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Ahlschlager may have made only a limited contribution to the Beacon Theatre. Some historians claim that only the lobby rotunda, which reminds of the Roxy Theatre, was designed by Ahlschlager. When S.L. Rothafel dropped the project (which was to be called the Roxy Midway), Warner Brothers took over and reportedly gutted the still unfinished auditorium for a new one designed by Rapp & Rapp.
Details here about the Polack Bros. Circus: http://www.thecircusblog.com/?p=11024
For one week only during the Christmas-New Year’s holiday period of 1952, Fabian’s Strand presented the Polack Bros. Circus on its “mammoth” stage, with three performances daily at 12:30, 3:30 and 8:00pm. “The Greatest Indoor Show on Earth” featured “famous clowns, high wire trapeze acts, performing animals, wild beasts, and more, more!”. Tickets at all times were priced at $1.20 for adults and 60 cents for children.
Sixty-three years ago today, Walt Disney’s Technicolor cartoon feature, “Melody Time,” opened its world premiere engagement at the Astor Theatre. The RKO release had a “live” prologue featuring Roy Rogers and child actors Luana Patten and Bobby Driscoll, followed by animated episodes introducing such new Disney characters as “Pecos Bill,” “Johnny Appleseed,” “Little Toot,” and “Slue Foot Sue.” Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers also performed on the soundtrack, along with the Andrews Sisters, Dennis Day, Buddy Clark, Frances Langford, the Dinning Sisters, Jack Fina, organist Ethel Smith, the orchestras of Fred Waring and Freddy Martin, and many others. The Astor advertised “Special Children’s Prices At All Performances,” but did not specify amounts.
In its final decade, the Hippodrome was sometimes used for sporting events, such as this roller derby: http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=6934
Here’s a link to historical newsreel coverage of the 1928 grand opening of the Empire Theatre: http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=81113
Are you sure that Roxy was the theatre’s original name? If so, it pre-dated the world-famous Roxy in New York City by more than a decade. I’ve always thought that all other Roxys came after that.
This was advertised as the Tivoli Theatre and Roof Garden in the May 13th, 1923 issue of The New York Times. The current attraction was a subsequent-run booking of Elmer Clifton’s “Down to the Sea in Ships,” described as “The Most Sensational Photoplay of the Year.”
Fifty-nine years ago today, WB’s “The San Francisco Story,” with Joel McCrea and Yvonne DeCarlo in a B&W melodrama about political corruption in the Bay City in the 1850s, opened its NYC premiere engagement at the Warner Theatre, which was still using a tiny “formerly Strand” in advertising. Carmen Cavallaro & His Orchestra topped the stage presentation, with support from The Honey Dreamers and The Albins. An extra added attraction was “The Continental” (aka Renzo Cesana), who pitched woo with the ladies twice a week on his top-rated TV show.
Seventy-five Mother’s Days ago, you could treat mom to the show at Loew’s Fox, with Cary Grant and Joan Bennett on screen in Paramount’s “Big Brown Eyes,” and Mitchell & Durant and the Fred East Trio topping the stage bill. Other Loew’s options, with single features only, were the Palace, with UA’s “These Three” (Merle Oberon, Miriam Hopkins, Joel McCrea), and the Columbia with Shirley Temple in 20th-Fox’s “Captain January.”
This previously linked 1954 image is now part of a New York Times slide show of photographs by Frank Oscar Larson: View link
Another early view of the marquee and entrance can be seen here: View link
Listing it as “closed” is a no-brainer, discouraging people who read the listing from trying to visit the theatre, which is one of the last remaining Thomas Lamb movie palaces still standing anywhere in the world in close to its original decor.
RKO Coliseum remembered here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJZfp2ig-kQ
In the introduction, Status is given as “Closed.” Why? Public church services are held there frequently throughout the week.
Sixty-eight years ago today, Universal’s B&W Abbott & Costello horse-racing comedy, “It Ain’t Hay,” made its Los Angeles debut at the Hollywood and Downtown Paramounts, both of which were then under the direction of Fanchon & Marco. The Damon Runyon fable played as a single feature at the Hollywood Paramount, and with support from Universal’s new B&W musical, “Hi, Buddy,” at the Downtown Paramount.
