Media king’s influence felt in Alberni

Alberni resident Richard Berg clarifies some points about the Capitol Theatre.

To the Editor,

Re: Capitol ushers in new era with a look back, Oct. 21.

In fact, the Capitol Theatre was purchased from Landmark Cinemas (1989) with a restrictive covenant attached which prevents anyone from showing movies there, a fact which has temporarily ended our film festival.

The continued existence of the Capitol is entirely due to the vision of one man, Maurice Farn, who persuaded Portal Players to vote for buying and refurbishing it.

When we acquired the 500-seat building, there was 12 feet from the movie screen to the outer back wall. A stage and a backstage area had to be constructed from the extra room created by removing 200 seats and expanding forward.

Now there was a renovation job!

As for Harold Warren himself, he lost the Port Theatre to fire in 1952. Simultaneously, the Paramount Theatre building was failing as a roller skating rink and up for sale. He bought it and converted it to a theatre by removing the existing flat floor and putting in a sloping one.

As an ex-CJAV announcer, I’m well aware of a dispute between late station owner Ken Hutcheson and Mr. Warren in the 1960s which led to the temporary relocation of CJAV to the the adjacent, original Barclay Hotel.

When Ken bought CJAV from Harold in 1952, the building’s ownership remained in Harold’s hands, and after the dispute, he used it as headquarters for his cable TV operation for years with Walt Green as manager. CJAV moved to upper Third Avenue.

Harold Warren was a media pioneer in local film, radio, and TV. It’s interesting that the 75th anniversary of the Capitol’s construction also marks the end of film use at his Paramount Theatre and the advent of digital projection there.

Richard Berg,

Port Alberni

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