Warners' Theatre

1664 Broadway,
New York, NY 10019

Unfavorite 9 people favorited this theater

Showing 25 comments

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on March 2, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Hollywood hype control.

The popular photos of the premier of “The Jazz Singer” featuring Al Jolson and the Warner brothers in front of the theatre were for an invitational sold out live performance by Jolson several days before the movie opened, designed as a publicity stunt. The movie was not shown that night.

On the real premier opening night, not only was Al Jolson not present, neither were the Warner brothers who had gone to California for the funeral of Sam Warner, who had died the day before.

More recent research has shown that not only was opening night not a sensation but that the film did not sell out. It was not even the most popular film of the week in Times Square and acceptance of sound hardly an overnight revolution caused by “The Jazz Singer”. Not only had “Don Juan” had already played this theatre with sound earlier in the year and done better than “The Jazz Singer”, but audiences had already been watching sound newsreels for several years.

The stories that have been repeated since have mostly been fabrications created in later years and fueled by Vitaphone publicity and Warner Bros. multi-picture deal with Al Jolson. “The Jazz Singer” was a mild success in big cities and failed in most smaller markets. The lack of sound theatres (there were only 400 nationwide at the time) made it impossible for it to make much of an impression and the Jewish cantor plot left most audiences outside the larger markets cold. In Boston, for example, the film had to be quickly pulled after a poor opening.

Much of the phenomena repeated today comes from the fictional plot of the movie “Singin’ In the Rain”. There was no audience hysteria, no Variety headlines, no sound hoopla in the opening ads, no rush to wire theatres, and no rush to train actors to speak. Silent movies continued to be made for several years and were among the most profitable. Sound caught on because Hollywood pushed it on theatres in order to create demand for weak product during the depression, not unlike the way they push 3D today.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on October 16, 2009 at 8:11 am

Opening ad for “The Jazz Singer”. Notice that ads read “WARNER” and not “WARNERS'” as on the marquee and that the Vitaphone aspect was not played up until much later in the run.

View link

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on September 8, 2009 at 7:49 am

I believe this closed as the Republic, not the New Yorker.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 7, 2009 at 3:01 pm

OK, I will repost it. I think Life said it was in NYC. Thanks.

Ziggy
Ziggy on May 7, 2009 at 2:55 pm

ken mc, the photo you posted on April 17 is actually of the Oriental Theatre in Chicago. Great photo, but wrong page.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 7, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Here is a larger version of the photo posted on 6/9/05:
http://tinyurl.com/ckz8jz

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Here is a 1946 photo from Life magazine:
http://tinyurl.com/dcjn46

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on August 15, 2008 at 9:51 am

Abbey should be added as an aka name here.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on February 17, 2008 at 10:58 am

In 1947, when the theatre was known as the Republic, This Anna Magnani film from Italy had its American premiere here.

scorseseisgod
scorseseisgod on October 29, 2007 at 8:22 am

Thanks, Warren. All has been corrected!

scorseseisgod
scorseseisgod on October 28, 2007 at 5:09 pm

Here’s a vitage ad: The Warners' Theatre Now Accepting “Exodus” Reservations by Mail:

http://emulsioncompulsion.com/v/roadshowsouvenierprogrambooks/exodus/Warner+Theatre+Ticket+Order+Form.jpg.html]http://emulsioncompulsion.com/v/roadshowsouvenierprogrambooks/exodus/Warners+Theatre+Ticket+Order+Form.jpg.html+Ticket+Order+Form.jpg.html]http://emulsioncompulsion.com/v/roadshowsouvenierprogrambooks/exodus/Warner+Theatre+Ticket+Order+Form.jpg.html[/url][/url]

scorseseisgod
scorseseisgod on March 10, 2007 at 12:10 pm

Here’s a photo from the opening night of “The Jazz Singer,” October 6, 1927. Enjoy!

http://img90.imageshack.us/img90/7135/wb7gq0.jpg

RobertR
RobertR on January 28, 2007 at 10:02 am

The movie that changed the world
View link

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on May 6, 2006 at 1:36 am

This must hold the record for most name changes in Manhattan. Following this theatre is like tracing someone on a witness relocation program.

