum a few blocks from Fremont Street.

The Boneyard is an outdoor lot of historic neon signs from defunct Vegas casinos and businesses. A few are lit up at night. One laying on its side unlit formed the words “El Portal”. I asked the tour guide who told me it is most likely from the theater.

There are some photos of the sign in the Boneyard if you do a Google images search using the terms “Neon Boneyard El Portal”.

To me it looks like it could be the sign in the photos section in these older photos: one, two.

That could mean the similar looking sign on what is now an Indian/Native gift shop is a reproduction or a separate remainder still intact from its days as a theater?

DavidZornig on November 26, 2016 at 9:32 am

1968 photo added credit Felix Lenox.

CharlesR on July 18, 2016 at 10:52 pm

The El Portal, along with the Fremont, are visible in the 1958 photo here: http://www.shorpy.com/node/21139

drifter on January 31, 2016 at 1:29 pm

heres a video clip taken 1957 of el portal at frank sinatras movie premiere of ‘the jokers wild’ you can make out some of the front entrance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAQa58bVaSs hope this works

DavidZornig on October 24, 2015 at 7:58 pm

World Premiere of “Meet Me In Las Vegas” photos added. March 9th, 1956. Photo credit UNLV Libraries Digital Collections.

lvrepoman on May 17, 2015 at 12:27 pm

The Rockford episode you guys have mentioned was titled, “Roundabout.” I was a 6th grader at the time it aired and was very excited to see places I recognized as locations. Particularly, a big portion of it was filmed at Wayne Newtons place, back when it was waayyy south of town. Other scenes were filmed on LV Blvd. around Stewart, at what I still call the “Manpower” building. There is another scene filmed around The Peppermill on the strip. Back in those days practically every cop show filmed a show in Las Vegas at least once. Kojak was here all the time. I can’t believe the El Portal showed “Dirty Harry” all those years without me knowing about it. I saw it when it first came out on the big screen in ‘71 (I was eight), and never saw it that way again till college. And it was playing right under my nose all the time!

DavidZornig on January 9, 2015 at 10:09 pm

Early `60’s photo added courtesy of the Hemmings Motor News Facebook page.

coyoteii48 on July 20, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Picking up on an observation, Mr. Stan Malone, pointed out back on June 7th, about the El Portels Marquis, being an identifiable landmark, seen in one of “The Rockford Files” episodes, car chases scenes; and my dissertation answering remark, about my intrigue with the series, and actor James Garner: I return today, sadly, learning of his passing away yesterday July 19, 11 days after my post. His “Obit” herald all the accolades, re-enforcing his “down to earthiness ”, and I learned or had forgotten, he was born an “Okie"from Norman, as was my mother,Lucille, you can’t get much more "salt of the earth”, than those good folks. She witnessed my goings on, in regard to “Jimmy Rockford”, she loved Garner,as Maverick, back in the day! Well as James Garner “crossed over”, you can bet he got a big hug from an “Okie Gal”. Show him the ropes Mom, you guys enjoy! While, I dry my eye’s.

R.I.P.; Mr. James Garner, aka “Jimmy R”

coyoteii48 on July 8, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Stan, thanks for your input on the Rockford files, I’ve always been a Rockford Freak, to the point of stalking the Universal site to see his trailer and surviving cars; as well as the SAND CASTLE in Malibu, where I got insights from bartenders and waitresses on Garners, “down to earth” dealings with clientele, employee’s, cast and crew while OFF SET. I had forgotten his visits to Las Vegas while in character, would love to know episode and air dates. Now as for the illustrious “El Portel” in 1962 I was in 5th grade and the E.P. was the closet theatre to our house about 10 miles. I took many a bus ride to the E.P. which had a stage in front of the Screen and Saturdays @ 11am there was a frenzy of kids in groups of scouts boy and girl. One such memorable Saturday tickets were drawn from the tumberle drum, and the recipient was matched to a day spent with a Las Vegas or North Las Vegas City Officer ranging from Mayor to the Superintendent of Streets N.L.V. which was my position drawn, it was a long walk to the stage to redeem the official letter,as the kids laughed and jeered at my appointment. After, our “day on the job"and at our next Troop 99 scout meeting, I heard all the blah blah of the boring Majors, Administrators, Assessors, etc. the general picture was, Lunch, as the height of the day. My day was spent with a rugged blue jeaned "John Wayne type”, complete with cowboy hat, flying around in a two seater, no door, open willy’s jeep, bouncing from pavement to dirt, and stopping at jack hammering work sites, to concrete pouring, to sewer flushing and shovel flinging un blocking of poo! I really couldn’t tell ya where WE ate lunch that day. But it was a hella fun Time!

10 years later a Freshman at UNLV, The El Portel comes center stage in my life, as my Girl friend Kim, works the Ticket Booth for the summer and fall. Now you would think I saw a lot of different movies with such a hook up! But NO! Dirty Harry was a mainstay for what seemed forever! I can say that I saw the opening to that movie at least 50 times, picking her up on the final showing at 10pm. It didn’t “Make My Day”, but she sure Made My Nite!

El Portel- Bob Hope, take it away!

StanMalone on June 7, 2014 at 10:05 am

During the first season of the TV show “Rockford Files” one of the episodes has Jim traveling to Vegas on a case. One of the interlude sequences that they always used to make the running time fit (usually a pointless car chase) had Rockford driving down the Fremont strip. There is a nice view of the Portal on the right as he drives by. The marquee showed that the current attraction was “Jeremiah Johnson.”

This episode was broadcast in the spring of ‘75 so it was probably filmed in late '74. In Georgia where I live, “JJ” was given a wide 4wall re-release in the spring and summer of '74. Since that short lived but very successful practice was usually done on a regional basis maybe it was the turn of the Southwest to get its run.

I will see if I can get the episode name and air date.

RandNoel on February 2, 2013 at 3:46 pm

fyi Constructed in 1928 by Salt Lake City Builders Ryburg and Sorenson. Owners Ernie Cragin and William Pike spent !50,000.00 to build it.

RandNoel on February 2, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Saw “Gone with the Wind” with my folks here, I remember parking was difficult (There were no parking lots in those years) and during the intermission having a look around the theater for the 1st time. as I grew up it became a standard place to see many movies.

coffee4binky on May 13, 2012 at 2:08 am

Okay, I’ve been in this theater a lot, but only as the Indian shop. I wish it was a theater again instead.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on December 1, 2010 at 9:09 pm

From the 1940s a postcard view of Fremont Street along with the El Portal Theatre in Las Vegas.

EricV on August 29, 2010 at 9:11 am

Trivia – The film “Meet Me in Las Vegas” with Dan Dailey and Cyd Charisse had it’s premiere at the El Portal on February 21, 1956. The stars appeared that same night on Milton Berle’s color tv show direct from the Copa Room of the Sands Hotel. This was the first color telecast from Las Vegas.

kencmcintyre on April 17, 2009 at 6:47 pm

I think I liked Fremont Street better without the canopy. The light show is not too interesting after you see it a dozen times.

kencmcintyre on April 11, 2009 at 1:16 pm

The theater can be seen in this 1950 photo from the LAPL:

DonSolosan on January 22, 2009 at 1:16 pm

To be fair, LawMann, it wasn’t a theater back then. All you would have seen was the blade sign and marquee. That’s all I saw, and I never guessed that it had been a theater.

LawMann on January 22, 2009 at 12:36 pm

I was passing through Downtown Vegas' Fremont St eight years ago after getting off a bus at the Greyhound depot on my way to the bus stop on the Vegas strip and I missed seeing this theatre.