World Theatre

153 W. 49th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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Showing 26 - 50 of 84 comments

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 15, 2011 at 9:20 pm

You can clearly see the three floors in this shot.

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Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 15, 2011 at 9:18 pm

LOL. tip ‘toe’.

To make matters even murkier, Ed, I believe the Big Top briefly operated as the WORLD as well.

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robboehm on April 15, 2011 at 9:08 pm

When the Punch & Judy, by then called the Charles Hopkins was no longer viable as a legit theatre because of it’s size it became the Westminster Cinema in 1934 playing solely British films. In 1935 it became the World showing French and Italian films.

robboehm on April 15, 2011 at 9:00 pm

This must be where we had “culture night” from the office and a coed group went to see The Devil and Miss Jones.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 15, 2011 at 8:56 pm

I’m tying in some old information that good old Lost Memory provided back in Sept 2006 for a porn theater I added here called Paree Adult Cinema and Live Show. Al, you were involved in that discussion way back when. We started talking about the infamous Frisco Theater on 7th Avenue, which I had been researching to add here at the time and he posted some detailed C of O information regarding the old Studebaker building that a number of porn houses (including the Frisco on 7th and the Circus Cinema and Big Top Theater on B'way) shared. Here’s what he had to add:

<<A June 1969 c/o for 732 Seventh Ave shows a three story building. The first floor has a 130 seat theater. The second and third floors each have a restaurant and cabaret (with dancing).

A June 1972 c/o now gives the address as 732 Seventh Ave & 1604 Broadway. The first floor has a 440 seat motion picture theater. The second floor has a restaurant and cabaret (with dancing). The third floor is now a 200 seat theater.

An April 1984 c/o gives the address as 1604 Broadway. The first floor is a 440 seat motion picture theater. The second floor is a 200 seat motion picture theater. The third floor is a 212 seat motion picture theater.

An April 1988 c/o gives the address as 1604 Broadway. The first floor is still a 440 seat motion picture theater. The second floor is now office space. The third floor is a 212 seat motion picture theater.>>

We definitely decided that the 130 seat theater at 732 Seventh was the New Mini Cinema that was quickly renamed the Frisco. The 440 seat theater has got to be the Circus Cinema with the second floor 200 seat theater being the Big Top (which advertised “one flight up” on its B'way signage. That would leave the 212 seat room on the third floor as a very likely candidate for the new World Theater I’ve been wondering about here, which later became Pink.

Lost had also commented a bit later that he found marquee permits at this address under the name “World 49th Street Theater Corp” – which is the capper for me. Now what to do with my compulsion to add this theater to the CT roster! Oh, if Warren G Harris were still here, he’d be baffled and boggled (and more than a bit irate) over my fascination with these porn pits of old Times Square. Maybe someone will tip “toe” over here and make a snide remark in his stead!

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm

The brick front of the World looks just like the pub, so I think it is still there. When the Circus was closed both it and Pink were described as ‘theatres’ by the authorities.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 15, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Thanks, Al. Posted a poor-quality vid-cap that shows the marquee in 1992 with the PINK lettering above it. Was that a strip club? And wasn’t that building demolished with the rest of the block or has it somehow survived the new construction around it?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 15, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Ed, if it helps, I believe is was the same location operating as PINK at 204 West 49th Street. It shared a building with the CIRCUS and may now be a Playwright Celtic Pub.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 15, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Forgot to add, that 2nd photo also clearly shows that once you got past the turnstile and revolving door, you had to take at least 1 flight of stairs up to the screening room. Maybe there was a ballroom up there or something that allowed easy conversion.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 15, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Back in September 17, 2007, I posted images and asked about another World Theater that was located on the south side of W. 49th just off B'way, next door to the RKO Warner video store that was on the corner for a few years. I figured it may have been a new location carved from office or former cabaret/dance hall space when Rockefeller Center evicted the operators from the original World and changed the name to New Embassy 49.

