Ziegfeld Theatre

141 West 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 30, 2006 at 3:51 am

Time Out is sponsoring the series – or is otherwise involved – so that makes sense. But shouldn’t the advertising be just a bit more widespread?

mhvbear
mhvbear on January 30, 2006 at 3:14 am

There is an ad for series in the current TimeOut Magazine.

BobT
BobT on January 30, 2006 at 2:41 am

“The Boatniks” and “From The Mixed Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” were both move overs from Radio City. “The Anderson Tapes” and “Grease” like BH said were move overs from Loew’s State. “Bananas” was from the upper East Side. As for AlAlvarez statement “Contrary to popular opinion, "New Yorkers have never truly supported the Ziegfeld, preferring to see their movies elsewhere when possible.”, I don’t know but having seen a good chunk of those bookings he posted and having stood in line for a sold out show on almost all those occasions, I would say I don’t agree. But if you look at some of the bookings, like their ‘71 Christmas show, “The Star Spangled Girl”, a movie based on a bad Neil Simon play that Simon himself probably never saw, or pictures that seemed perfect “Ziegfeld” bookings like “Flight Of The Navigator or Polanski’s big budget "Pirates” that turn out to be dogs. You can’t blame a theatre if there is no product or the owner doesn’t book it properly.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 29, 2006 at 5:09 pm

And P.S…. Still looking for advertisements for the upcoming series. There was no mention of it in the Sunday Times Arts & Leisure section. Are they waiting for the Friday Weekend section to spread the word? Or are they looking only to pull in passersby and visitors to Clearview Cinemas website and the folks on Cinema Treasures?!?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 29, 2006 at 5:05 pm

Another great list, Al… Thanks for the stroll down memory lane. I know my parents made the trip in from Queens with me to see “That’s Entertainment” here. It’s possible I saw “Earthquake” here as well, but I think that might have been elsewhere in Manhattan on the upper East Side where my Mom’s freind Lilliana – who accompanied us – lived. Saw “The Grateful Dead”, “Hair” (my first trip into the city on my own – St. Patty’s Day ‘79) and “Apocalypse Now” to round out the '70’s. The following decade my pals and I came in to see “Pink Floyd’s The Wall” and I saw “Fantasia” here a couple of times during the '80’s. The only other film I can be certain of seeing here on the list is “Yentl”, though I might have also seen “Tough Guys” here in '86. I look forward to a '90’s list, Al… I believe on Christmas Day 1990 I was sitting in the Ziegfeld anxiously watching (and being ultimately disappointed by) “The Godfather, Part Three.”

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on January 28, 2006 at 8:51 am

GREASE was a moveover from either the Loew’s Astor Plaza or the Loew’s State where it originally opened. But of course it was better at the Ziegfeld.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 28, 2006 at 8:12 am

Bill, you are probably right. I have a small gap in THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL period (newspaper strike, I think) and those 1986 double features were a Kirk Douglas/Burt Lancaster prelude to TOUGH GUYS that may have included even more titles for a day or two.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on January 28, 2006 at 8:09 am

Just about a week before its DVD release, I’d like to salute David Lean’s RYAN’S DAUGHTER for being the long-run champ of the Ziegfeld.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on January 28, 2006 at 8:03 am

Al: Wow – another one of your fantastic lists. Thanks for it. I’d like to make two additions, though. In 1978, between REVENGE OF THE PINK PANTHER and THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL, I saw GREASE at the Ziegfeld. And in 1986 I saw a Kirk Douglas/Burt Lancaster double feature of LUST FOR LIFE and THE PROFESSIONALS. LUST FOR LIFE had turned completely pink, but it was still in CinemaScope on the big Ziegfeld screen.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 28, 2006 at 5:25 am

The Ziegfeld history has always been straddled with the legacy
of being an off-the-beaten path pseudo movie palace that opened
at just the wrong time.

It was the last choice run for many distributors and has survived thanks to the creative programming and massive efforts over the years of the Walter Reade Organisation followed by equal support from Clearview and, yes, even Cineplex Odeon who insisted on always keeping it open.

Contrary to popular opinion, New Yorkers have never truly supported the Ziegfeld, preferring to see their movies elsewhere when possible. The theatre was often out-grossed when playing day and date with a Broadway house or the upper east side.

