Astor Theatre

1531 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on December 30, 2004 at 5:56 pm

The Marriott Corp can well afford to pay a skilled researcher to do the leg work (or, rather, to let his or her fingers do the walking) through the NYT or Variety serials. Warren has already provided the key leads. Heaven knows such bibliographic talents get little recognition, even as mamouth corporations squander millions on trivial, self-enchanted pursuits. And heaven knows they frequently resort to quick and greedy grabs at info-facts to satisfy their wants. And heaven help the researcher who messes up this Astor/Victoria project from my reminiscent perspective: one single mistake will get him or her laughed off this page.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on December 30, 2004 at 5:45 pm

in an old book I have called The New York Times Goes To The Movies, it shows Gone With The Wind opened here and the Capital on Dec 19, 1939. The Astor had reserved seats and the Capitol didn’t. Other films were
The Apartment-June 15, 1960 (Also at the Plaza)
The Best Years of Our Lives – Nov 22, 1946
The Champ- Nov 10, 1931
Dr. No- May 29, 1963 (Also at the Murray Hill)
Dinner At 8- World Premiere Aug 23, 1933
Grand Hotel- April 13, 1932
The Great Dictator-Oct 16 1940 Also at the Capital. The Astor had reserved seats and the Capitol didn't
A Hard Days Night-August 12, 1964 (Also at the Trans Lux East)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame- Sept 3, 1923
On The Beach- Dec 18, 1959
On The Waterfront-July 28, 1954
The Phantom Of The Opera- Sept 7, 1925
Rebel Without A Cause- Oct 26, 1955
Sergeant York-Jul 2, 1941
The date may be slightly off. i took the date from the NY Times review.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on December 30, 2004 at 5:15 pm

C'mon, Warren. He only wants some major films that played here, and you could probably give him a short list off the top of your head. Help a brother out!

RCMH
RCMH on December 30, 2004 at 6:04 am

Anyone have an idea where I can get a list of major films that played at both the Astor & Victoria theatres? Already know about GONE WITH THE WIND, THE BIG PARADE, THE BROADWAY MELODY and SPELLBOUND, but would like to find out the names other major films that opened at the 2 theatres. Its for a project we are working on at the New York Marriott Marquis. One of our ballrooms is named for the Astor Theatre. Thanjs in advance.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on November 30, 2004 at 8:45 pm

Thanks, Warrenâ€"that’s a terrific book. The billboards at the Astor and Victoria were magnificent in the late 40s and early 50s. For the most part, they used bulb-lit block majuscules with a few minimally painted figures behind them. At the Astor, I remember “Enchantment” (Dec. ’47) spelled out three times and blinking on and off in dizzying combinations (at the age of five, I didn’t know what the word meant); “Harvey” (Dec. ’50) spelled out to the right of a thirty-foot representation of James Stewart and the bunny; and “Limelight” (Nov. ’52) spelled out beneath the face of an old, wistful Charles Chaplin. At the Victoria, I recall “The Third Man” (Feb. ’50) spelled out to the right of Orson Welles’s hulking shadow; and a near-copy of the latter for “The Man Between” (Dec. ’53) with a neon-circling bicycle substituting for Welles. The most elaborate one was for “Quo Vadis” at the Astor (Nov. ’51), with a forty-foot high representation of Deborah Kerr tied to a circus stake left of the title, a smaller Peter Ustinov plucking his lyre right of it, and a top and bottom border of flickering neon flames as Rome burned. Nearly as elaborate was one for “Joan of Arc” at the Victoria (Nov. ’48), with the facial representation of an armour-clad Ingrid Bergman calling for infantry over her shoulder, to the left of the title. If I’m right, the much duller block-long painted-ad sign first advertised an automobile trade-show at the Colosseum in Fall, ’55. BTW, “Times Square Style” provides a rare color photo of a stage show at the Roxy, on page 35, upper right, with sixteen Roxyettes balancing themselves on beach balls, while a jazz band (Louis Armstrong?) plays behind them; as a kid, I had a post-card of that image, which identified it as a Roxy performance.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 21, 2004 at 1:16 am

The two Gaiety’s are the same in name only. The present one, located above Howard Johnson’s restaurant, was never a playhouse or moviehouse, to my knowledge.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 20, 2004 at 9:35 pm

To add to Box Office Bill’s list, I believe that when It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World ended its year-long Cinerama run at the Warner, it moved to the Victoria, which is where I saw it. Don’t know if this was an exclusive engagement, though – it was probably part of what they called “Premiere Showcase” in those days.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on July 20, 2004 at 9:23 pm

Bryan and Vincent-
Thanks for the cross-references. Am I right that Minsky’s B'que played at the Gaiety—or did it play at the former Gotham a block north on W 47? As a movie theater, the Victoria held a distinguished record. It underwent renovations in the 40s that used the former stage space for seating and brok e through the rear wall to add an extension to the building. Shimmering steel medalions covered the red-velvet walls. CinemaScope required further modification of the narrow proscenium to accommodate the screen. From the late-40s through the mid-60s films included Joan of Arc, Born Yesterday, A Star Is Born (day-dating at the Paramount), Paths of Glory, Dr. Strangelove—no mean listof goodies. Box Office Biill.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on July 16, 2004 at 8:37 pm

The Victoria was originally the Gaiety which lives on today as the Gaiety male burlesque house(I am not making this up) across the street.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on July 16, 2004 at 7:52 pm

Why doesn’t this site offer a listing for the Astor’s Times Square mate, the Victoria Theater on the corner of B'way and W. 46 Street?

Beached
Beached on May 16, 2004 at 11:41 am

Where can I possibly find pictures of the interior of the Astor? Any suggestions?

thanks,
Ellis