National Twin

1500 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 26 - 50 of 99 comments

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on May 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Yes, my one experience would lead to me to conclude that bigjoe59 is correct. Also, thanks to Al & King Biscuits for corrections above. The Intro will be amended within a day or two.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on May 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Hello-

i have to respond to the comments made by rivoli157 and GaryCohen. while the surrounding area may have gotten “colorful” at one point the theater itself never went down hill or got seedy however you wish to phrase it. it fact “The Towering Inferno” opened on an exclusive Manhattan run Dec. 1974 that lasted till the end of May 1975. in terms of –“then the twinning and
the real decline of Times Square-no one in their right mind went to a movie theater on Broadway”. that is of course simply not true. from the day the it opened as a single screen theater Dec. 1972 thru its closure as a twin in 1996 the theater was a well run operation and always ran 1st run engagements. whether or not the films were any good was a matter of opinion. during the theater’s 24 year existence i went there many times and no matter how “colorful” the area may have gotten at one point the theater(s)were always well run and the patrons were regular well dressed well behaved folk and not the “colorful” denizens of the area as has been implied in the comments.

rivoli157
rivoli157 on November 13, 2011 at 10:50 am

I seem to recall a big inaugural opening with The Poseidon Adventure. A few other big films after that , then the twinning and the real big decline of Times Square-no one in their right mind went to a movie theatre on Broadway. Now ABC Studios and Sephora

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on August 26, 2011 at 7:53 pm

The theatre closed on January 22nd, 1998 with the previously mentioned For Richer or Poorer (in DTS) and Home Alone 3 as the final engagements.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on February 26, 2010 at 3:00 pm

This intro has several wrong dates.

The National opened in 1972, was twinned in 1982 and closed in 1998.

Cineplex Odeon closed it for tripling in 1987, an aborted attempt when the landlord refused to allow it. The wall was never put up and the landlord hoped Cineplex Odeon would negotiate to leave instead as he no longer wanted a movie theatre there. It re-opened as a remodeled twin.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 11, 2010 at 5:27 pm

The theatre always did well. The landlord wanted it out of there as they felt a movie theatre cheapened the building and they could get better terms from other options. They refused to let Cineplex Odeon triplex it at their own expense.

GaryCohen
GaryCohen on January 11, 2010 at 4:49 pm

I was in the National a couple times during the Xmas holiday season 1974. I saw Roger Moore in the little-remembered, but terrific “Gold” and I saw one of my all-time faves “The Towering Inferno.” I remember it as being fairly nice. However the theater was built in 1973 when the Times Square area was pretty sleazy: all sorts of panhandlers and disreputable characters hanging out outside. While I saw very few films on Broadway after this period, I imagine the crowd patronizing this theater probably deteriorated and the theater itself probably went downhill. By the time Giuliani got into office and the revitalization of Times Square began, it was probably too late to save this theater. That is the only reason I can think of why a theater built as late as 1973 should have only lasted until 1996.

SethLewis
SethLewis on April 1, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Add to that a really good long marquee that looked great lit up

SethLewis
SethLewis on April 1, 2009 at 12:34 pm

I’m now repeating myself but that’s Hollywood for you…this was a really cool theatre probably 10 years behind the times for its own good…Opened at a time when road shows were a thing of the past and where there relatively few big pictures to fill it at 1400 seats…by the time this had opened the State was already a sizeable twin, the Ziegfeld was closing intermittently, the Penthouse/Cinerama was showing dross from American International and the Astor Plaza was the really big showcase theatre on Broadway…so basically it was Poseidon Adventure, Towering Inferno and downhill from there
A shame because the escalator ride was fun, the ticketing with cashier style tickets rather than hard tickets a novelty, and because it was just big…in many ways it could have been as a single as good an experience as the Astor Plaza (and I saw Jaws at the Rivoli, and Star Wars at the Astor Plaza opening weekend) and as a twin not bad at all if it had been part of a better circuit

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 1, 2009 at 11:32 am

It may have been the last one this large but hardly the last single screen even in Manhattan.