It is ironic that the demise of the Broadway palaces is what allowed the Ziegfeld to survive, mostly thanks to exclusive engagements for which it would never have been first choice.

Straddled in its early days by huge overhead including three projectionists on 70mm and a full time stagehand (there is no stage), the theatre often closed between movies rather than incur losses.

That glorious curtain so many of you love was often the source of grief. Many a sold out show was refunded over the years when the damn thing simply wouldn’t rise. Due to its weight, it was practically impossible to run manually. Hence, it is often left open at all times.

The choice location for many movie premieres, the promoters were forced to hire extras to form the crowd of gawking fans outside when not enough celebrity hunters bothered to find their way to 54th Street.

Between the opening weeks of big film exclusives the Ziegfeld had several weeks of tumbleweeds going through its now seemingly massive seating.

Ziegfeld Filmography. Dates are within a week.
12/18/69 MAROONED
02/25/70 GONE WITH THE WIND
03/04/70 DOCTOR ZHIVAGO
03/11/70 THE BIBLE…IN THE BEGINNING
03/18/70 THE SOUND OF MUSIC
03/25/70 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
05/06/70 WAR AND PEACE (USSR)
06/03/70 THE GREAT ZIEGFELD/ZIEGFELD GIRL/ ZIEGFELD FOLLIES
06/17/70 THE SAND PEBBLES
07/01/70 GONE WITH THE WIND
07/08/70 THE BOATNIKS
08/05/70 AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS/WEST SIDE STORY
08/19/70 SOLDIER BLUE
10/14/70 A HARD DAY’S NIGHT/ HELP!/ YELLOW SUBMARINE/ LET IT BE
10/28/70 A NIGHT AT THE OPERA/ AT THE CIRCUS/ A DAY AT THE RACES/ THE BIG STORE
11/11/70 closed
11/18/70 RYAN’S DAUGHTER
07/07/71 PETER RABBIT AND THE TALES OF BEATRIX POTTER
08/04/71 CLEOPATRA
08/18/71 KLUTE
08/25/71 THE ANDERSON TAPES
09/01/71 BANANAS
09/08/71 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY/ YELLOW SUBMARINE
09/15/71 closed
12/22/71 STAR SPANGLED GIRL
02/02/72 closed
02/16/72 CABARET
08/16/72 WOODSTOCK
08/23/72 WAR AND PEACE (USSR)
08/30/72 closed
09/20/72 BLACKBOARD JUNGLE/ ROCK ROCK ROCK/ THE THING/ THE WILD ONE/ JAILHOUSE ROCK
09/27/72 closed
10/18/72 FELLINI’S ROMA
12/13/72 SLEUTH
03/28/73 I AM A DANCER
05/16/73 THIS IS CINERAMA
08/22/73 ROMEO AND JULIET (1968)
10/24/73 FROM THE MIXED UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER
11/07/73 closed
12/19/73 THE DAY OF THE DOLPHIN
04/17/74 LADIES AND GENTLEMEN THE ROLLING STONES
05/01/74 closed
05/29/74 THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT
10/02/74 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
11/20/74 EARTHQUAKE
03/26/75 TOMMY
07/02/75 ROLLERBALL
08/27/75 THE JOLSON STORY
09/10/75 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
10/01/75 GIVE ‘EM HELL, HARRY!
10/15/75 LISZTOMANIA
11/12/75 CONDUCT UNBECOMING
11/26/75 THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
12/10/75 closed
12/24/75 BARRY LYNDON
03/31/76 MOSES
05/19/76 THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT PART 2
07/28/76 THE RETURN OF A MAN CALLED HORSE
09/22/76 closed
10/13/76 SOLARIS
11/10/76 closed
12/29/76 A STAR IS BORN
02/23/77 closed
06/01/77 THE GRATEFUL DEAD
06/22/77 NEW YORK, NEW YORK
08/31/77 closed
10/12/77 TOMMY
11/16/77 CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND
05/03/78 THE LAST WALTZ
07/26/78 REVENGE OF THE PINK PANTHER
10/11/78 THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL
11/15/78 THE LORD OF THE RINGS
02/14/79 MURDER BY DECREE
03/21/79 HAIR
05/23/79 THE PRISONER OF ZENDA
06/27/79 THE MUPPET MOVIE
07/18/79 DRACULA
08/15/79 APOCALYPSE NOW
11/14/79 THE ROSE
02/20/80 SATURN 3
03/26/80 APOCALYPSE NOW
