Author Topic: Clearwater- Capitol Theatre/Royalty Theatre  (Read 4726 times)


  • Guest
Clearwater- Capitol Theatre/Royalty Theatre
« on: May 18, 2012, 01:49:36 PM »
Clearwater- Capitol Theatre/Royalty Theatre

The Jist- The Capitol Theatre was opened on March 21, 1921. During the 1920s the theatre was for silent films and on Friday evenings they featured vaudevilles.  Once the 1930s came around, they did away with the silent films and the “new things” were to go out in your best dressed and see “talkies”. By the 1940s the theatre started to host local events. There were a few beauty contests held here as well as local war drives. After the 1960s, once the renovations were completed, the theatre went back to showing films only. No other local events were held at the Capitol Theatre. Popularity started to die down, so in the 1980s two gentlemen purchased the building. Bill Neville and Jerry Strain tried to revitalize the theatre and offer $1 movies to the public; however, they only lasted a year.

Royalty Theatre Company took over the theatre and Bill Neville joined forces to try again, and revamp its reputation. Bill Neville was with a few other men in the theatre one night and was tied up against his will, beaten terribly and was stabbed to an unfortunate and horrific death. His body was later found by other members of the Royalty Theatre Company in the balcony. Sometime in the late 1990s, a Greek entrepreneur, Socrates, gave his shot at changing the Capitol Theatre’s popularity. It is claimed that he provided the public with false information about celebrity appearances and conjured up fictitious paranormal stories; all in hopes of gaining more recognition. In July of 2008 the theatre went into foreclosure and the City of Clearwater, along with a non profit organization, Ruth Eckerd Hall, teamed up to buy and renovate the place along with its next door neighbor (The Clearwater Sun Newspaper Building).

We had the opportunity to speak with Jeff Hartzog, Manager of Capitol Theatre. In speaking with Jeff, he said that he hasn’t seen anything to date, but has got the feeling of his hair standing up on end. The popular TV show, Physic Kids, visited this theatre in 2008. The physics picked up on a severe injury and a tightening of the chest and experienced all of this in the balcony. They also picked up on a female ghost by the name of Carrie. She claimed to be Bill’s much younger girlfriend who also worked at the theatre as an usher. When Bill was brutally murdered, Carrie was not only heartbroken, but also feared for her life. Her ghostly spirit claimed that she, “Knew enough to stay quiet.” They had these experiences, prior to being told the history of Bill Neville’s murder. Several paranormal teams have investigated this place, are those signs of possible paranormal activity occurring here? You be the judge.

Directions- 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater, Florida 33755