Inside Stories

The Secret to Crowd Control
Look gently into their eyes while biting the top off a beer bottle...

by Capitol Theatre co-founder Al Hayward

One of my responsibilities as co-producer at the Capitol was security.  With two shows a night and more than 3000 people attending each show there were lines outside the theatre on most Friday and Saturday nights. Outside security was very important, not just to control the lines, but to insure the safety of our patrons.

When hiring outside security, I looked for big and tough guys who could command respect by virtue of their size. I didn’t want anyone hurt. The kids knew the police couldn’t lay a hand on them but they weren’t so sure about our security crew.

The first people I looked to hire were the former security staff from the recently closed Fillmore East in New York. I remember interviewing one young man by the name of Tommy. As we talked about his qualifications I offered him a bottle of beer. He accepted, but before I could hand him an opener he bit the cap off the bottle. Unlike “The Donald”, I said “You’re hired!” (Unknown to me at the time, Tommy had a special tooth for this purpose).

The next young man that came in for an interview was about 300 pounds, stood 6'5" tall and wore a bullwhip on his belt.  I said to myself, “now this is what I’m looking for in a security guy”.  He also was hired.

After hiring about 8 outside security guys I needed to have a captain for the crew. A guy named Barry Kantor applied. He worked with most of the other guys at the Fillmore. Barry was not as big or scary looking, but he had the necessary leadership qualities. We had very little trouble with the kids and very rarely did our security guys have to flex their muscles.

Editor’s note: Barry Kantor also had a marvelous sense of humor.