Anco Theatre

254 W. 42nd Street,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 26 - 50 of 76 comments

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 25, 2006 at 10:04 am

Here’s an ad from December 1980 for the double feature re-release of “The Blues Brothers” (originally released the summer of that year) and 1979’s “The Jerk” that played the Anco and Criterion as well as a number of neighborhood theaters:

Daily News 12/12/80

Also… Not sure I’ve seen this photo posted here, but it shows the Anco in it’s latter days as XXX grind:

1985 Anco XXX

This is how I recall the Anco, even though I was already visiting the Duece houses by 1980. As I stated previously, I tended to avoid this end of 42nd Street.

42ndStreetMemories on April 6, 2006 at 5:34 am

A snow covered Fascination marquee; shot from the Anco. 1968. jerry the k

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42ndStreetMemories on April 6, 2006 at 5:11 am

Thanks, saps. It is a labor of love. If anyone has any images of the Deuce in the 50s-60s, please contact me. jerry the k

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 6, 2006 at 12:26 am

Jerry, great album. I looked at all 24 pics. In a word, wow.

42ndStreetMemories on April 5, 2006 at 12:00 pm

Forgot to add this marquee image from the Anco, around 1961.

Crank up the Time Machine, I’m going back! jerry

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42ndStreetMemories on April 5, 2006 at 11:59 am

Here'a a shot of Fascination (I think). 15 games…$.50!

I seem to remember another one, Ed, on the west side of Broadway. Around 48th sounds right.
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Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 5, 2006 at 7:23 am

Ah, thanks Warren. I remember the Playland arcade that ran between 7th and Broadway (open to the sidewalk on both ends) up around 48th street (I think it was the block south of the Rivoli). Perhaps there was a Fascination sign jutting out from one of its facades. There was also an arcade on 42nd street, but I think it was on the north side of the street, not the south side as depicted in Jerry’s photo.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 5, 2006 at 6:54 am

Jerry… That “Fascination” sign looks very familiar to me, but I seem to recall seeing one just like it actually on Times Square (somewhere on Broadway or 7th Ave). I could be mistaken. It was some kind of topless dancing joint, wasn’t it? Or an old dime-a-dance ballroom? One of the Roxy Twin porn houses (where I understand they played video projection only) was located between the Empire and Anco back in my day. The other was down by the New Amsterdam.

42ndStreetMemories on April 5, 2006 at 5:50 am

This shot is geared toward the Empire but if you look down the street, the ANCO is showing Jimmy Stewart’s Far Country and Chief Crazy Horse with Victor Mature. A pairing of two U-I westerns from 3-4 years earlier.

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Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 30, 2006 at 1:56 pm

I recall it being XXX also, but I just found an old newspaper from December 1980 (I saved the papers the days after the killing of John Lennon) and there is an ad for a 2nd run of “The Blues Brothers” on a double bill with “The Jerk” – a pair I saw at the Sunrise Cinemas multplex in Valley Stream – and the lead theater in Manhattan is the Anco (listed as “Creative Cinema’s Anco” in the ad). I’ll scan the ad and post here when I get a chance.

DonRosen on March 30, 2006 at 5:02 am

Oh, yes! The Anco was heavy duty XXX at the end. I’ve seen the marquee shots to prove it.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 29, 2006 at 9:45 pm

I don’t think the Anco ever went porno.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 29, 2006 at 6:05 pm

Brilliant Robert… Thanks! That’s a double bill I might have seen at the old Times Square Theater! Well, I was a bit too young to have visited the Duece in ‘74, but I know those two films were still kicking around in the early '80’s on the bottom end of double and triple bills up and down the block. The Anco – I believe – was XXX during the time (and a bit too close to 8th Ave for my liking and that of my teenaged pals from Queens)!

RobertR on March 29, 2006 at 3:20 pm

From the heydey of the Duece
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kellyrice on December 26, 2005 at 4:10 pm

Hello – does anyone know the date that the Harem was closed for business?

thanks and Happy Holidays,

billmetz on October 14, 2005 at 7:14 am

thank you very much i was able to access the corbin site metz

RobertR on October 13, 2005 at 1:39 pm

It’s not 112 pictures just of the ANCO. If you go to the Corbis site there are a few hundred theatre pics. In the search type “Movie Theatres”, “Theatre Marquees”, “Theatres”, “Cinerama” etc. Some of them are cross referenced and some are not.

billmetz on October 13, 2005 at 9:09 am

EXHAUSTING is the perfect word for viewing all 112 pages…but I loved ‘em! Thanks RobertR!! ..this is a comment by don rosen on the ANco site …may i ask someone how to get all 112 photos???i tried ANCO photo but no help many trhanks

RobertR on July 21, 2005 at 5:52 am

Thanks, if you go to the Corbis photo album you can find a lot of theatre pictures

DonRosen on July 21, 2005 at 5:47 am

EXHAUSTING is the perfect word for viewing all 112 pages…but I loved ‘em! Thanks RobertR!!

