Roxy Theatre

153 W. 50th Street,
New York, NY 10020

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Showing 1 - 25 of 1,153 comments

MarkDHite on April 16, 2018 at 3:51 pm

Just don’t read the terrible comments.

vindanpar on April 16, 2018 at 3:00 pm

And watch the 11 minute film after which is the New York of one’s dreams.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on April 16, 2018 at 8:58 am

Brief color film of the Roxy Theatre and surrounding midtown area in 1946 can be viewed here

hanksykes on February 27, 2018 at 2:14 pm

In the Picture of Miss Swanson standing on the rubble are the set of doors behind her to the auditorium or the street?

vindanpar on February 27, 2018 at 12:45 pm

I’ve probably written this before.

Stephen Sondheim’s favorite movie theater was the Roxy and he went often. He even wrote an entire musical based on the very famous Life photo of Swanson the Roxy’s first movie star standing in the rubble as it was torn down.

Comfortably Cool posted the ad of Hangover Square the attendance of which Sondheim claimed was a seminal moment in his life because of the Herrmann score.

So the Roxy’s history still reverberates in our cultural life today.

StanMalone on December 18, 2017 at 8:22 am

Somewhere in the hundreds of previous comments on this page someone pointed out that the opening overhead sequence of West Side Story passes over the site of the Roxy. If you are quick with the pause button you can see the site as a big, open pit, dirt hole.

vindanpar on November 1, 2017 at 11:31 am

When the Capitol was torn down I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the auditorium was intact. It looked like they just built a smaller capacity Cinerama theater within it. Same with the Strand.

Like what happened with the El Capitan when it was modernized. Sad to think those great original auditoriums were unseen for so many years and then demolished before anyone could see them again. Who knows what treasures the demolitionists found and then destroyed.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 23, 2017 at 6:09 pm

The Rivoli was twinned in 1981.

MarkDHite on October 23, 2017 at 5:14 pm

What vindanpar says is true. Even if somehow the Roxy had survived and continued as a first-run theatre, it would soon have been divided into two and later 3 or more screens/theaters. The only midtown movie palace to avoid this fate was Radio City and that was because of its special status as the centerpiece of Rockefeller Center. Well, the much smaller Rivoli also remained a single screen venue, showing mostly long-run roadshow attractions.

MarkDHite on October 23, 2017 at 4:26 pm

You can find this on Wikipedia or many other sources, but just quickly: A so-called A movie was one with a large budget, major stars and directors, top original story or book adaptation. It was released to the top theatres owned by the studios across the country, then it went to the small towns and finally the second-run neighborhood theatres and drive-ins before winding up their- run.

An A movie could be anything from a routine programmer on a tight budget but still with excellent acting and production to an all-out massive epic.

The B movie usually had a small budget, limited production values, very good but lesser known actors and directors. They were made quickly and cheaply to fill out the programs at theatres. They would most often be released as the second feature on a double bill along with an A movie at major chain theatres but also might be the main attraction at second-run and rural theatres.

That’s just the major and minor films made by the major studios. Over time the B movie on the lower half of a double feature replaced most (but not all) of the short subjects that had been popular earlier in the studio era. Newsreels and cartoons were the exceptions and continued into the early 60s.

MarkDHite on October 23, 2017 at 4:02 pm

We actually had this exact discussion before. Scroll up to the comments from November 2014. (Geez I thought it was a few months ago.) The Wind Cannot Read which was the last movie at the Roxy was a relatively obscure British film, but not a B movie. The last few weeks, once the Roxy was officially slated to close, it showed a revival double bill and this British film. Prior to that it showed strictly first-run major studio releases, as Simon explained. Cheers.

vindanpar on October 23, 2017 at 3:52 pm

Even an A house occasionally would have to play a B picture. Also didn’t the Roxy shortly before this play a double bill of Waterfront and another perhaps Brando film? Normally at this time what you’d find on 42nd Street.

