Radio City Music Hall

1260 6th Avenue,
New York, NY 10020

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Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 19, 2004 at 2:04 pm

The overcharging for the Christmas show wouldn’t be so bad if it helped subsidize some classic movies being shown. And like I said before, the audience is out there. What a thrill it was to see “Psycho” in a theater that size with not an empty seat to be had.

RobertR on April 19, 2004 at 1:59 pm

Whats shocking is the top ticket price for the golden circle is over $100. The last movie Chjristmas show was still only $5 now inflation has note gone up that much since 1979.

VincentParisi on April 19, 2004 at 1:41 pm

This is so amazing that the Music Hall has already started selling the Christmas show in mid April. It now take them almost a year to sell seats for this thing and then they end up giving away thousands of tickets through the Daily News or the Post. Maybe this is because people are sick of the same lame production numbers and the same children’s TV show sets and costumes every year. Except for the Rockettes this is amateur night on a grand scale.
Bruce I love your list but can we throw in a few RKO classics?

bruceanthony on April 19, 2004 at 1:08 pm

I still think if done properly the classic film series along with the Rockettes and stage show could be a big draw. Did you know that I was looking at theatre grosses and found that the Detroit Fox has out grossed the Music Hall the last few years. The Detroit Fox has better bookings and even has The Radio City spectacular during the Holidays. This tells me that the Music Hall is not being used to its full potential. The Fox in Detroit,St Louis, and Atlanta also has film in there programming mix. The Music Hall on its big Screen could show films like Titanic, Gladiator,Funny Girl, Oliver, The Longest Day, Pillow Talk, Dr. Zhivago, 2001 , Planet of The Apes, Star Wars, The King and I, Anastasia, To Catch A Thief, The Sundowners, Charade, The Sound of Music. Patton, Magnificient Men in Flying Machines, How The West Was Won, A Star is Born, Lawrence of Arabia, The Ten Commandments, Bridge on The River Kwai, The Odd Couple, Giant, El Cid, Goldfinger, Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang, No Business Like Show Business, The Bandwagon, How To Marry a Millionaire , Auntie Mame, Ivanhoe, The Time Machine, Day The Earth Stood Still, Out of Africa, Close Encounters, E.T., Its a MAd Mad World, North By Northwest, Gigi, My Fair Lady etc just to name a few. Make the presentation of these features a big Event that can’t be duplicated on TV and the Megaplex on the Music Hall Giant Screen.Note I focused on the Wide Screen Movies.I think this could be a big draw if done correctly plus the stage show.Brucec

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 19, 2004 at 11:47 am

I hope some Cablevision executives are looking at these comments. It would be so great to have classic films at the Music Hall again. When they had the week of WB classics a few years ago, they advertised it as the First Annual Radio City Classic Film Festival. The Friday night showing of “The Exorcist”, hosted by Ellen Burstyn and William Friedkin, was a complete sell-out and a real blast. Then the next year they showed films from Universal: “Psycho”, “Jaws”, and “Animal House” all played to 5,000+ people. Unfortunately, there haven’t been any showings since then, and the recent 40th anniversary showing of “West Side Story” was invitation-only and not open to the public. Why not give the people what they want (and make lots of money besides) and do something like the Classic Film Festivals every year?

Vincent, I waited many hours to see “A Boy Named Charlie Brown” in January 1970. It was a Friday and I don’t remember the exact length of time, but it definitely took most of an entire day to get in. We got there in the morning and it was dark outside when we came out (and it was a very short movie).

Vito on April 3, 2004 at 4:11 am

Well actually Sinatra played there just recently, yes I know he’s dead but he performed anyway. Anyone see that show or know anything about the process used to create it?

porterfaulkner on April 2, 2004 at 9:53 am

Brilliant Michael, you are fool for this April and any other time of the year!!!!!!

RobertR on April 2, 2004 at 6:50 am

yes he has and your point?

mediagy on March 18, 2004 at 3:49 pm

Yes, in response to Vito’s questions in February, there WERE two theaters…the Roxy and the New Roxy which quickly was renamed the Center. The Center Theater was the sister theater of Radio City Music Hall…built around the same time as RCMH and operated by RKO as well. It wobbled around a lot….from movie theater to legitimate theater. The stage show of THE GREAT WALTZ played there as well as other massive extravaganzas. But it was so huge (though slightly smaller than RCMH) that it had difficulty competing financially. In the forties it became home of the ice shows you remember….for about ten years. HOWDY, MR. ICE, that kind of thing, etc. In the early 50’s it became an NBC radio and television studio. THE BIG SHOW with Tallulah Bankhead was broadcast from there….and the BUICK BERLE HOUR, some of YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS, some LUCKY STRIKE HIT PARADES, and some FOUR STAR REVIEWS among others were telecast from there…..and then, what a shame…by the mid 50’s….it was gone forever. A great loss.

RobertR on March 10, 2004 at 6:44 am

I remember that engagement they ran Gone With The Wind and Dr. Zhivago that year also, it was an MGM revivial year. Does anyone remember the hoopla the time the Regency got a new IB technicolor print of “The Gangs All Here”? Carmen Miranda & Alice Faye in Technicolor so rich it dripped off the screen :)

VincentParisi on March 10, 2004 at 6:29 am

By the way, the presention of Rain was so wonderful in fact that Vincent Canby wrote a piece about it in the Sunday Art’s and Leisure section at the time which you can read if you have access in a library to the microfilm archives of the New York Times.

