AKA: Fox Egyptian Theatre, San Diego, CA; Capri Theater, San Diego, CA

Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Faxon, Gruys and Sayler, Architects (firm); Robert Endicott Faxon Sr. (architect); Frank Gruys (architect)

Dates: constructed 1925-1926

3812 Park Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92103-3610

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Illinois-born movie exhibitor Grant A. Bush (born c. 1865), who already operated the Bush Theatre in San Diego, CA, began operations at his Bush Egyptian Theatre on 06/30/1926. Subsequent owners renamed it the "Fox Egyptian," (c. 1930), "Capri" (1954), and "Park" (1988). Originally, the building had symmetrical, three-part facade, in which flat-roofed bi-lateral wings (housing small retail spaces) stood on either side of an inset portico, with columns placed in antis. Proceeding through the portico, one passed through an exterior courtyard, a relatively common characteristic of large, first-run movie CA theatres of the early-to-mid 1920s, on the way to the auditorium. The exterior had many Egyptian Revival Style features including its cut-stone facade, battered walls, rolled cornices, and lotus bud column capitals.

By the mid-century many would have viewed the Egpytian Revival theatre as dowdy and perhaps forbidding. As a result, it underwent a $100,000, three-month remodeling in 1954 by the firm of Faxon and Gruys, when the theatre changed its name to the "Capri." The Capri's projection equipment was changed in 1957 to accommodate the Todd-AO format; this was a new high-resolution 70 mm film format that projected onto a curved screen. The larger, 70-millimeter film provided 65 mm of room for visual image and the remaining space to contain 6 sound channels of magnetic tape. The colorful builder and Broadway producer, Michael Todd (born Avrom Hirsch Goldbogen, 1909-1958), one-time husband of actresses Joan Blondell (1906-1979) and Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011), collaborated with the American Optical (AO) Company of Buffalo, NY, to produce the new system.

PCAD id: 3940