“The Alamo”…Happy 50th!

posted by Coate on October 24, 2010 at 10:10 am

A 50th Anniversary Retrospective

Compiled by Michael Coate

Commemorating the golden anniversary of the release of John Wayne’s The Alamo, presented here is a list of the Batjac/United Artists film’s principal roadshow engagements and known Todd-AO general-release engagements in the United States and Canada. (Note that the first dozen or so bookings, in their initial weeks, had a longer running time than subsequent bookings.)

10.24.1960 … San Antonio, TX —– Woodlawn (26 weeks)
10.25.1960 … Dallas, TX —– Capri (19 weeks)
10.26.1960 … Chicago, IL —– Palace (12 weeks)
10.26.1960 … Houston, TX —– Tower (? weeks)
10.26.1960 … Los Angeles, CA —– Carthay Circle (18 weeks)
10.26.1960 … New York, NY —– Rivoli (21 weeks)
10.26.1960 … Philadelphia, PA —– Midtown (13 weeks)
10.26.1960 … San Francisco, CA —– Alexandria (15 weeks)

11.09.1960 … Oklahoma City, OK —– State (10 weeks)
11.09.1960 … Tulsa, OK —– Brook (? weeks)
11.10.1960 … Montreal, QC —– Seville (13 weeks)
11.10.1960 … Toronto, ON —– Tivoli (19 weeks)

12.23.1960 … Boston, MA —– Gary (7 weeks)
12.23.1960 … Buffalo, NY —– Teck (8 weeks)
12.23.1960 … Cincinnati, OH —– Valley (13 weeks)
12.23.1960 … Cleveland, OH —– Ohio (6 weeks)
12.23.1960 … Miami Beach, FL —– Roosevelt (7 weeks)
12.23.1960 … Pittsburgh, PA —– Warner (11 weeks)
12.23.1960 … Washington, DC —– Uptown (8 weeks)

02.09.1961 … Syracuse, NY —– Eckel (6 weeks)
02.10.1961 … Asbury Park, NJ —– St. James (? weeks)
02.10.1961 … Providence, RI —– Elmwood (8 weeks)
02.21.1961 … Seattle, WA —– Paramount (8 weeks)
02.27.1961 … Ottawa, ON —– Nelson (4 weeks)

03.03.1961 … Baltimore, MD —– New (7 weeks)
03.03.1961 … Denver, CO —– Paramount (6 weeks)
03.07.1961 … Kansas City, MO —– Plaza (6 weeks)
03.29.1961 … Hartford, CT —– Strand (3 weeks)

05.17.1961 … Detroit, MI —– United Artists (? weeks)

The first international booking of The Alamo premiered on October 27, 1960, at the Astoria in London.

This article was compiled primarily by referencing coverage of The Alamo in film industry trade publications and regional newspaper promotion archived digitally and/or on microfilm.

Special Thanks: Jerry Alexander, Mark Huffstetler, Bill Kretzel, Mark Lensenmayer, Rick Mitchell, Bob Throop, Vince Young, and the librarians who helped with researching information for this project.

Comments (16)

CSWalczak on October 24, 2010 at 2:45 pm

There were reports last year indicating that “The Alamo” was going to be restored and given a limited release beginning in March of this year (for example: View link) but it appears that it did not happen; at least I have not seen any recent news about it. Has anyone else heard anything about this?

HowardBHaas on October 24, 2010 at 3:47 pm

This says restoration is stalled while MGM/UA sale is ongoing.

Mark_L on October 24, 2010 at 9:19 pm

In Columbus, the film opened in 35mm at the Ohio Theatre for a standard run. It only played 14 days. Must not have gone over very well!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on October 25, 2010 at 5:48 pm

I read where the site that the Alamo was shot on is closing up due to lack of business.It was tourist attraction even though it was no where near San Antonio.It was in the August 31 2010 edition of the local paper there.

