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On this day in 1959, WB’s “A Summer Place,” with Dorothy McGuire, Richard Egan, Sandra Dee, and Troy Donahue topping the cast, opened its NYC premiere engagement at RCMH. The Technicolor sudser proved a boxoffice smash nationally, but lasted only three weeks at the Music Hall, where it was supported by Russell Markert’s stage revue, “Fall Frolic.” which featured the usual resident company plus the dancing Bob Devoyce Trio, the singing Rover Boys, and Noberti, a “comedy novelty.”
On this day in 1925, Loew’s Orpheum was presenting “The Tower of Lies,” starring Lon Chaney and Norma Shearer, with comedian Jack Wilson topping the vaudeville bill. Performances were continuous from 9:15am, with the last complete show starting at 10:30pm.
On this day in 1948, MGM’s “The Three Musketeers,” starring Lana Turner, Gene Kelly, June Allyson, Van Heflin, and Angela Lansbury in the first Technicolor version of the adventure classic, opened its world premiere engagement at Loew’s State. Since dropping vaudeville at the State, Loew’s had been developing the house as a “Showcase for important pictures,” and had offered a better deal for “Musketeers” than Radio City Music Hall, which had also wanted it.
A special concert tonight (10/19) at the Beacon Theatre by Leon Russell and Elton John will be broadcast “live” on the Fuse TV channel, starting at 8pm (EDT). The event will promote their new CD, “The Union."
Further details at http://www.fuse.tv/
Today marks the 55th anniversary of the opening at the Paris Theatre of the NYC premiere engagement of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Trouble With Harry,” a “black comedy” with a cast of veteran character stars and newcomer Shirley MacLaine. The movie’s chief selling points were a corpse that never stayed buried for long and VistaVision-Technicolor photography of Vermont’s autumnal glories. The Paramount release proved a boxoffice disappointment and ended up as a second feature when eent to NYC neighborhood theatres via the Loew’s circuit. Topping the bill was the Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis VistaVision-Technicolor hit, “Artists and Models,” which also just happened to have Shirley MacLaine in a leading role.
Today marks the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Center’s world premiere engagement of RKO’s “The Last Days of Pompeii,” an historical spectacle in the DeMille mold with special effects by the creators of “King Kong.” The Center had only recently become a cinema again, after a highly-successful 44-week run with a spectacular stage musical, “The Great Waltz.” With its new film policy, the Center no longer presented stage revues, but it had a resident orchestra conducted by B.A. Rolfe, which played during the intervals, as well as an overture prior to the start of the film. Every Center program also included the latest installment of “The March of Time” series.
Yesterday (10/14) was the 56th anniversary of the opening of RCMH’s world premiere engagement of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” the first feature in Paramount’s VistaVision process. Directed by Michael Curtiz, the Technicolor musical starred Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen. Leonidoff’s stage revue, “Showcase,” included a fashion parade by the Rockettes and a Statue of Liberty finale with some of Irving Berlin’s patriotic flagwavers and simulated fireworks.
On this day in 1943, “Phantom of the Opera,” Universal’s Technicolor remake of the silent Lon Chaney classic, opened its NYC premiere engagement at the Capitol Theatre. This time around, Claude Rains played the title role, with Nelson Eddy and Susanna Foster as the romantic leads. Although advertising didn’t spell it out, the Capitol’s stage bill was entirely “Negro,” including Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra, the Deep River Boys, Peg Leg Bates, and extra added attraction Lena Horne, who was filling time between movie assisgnments st MGM.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of RCMH’s world premiere engagement of U-I’s “Midnight Lace,” starring Doris Day, Rex Harrison and John Gavin under the direction of David Miller. The pseudo-Hitchcock suspenser was co-produced in Eastman Color by Ross Hunter and Day’s husband, Marty Melcher, and was chiefly notable for her sumptuous wardrobe by the legendary Irene. Leonidoff’s “Brazil” was the stage revue, employing all the RCMH regulars as well as some imported Brazilian entertainers who had never performed in the USA before.
On this “traditional” Columbus Day in 1944, MGM’s “Mrs. Parkington,” starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon, opened its world premiere engagement at RCMH. This was the fourth teaming of Garson and Pidgeon so far, all of which had played RCMH. The stage revue with “Mrs. Parkington” was Leonidoff’s “American Rhapsody,” a tribute to the music of George Gershwin.