Coate
Coate on April 1, 2009 at 10:53 am

Was this the last single-screen theater to be built in the United States?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 12, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Back in the late eighties there was a Harlem gang known as THE TRANSFORMERS. Among their exploits was standing in movie lines in numbers of up to 200. Once the ticket taker opened the screen for seating, one member would scream “Tranformers transform!” and a rabble of teenagers would storm the entrance, knocking down and hurting the ticket taker and movie-goers in the process.

The National, like most Times Square theatres, was often the recipient of this group’s attention and judging from Ed Blanks post above, it had already started by 1980.

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on July 9, 2008 at 3:52 pm

When it first reopened as a twin in 1982, the premiere engagements were Porky’s and a dubbed version of Christiane F. How about that, a bad movie that made lots of money and a great movie that didn’t make as much.

edblank
edblank on May 27, 2008 at 12:17 pm

I seldom went to the National because it was always playing wide-release films that had opened the same day in my hometown, Pittsburgh.

I do remember, though, being about a block away in December 1980 when a rowdy crowd awaiting admission to the first performance of “Stir Crazy” crashed through the plate glass window. Can’t recall if the theater went ahead with the first performances that morning and afternoon.

And I remember waiting on line outside the National one day when hordes of people kept line-jumping. You can’t win that kind of a situation when there’s no supervision. I gave up and left, thinking, “Life is too short.”

rivest266
rivest266 on March 2, 2008 at 6:04 am

Hollywood90038, where are your pictures?

markp
markp on January 27, 2008 at 12:02 pm

Very true what Larry Goldsmith said about Mann Theatres. The 2 National General Fox Theatres we had here in central N.J. ( Union and Woodbridge) were both gone by 1982. Woodbridge closed in 1979, torn down, became Levitz Furniture, (itself now bankrupt) and Union became Chuck E. Cheesey, opps I mean cheese.

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on January 27, 2008 at 10:11 am

not demolished now ABC studio.

larrygoldsmith
larrygoldsmith on January 27, 2008 at 9:54 am

JUST TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT THE NATIONAL THEATRE WAS BUILT,OPENED, AND OPERATED BY NATIONAL GENERAL THEATRES BOB BOTHWELL WAS TRANSFERRED TO NY FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO OVERSEE THE OPENING. TED MANN SOON BOUGHT OUT NATIONAL GENERAL CORP AND AS HE DID WITH EVERY OTHER NATIONAL GENERAL/FOX THEATRE HE EITHER CLOSED THEM, SOLD THEM, OR TORE THEM DOWN . HE ONLY BOUGHT THE HUGE CHAIN FOR THE REAL ESTATE. HE WAS NOT A TRUE SHOWMAN. THE ORIGINAL CHAIN WAS THE LARGEST CHAIN IN AMERICA, THANKS TO TED MANN, IT IS DOWN TO ABOUT 20 THEATRES, MOSTLY IN LA. Larry Goldsmith

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 14, 2007 at 11:01 am

From the LA Times, dated 11/5/72:

Times Square to Get New Movie House

The first new motion picture in Times Square, New York City, in more than 30 years is scheduled to open December 12, according to Los Angeles-based National General Theaters, Inc. The $1.5 million, 1445-seat theater is incorporated in a new 34-story office building at 1500 Broadway, on the east side between 43rd and 44th Streets.

The theater and its decor were designed by architect Drew Eberson. The marquee was designed by Ben Mayer Design, Inc, Los Angeles, and built by the Artkraft-Strauss Sign Corp. of New York City. Opening attraction will be the world premiere of 20th Century Fox’s “The Poseidon Adventure”.

William
William on March 2, 2007 at 7:49 am

The National Theatre was twinned when it was part of the RKO chain, not Mann Theatres.

JoelWeide
JoelWeide on March 2, 2007 at 7:31 am

Your pic from from 1970’s era is probally around the grand opening time for the National. Its opening attraction was ‘Posiden Adventure.’ Klein, (his first name escapes me) as Presdent of National General, wanted premire theatres on both coasts. They already operated the Chinese in Los Angeles, and the National was the first new theatre construction on Broadway in many years. Ted Mann, when he took control of the place, twinned it.

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on October 7, 2006 at 3:30 am

Nothing like it the best NEW YEARS EVE!

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 6, 2006 at 10:12 pm

That sure is it, LM. That marquee was the best place to stand on New Year’s eve.