Both theatres also presented Paramount’s latest “Superman” Technicolor cartoon, “Jungle Drums,” and exclusive newsreel coverage of recently captured “Jap” photos taken during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The Jefferson ad made no mention of “Scared to Death” being in color, but even if it was, the film was still a low-budget programmer, distributed by Screen Guild. Trade annuals give an original release date of May, 1947, a full year before the Jefferson booking. By that time, SG might have run out of color prints and switched to B&W. But I’m just guessing.
On this night only in 1948, the RKO Jefferson presented nine acts of vaudeville and a talent contest for amateurs as a bonus to its current screen dounle-bill of “Scared to Death” (with Bela Lugosi) and “Gas House Kids in Hollywood.” Both B&W films were from minor “Poverty Row” studios and booked for a two-day engagement. The Jefferson often played such fare because it held subsequent-run status to that neighborhood’s two leaders, the Skouras Academy of Music and Loew’s Commodore.
Fifty years ago today, 20th-Fox’s belated sequel, “Return to Peyton Place,” opened its NYC premiere engagement at the Paramount in Times Square and the Trans-Lux Normandie on West 57th Street. The original “Peyton Place” had been one of the last boxoffice blockbusters at the Roxy Theatre, where it was the Christmas 1957 attraction with support from a stage show. The Roxy was demolished in the summer of 1960.
Sixty-two years ago today, MGM’s “The Barkleys of Broadway,” reuniting Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in what was also their first musical in color (by Technicolor), opened its world premiere engagement at Loew’s State. Thrown in as a bonus were two recent Academy Award-winning Technicolor shorts, Walt Disney’s live-action “Seal Island” and MGM’s Tom & Jerry cartoon “The Little Orphan.”
Moving “Thor” to a “a smaller crappy screen” suggests that the movie is a platinum turkey. Maybe you should demand a refund while you still can.
Fifty years ago today, John Wayne’s Technicolor epic “The Alamo” opened at the Astor and adjacent Victoria for its first NYC engagement with popular prices and continuous performances. The United Artists release had premiered the previous October at the Rivoli Theatre as a reserved-seat roadshow with a runnng time of three hours and 12 minutes. The version shown at the Astor and Victoria was 26 minutes shorter, but no mention was made in advertising. Nor was the original Todd-AO presentation at the Rivoli. Presumably, the Astor and Victoria gave “The Alamo” wide-screen treatment, but without crediting any process. The dual booking used a “staggered” screening schedule throughout the day and night, with the Astor starting first and the Victoria following half-an-hour later.
Fifty-three years ago today, Paramount’s eagerly-awaited “Another Time, Another Place,” Lana Turner’s first movie to be released since her implication in one of Hollywood’s most sensational murder cases, opened its NYC premiere engagement at Loew’s State. Filmed on location in England in B&W VistaVision, the romantic melodrama had no relevance to Turner’s private turmoil, but advertising copy suggested it: “The story of a woman possessed by love and fear…yielding to emotions no woman in love can resist.” For those too young to remember, here’s one interpretation of what really happened:
The vaudeville at the Jefferson became increasingly inconsequential in terms of “name” performers and sporadic in bookings from the 1930s onwards. By the 1940s and into the 1950s, it was usually weekends only or one night per week, or not at all. Newspaper advertising rarely if ever mentioned names on the bill. You might be able to get more detailed information in the vaudeville sections of weekly Variety during those years. Also, if you reside in the NYC area, you could check the press clippings file for the Jefferson Theatre at the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center (third floor, Billy Rose Theatre Collection).
Seventy-six years ago today, and in its final month of operation before demolition, the Rialto opened day-and-date with the Mayfair on the world premiere engagement of MGM’s “Mark of the Vampire,” which was advertised as “Too Much Horror For One Theatre.” Starring Bela Lugosi, Lionel Barrymore, and Lionel Atwill, with Todd (“Freaks”) Browning as director, the B&W melodrama was also described as “Not For Weak Hearts!…For your nerves' sake, no standing will be permitted in either theatre. The capacity of two theatres assures seats for every one. The terrifying suspense of this picture demands that you be seated from beginning to end. Please don’t tell your friends the thrilling climax!”.