RKO 23rd Street Theatre

265 Eighth Avenue,
New York, NY 10011

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Showing 1 - 25 of 62 comments

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on June 18, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Oldtimer, I grew up around the corner from the old RKO, my dad was an usher there in the 40s. It truly was beautiful. I remember The Chelsea from the outside but don’t remember going inside. We also went to The Terrace on 23rd Street. When did you attend the old RKO?

The ad shown here should really be under the newer RKO 23rd Street that opened in the 60s.

oldtimer
oldtimer on June 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I grew up in the Chelsea area of NYC. There was the RKO on the corner of 23ST. &8th Ave. There was also the Chelsea between 8th & 9th Ave. on 23rd St. I saw MEn of the Fighting Lady at the Chelsea. The RTko was beautiful. To me as a child it was liking going to a palace.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on June 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm

A two-page article with photos of the conversion of the Grand Opera House into the RKO 23rd Street can be found in this 1938 trade journal starting here. A previous link appears to have expired: boxofficemagazine

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on September 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm

I am doing some research on the theater from the Grand Opera House days to the RKO 23rd St. If you’d like to share some information or memories please post or email me. Thanks. Jerry

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on June 18, 2010 at 11:46 am

Joe:
A belated thank you. Great pix. Funny how I remembered the color of the carpeting. The place meant a lot to us. Jerry

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on February 14, 2010 at 11:41 am

Here’s another photo from that same engagement of “We’re In The Money” and “Without Regret”:
View link

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on February 14, 2010 at 11:35 am

Here’s a 1935 view as Grand Opera House with double bill of “We’re In The Money” and “Without Regret”:
View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 8, 2010 at 8:33 am

Jerry: The scan is a bit blurry, but Boxoffice Magazine of October 15, 1938, ran an article about the conversion of the Grand Opera House into the RKO 23rd Street, and it has a pair of before-and-after photos showing the foyer and the auditorium.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 6, 2009 at 11:49 pm

Here is another 1937 photo by Berenice Abbott:
http://tinyurl.com/mexc7m

EMarkisch
EMarkisch on July 28, 2009 at 2:12 pm

According to the front of the Grand Opera House marquee, the double feature playing on September 3, 1937, the date the photo was taken, was displayed as…

MARRIED BEFORE BREAKFAST with
ROBT YOUNG & FLORENCE RICE
BANK ALARM with CONRAD NAGEL

Both were released in mid June of 1937.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 28, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Here is a 1937 photo by Berenice Abott. I bought the book of her photos the other day, “Changing New York 1935-1938”, and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys seeing NYC in the 1930s.
http://tinyurl.com/kw3eks

Bway
Bway on May 28, 2009 at 2:30 pm

beautiful photo. Thank you.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 19, 2009 at 12:10 pm

Thanks to JF Lundy for forwarding this link, which shows the Grand Opera House corner vertical sign in process of removal. The larger vertical above the Eighth Avenue marquee that was shown in my link above of 4/5/09 had already been removed.
View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 5, 2009 at 1:00 pm

The Grand Opera House can be seen at left background in this vintage view, with a vertical sign that gave more prominence to VAUDEVILLE than to the name of the theatre: View link 023

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 20, 2009 at 11:45 am

I should have added that the 23rd Street’s nearest competition with the same programs was the Skouras Academy of Music on 14th Street. Although RKO operated the Jefferson on 14th Street, it had a profit-sharing arrangement with the Skouras circuit for the AOM, which had a larger seating capacity and was also better situated in the Union Square shopping district. After finishing their runs at the AOM, the programs would move to the Jefferson.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 20, 2009 at 11:32 am

Here’s an opening day ad from August 4th, 1938. Descriptions include “Downtown’s only modern air-conditioned theatre. The last word in sound equipment…On the site of the famous ‘Grand Opera House.’” Bookings were first neighborhood run for Manhattan, simultaneous with RKO’s Coliseum, Regent, Hamilton, 125th Street, 81st Street, 86th Street, and 58th Street Theatres. Up until the early 1940s, the RKO Palace near Times Square played the same main feature as these Manhattan RKO theatres, but sometimes with a different second feature. With “Having Wonderful Time,” the Palace ran “Passport Husband” instead of “Sky Giant.” The Ginger Rogers movie was direct from its NYC premiere engagement at Radio City Music Hall, where it was supported by a stage show.
View link

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on January 5, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Easy Mr. Harris. I probably did copy some of yours and I know that you will find many there that you do not “own”.

Imagine me having the nerve to copy a posted image of my childhood theater. I’m disgraced.

Lighten up, we are all in this for one thing, to relive memories. Or so I thought.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 5, 2009 at 4:25 pm

All of my RKO 23rd Street images seem to have been copied by Mr. Kovar for his own scrapbook, so there’s no need for me to renew any of my expired links. I don’t recall his asking my permission to do so, but I’ll give him the benefit of a doubt.

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on January 5, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Sorry for the confusion. Lost Memory’s link will do it for you.

Hope to hear from folks with memories of the old RKO.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 5, 2009 at 2:52 pm

What a revoltin' development this is! Can the webmaster possibly remove the message posted above by Jerry Kovar at 8:53am today? I don’t think that Jerry can do that himself. Jerry could then post a new message with a correct link.

Bway
Bway on January 5, 2009 at 2:42 pm

I think that’s because when you copy a link from your own photobucket account thumbnails pages, or certain pages, the link is set to be loggedin, so it will log into your “my photobucket”, which of course is different for everyone. The same thing happened to me, but it has something to do with the cookies on your computer, and the particular “my photobucket” page he linked to.
I think he has to use a different link that is publically accessible, which certain ones in each of our accounts aren’t, so the cookie on your computer sends it to you own logged in page.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 5, 2009 at 12:41 pm

Jerry, when I click on your link, it goes directly to MY Photobucket album. How is that possible?

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on January 5, 2009 at 11:53 am

Here is a link to my photobucket album of RKO 23rd St images that I’ve accumulated.

View link

Bway
Bway on January 5, 2009 at 11:35 am

Thanks!
July 8, 2005
Jul 14, 2005
Oct 26, 2005

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 5, 2009 at 10:34 am

If you could be more specific, I would be happy to renew any of my own links that might be posted here.