An ignominious end to a glorious theater but they pretty much all ended that way. Especially if they made it to the 70s. They became mausoleums for exploitation films.

bigjoe59 on October 23, 2017 at 3:25 pm


I thank Simon S. for his reply. but it prompts another question. exactly how was an A movie differentiated from a B movie? for instance I had never heard of “The Wind Can Not Read” until I went thru the photo pages for this theater. so since I had never heard of it I assumed it was B movie.

Simon L. Saltzman
Simon L. Saltzman on October 23, 2017 at 2:27 pm

Bigjoe59, You need to purchase and read and memorize every word in “American Showman” by Ross Melnick, the story of Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel. In it you will see that the first years the theater concentrated on its lavish stage productions and booked often B product (but sometimes A move-overs from other first-run B'way houses)… mixed in with A. It wasn’t until after the British Gaumont relationship ended in the mid (during the Great Depression) to the late thirties that the theater then again played strictly A product mostly from TCF. The Roxy was strictly an A house until it closed.

bigjoe59 on October 23, 2017 at 1:59 pm


the often pined for Golden Age of Hollywood lasted from the beginning of the sound era to approx. the early 60s which is where my question comes in. it is my impression that during this roughly 34 year period Hollywood operated very much on the A movie and B movie production levels. so for someone who has a detailed knowledge of the Roxy’s bookings would you say the theater played as many B movies as A movies?

Simon L. Saltzman
Simon L. Saltzman on October 23, 2017 at 12:21 pm

The Roxy seating capacity was greatly reduced from 5,900 seats to less than 3,000 seats with the Loge completely closed because of poor sight lines. Only a portion of the orchestra and balcony was used with much of the proscenium and theater’s interior beauty and side walls covered up. The reserved seat engagement did poor business and did not encourage the production of another film in Cinemiracle.

vindanpar on October 23, 2017 at 7:31 am

So when Windjammer played here what was the seating configuration? Did they seriously reduce the number of seats? Did they curtain off entire areas at the sides and back of the orchestra and the balc to bring it into more of a Capitol or Strand layout for roadshow films?

Simon L. Saltzman
Simon L. Saltzman on October 23, 2017 at 6:39 am

During the first week only of the “All About Eve” patrons were not allowed to enter the auditorium during the film. There was a half hour break between shows with the stage show first and then the film. It was not a reserved seat engagement but patrons could purchase tickets in advance to specific shows. Patrons were not happy at that time to not be able to go in at any point. The policy did not work and the theater returned to its regular continuous shows policy. Business improved in the second week and the six week run was highly successful.

bigjoe59 on October 22, 2017 at 12:18 pm


to Comfortably Cool. the ad for the premiere opening of AAE was neat. did I misunderstand the ‘ ad? I got the impression from the info in the lower left hand that it was a reserved performance engagement.

alexbraid on October 21, 2017 at 3:58 am

Cole Porter’s song ‘You’re the Tops’ contains the line “ You’re the pants on a Roxy usher”.

Joseph on July 2, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Also the egyptian, and farewell to arms.

Joseph on July 2, 2017 at 12:35 pm

Only traditional roadshow was windjammer. However at certain periods in the roxy s history. Mezzanine seats were were reserved and available in advance. Special events like premieres had reserved seating. Souvenir programs were available for the robe, razor’s edge, all about eve, king and I, carousel, no business like show business, Lil Abner. Big circus and others.

bigjoe59 on July 2, 2017 at 11:50 am


I always connect souvenir programs with roadshow engagements. to which did this theater ever hold a traditional roadshow engagement?

also were there any other BIG regular release films
that opened here that had souvenir programs.

vindanpar on June 25, 2017 at 9:33 am

I feel lucky to have seen all their original productions back then. A level of genius that was awe inspiring. When Broadway was first for New Yorkers after which the tourists followed.

The Disneyfication of Times Square, the wiping away of all the great remainng movie theaters and the evening length theme park musicals are now for me heartbreaking.

MarkDHite on June 25, 2017 at 9:26 am

Thanks. I’ll start looking around. I’m so jealous that you saw the original Follies! That’s awesome.