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On this day in 1978, RCMH opened what proved to be its final screen/stage presentation for the year-end holidays, which by that time encompassed Thanksgiving as well as Christmas. The film was Universal’s “Caravans,” starring Anthony Quinn, Jennifer O'Neill, Michael Sarrazin, and Behrooz Vosoughi in an adaptation of James Michener’s “Epic Desert Adventure” novel. The two-part stage show started, of course, with “The Nativity,” followed by “A Merrie Olde Christmas.” Judging by the advertised performance times, the entire stage show ran about 30 minutes.
I suspect that the reports about the United Palace were just a rumor started by the management to secure the booking when RCMH became unavailable. There was never any “official” announcement by the Tonys organization that they were even considering the United Palace, let alone booked it. I think that the story started in the New York Post, which has become notorious for its inaccuracy since Rupert Murdoch became publisher.
On this veterans' remberance holiday in 1943, Columbia’s B&W battle epic, “Sahara,” starring Humphrey Bogart as commander of an Allied tank being pursued by a Nazi battalion, opened its NYC premiere engagement at the Capitol Theatre. The stage show had two parts, the first provided by Lawrence Welk & His Orchestra, which included singers, dancers, and a comedian. The second half presented Ralph Edwards in a 15-minute version of his hit radio program, “Truth or Consequences,” with patrons picked from the audience to serve as contestants.
As I suspected above on 7/14/10, the deal to present the next Tony Awards at the United Palace fell through. The telecast will be held instead at the Beacon Theatre, which is about 100 blocks to the south of Washington Heights and probably seems safer and more convenient for members of the elite group that presents the Tony Awards.
Yes, I did mean “North.” “Lost in Alaska” is where I wish that Sarah Palin would get, preferably under an avalanche.
I thought that the next TONY Awards show was supposed to be held at the United Palace (ex-Loew’s 175th Street)? I guess that the latter proved too far uptown for the celebrity-studded Tony audience to travel to.
Fifty years ago today, “Lost in Alaska,” a sprawling outdoor epic in CinemaScope and color starring John Wayne, Capucine, Stewart Granger, Ernie Kovacs, and teen rage Fabian, opened its NYC premiere engagement at the Paramount Theatre, which had replaced the now demolished Roxy as a showcase for 20th Century-Fox releases. From 5 to 6:00pm that day only, Fabian himself hosted an “After School Coke Party” in the Paramount’s lobby, handing out autographed photos while some of his hit recordings were played discreetly in the background.
On this night in 1932, WB’s dramatic thunderbolt with Paul Muni, “I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang,” opened its world premiere engagement at the Strand Theatre, just two days after Franklin Delano Roosevelt had been elected to his first term as President of the USA. A social and political revolution was in the air, and the B&W movie played an important role in bringing it about.
I think that the “Pricing Key” on the right side of the following link might explain why sales are “soft” this year. For a family of four, the cheapest seats (in the third mezzanine) would cost a total of $180. I believe that children pay the same prices as adults: View link
Half a century ago today, on November 10, 1960, Paramount’s “The World of Suzie Wong” opened its world premiere engagement at RCMH. The Technicolor melodrama gave William Holden sole billing above the title, and introduced Nancy Kwan as the Hong Kong prostitute. Leon Leonidoff’s stage revue, “Town snf Country,” included an ice-skating segment built around ice ballerina Margie Lee, and “a joyful Thanksgiving banquet of song” by a group called The Manhattanaires in sddition to the RCMH resident company.
The following illustrated article repeats a frequent error that the Meserole was originally called the Garden Theatre. What nonsense! The Garden was another theatre on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint.
Today marks the 37th anniversary of the opening of the 1973 Thanksgiving-Christmas Show, with Walt Disney Productions' Technicolor animated feature, “Robin Hood,” on screen. Leon Leonidoff’s stage revue was divided into two parts, the traditional “The Nativity” and the razzle-dazzle “World Wide Christmas.”
Tomorrow (11/8) will mark the 66th anniversary of the opening at Loew’s Criterion of the world premiere engagement of MGM’s “Lost in a Harem,” starring boxoffice giants Bud Abbott & Lou Costello. The B&W comedy re-cycled costumes and sets from MGM’s Technicolor spectacle, “Kismet,” starring Ronald Colman and Marlene Dietrich. Ironically, “Kismet” was currently in its 11th record-breaking week at the Astor Theatre, almost directly across Times Square from the Criterion. I wonder how many people who saw both films spotted the similarities?
