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ROCKETEER advance movie poster

June 1991 marked the premiere of THE ROCKETEER at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles (see below). The Joe Johnston film brings Stevens' characters and those invented specifically for the film to life. Bill Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Timothy Dalton star. Johnston's feature films include Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Jumanji, October Sky and Jurassic Park III.


Special Effects

  • Cinefex
    They published an article detailing the making the the film's effects by ILM. Cinefex is a first class publication and is highly recommended!


  • Ennis House
    Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and located in Los Angeles, has been used many times as a film location.
  • Griffith Park
    Overlooking los Angeles, the observatory grounds were used, in part, for the film's closing confrontations.

The Poster

  • John Mattos
    Who designed that fabulous movie poster --the immensely talented John Mattos!


El Capitan Premiere
Special thanks to Timothy Moy <> for sharing his experience --

Seeing "The Rocketeer" at the El Capitan is probably my fondest movie-going memory. Here's what I remember:

The El Capitan is almost right across Hollywood Boulevard from the famous (formerly Grauman's) Chinese Theater, where all those handprints and footprints are preserved in cement, right in the heart of the Walk of Fame. It's one of the most celebrated spots of that celebrated street.

In 1991, we had been living in L.A. for about a year, and I remember reading that Disney had spent a huge amount of money to restore the El Capitan to its 1930-era glory; the idea was to make this Disney's flagship premier theater in southern California.

Boy, did they do a job. The interior, from the lobby right on into the theater, had been re-done in almost over-the-top art deco splendor. My wife remarked that it felt like we were inside a building made of solid gold.

The seats were lavish, the screen was huge and framed by enormous scarlet draperies. When the lights dimmed, we were treated to a surprise: A live song and dance number with chorus girls dressed in 1930s-style usherette costumes, singing and dancing to a song called (if I remember correctly), "Meet Me Down at the El Capitan." It was a hoot, and put the entire crowd into the perfect mood for this movie and this theater.

Then, the curtain opened. Yes, there was a curtain on the screen; or rather, there were about four layers of curtains, which opened in sequence. The lights went all the way down, there was a preview (but I can't remember what for - "The Lion King"?), and the black screen opened into those first frames of "The Rocketeer" as Cliff's crew is sliding open the hangar doors to roll out the GeeBee.

The movie was great, and was all the better for seeing in that theater and with that crowd. It was a very Hollywood crowd, which loved all of The Rocketeer's inside jokes about the movie industry (they were howling when Neville Sinclair, as the Laughing Bandit, takes that chandelier swing to the table and the dumb blond issues that terrible reading of her line, "Oh my prince, that you would drink from my lips as deeply!"). I found hilarious the captured Nazi film and animation of the rocket-troopers conquering America; it was a perfect knock-off of the animation that Disney itself did for Frank Capra in the "Why We Fight" series during World War II. Griffith Observatory, Howard Hughes's Spruce Goose, and the "Hollywoodland" sign all got laughs as prominent local icons, past and present.

All in all, I found it to be a perfect (and probably irreproducible) combination of movie and theater. "The Rocketeer" felt like it belonged on _that_ screen. It was a marvelous experience.

20th Anniversary Screening

The Rocketeer © Dave Stevens | Motion Picture © Walt Disney Pictures | Comic Book Series © Dark Horse Comics.

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