Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Capital Cinema Hall - Bangkok, Thailand

Here's one more from Bangkok's Chinatown - the Capital Cinema Hall, on Charoen Krung Road.

The Capital is one of Bangkok's oldest non-wooden theaters and was a Chinatown staple for generations. Its art-deco features belie a history dating back to the 1930's, though beyond that I know very little.

Staircase leading to what was once the auditorium

The Capital Cinema Hall switched to showing skin flicks prior to shutting down about 10 years ago. Apparently, though, in its heyday, it was a beloved cinema among Chinatown residents.

View from second level looking towards where the screen used to be.

The block glass column used to frame the screen.

What used to be the Capital is now home to the Klongthom Market, a retail center notorious for carrying bootlegged electronic goods.
Here's a little speculation on my part: the Capital was financed by a member of the royal family! I say this because Charoen Krung Road, along with many other older thoroughfares in the central part of Bangkok, was built with money from the Crown Property Bureau (CPC), the royal family's personal business conglomerate. Many of the properties originally built along roads such as Charoen Krung belonged to (and in many cases still do) the CPB.


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