CSWalczak on October 25, 2010 at 7:50 pm

The site is called the Alamo Village and is located about 120 miles west of San Antonio in Brackettville. It was used over the years for other movie shoots. It did close in August, though at least as of now, the website is still active. Many people who have visited the site over the years think it looks more like the Alamo of legend as opposed to the real thing which is right in the middle of San Antonio and surrounded by hotels, stores, etc.

EnnisCAdkins on October 26, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Back in October 1960, I worked for Interstate Theatres Inc in Houston, TX of which the Tower was part of. About 10 days before THE ALAMO opened on 10/26, the Tower received it’s 70mm print and it was screened one Thursday afternoon to make certain the print was in OK condition and to have a correct running time. The entire film was run including the Overture, Intermission, Entr'acte, and Exit Music. I was at that screening and although I did not clock the film, I was told it came in right at 202 minutes. Recently I have read the 70mm roadshow prints ran only 192 minutes. I wasn’t aware that the Tower received a second print at 192 minutes, but maybe it did. I wonder what happened to those 10 minutes?

CSWalczak on October 26, 2010 at 4:51 pm

According to this article about the proposed restoration, the original run time was 192 minutes exclusive of the Overture, Intermission, and Exit music. Since your complete run time including these music segments was 202 minutes, it was most likely that you ran an oiriginal road show print. nothing was missing, and that the Tower did not receive a shorter print: View link

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on October 26, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Thanks Cwalczak,I mailed the article to my nephew who is a big John Wayne fan.Thanks ennis,you were in some of the best years to be in the theatre business,by the time i got in in 1974 i could an end to the showmanship days.

KJB2012 on October 28, 2010 at 9:20 am

Great job as always.

Yes, that MGM/UA sale (if ever it happens) is a real pain. Not only is it holding up the Alamo, but the projected restoration of “Mad World” and maybe “Hawaii”.
Of course it’s holding up the new Bond and others.
I’m doubtful they will ever get the money they are asking for MGM/UA. After all outside of Bond, and few others all the hot MGM titles pre 1972 or so are now owned by Warners.

MPol on October 29, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Never saw “The Alamo”, but it’s good to see older classics being restored and re-released! it’s about time, after all the crap that’s been coming out nowadays in the way of movies!

raysson on October 29, 2010 at 3:19 pm

I have seen “The Alamo” in its original format years ago when it was re-released in its original 192 minute-run in full 70MM print.
I love seeing older classics film being restored and re-released!
Not only “The Alamo”,but seeing a lot of films released from 1960 have been restored and re-released in theatres including “Spartacus"
"Inherit The Wind”,“Exodus”,“Psycho!”,and many,many more.

MPol on October 29, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Me too, raysson! Here’s hoping that West Side Story and a whole bunch of others are restored and re-released in that same manner!

William on October 31, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Well “West Side Story” is going through a restore of it’s original sound track mix that won the Oscar that year.

Coate on November 2, 2010 at 12:37 pm
I wasn't aware that the Tower received a second print

it was most likely that you ran an oiriginal road show print. nothing was missing, and that the Tower did not receive a shorter print

Didn’t you guys read the introduction to the list where the running time issue was addressed? Anyway…the Tower in Houston (and the other theaters that opened “The Alamo” as a hard ticket attraction) did in fact screen a shorter print at a point during its run. The film started its exhibition life at 202 minutes but within a matter of weeks it was shortened by over thirty minutes.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on November 15, 2010 at 8:58 pm

A friend in San Antonio sent me a copy of the EXPRESS-NEWS Oct.24 2010.Big Article on “THE ALAMO”.

WilliamMcQuade on January 20, 2011 at 10:16 pm

It would be nice to see these big epics restored & rereleased in big theaters . In NY, across from the TKTS booth, is the old Mayfair which later became the DeMille. The theater along with the georgeous lounge is probably all still there. It is amazing that it has not been torn down years ago as Times Square has lost all of its palaces.

Imagine a theater restored dedicated to showing old movies in the heart of Times Square.

Back to The Alamo. I remember that a replica of an actual Bowie knife beautifully mounted in a glass case was being sold. Being a callow youth with no money it was not in the budget.

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