Loved the Ali-Frazier ad with Radio City Music Hall listed in a “showcase type” ad with other theatres. You never saw that before.

42ndStreetMemories on July 20, 2005 at 7:07 pm


That’s the best shot of the ANCO that I’ve seen. Where did you find it?

I too went through all of your photo album, great stuff. j

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 20, 2005 at 3:58 pm

I just looked at all 112 photos in that photobucket link above; I am exhausted but satisfied.

RobertR on July 20, 2005 at 3:10 pm

Better days at the Anco
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Benjamin on June 18, 2005 at 6:11 pm

There’s a terrific profile of the theater that eventually became the Anco in one of those inexpensive Dover paperbacks. (Brand new copies of the book, “Broadway Theaters, History and Architecture,” by William Morrison were $12.71 each at the Strand Bookstore on Bdwy and 12th St. a month or two ago.)

The profile of the Lew Fields Theatre includes a wonderful photo of the south side of 42nd St. around 1905. At that time 42nd St. was still basically just a “regular” crosstown Manhattan street, lined with brownstones, churches, etc. The photo shows that between the Anco (Lew Fields) and the bank on the corner was a (25'or 30' wide) “tunnel entrance” to another large theater, the American Theatre, which was actually located on 41st St.

Going from left to right, here’s what’s in the photo:

A brownstone with a metal “stoop” that goes almost out to the curb. (The paved roadbed of the street seems really wide, and the sidewalk seems rather narrow).

The handsome original facade of the Lew Fields Theatre. The theater has what I guess you’d call a vestibule “extension,” and this little ornate “shack” of a structure goes out to the street as far as the stoop of the neighboring brownstone. Then, after that, there’s a metal and glass canopy, for continued weather protection, that goes out to the curb.

Next to the Lew Fields theater is the tunnel entrance to the American Theatre. This tunnel entrance has what looks like a large townhouse or small apartment house above it and it has an apartment house-like canopy that goes all the way out to the curb. (Except for the illuminated vertical handing off the front of the facade, this building doesn’t really look like a theater entrance at all.)

After the American Theatre is the Beaux-Arts styled bank that was on the corner of 42nd and Eighth Ave.

The American Theatre, the theater next door to the Lew Fields (Anco), is also profiled in the Morrison book. According to the profile in the book, “ … in 1911 [William] Morris sold his interests [in the American Theatre] to Marcus Loew’s organization. Under the name Loew’s American Theatre, both [of] the theatre’s auditoriums were converted to a film-and-small-time-variety format. After a fire in 1930, the American was demolished.”

There’s an even more remarkable photo of the south side of 42nd St. in the American Theatre chapter of this book. At the time of this photo, neither the Lew Fields (Anco) nor the bank had been built yet. So there are brownstones that still appear to be used as residences on either side of the American Theatre’s tunnel entrance! In this photo the tunnel entrance to the American Theatre really does look like a large townhouse or small apartment house. In this chapter, there is also a picture of a rendering of the much more imposing 41st St. facade of this theater. It looks like a mini-version of the much later Roxy. (When it was built, the American Theatre was the fifth largest theater in Manhattan.)

By the way, the Morrison book has many other wonderful photos of old Broadway theaters. Although the primary focus is on Broadway “legit” theaters, many of the theaters in the book also showed movies at one time or another and are thus listed on the Cinema Treasures website.

One Amazon reviewer said the book contained a good number of factual errors, which may be true since I believe I was able to detect a few myself. (But to be fair to the author, I don’t know how the number of errors in his book compares with the the number found in other books — all these books seem to have at least some errors. And the pictures alone are well worth the price, in my opinion.)

Benjamin on June 18, 2005 at 9:58 am

P.S. — When I wrote my post, I hadn’t noticed that br91975’s had already given a more specific date for the demolition of the Anco. The 1997 date sounds right.