The El Capitan theater in the heart of Hollywood opened in 1926. It is located across the street from the Kodak Theater, the permanent home of the Oscars. In 1941 it was remodeled, modernized, and renamed. In 1989 The Disney Company got involved and set about restoring it back to its 1926 glory. In 1991 they re-renamed it and reopened it.
I go there every once in a while to see a movie. Since July 7th, the Pirates of the Caribbean (2) has been playing there. As with anything Disney, it’s all about the presentation, and a movie at the El is no different.
Part of their remodel included the restoration of the “Mighty Wurlitzer” theater organ. While I’ve yet to hear it play the theme from the Phantom of the Opera (or even a few bars from an ice hockey game), for 30 minutes before any movie, Disney showtunes are played for the entertainment of the audience. As a Disney freak, I sing right along with the other members of the audience.
Having no talent what so ever playing any sort of musical instrument, I am always awed by those that can play an instrument. And to watch the El Capitan organist play an organ with 4 rows of keyboards, enough pedals to confuse an octopus, and row upon row of switches, buttons and slides to imitate any other instrument ever invented was alone worth the ticket price. Last year the organist, Rob Richards was named the 2005 ‘Organist of the Year’ by The American Theatre Organ Society.
I think he should get an award just for being able to find the seat on the damn thing.
After his recital and after the previews, instead of the feature presentation starting, there was a warm up to the movie. It’s kind of like standing in line for a ride at a Disney Park. Entertainment to keep you entertained before the entertainment you came to be entertained by. Curtains opening on a 3-D skull floating in the air, flames shooting from the eyes, drums beating in the background.
To enhance the movie going experience. As if Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom weren’t enough of an enhancement.
Along with the movie, they have some props used in the making of the movie, costumes worn by the stars and script stuff on display in a museum-like exhibit. All a part of the Hollywood experience, I guess!