Retro Charlotte

1964: The Capri Theatre opens

The Capri Theatre on Independence Boulevard opened in 1964 and was the city's newest and largest suburban motion picture theater. 1965 photo
The Capri Theatre on Independence Boulevard opened in 1964 and was the city's newest and largest suburban motion picture theater. 1965 photo The Charlotte Observer

**Slideshow is at bottom of story**

The Capri Theatre screened movies from 1964 until well into the 1990s, as a 99-cent theater at the end. Then it served as a live theater venue and as a few nightclubs, including Club Hush (where Kim Kardashian made an appearance during the 2012 DNC). The building is shuttered now, and the property is for sale.

But in 1964 the shiny theater with “the prestige of being on the boulevard” was about to open its doors. Read more here then enjoy the slideshow at the bottom:

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“He Moved Creeks So He Could Build A Theater”*( I couldn’t find any story about moving creeks)

September 13, 1964

By Dick Banks, Observer staff writer

Out on Independence Boulevard near the K-Mart, Charlie Trexler has put one creek in a pipe and nudged another one over with a great mass of concrete. On this spot he has filled in gullies and put up a 995-seat motion picture theater - Charlotte’s newest.

Work is going on night and day, trying to make good on Trexler’s declaration that the theater will open Oct. 15. Hammers were clanging and concrete gushing even on Labor Day. This is to be the new Capri Theater of the Stewart & Everett chain of which Charles B. Trexler, a young-looking, slim, intense man of 48, is president.

First show in this big structure of grayish-yellow brick with an 80-foot glassed-in lobby will be “Kisses For My President,” starring Fred MacMurray and Polly Bergen, a comedy about the first lady President, the first male “first lady,” and their inevitable complications.

With two acres of lighted asphalt for parking, this is a nice spot for a theater. Right up the hill is the turnoff toward Albemarle. The theater is almost on the intersection of Eastway Drive with the boulevard, where the much-disputed belt road is due to cut across.

Besides the prestige of being on the boulevard, close to Ovens Auditorium, the theater has close-in accessibility to 50,000 people who might consider this their neighborhood show house, Trexler says. ...

There are three entrances from the boulevard to the new Capri Theater parking areas. Automobiles that circle behind the theater will be driving over one of Trexler’s rerouted creeks. A 100-foot steel canopy roofs the lobby. Supporting pillars thrust steel fingers up in an inverted-umbrella effect that will give a feeling of lightness to the lobby when it is covered with concrete. Lighting will emphasize each angular effect.

Two marquee signs above the canopy are seven feet high and 20 feet long. Circling the back of the auditorium is a walled-in “standee,” where folks can circulate and congregate without disturbing the audience. The auditorium is 104 feet wide at the rear. It is 115 feet long and 74 feet wide at the front end supporting the 50-foot (or wider) screen.

Five sound speakers will be on the stage and 10 more are recessed in the walls around the auditorium for stereophonic films. Upstairs is the water-cooled 35 and 70 mm projection equipment.

The Capri is set up for four-track magnetic sound, six-track magnetic sound, and optical sound.

The screen will rise above a conventional stage with a performance area eight feet deep from which a speaker or a small group of singers could hold forth. Thrown in for theatrical mood will be an Austrian curtain that moves up and down. There will also be conventional side curtains that open to each side.

The Capri auditorium will have five aisles, including aisles along each side wall. A smoking are of 98 seats will be in the center rear, with an air duct above drawing cigarette smoke away from the audience.

The new Stewart & Everett theater will be going into competition with the 900-seat Park Terrace theater which opened last May at the Park Road shopping center, and with Cinema I and II, which have 1,500 seats between them, open since November at Charlottetown Mall.

*( I couldn’t find any stories about moving creeks to make way for the theater.)

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