Inside Stories

A Star is Born in Passaic

by Capitol Theatre co-founder Al Hayward

The Capitol Theatre was an old Vaudeville house, but they were showing X- rated movies when I discovered it. This was a good thing because all the other theaters had to show films on Friday and Saturday nights. They had to pay the movie distributors a percent of the tickets they sold, and the weekend was the best time for them to make any money. But X-rated movies were different. The people who ran the movies at the capitol paid a flat fee for each film, so the distributors didn’t care if they showed the films at all. That fact and the 3000 plus seats were the main reasons the Capitol appealed to us so much. If the Capitol was showing regular movies at the time John and I would never have been able to produce concerts there.

While dreaming of the possibility of the Capitol becoming a star in the rock and roll universe, we were puzzled by a man who sold newspapers in front of this X-rated movie house. He was doing a brisk business, but we couldn’t figure out how his customers could read the paper in the dark. Then, in a burst of imagination, it dawned on us...