Radio City Music Hall

1260 6th Avenue,
New York, NY 10020

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moviebuff82 on April 30, 2013 at 12:29 pm

I wonder if the nfl draft will continue its run at the hall…seems that it’s a popular venue for nfl fans across america. As for awards shows, the Oscars should not play at this venue….it was meant to be in hollywood.

Vito on April 30, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I watched the Tony Award nominations this morning and was happy to hear that after two years at the Beacon the award ceremony will return to Radio City this year.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 30, 2013 at 6:47 pm

I forget which movie attraction it was (maybe “Tom Sawyer?” or Disney’s “Robin Hood?”) but I can recall seeing the trailer for “Mame” at the Hall, and it was so long, that I remember my aunt rhetorically asking, “why come to see the movie, they’re practically showing the whole thing right now?!”

Ironically, we did go back and see “Mame” at the Hall, anyway!

Vito on March 29, 2013 at 2:25 am

Thanks Robert I knew you would be the one to answer that trailers question. I recall loving the days when a new fresh box of snipes arrived from Filmack. Mike that “Curtain Raiser” term comes from the company that supplies many of the personalised trailers used today. But yes policy trailers are what they basically are.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 28, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Vito calls those strips “curtain raisers” but aren’t they also called “policy trailers?”

RobertEndres on March 28, 2013 at 10:12 am

Since those snipes are so fondly remembered I thought I’d add a couple of comments about how they were produced. When I was a student at the U. of Ill. my film class visited Filmack in Chicago as it came as close to a “movie studio” as anything we had out there at the time.

The black and white snipes always featured white letters superimposed over an art background which could be a theatre auditorium, or as in the case of Radio City’s snipes just a pattern. In reality,they were black letters on a white card, with the “background” art in negative on a glass plate in a frame that closed over the card. To do an angled “wipe” another white card was put over the lettered card, and the camera operator slowly pulled it out of the bottom of the frame revealing the lettering. Since the snipe was actually the camera negative, everything was reversed and the foreground art became the background with the now white lettering on top. There were plates containing artwork as well as photos of feature’s one-sheets in a cart next to the camera and the operator could just select the one he needed as per the order. Filmack also had an extesive printing operation which contained type in hundereds of fonts to print the cards. (They also owned one of two Oxberry animation stands in Chicago at the time. The other owned by Sears.) While my teacher who had been a cinematographer in L.A. wasn’t impressed, I thought it was a remarkably cheap and easy way to create what looked like a fully animated clip.

A lot of the color ads with still images from local merchants were done at Alexander Films in Colorado. They had touring salesmen who would come into town, sell the spot, take the slides and then arrange for them to be shown in the theatre. Not as technically proficient as the digital clips used pre-show today, but not bad for their time.

DavidDymond on March 28, 2013 at 8:36 am

VITO — I still play LET’S ALL GO TO THR LOBBY as a show starter — It’s real retro and our patrons also love it! I also use YUM YUM. The teenagers always thought the one where the hot dog slips into the bun was always suggestive!!

Vito on March 28, 2013 at 7:38 am

Aww, that’s nice to hear Bill, thanks

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on March 28, 2013 at 7:29 am

Whenever Vito and/or Rob Endres post anything on Cinema Treasures, it just makes my day. Thanks, guys.

Vito on March 28, 2013 at 2:00 am

Oh yes Robert I remember fondly those Filmack strips we all used them all thru the 50s and before my time as well. They were as you wrote cheaply made but they always had wonderful musical accompaniment lovely little march like bounce your head to the music sort of thing. Most common use was to insert before the trailers things like “Previews of our coming attractions”, “Coming Soon” or specific dates like “Starts Wednesday”. The trailers would end with be “also selected short subjects” Now a days they use highly produced what are called “Curtain Raisers” with Welcome to the show please don’t smoke or use your phone and visit the concession stand that sort of thing. Not to sound like the grumpy old “In my day” guy but the ones use today don’t have the charm of those old fashion Snips Many of you may recall seeing one of the old concession snipes in the movie “Grease” where the hot dog jumps into the bun. Yup that was real we actually showed that one which was so darn cute.In addition, we would show small advertisements from the local merchants in town, just a still shot with once again that wonderful music, and we would splice three or four of those together to show prior to the trailers. Theatre advertisements are nothing new we did it back then and no one seemed to mind and it brought us a little extra revenue form the local diner or hardware store. Ah the neighborhood theatre who could ever forget those.