I found a few images on the excellent American Classic Images site:

Night shot Oct 1983

Entrance at night Oct 1983

Erotic Angels May 1986

Looking at the first pic, the sign hanging under the marquee reads in part “The Nations #1 Adult Premiere Theatre,” which leads me to believe this was run by the managers of the old World Theatre and they were looking to carry the brand right down the block with them. Is anyone able to confirm that or know anything different about this “other” World?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on February 23, 2010 at 8:58 am

The New Embassy 49 name lasted from 1982 to April 1987 when it closed with a re-release of “The Aristocats”.

rlrl2010 on January 28, 2010 at 2:57 pm

I met actor John Belushi in front of this theater on Columbus Day 1978. We recognized him immediately. This street was kind of schizoid as the theater made it look sleazy yet the tall buildings from 6th Avenue that reached over onto the street gave it an air of respectability. Seemed W 49th street especially between 7th and 8th was loaded with porno palaces—my dad told me there was a time when 49th west of 7th was in it’s own way as seedy as 42 street

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 1, 2009 at 2:13 pm

The WORLD and SHOW WORLD are two different venues. The latter is still there, in some form, on 42nd and 8th Avenue.

raybradley on August 1, 2009 at 9:25 am

Is this 1986 LIFE photo an image of this porn house? View link

KingBiscuits on May 23, 2009 at 5:36 am

I believe that the last film to play here was Children Of A Lesser God in 1987.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 13, 2009 at 8:16 am

I believe this was the World when briefly known as the Embassy 49.

View link

edblank on May 20, 2008 at 8:25 am

It’s always interesting to find out that a theater, like the World, that had one kind of identity when you frequented it, or at least tracked its programming, had a whole different identity in an earlier era. I hadn’t realized, or had forgotten, that the World at one time was a true “art house.”

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on March 7, 2008 at 7:01 am

OK, they are the same images on both dates. The first is a direct link to the pic itself; the second is a link to the page containing the photo. As I just said on the Criterion (1st) page, Flickr links now only seem to work if they are to entire pages rather than individual image URLs. I’m sorry about this development. I don’t know if anyone else has encountered this problem or if I am doing something wrong. It must be affecting many of my past posts here. Oh well, I’m running out of material to add anyway.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on March 6, 2008 at 2:31 pm

Try this link if my above one doesn’t work for you.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on February 27, 2008 at 5:38 am

Critics rave in this 1947 ad for Rossellini’s Open city, which ran for well over a year at the World Theatre after its American premiere there.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 17, 2007 at 7:42 pm

Forgot to add that Hollywood90038 also shot some video of the same location – albeit taken from 7th Avenue looking to the west down 49th – a couple of years later in 1992.

West 49th – 1992
Zoom in closer

The images are blurry, but it seems that the same marquee now reads “PINK” and I’m thinking it might be a cabaret rather than cinema at this point – looks like the attractions board reads “LIVE” something or other (maybe “LIVE LADIES”?).

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 17, 2007 at 7:29 pm

CT Member Hollywood90038 was kind enough to share with me a DVD of some home-video footage he shot of Times Square in 1990. As he was shooting around the intersection of 49th and Broadway, the camera pans to the left and glimpses the marquee of the Circus Cinema on B'way and then along the signage for the RKO Video store on the southeast corner and then along 49th Street where he finds a small triangular marquee for the World Theater.

Here’s one view of this marquee and here’s a closer shot that I captured from the DVD.

This is NOT the famous World Theatre where “Deep Throat” premiered – obviously the marquee is much smaller but also the theatre is located on a completely different site. The old World nee Punch and Judy was on the north side of 49th between 6th and 7th, whereas the World depicted in Hollywood’s video footage is on the south side of 49th on the short block between 7th and B'way. Had this been a former mini-cinema location or cabaret site that the owners of the World Theatre picked up or leased out once Rockefeller Centre kicked them out of their original site on the next block?

Any ideas out there? KenRoe? AlAlvarez? RobertR?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 17, 2007 at 7:15 pm

The excellent documentary “Inside Deep Throat” has been playing on HBO lately. I snagged a few screenshots (actually through use of my digital camera and the pause button on my DVR) of the archival newsreel footage depicting the World Theatre during the engagement of “Deep Throat” starting in June of 1972 and the subsequent raid conducted by NY’s finest later that year (please excuse the murky quality on some of these):

Marquee at twilight
Schedule board – Plus Loops!
Display case artwork
The Raid – under the canopy
The Raid – banner comes down
The Raid – cop inspects banner
Marquee after raid
Marquee after raid – alt shot

Note on the schedule board that the feature was presented along with some “loops” – presumably an assemblage of old-style stag loops from peep-show nickelodeons? Also interesting that the last show at 11:50pm is advertised as letting out at 12:54am. IMBD lists the film’s running time as 61 minutes – leaving a mere 3 minutes for those “loops!”