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Goodbye Capitol Cinema


Even though it closed it's doors to the public on December 1st 2005, the Capitol Cinema on Cork City's Grand Parade is now, finally, about to go under the hammer. Literally. Demolition and renovation into a brand new retail space is about to get underway, and while it's a huge positive for Cork City, the Capitol will always have a place in Corkonians hearts. My own included.

My memories of the Capitol go back to it's reopening on August 11th 1989. After closing for refurbishment in January of the same year, the new look Capitol was a sight to behold. Screen 1 was immense, and more importantly, they installed Dolby Digital. One of the first screens in the country to do so. On that opening night, I queued with my Dad and Tim Burton's Batman blew everybody away, not to mention rattling our bones to dust with an amazing soundtrack on the newly installed sound system.

Over the years, as newer cinemas appeared, the Capitol went a bit downhill. Not hugely, but towards the end of its life, water would be pouring into one of the projection rooms with only a bucket stopping the room from flooding completely. However, the place had an enormous charm, which I've yet to see equalled anywhere in the world. It's hard to describe if truth be told. Walking up those steps was a magical experience. You always had a sense of excitement about going in. The queue for the box office would stretch down the street, which wasn't hard considering it's location just inside the main doors. The queue for the shop melted into the queues for the box office. That lobby, small by modern standards, was a huge melting pot of characters and individuals. Once you'd got your tickets and food, you either made your way to the ground floor screens, or climbed the stairs to one of the other screens in the building. It's yellow walls and gaudy red carpet just screamed character.

The screens themselves were phenomenal. Comfortable, plush red seating (complete with no shortage of love seats), a decent sound system combined with decent projection all set in a historic cinema setting. It genuinely was a masterpiece of a cinema. Sure, over time, the floors turned to super glue and you were never quite sure what the stain was in the seat in front of you, but it didn't matter. Going to the Capitol was an experience. And a damn good one.

Besides Burton's Batman, my other fondest memory of the Capitol was buying tickets for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and then sneaking into Robocop 2 instead. It was a huge victory for myself and my friends. But the real excitement came, not with Robocop 2, but with finding a 34C black bra. While we never took it home as a souvenir, the size and colour are burned into my mind forever.

Writing this piece has brought back so many memories. A wonderful cinema with wonderful people. It's a place that I will always hold dear in my heart. So, goodbye Capitol Cinema. You were much more than just a building to all of us.

Pics via The Capitol Facebook Page 

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The Movie Bit: Goodbye Capitol Cinema
Goodbye Capitol Cinema
The Movie Bit
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