Saturday, September 24, 2011

Capitol Theater, 149 Westchester Ave., Port Chester, NY

Capitol Theater, Port Chester 1926
Capacity 2000

Thanks to Barry Goodkin's "Theatre Openings" feature in the latest issue of Marquee Magazine, I was surprised to find that the Capitol and Embassy were built simultaneously and opened in the same week, the 1,591-seat Embassy on August 12th, 1926, and the 1,748-seat Capitol on August 18th. Since both theatres were designed by Thomas W. Lamb, I wonder if they were originally under the same ownership?

The Capitol, which opened under indie ownership in August, 1926, was acquired by William Fox in 1929, with management shifting to Skouras Theatres after his bankruptcy.

When Skouras closed the Capitol in 1966, music promoter Howard Stein took over and converted it into a rock palace. Crowds came from three states to attend the star-studded concerts, causing such havoc in Port Chester that the city government finally stopped them in 1971 by adopting a 1:00 AM curfew on live entertainment. Heavily damaged and plundered during the Stein regime, the Capitol became a XXX movie house before shutting down in 1976.

Its exterior design, as noted by architectural historian Frank Sanchis, is in the Renaissance style, while the interior is a combination of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern eclecticism.

The Capitol was originally intended to be a venue for traveling Broadway productions, but over the years its use greatly diversified to include performances by well known comedians, big bands and rock musicians. By the 1970s its draw had declined markedly, and finally it closed in 1976. After undergoing extensive renovations, the Capitol Theater reopened to the public in 1984.
It is currently operating as a facility for special events with catering.

Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984

Capitol Theater (added 1984 - Building - #84003426)
147-151 Westchester Ave., Port Chester
Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer: Lamb,Thomas W.

Jerry performed here on
3/20/70 New Riders Of The Purple Sage and Grateful Dead
3/21/70 New Riders Of The Purple Sage and Grateful Dead
6/24/70 New Riders Of The Purple Sage and Grateful Dead
11/5/70 New Riders Of The Purple Sage and Grateful Dead
11/6/70 New Riders Of The Purple Sage and Grateful Dead
11/7/70 New Riders Of The Purple Sage and Grateful Dead
11/8/70 New Riders Of The Purple Sage and Grateful Dead
2/18/71 New Riders Of The Purple Sage and Grateful Dead
2/19/71 New Riders Of The Purple sage and Grateful Dead
2/20/71 New Riders Of The Purple Sage and Grateful dead
2/21/71 New Riders Of The Purple Sage and Grateful Dead
2/23/71 New Riders Of The Purple Sage and Grateful Dead
2/24/71 New Riders of The Purple Sage and Grateful Dead
An ESP "dream telepathy" experiment was done across 5 shows in February, 1971. The original publication from the Journal of the American Society of Psychosomatic Dentistry and Medicine from early 1973 contains the first official publication on the experiments. Dr. Stanley Krippner was the main doc behind the experiment.  He was very interested to see how psychedelics and an audience of 2,000+ people would affect "mind to mind transmissions."
"The purpose of the particular experiment with the Grateful Dead was to look at how the dream ESP experience of the receiver was affected if the number of senders was multiplied by about 2,000. In other words, would dream ESP improve if more than one sender was used; in this case, nearly 2,000 senders? The band members of The Grateful Dead, having visited the Maimonides sleep lab and learned about the dream ESP research going on there, agreed to try a dream ESP experiment with their audience during a series of six concerts they were giving in early 1971 (Krippner, Honorton, & Ullman, 1973).
The experiment was focused on dream telepathy, with the senders being the audience of “Deadheads” and the receiver being English psychic subject Malcolm Bessent, who had scored well in previous ESP experiments, particularly in those testing for precognition. Each night in the sleep lab at Maimonides, Bessent would go to bed early so that he would be asleep by 11:30 PM, when the experiment would begin. At that same time, the audience in attendance at The Grateful Dead concert would be shown a series of six slides that were being projected onto a large screen above the stage.
The first five slides shown to the audience read:
  1. You are about to participate in an ESP experiment.
   2. In a few seconds you will see a picture.
   3. Try using your ESP to “send” this picture to Malcolm Bessent.
   4. He will try to dream about the picture. Try to “send” it to him.
   5. Malcolm Bessent is now at the Maimonides Dream Laboratory in Brooklyn.

The audience would then be shown the sixth slide, containing a randomly selected art print or a photograph, for 15 minutes while The Grateful Dead continued to perform on stage. Observers at the concert noticed that the majority of the people in the audience were already in an altered state of consciousness by the time of the experiment, having been brought about by the rock music, by the contact between people in the crowd, and, of course, by people “tripping” on LSD and other psychedelic drugs during the concert.
Unbeknownst to the audience, there was also a second receiver involved in the experiment in addition to Bessent. This second receiver was Felicia Parise, a medical technician at Maimonides who also had been successful in previous dream ESP experiments. She spent the night in her apartment and was called every 90 minutes during the experiment and asked about any dreams she was having. Since the focus of the audience was on Bessent, the researchers thought it would be interesting to see whether a “control” receiver whose name the audience did not know could pick up on ESP information being “sent” by 2,000 senders, or whether the information would be limited only to Bessent, a finding that might tell us something about the interpersonal nature of ESP.
....In all, Bessent was able to successfully dream about the picture the concert audience was sending a total of 4 times (out of 6 concert nights), a result that is greater than chance alone by statistical standards. On the other hand, Parise was only to successfully dream about the picture once out of six times. This suggests that the ESP information was mostly limited to Bessent in real-time, and that some kind of focusing by the senders toward the receiver may play a role in the manifestation of telepathy. However, when looking closely at Parise’s data, there is some indication that her ESP was displaced in time. As the example above shows, it seems that Parise was able to dream about the concert picture a few nights after it was shown, and in some cases, she apparently was able to dream about it before it was shown (in other words, she was dreaming about a picture that would be shown at a Grateful Dead concert a few nights into the future, suggesting precognition). In general, it seems that this dream experiment with The Grateful Dead was successful for the most part, giving us a hint about how using multiple senders may influence the telepathic experience of the receiver." (1)

The experiment was not my idea; Jerry Garcia suggested it to me and I designed the study. The entire ten year investigation can be found in the book DREAM TELEPATHY by Ullman, Krippner, and Vaughan.(2)

2.)^Krippner, Stanley, comments, 2011-12-15, the experiment was not my idea; Jerry Garcia suggested it to me and I designed the study. The entire ten year investigation can be found in the book DREAM TELEPATHY by Ullman, Krippner, and Vaughan.

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