“He Walked By Night” & “Let’s Live a Little” opened at the Maspeth Theatre on May 30th, 1949. according to advertising in the Long Island Press. By that time, the Maspeth had been upped in “clearance” and was playing day-and-date with the third-tier of Loew’s theatres (Woodside, Willard, Hillside, Prospect, Plaza). That’s probably the reason for the multi-colored flags above the marquee and entrance. If the photo had been taken much later, the Maspeth probably would also have had “Air-Conditioned” banners hanging from the marquee.
A recent photo of the Globe as furniture store can be seen at the end of the first part of a new article about the “Bronx Greenbelt” here:
The original marquee and other signs were pared down in the early years of WW2, when Loew’s did its patriotic duty by donating the much-needed metal to “scrap drives” for the manufacture of planes, ships, tanks, and munitions.
That 1949 photo has been displayed here at least twice before, most recently on 12/5/09 when it was part of an exhibit at the Q Gardens Gallery.
Tomorrow night (October 11th) will mark the 84th anniversary of the grand opening of this Academy of Music, which was advertised as “Built to withstand the Ages— Dedicated to future generations,” but ended up being demolished near the end of the century. William Fox’s “The Family Upstairs,” starring Virginia Valli, was the screen attraction, with a stage presentation including Nellie & Sara Kouns, Borrah Minevitch & His 24 Harmonica Kings, Emil Boreo, Fay Adler & Ted Bradford, the 14 Academy Girls, and the 60-piece Academy Symphony Orchestra. Programs changed weekly.
The listing address URGENTLY needs correcting! The community is known as Elmhurst, not Elmwood. The confusion might be due to the fact that the Newtown was once under the management of the same company that ran the Elmwood, which was also in Elmhurst. As far as I know, there has never been a community called Elmwood in the borough of Queens.
Tonight will mark the 75th anniversary of the opening at the Hollywood Theatre of the international premiere engagement of WB’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” described in advertising as “Three Hours of Entertainment That Was Three Centuries in the Making.” Directed by the great European stage innovator Max Reinhadt with assistance from William Dieterle, the B&W adaptation of William Shakespeare’s comic fantasy had a huge Hollywood cast, including James Cagney, Dick Powell, Joe E. Brown, Mickey Rooney, Anita Louise, Hugh Herbert, and newcomer Olivia de Havilland. All seats were reserved during the Hollywood Theatre engagement, with two performances daily at 2:30 and 8:30pm. Evening tickets were priced at $2.20, $1.65, $1.10, $0.85. and $0.55. Matinees were $1.10, $0.85, aand $0.55. Tickets were being sold eight weeks in advance by mail, at brokers, and at the Hollywood Theatre boxoffice.
When I tried to link, I got a message that those photos have been removed by “the administrator.” Who dat?
Tonight will mark the 80th anniversary of the opening of the Los Angeles premiere engagement at the United Artists Theatre of “Whoopee,” co-produced by Samuel Goldwyn and Florenz Ziegfeld with Eddie Cantor repeating the role he played in the Broadway stage hit. Filmed entirely in Technicolor, the UA release would be presented at “popular prices” starting the next day, but on opening night, tickets were priced from $3 to $5. Eddie Cantor and other members of the cast, as well as scores of Hollywood celebrities, attended the gala festivities.
On this day in 1943, “Lassie Come Home,” which developed into a legendary series of movies and TV programs, opened its world premiere engagement at RCMH. On stage, “Autumn Revue” included a tap tribute to the WACS by the Rockettes and a badminton match between champion players Ken Davidson and John Scott.
The Chicago run at the McVickers lasted less than six months. What happened to “Spartacus” in Chicago after that? Did it go into neighborhood release, or was it “shelved” until 1962?
This 1937 photo is part of a New York Times article in today’s Real Estate section:
Fifty years ago today, the Fox Theatre was presenting Columbia’s Franz Liszt biopic, “Song Without End,” advertised as “Direct from six weeks at Radio City Music Hall,” where it had been supported by a stage revue. At the Fox, the Dirk Bogarde starrer was accompanied by a travel featurette, “Wonders of Rome.” The Fox’s nearby competition that day included “The Apartment” and Disney’s “Japan” at Loew’s Metropolitan; “All the Young Men” and “The Enemy General” at the Brooklyn Paramount; and “Portrait in Black” and “S.O.S. Pacific” at the RKO Albee. All were exclusive first-run for Brooklyn before moving on to the neighborhood houses.
A video tour of the new premises can be seen here:
A unique atmospheric theatre with futuristic decor called the Embassy in Reading, PA, initially used real steam to create clouds on the ceiling, but had to discontinue it when water kept raining down on the audience. More about the Embassy here: /theaters/10680/