VincentParisi on March 9, 2004 at 2:18 pm

When the Music Hall started showing classics in the mornings at 11AM for a brief time in the late seventies(as discussed above) they showed some of the films in the ratio 1:33(I believe it is) in Magnascope. I saw Showboat and Good News like this. Though the screen was large the grain was pretty bad. When I saw Singing in the Rain however in ‘75 the screen was surprisingly small(like a postage stamp as an usher there remarked) but the technicolor was astounding. I’ve never seen it more magnificently presented, like a brilliant jewel against plush black velvet.

RobertR on March 9, 2004 at 11:53 am

My parents are always talking about how the Valencia in it’s day was like seeing a movie in Manhattan. I guess if they had something that few theatres had back then like “Magnascope” it must have been special.

Vito on February 14, 2004 at 5:14 am

Warren, the way I understand it, the Magnascope lens was a wide angle lens, about 7" that increased the size of the picture dramatically but also increased some of the grain, but was fine for projecting a special event in a movie such as the train wreck in “The Greatest Show on Earth” which was on a reel by itself and a changeover (remember those?)was made to one of the projectors installed with the Magna lens. Magnascope was actually invented back in the 20s and installed at New York’s Rivoli theatre in 1926 for the engagement of “Old Ironsides” It was billed as “The biggest screen in the world”

VincentParisi on February 13, 2004 at 1:02 pm

By the way I believe, though the name is not mentioned, Random Harvest is the film Holden sees at the Music Hall in Catcher in the Rye.

VincentParisi on February 13, 2004 at 11:41 am

Just think when Random Harvest(one of my all time favorites and yes I know the film doesn’t make much sense)opened as the Christmas show in ‘42 it played until March of '43. If MGM hadn’t pulled it they probably could have kept it running until the summer.

Vito on February 13, 2004 at 10:50 am

Yes Vincent, the lines for the holiday shows were rather long, I would think a 3 hour wait for the Christmas show was not usual.
In 1954 when “White Christmas” played the Music Hall and
“There’s no buisness like show buisness” was down the block to the Roxy, a lot of people spent a great deal of time on line, ah those were the days

RobertR on February 11, 2004 at 10:40 am

I remember an engagement of “The Magic of Lassie” in 1978 which starred James Stewart, Mickey Rooney and the first appearance in 20 years of Alice Faye. The theatre was packed almost to capacity. They had Lassie on stage 5x a day with The Rockettes. It may have been corny but was alot of fun.

VincentParisi on February 11, 2004 at 6:36 am

Yes Bruce I often went to the Music Hall in the early ‘70’s and the films were dreadful(1776 and Mame which should have been perfect Music Hall product were pretty awful.) Occasionally they got lucky like a What’s Up Doc but that was pretty rare. Films were being made during that period that would have been suitable such as the That’s Entertainment films, The Way We Were and Prisoner of Second Av. The Hollywood producers of the era did not want to give the Music Hall their product despite the fact that their opening engagements in NY had less seats than the Music Hall. The low budget stage shows did not help. If you see some of the color photos of the stage shows from the 50’s you’ll know why the Music Hall had what was called the Great Stage. It may not have been art but it must have been a helluva lot of fun and very impressive. The Music Hall with its concerts today is pretty much being wasted. Leonidoff knew how to use the stage and its settings to maximum effect. For the Christmas show today it just seems to be lights on, lights off, stage up, stage down. I can’t imagine the producers there today using any imagination or showmanship. These people can only see what’s at the end of their noses. That’s why they have these positions and make the big bucks. As well, the Music hall today is reduced to having kiddie shows like Barney and The Rug Rats. What would Roxy have thought?

bruceanthony on February 10, 2004 at 4:32 pm

Radio City Music Hall went into decline in the late 60’s and the 1970’s for various reasons. The Music Hall always had the top class A films available to them from the 1930’s thru 1967. The Music Hall then had trouble getting good G rated films to go along with there stage shows. Then the Music Hall would play many films that weren’t very good such as The Promise and 1776. The Music Hall STARTED to loose money in the Fall and the months following The Christmas show and the months following The Easter Show. To stem the loss the Music Hall would close down there film and stage show during some of the slower months to reduce the red ink. I think a summer stage show along with classic films from all decades that would include the Rockettes is a wonderful idea. Maybe a corpoarate sponser could help fund the summer show if needed. If the Music Hall had a major concert the summer show could be dark that day. I feel the Music Hall has yet to reach its full potential. Cablevision bring back the stage and film presentation on a limited time such as summer when a lot of tourists are in town. brucec

VincentParisi on February 10, 2004 at 2:56 pm

Recalling the long lines that people used to wait on to get in to see a film at Radio City I was told by a long time usher, who had been there since The Miracle in ‘59, that the longest that he could remember was for “A Boy Named Charlie Brown.” One amazing Saturday people who had gotten there at 11AM only got in at 7PM. I always wondered if this was true or simply a Music Hall legend.

RobertR on February 10, 2004 at 9:11 am

I also recall a few summers ago there was a Universal festival one night a week for a month. I managed to catch Psyco.

VincentParisi on February 10, 2004 at 9:03 am

I remember that as well. I saw Funny Face, Seven Brides, and Flower Drum Song during that period. Boy did they look great in the Music Hall. The cinemscope screen was the largest I had ever seen.I could only envy the original audiences for whom those films and that type of presentation were an every day occurrence. As casual as going to the multiplex for most people today.

RobertR on February 10, 2004 at 7:32 am

I remember that year of the MGM revivals that p7350 mentioned, I went to see all of them. When I was in college in 1979-80 they were presenting morning musicals for a few months on that awesome screen.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on February 5, 2004 at 4:19 pm

I have never seen anything like Radio City Music Hall. Who can imagine a stage on hydrolics either going up and down in three different places, on three different levels or rotating in circles with the Rockettes' legs a-kicking? My lower jaw drops when I go into this place.