Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Avenue Grand

On August 11, Ryan Shepard made two comments on my earlier Capitol Hill Theatre entry. He found the correct opening date in an ad from the Washington Times of August 14, 1910:

In the photo insert, the opening exterior of the Avenue Grand appears almost the same as when it closed as the Capitol Hill in 1970:

The 1950s interior was plain-a bit seedy and a bit run down. When Don King refurbished the Capitol Hill as an art house in 1967, it was painted in gold and white. A few famed drawings of old Washington theatres decorated the balcony level where the candy stand and rest rooms were located.
A row of old footlights were still noticeable on the stage apron. The stage was about twenty-five deep with catwalks along the side. As stated in my earlier entry-the dressing rooms, in the basement, were probably nothing special in 1910. Pieces of various projectors could be found in one of the rooms. Also recall, finding an old dusty bottle of vodka and an American flag.
When I worked there in 1967 and 68, the Capitol Hill had trouble finding an art-house audience. Attendance was often sparse. One day while I was standing outside, an old timer passing by suggested we get the Wild Women of Wongo back. This was a reference not only to a dreadful 1958 movie but also to the old days of the Avenue Grand.

Anyway, thanks Ryan for the update.

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