Ziegfeld Theatre

141 West 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 9, 2013 at 1:25 am

Reserved seat engagements were so common in 1968 that here’s an advance order form for a movie before its theater had even been booked. It wound up being the opening attraction at Loew’s State 2.

StanMalone on February 9, 2013 at 1:21 am

Reade owned the US rights to War and Peace. In Atlanta we ran it as a midnight show in August 1972 and March 1973. Intermission at 3AM, out at 6:30AM. Included in the ticket was breakfast at the coffee house across the street for anyone who made to the end. 23 reels if I remember correctly.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 9, 2013 at 1:10 am

April 28, 1968 ad for War and Peace at the DeMille. Loge seats were $7.50, surely a record high price at the time, but it was for a two-part, 6 ½ hour movie.

bigjoe59 on February 8, 2013 at 10:19 pm

To Al A.–

thank for mentioning the two/three a day reserved seat engagement of TLTIP at the Trans Lux East.i had forgotten about it. it was always my opinion that United Artists opened the film on such an engagement to give it prestige. such a engagement was certainly not mandated by the cost of making the film.

also thanks about the “party room” mention on ticket order forms for the Demille’s roadshow runs. i can swear i remember seeing “divans” on its ticket order forms. oh, well. i was maybe 99% certain.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on February 8, 2013 at 9:52 pm

The DeMille did not advertise Divans but they had ‘party room’ seats for “THE SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN”.

The last true extended reserved seat two or three a day run I have found in NYC is “LAST TANGO IN PARIS” at the Trans-Lux East (Gotham).

dennisczimmerman on February 8, 2013 at 9:28 pm

I am pretty sure Divans is another word for loge. Most roadshow theatres named the seating – orchestra, loge, and balcony. I see in the ad for 2001 at the Capitol they list orchester, divans, and balcony. The loge or divans were the front section of the balcony. Most balconys have a “cross aisle” so the section in front of the aisle closet to the screen was either the loge or divan section. If you notice, the price of that seat location is the highest. The section behind the idea was considered balcony and the cheapest seats. In some theatres the orchestra and loge/divan were priced the same. However, that was not always the case. “2001” at the Capitol was an experience I will always remember. I saw it a second time when it moved over to the Warner Cinerama (downstairs theatre). Although it was still an experience, it was not the same. Of course it is still better than the experience of movie going today. There was nothing like seeing “Presented in Cinerama or 70MM or Super Panavision 70 in the advertisement. Now they advertise wall to wall screens, which in a "shoe box” is not exactly a big deal!!!

StanMalone on February 8, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Question for Vito: Did your previous comment mean that the year long run of “Fiddler” at the Rivoli was 35MM? I always assumed that it was 70MM.

As for the “roadshow” subject: In Atlanta, any 70MM required two operators or one man at time and a half. Same for any reserved seat engagement even if it was 35MM. At the Walter Reade Atlanta, where I was working, they started out reserved seat for both Fiddler and LaMancha and changed to reserve performances once the crowds died down although LaMancha was dead from the start. They still used the hardticket but seating was open and only one operator was required.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 8, 2013 at 8:58 pm

I think I have an ad for the 1968 roadshow of War and Peace at the DeMille. I’ll look for it tonight and we’ll see how much they charged for the divans.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 8, 2013 at 8:46 pm

It wasn’t long before before mass releasing on “showcase,” “flagship” and “blue ribbon” platforms.

bigjoe59 on February 8, 2013 at 8:41 pm


i am certain that when the Demille was one of the premiere roadshow houses in the Times Square ares they also had “divans” listed as a section on the ticket order forms.

if i am not mistaken after the roadshow run of “Fiddle on the Roof” at the Rivoli the fall of 1971 the remaining such engagements to open in the big Times Square houses were “Nicholas and Alexandra” at the Criterion Dec. 1971 and “Man of La Mancha” Dec. 1972 at the Rivoli. also to be included is the roadshow run of “The Trojan Women” at the Fines Arts the fall of 1971.

i guess the lackluster receipts for the roadshow engagements of “Man…..” was the proverbial final nail in the coffin. the studios subsequently discontinued the policy.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 8, 2013 at 6:52 pm

No box seats, at least not after the remodeling for Cinerama. Cinerama would’ve looked terrible from a box seat anyway.