04/23/80 THE WATCHER IN THE WOODS
05/07/80 FANTASIA
05/21/80 FAME
06/25/80 CAN’T STOP THE MUSIC
08/06/80 RAISE THE TITANIC
10/22/80 TIMES SQUARE
11/26/80 PAUL McCARTNEY & WINGS ROCKSHOW
12/24/80 THE JAZZ SINGER
02/18/81 CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (Special Edition)
03/18/81 FANTASIA
04/22/81 LION OF THE DESERT
06/10/81 closed
07/01/81 THE GREAT MUPPET CAPER
08/12/81 BEATLEMANIA
08/26/81 HONKY TONK FREEWAY
10/14/81 closed
12/16/81 PENNIES FROM HEAVEN
02/17/82 QUEST FOR FIRE
03/24/82 VICTOR/ VICTORIA
05/26/82 AC/DC LET THERE BE ROCK
06/16/82 GREASE 2
07/21/82 RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
08/11/82 PINK FLOYD THE WALL
09/29/82 YES, GIORGIO
11/03/82 TESS
11/10/82 FANTASIA
12/08/82 GANDHI
07/20/83 STAYING ALIVE
10/05/83 BRAINSTORM
11/23/83 YENTL
02/22/84 FANTASIA
03/21/84 A STAR IS BORN
04/04/84 ANTARCTICA
05/02/84 closed
06/27/84 THE KARATE KID
09/19/84 LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
10/03/84 closed
10/24/84 THE RAZOR’S EDGE
12/19/84 A PASSAGE TO INDIA
04/03/85 KING DAVID
05/01/85 closed
07/03/85 ST. ELMO’S FIRE
07/17/85 SILVERADO
08/28/85 GHOSTBUSTERS
10/16/85 FANTASIA
11/27/85 WHITE NIGHTS
02/05/86 DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS
03/26/86 JUST BETWEEN FRIENDS
04/23/86 ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS
06/04/86 closed
07/02/86 AMERICAN ANTHEM
07/23/86 PIRATES
08/06/86 FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR
09/10/86 closed
09/24/86 PATHS OF GLORY/ FROM HERE TO ETERNITY
09/27/86 BIRMAN OF ALCATRAZ/ I WALK ALONE
10/01/86 ELMER GANTRY/ ALONG THE GREAT DIVIDE
10/08/86 TOUGH GUYS
11/19/86 closed
12/03/86 NUTCRACKER
12/31/86 WISDOM
01/28/87 closed
02/04/87 OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE
03/18/87 HEAT
04/08/87 closed
04/15/87 THREE FOR THE ROAD
04/22/87 closed
05/20/87 ISHTAR
06/24/87 ROXANNE
08/12/87 WHO’S THAT GIRL
09/02/87 THE FOURTH PROTOCOL
10/14/87 HAIL! HAIL! ROCK N’ ROLL
11/04/87 closed
11/11/87 CRY FREEDOM
01/20/88 GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM
03/23/88 D.O.A.
04/20/88 APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH
05/04/88 POWAQQATSI
06/29/88 WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?
08/17/88 THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST
11/30/88 COCOON: THE RETURN
01/11/89 TALK RADIO
02/15/89 LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
07/05/89 THE KARATE KID PART III
08/09/89 THE ABYSS
09/20/89 SEA OF LOVE
11/01/89 THE BEAR
12/20/89 BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY

Forrest136
Forrest136 on January 28, 2006 at 5:06 am

BORING! lets get back to movie talk!

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 28, 2006 at 4:47 am

Please excuse my third comment in a row, but I have just seen this posting by Theaterbuff1 at /theaters/7096/

“Actually what I really should’ve said in my earlier commentary above was that after the federal government moved its Northeast Philadelphia headquarters into the former GCC Northeast 4 building — along with all Philadelphia attorneys who practice Social Security Disability law — at that point it would make perfectly good sense to bring out the wrecking ball and go ahead and knock the whole building to the ground.”

My question is whether Theaterbuff1 is saying he would use a wrecking ball or other means of destruction like a bomb to attack a federal building and kill people inside. After Oklahoma City and 9-11, we should all be on the alert for such threats, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other government agencies would be interested in knowing of such threats or intentions of death and destruction.

