Inside Stories

Narcs in the Bathroom
There’s more than one way to be a nuisance

by Capitol Theatre co-founder Al Hayward

Some of my responsibilities were to oversee the front door, box office, ticket-taking and so forth. Despite John’s pleas from the stage asking our guests not to smoke anything that could jeopardize our theatre and our concert we still had many nights were kids were being arrested and taken out the front door in handcuffs by plainclothes Passaic Police. The “narcs”, as we called them, were particularly fond of hanging out in the men’s room. There they were able to observe the kids lighting up. They had female narcs in the ladies room too.

This was very bad for two reasons. First, it did not look very good to the people coming in the front door to see other kids being taken out in handcuffs. Second, the Police and town officials could build a case against the Capitol Theatre and close us down as a public nuisance.

So, I had to come up with some way of cutting down on these arrests. What I did was to have signs made and posted in the bathrooms that said, “Beware! The person next to you may not be the person you think he is. Do not smoke anything illegal.” The signs did help and we had fewer arrests. And, as you know, the Capitol Theatre remained open. I like to think that those signs may have helped the Capitol to last as long as it did.