Alexander Pantages was still in jail on the night of the opening of the Hollywood Pantages. The warder kindly sent a radio to Pantages' cell so that he could listen to the broadcast of the ceremonies.
On this November 6th in 1932, the Europa Theatre was in its final two days of “Louise, Queen of Prussia.” Arriving next was the eagerly-awaited American premiere engagement of G. W. Pabst’s “Kameradschaft” (“Comradeship”), which had already won critical acclaim and artistic prizes in Europe and England.
On this day in 1936, William Shakespeare made his screen debut at RCMH with the opening of Paul Czinner’s version of “As You Like It,” which gave the Hungarian producer-director’s German wife, the legendary Elisabeth Bergner, sole billing above the title in the role of Rosalind. Topping the supporting cast of the B&W 20th Century-Fox release were Laurence Olivier, Sophie Stewart, and Harry Ainley. Russell Markert’s stage revue, “Iridescence,” was described as a “rainbow of songs and dances in three scenes,” and was preceded by an overture of Tschaikovsky favorites.
Perhaps the date of the photo was April 29, 1929, which is reflected in the final numbers of the .jpg coding.
On this day in 1953, the Paramount Theatre opened its “Happy 27th Birthday Show” with WB’s Doris Day-Howard Keel Technicolor musical, “Calamity Jane,” on screen and a stage presentation featuring the Ames Brothers, Pupi Campo & His Orchestra, Clifford Guest, and the Peiro Brothers. The very next day, Howard Keel would also turn up on the screen of Radio City Music Hall with the opening of MGM’s “Kiss Me Kate” (which was accompanied, of course, by a stage show).
On this night in 1955, the gala world premiere of Samuel Goldwyn’s filmization of “Guys and Dolls” took place at the Capitol Theatre, as a benefit for the Will Rogers Memorial Hospital. Journalists from all over the United States and Canada were flown in by Goldwyn and MGM to cover the event, which had a “Bridge of Stars” constructed in front of the Capitol’s entrance for arriving celebrities. Continuous performances of “Guys and Dolls” started the next day at 10:00am.
On this day in 1933, RKO’s “After Tonight,” starring Constance Bennett with future husband Gilbert Roland, opened its NYC premiere engagement at RCMH. The untitled stage show was personally produced by “Roxy” with a cast of 500, including the Radio City Symphony, Corps de Ballet, Choral Ensemble, the Roxyettes, and guest artists. During this point in its history, RCMH had a general admission price scale of 35 cents from opening time to 1:00pm, 55 cents to 6:00pm, and 85 cents to closing. Reserved seats in the first mezzanine were a bit pricier. By comparison, the nearby and equally large Roxy Theatre, which had filed for bankruptcy and reduced its stage shows to eight acts of vaudeville, charged 25 cents to 1pm, 35 cents to 6pm, and 55 cents thereafter.
On this night 60 years ago, the United Artists Theatre held a “Halloween Spook Show,” which started at 11:00pm and included a screening of the 1948 classic, “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein.” Starting at 6:00pm, a real corpse was placed on display in the grand lobby. Anyone who could positively identify the corpse was eligible for a $50,000 reward, according to an ad in the Los Angeles Times. Also on screen that night was the United Artists' current double feature, “Woman on the Run” and “Madness of the Heart.” There was no increase in admission prices for this special evening.
I don’t know the full price scale for the Strand Theatre in October, 1942, but advertising said that gerneral admission was 55 cents from opening until 1:00pm…Since the end of the Depression and the wartime “boom” in attendance, admission prices were gradually increasing, but I think that $1 was about tops for first-run Broadway houses except for “loges,” which had a slight additional charge.
On this night in 1942 at the Strand Theatre, you could see a “preview” of “George Washington Slept Here,” plus the current “You Can’t Escape Forever” and a stage show topped by Stan Kenton & His Orchestra, Jack Carson, and the Three Stooges. The next day, “George Washington Slept Here” started its NYC premiere engagement at the Strand, with a new stage show comprised entirely of Phil Spitalny and his huge and incomparable “All-Girl Orchestra.”
James MacArthur was the ADOPTED son of Helen Hayes and Charles MacArthur. The couple also had a child of their own, Mary, a promising actress who died at 19 from polio.