RobertEndres on March 27, 2013 at 12:57 pm

We did run some trailers when I was at the Hall, and I found a trailer for “Cowboys” which played before I worked there, in the film cabinet. (I remember that one because there was a question about light levels on “Harry and Walter Go To New York” and I spliced the normal density “Cowboys” Tr. to one of their reels to show that it was a film problem, not a light problem with our projectors.)

We also ran the trailer for “That’s Entertainment” with the thought that we were going to get the picture which MGM ultimately gave to the Ziegfeld.

The snipes you refer to which promoted special shows at individual theatres were common in the industry. In Illinois the Filmack Company turned them out quickly and cheaply and I have a whole reel of them I saved from a theatre I worked in out there. The Hall used them as noted to not only promote the upcoming feature, but also plug the stage show that accompanyed it. While cheaply made (image you saw projected was actually the camera negative so there was no print cost)the personalized snipes added a touch of class and individuality to a promotional presentation.

DavidM on March 27, 2013 at 10:54 am

I recall seeing a trailer at the Hall, followed by the scroll advertising the name of the stage show with the upcoming feature film.

Vito on March 27, 2013 at 2:22 am

I would imagine our resident RCMH expert REndres has the answer to the trailer question. In addition to the trailers the Music Hall also made up their own news reel; rather than just show one from a major studio they would take bits and pieces from many of the news reels from Paramount, MGM and Fox and make up a special RCMH newsreel.
I suppose one might say the answer as to why they did those things would be, hey, we are Radio City Music Hall and we are very special in everything we do :) 

rcdt55b on March 26, 2013 at 10:59 am

It’s funny that you mention that. I don’t know the answer but I was going through the film vault a few weeks ago and found that snipe along with many others.

StanleyNorton on March 26, 2013 at 9:42 am

For years I have enjoyed all the comments from people who have intimate knowledge and information about RCMH. I have attended the theatre many, many times when it was operating as a movie theatre ( and for the last some 30 years as a concert venue and for the Christmas show). I have a very trivial question to ask. Why did they run a specially made trailer (rather than the studio trailer) to advertise the next feature to play? If I remember correctly it was a simple graphic presentation or scroll accompanied by the organ. Was it to personalize the information and to also say something about the next stage presentation? Just wondering. I mean it was not an introduction to a studio trailer (as most theatres did at the time) but and entity to itself.

Ian on March 15, 2013 at 2:15 am

A view of the foyer taken in 2000 here:–


Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 5, 2013 at 9:30 am

Both “Gunga Din” and “Stagecoach” are bona fide all-time greats. Two bright and shiny jewels in the magnificent crown that was 1939 for the motion picture industry. “Made For Each Other,” its legendary stars notwithstanding, perhaps not so much.

Vito on December 22, 2012 at 3:10 am

The use of more film is good to hear, Digital has it’s place to be sure but 35/70mm has a quality all it’s own and cannot be allowed to simply vanish. Please keep us informed on any develops regarding the use of film at the Music Hall

rcdt55b on December 21, 2012 at 7:36 pm

I guess it doesn’t look better to the people that tested film and digital last year. According to them, the film 3D looked better on the huge screen. Digital couldn’t even fill it. As far as the 2D, there was no clear winner between the 2. We still run film for the Christmas show too.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on December 21, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Really rcdt55b? Film at RCMH in 2013, when digital looks so much better in this barn of a venue.

Talk about too much time on your hands….

markp on December 21, 2012 at 3:41 pm

I wish I could get copies of those pictures to add to my collection. This projectionist of 37 years only has memories left now that theatres have gone digital. All i have left is a gig in the Count Basie theatre in red bank NJ. Simplex XL’s reel to reel. (20 min.)

rcdt55b on December 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm

The film projectors may be used some more in the upcoming future. We will be testing some film elements in a few weeks.

markp on December 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm

rcdt55b, some people have way too much time on their hands. I loved your booth photos. I still wish someday I could get up there to see it, but I know its next to impossible. Christmas show ends next weekend so my wife will be finished there till probably next year.

HowardBHaas on November 24, 2012 at 4:02 pm

NBC TV’s 1st look show is right now doing an inside look at Radio City’s Christmas show

rcdt55b on November 24, 2012 at 10:32 am

I wish it was easier to get someone up here. It’s hard enough getting in myself sometimes. I do the same thing when I go to theaters. Always looking to the booth.