As New York City pages including the Ziegfeld page seem to be the pages most heavily used, it seems appropriate given his comments above, to enter this here. Like all Americans, Philadelphians were shocked at 9-11, and we don’t need these kinds of postings.

I don’t find the post amusing, especially he knows that I am among the lawyers he is referring to. And, before I hear his reply, I will say that I’ve never advocated for the destruction of any theater building. I’ve volunteered since 2002 to save movie palaces and theaters and other buildings, not destroy them.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 28, 2006 at 3:25 am

Also, my political views have never been expressed on the Internet or the media. My political views are not the business of cinema treasures. Considering how he manages to relay his own views, TheaterBuff1 should not be attempting to relay or interpret my views of historic figures that he may gleam off site in any way including replies to emails. Nor should he be extracting such comments from direct email correspondence. I am not going to comment on this website or any other on which historic figues I admire or don’t.

Theaterbuff1 is used to putting down people as “Taliban” and the like (see the Holme theater pages above), since they don’t have views as he does, but this website is supposed to celebrate our movie palace and movie theater heritage, not comment on people’s politics.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 28, 2006 at 3:01 am

After hdtv267 referred above, yesterday, wrote
“I’m looking forward to the upcoming schedule announcement and actually doing something to help bring back a great old theatre and just not pontiificate about it and expect merchants to perform magic tricks.”

I wrote above “we have never requested merchants, Hollywood, or the City to carry the burden by themselves, as the other gentleman has suggested.”

I’m am a very precise attorney so as TheaterBuff1 says that’s not his expectation, I copied below his quotes from the 3 theater pages on this website at which he proposes that merchants, Hollywood, and the City carry the burden, and I urge everybody visit those theater pages and read more. Of course, merchants, the city, and Hollywood, are not going to save the Orleans from demolition or reopen the long closed Mayfair or Holme theaters.

Now whether it’s to be a Wal*Mart or a Target store that’s to be taking over that site, whoever it’s to be could foot the entire bill of restoring and covering its day-to-day operations in such a way so that on their behalf it could serve as a major showroom for their products, ranging from carpeting to tile to curtains to toilets to DVDs they sell of movies being exhibited there and so on and so forth. 1-27-06 AMC Orleans 8, Philadelphia
/theaters/3328/

Thus I would suggest the city should foot the cost of its full restoration and day-to-day operational expenses rather than any private benefactors or corporate sponsors assuming this cost. 1-17-06 Mayfair Theatre, Philadelphia /theaters/8257/

And it wouldn’t be a case of Hollywood’s getting behind restoring this building as a theater as an act of charity, mind you, but rather, in full recognition of its tremendous money-making potential, and in terms of creating the perfect prototype of the neighborhood theater of the future. 12-15-05 Holme Theatre
/theaters/9141/

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on January 27, 2006 at 7:02 pm

Ahem. Speaking as “the other gentleman,” presuming that I’m the one who’s being referred to above, in no instance have I ever requested that merchants, Hollywood, or the City carry the burden themselves. To quote a former U.S. president — who the above correspondant greatly admires — “There ya go again.”

But to give the full benefit of the doubt, I believe it’s far more a misunderstanding rather than an intentional misinterpretation. So to return things to accuracy, let me state here and now that my consistent argument all along is that if a theater is run well that all parties involved benefit. And I’ve only tried to say that if those who should benefit refuse to cooperate, it becomes very hard, if not impossible, for the theater to be of great benefit to those other parties. When Marie Antonette was told the peasants outside Versailles were starving because they were out of bread, she allegedly replied, “Let them eat cake.” In other words, she didn’t understand that those peasants whom she seemingly had no concern for were the very people who enabled she and others inside the palace to survive. And right now I see a very similar if not an identical disconnect between theater operators and the cities in which they operate, between the theaters and Hollywood, etc.