LuisV on February 8, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Ha! I initially thought it was a different term for a box seat but I don’t think the Capitol had them, did they? I never had a chance to see a film here. Just a bit before my time.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 8, 2013 at 6:22 pm

I’d never heard of it either. In fact, back in 1968 I had no idea what kind of seats we were going to be in. I always thought a divan was a couch or something.

LuisV on February 8, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Was that peculiar to The Capitol or did other theaters have Divan sections. I’m just amazed that I haven’t heard of it before. I love it though!

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 8, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Saps: It was the greatest moviegoing experience of my life, before or since. I don’t think anything will ever come along to top it.

Luis: My dad and I sat in the Divans. As far as I could figure out, it was the front row of the upstairs section, with the front mezzanine right behind. At intermission we both wanted to move down to the front row downstairs, but with all the assigned seating, ushers, etc., we figured we wouldn’t be able to. Maybe we should’ve tried anyway, but it was still an overwhelming show from the Divans.

LuisV on February 8, 2013 at 5:34 pm

What’s a Divan???? I’ve never seen that in a theater ad!

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 8, 2013 at 5:30 pm

It must have been magical to see 2001 on that big Capitol screen.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 8, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Here’s proof that I remembered those showtimes correctly!

Vito on February 8, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Al As a matter of fact it was the roadshow engagement of “Fiddler On The Roof” in the early 70s which was shown in 35mm that ended the pratice. Theatre owners balked at having 2 men for a 35mm prersenation which resulted in ending roadshow premiums altogether. Interestingly “Fiddler” marked the beginning of the end of Roadshows as we knew them. And Yes Bill sometimes the running time would dictate an 830 show instead of 8 following a mid afternoon matinee

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Now that I think of it, my only New York roadshow was most likely a three-a-day: “2001” at the Capitol, 6/15/1968. We went to the 1:30 PM show. There were probably two more, at 5 and 8:30.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on February 8, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Vito, you forget the extra men in the booth contracted for any movie labeled a “Roadshow”. These extra costs helped expedite the demise of the practice as the box office revenue could not justifying the costs and exhibitors found ways around the union contracts.

Vito on February 8, 2013 at 11:01 am

Bill, that was common practice in the roadshow days. There were many variations but often M-F we would have two a day at 2 and 8 then depending on the run time of the picture on Sat and Sun 3 shows at approximately 2-5-8 Those roadshow engagements were a kick to do not only because they were a heck of a lot of fun but the hours wee magnificent. Weekdays we would go to work at 7 and be done by 11, on top of that we got a premium pay rate. So yup, good times.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 8, 2013 at 2:39 am

November 11, 1970 ad for Ryan’s Daughter at the Ziegfeld. Three shows a day on Fri-Sat-Sun.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 6, 2013 at 7:27 pm

I believe “two-a-day” is vaudeville term, representing the performance policies of the top vaude houses. I meant to say (on Feb. 4) reserved seat, reserved performance, or roadshow presentation.

Anyway, Les Miz is leaving and Silver Linings Playbook is coming in on a regular schedule. (Nice family drama will fit cozily in the intimate Ziegfeld!)

bigjoe59 on February 5, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Hello Again-

the exclusive 1st run engagements of “Ryan’s Daughter” and “Apocalypse Now” were reserved performance engagements. for people not familiar with said runs they were similar to reserved seat engagements in that you could by tickets ahead of time but what seat you got was up in the air. for instance if such a film was quite popular and you got to the theater five minutes before the film began you were guaranteed a seat but in might be all the way in the back in the corner. i’m guessing the studios thought this type engagement up since it had way less overhead then a traditional reserved seat run. for instance you didn’t need ushers.

the first such run in Manhattan i can remember was “Fellini’s Satryricon” which opened March of 1970 at the late but great Little Carnegie.

also to put my two cents in i don’t consider the special two week engagements of “Dreamgirls” or “The Princess and the Frog” before they opened wide true reserved seat runs. so i do believe as i said in my original post that the theater’s opening film “Marooned” was the first and only traditional studio roadshow engagement it has hosted.