1924 Piccadilly
1925 Warner's
1935 New Yorker
1936 Oriental
1938 Continental
1943 Abbey
1944 Manhattan
1945 Republic

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on January 27, 2006 at 9:16 am

I believe the last line of Rodgers and Hart’s ‘Zip’ is
“Who the hell is Margie Haaaart?"
So who the hell was she?

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on January 27, 2006 at 6:22 am

Interestingly this theater was a classy first run roadshow house in the late twenties and by the early thirties it was grinding out double features at pop prices. The same thing with the Gaity which was roadshowing in the early 30’s and then by the mid was presenting burlesque.
I thought this only happened in the late 60’s when the theaters that were showing top Hollywood roadshow product in only one or two short years would be showing porno and exploitation films.

IanJudge
IanJudge on January 26, 2006 at 5:25 pm

The Warner Cinerama in NYC (Times Sq.) is listed under the STRAND THEATRE on this site.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 26, 2006 at 4:45 pm

Fellas: I think we are talking about two different theatres. This place was at 1664 Broadway. The Warner where Cinerama was installed was at 1585 Broadway. The later was open at least through the 60’s. From the looks of pictures at the link below it had many more than 1322 seats as well. I don’t see any listing for the Warner Cinerama on this site. But it could be disguised under another name.

http://cinerama.topcities.com/ctwarner.htm

barrygoodkin
barrygoodkin on October 29, 2005 at 5:11 am

The Piccadilly Theatre opened on September 27, 1924 with the world premiere of “Barbara Frietchie” a Thomas H. Ince film production with Florence Vidor and Edmund Lowe and also musical and stage novelties including John Hammond at the Marr & Colton organ and Vincent Lopez and his Piccadilly orchestra.

Carlton
Carlton on September 10, 2005 at 4:40 am

I first went to the Warner’s to see This is Cinerama. I’ll never forget the experience. There was a red curtain that ran almost 180 degrees around the front of the theatre. I had an aisle seat in the center section in row 5. When the film started it was in black and white in the usual square aspect. Lowell Thomas explained the history of motion pictures and then in a grave voice intoned:“Ladies and Gentlemen THIS IS CINERAMA!”. At that moment the red curtain began to open a-l-l the way and you were surrouned by the screen. At first I didn’t know what I was watching. It was shadowy and indistint with a clicket, clickety sound filling the theatre. Then we came out into the sun and were climbing the Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island. Note I didn’t say we saw but rather we were riding the coaster. From there on in it was one fabulous scene after another, with the flight over the Grand Canyon almost as good as being there. I saw the film at least twic more and at one showing tore myself from the opening scene to turn a watch the faces of the audience…it was amazing. I saw at least two more Cinerama films. One was Cinerama Holiday which began like the first but the opening scene was flying over the Alps in a SwissAir DC 6 rather than the roller coaster.

spencerst
spencerst on August 28, 2005 at 8:27 pm

here is cinerama at the warner-1956
View link

Linde
Linde on July 26, 2005 at 6:56 pm

New York Times, July 5, 1926, p.6 reviewed the Hal Roach film “The Devil Horse” and stated that it was appearing at Warner’s Theatre. Do you think this is the same theater as Warners'?
Linda

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 8, 2005 at 7:54 pm

It’s odd, but after many years of being familiar with the name, I have only just now noticed that the apostrophe comes after the “s” and not after the “r” in Warners'. So it’s the possessive of the plural, (referring to all of the Warner brothers, I suppose) rather than the possessive of the name Warner itself. Strange.

Paul Noble
Paul Noble on February 7, 2005 at 8:21 pm

Rear of auditorium had stadium seating. There was no balcony. Was also known as the Manhattan Theatre when showing an exclusive re-release of “Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs” and the Republic Theatre when showing “Pinocchio”. I recall both probably in the 1944/45 period.