It is not my aim to see theaters run as though they are charities, but rather, as good, sound, solid investments. For without well-run theaters, Hollywood’s days are numbered. And I see time and time again where theaters are either shut down or not being run properly, the communities around these theaters looking very ghetto-like. And it does appear to be because the theaters are not getting their rightful share. To try to survive in the face of this, theater operators have no choice but to charge high ticket and concession stand prices, exhibit commercials in addition to movies, split themselves up into many smaller theaters, forego such things as curtains, underpay their staff and so on. And this, in turn, turns off otherwise avid theater patrons, making the dilemma all that much worse. And is that good for Hollywood? No, as it forces Hollywood to look to alternative means of marketing its product, such as cable and DVD release, which, of course, will be shortlived — at least profitability-wise — due to piracy. Also, when theaters sag, it makes the consumer business districts where they exist undesireable places to venture to. And that, in turn, hurts rather than benefits, the city.

See, in my case, I’m thinking of Hollywood, I’m thinking of the City, and thus I’m thinking how theaters — when run right — can be of great benefit to both. And also how much both lose out when they’re not run properly or are forced to fold completely. So why shouldn’t Hollywood, and the City, be strongly motivated to invest in them therefore? This seems to be where the big disconnect is going on right now. In my assessment — and keep in mind I’m an investor — it’s shades of Marie Antoinette’s “Let them eat cake” all over again…

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on January 27, 2006 at 4:27 pm

We’ll probably see something in the Movies sections of this Sunday’s New York papers.

Forrest136
Forrest136 on January 27, 2006 at 1:46 pm

The Theatre better start advertising the festival No one I know has heard of it yet!

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 27, 2006 at 7:07 am

Although I am sure you are referring to someone else who posts on certain Philadelphia theaters, rather than me, that might not be clear to readers on this theater page. The Friends of the Boyd and Committee to Save the Sameric have already done much to save the Boyd and advance an excellent restoration and program. We are now working with the new theater owner, Live Nation, to accomplish our mission. Of course, we have never requested merchants, Hollywood, or the City to carry the burden by themselves, as the other gentleman has suggested. Fortunately, Live Nation is making a tremendous investment, and we will assist in any way we can. Other thoughts about the Boyd should probably be directed to that page rather than this one.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on January 27, 2006 at 6:56 am

Its interesting that a lot of people today are not fans of movie musicals as when the talkies started in was the movie musical that pretty much launched them like a rocket. I’ve always found music and great camerawork exhilarating(think Lubitsch and The Merry Widow) or just sit it down and record Astaire and Rogers/Charisse.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 27, 2006 at 6:44 am

I am not a huge fan of movie musicals. I didn’t like Chicago. I was charmed by Moulin Rouge, which I also saw at the Ziegfeld. I skipped seeing anywhere Rent and The Producers. I would have seen The Producers, but the critics said it looked like they just filmed the play raher than making a movie, much like what you are saying.

To comment further on Rhett’s remarks, I think the Rings might have an audience, especially for people who want to see them all at once on the very large screen. Gladiator is also a movie that plays much better on the large screen than on a TV, but I’m not sure if it reached any legendary status among filmgoers. We all know Ben Hur reached that status.

Frankly, I’d doubt there is going to be a huge success during weekday screenings of the same movies playing during the weekends. I hope many attend the weekend shows.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on January 27, 2006 at 6:33 am

Howard I thought your comment about Chicago was interesting. I find movie musicals of today unwatchable due to the loss of any skill in staging, photographing, and editing musical sequences(don’t like the music much either.) Yet Chicago is considered a great success for today’s audiences. So you I guess you didn’t like it?

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 27, 2006 at 4:13 am

We don’t have dates or films scheduled yet. We are working towards this goal.
Most likely our films will be during the summer.
I don’t understand why the link doesn’t work, but I tried it and you are correct. No problem directly going onto our website.
In the meantime, our 1980’s Philadelphia themed film will be at International House in Philadelphia on Friday eve May 12, in 35 MM, Brian DePalma’s Blow Out.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on January 27, 2006 at 4:07 am

Howard that sounds wonderful.
Unfortunately I couldn’t open your page.
When will this be?

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 27, 2006 at 2:07 am

We know we will see you, Vince, at our 70 MM film shows at Philadelphia’s Boyd, www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org, which we are working to have after the movie palace reopens.

There aren’t very many theaters that can still 70 MM since so many have closed. There are others in NYC that would be wonderful venues that likely still have their 70 MM projectors such as the Paris theater.

veyoung52
veyoung52 on January 27, 2006 at 2:02 am

I would love to see a 75mm film festival anywhere!