Astor Theatre

1531 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 26 - 50 of 266 comments

bigjoe59 on May 24, 2016 at 11:29 pm

Hello to Ed S.–

you have been most helpful in the past so i am a new question. in the intro at top it states that the Astor closed down as a movie theater due to “maintenance problems”. what exactly were said problems?

DavidZornig on May 6, 2016 at 12:52 am

1947 photo added courtesy of the Hemmings Motor News Facebook page.

Coate on April 13, 2016 at 6:28 am

As cited in my retrospective article, “The Box-Office Champ”, the Astor held the longest-running engagement of “Gone With the Wind” in the United States.

DavidZornig on January 1, 2016 at 3:27 pm

Original uncropped wide shot of the 1948 photo added 8/16/11, courtesy of the AmeriCar The Beautiful Facebook page. Showing full marquee.

DavidZornig on November 27, 2015 at 3:39 am

Photo added of a shuttered Astor Theatre in 1972. Photo courtesy of the History In Pictures Facebook page.

patryan6019 on October 7, 2014 at 6:37 am

bigjoe59….About your 9/29 Quo Vadis comments—the program is wrong. Tickets cost 25 and 50 cents, which you can see for yourself in Astor photo #19. Also, there were no feature films before QV.

bigjoe59 on September 30, 2014 at 11:10 pm

to Howard B. –

i thank you for your take on the statement made in the doc. and the souvenir program. you have to admit said statement could have been worded better since it does give the impression that there were purpose built movie theaters in Manhattan prior to the Spring of 1913.

HowardBHaas on September 29, 2014 at 9:30 pm

The implication I would get from the above language is that the film was the 1st to open at a theater primarily still being used as a legit theater. Other theaters may have switched full time to movies, or built as nickelodeons.

bigjoe59 on September 29, 2014 at 8:04 pm


I recently watched the Blu-ray disc of Quo Vadis from 1951 and own the souvenir program. now both contain a bit of info that doesn’t make sense hence my question.

both the doc. on the Blu-ray disc and the souvenir program state something about the 1912 Italian version of Quo Vadis that doesn’t make sense. both state that the 1912 Italian version which opened in New York in 1913 was the 1st feature film to charge a $1 and the first to open at a legitimate theater. this would imply whatever feature films opened in Manhattan previous to the Spring of 1913 opened in actual purpose built “movie theaters”.

so what purpose built movie theaters existed in Manhattan previous to the Spring of 1913?

Cimarron on April 6, 2014 at 4:13 am

Pic upload of 1936 Ad “The Great Zigfield” see Photo Section.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 19, 2013 at 4:41 am

Here’s a curious ad for “Quo Vadis?” from October, 1913, when the picture was making its rounds in markets much smaller than New York City. This particular ad is for a small theater, in a tiny western New York state hamlet, and it exclaims the feature was to be shown “in Talking Pictures.” I imagine this bit of showmanship was accomplished by having actors speaking the lines (and perhaps with a few select sound effects produced) from behind the screen, in accompaniment with the exhibition. I wonder if this gimmick was featured at any time during its engagement at the Astor – or if it was dreamed up by exhibitors on the road for secondary and tertiary markets (and beyond)?

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 29, 2013 at 6:36 pm

16 of the 17 theaters listed in the Dr. No ad are gone, except for the Roosevelt Field, which is now a multiplex. (The Green Acres was around until last year, though.)

RichHamel on February 1, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Interesting article. I wonder what a post-war, 6,000+ seat movie palace in Times Square would have looked like?

Mikeoaklandpark on October 10, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Great pictures Tinseltoes. Where did you find them? I didn’t realize that theater was so large. The first time I went to NYC in 1975 it was a flea market but I dont; rememebr seeing the two balcony’s

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on July 16, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Did they really bridge the two marquees to appear as one, as depicted in the sketch? I’d love to see a photo of that treatment. Also an interesting item in the lower right regarding the reduction of seating at the Roxy Theatre, during renovations for Cinemiracle exhibition.

MrDavid on June 30, 2012 at 9:17 pm

This is not really about shows, but I have become the proud owner of a stained glass window that came out of the Astor theater…the men’s smoking lounge I’m told. The design is one of Christopher Columbus' sailing ships. Does anyone remember seeing these lovely pieces of art before the theatre’s demise??

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on June 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm

That’s nearly five sold-out shows (at 1500 seats) per day for 21 weeks. I wonder…

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 28, 2012 at 8:24 pm

I remember the blue sidewalks in front of the theater. Except when I saw them, they were the floor of a souvenir shop. By the time I got to Times Square the Astor was closed, although I knew that the shop had once been a theater, or at least its lobby. I wish I had the wherewithal to try to get a peek inside, but I didn’t. Damn.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 30, 2011 at 4:57 pm

“The Alamo” did not “move-over” from the Rivoli. It opened at the Astor and Victoria at popular prices a couple of months after it left the Rivoli, where the run had been disappointing.

bigjoe59 on May 30, 2011 at 10:49 pm

to Tinseltoes- you have been most hopeful with previous questions so here goes with a new one. as you stated above THE ALAMO moved from its Todd-AO roadshow run of many months at the Rivoli to a continuous performance run at popular prices at the Astor in May of 1961. but the ads for this engagement made no note of the fact the print was 25 mins. shorter than the roadshow Todd-AO print. therein lies mu question. after a Cinerama roadshow engagement of many months at the Warner Theater THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD moved to a popular price continuous performance run at the Astor. what was the running time of the continuous performance print as opposed to the roadshow print? also it obviously wasn’t in Cinerama so what was the Astor run advertised as being in? many thanks in advance.

robboehm on May 3, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Rarly “twin” theatres.

Gooper on April 17, 2011 at 2:21 am

When I first visited NYC in 1968, the frontage of the Astor was plastered with gigantic graphics of Julie Andrews in Robert Wise’s STAR (20th-Fox). It was the largest billboard I’d ever seen! I was of course blown away, thinking the picture was probably the greatest story ever filmed, but it flopped and I didn’t actually see it until two years ago (actually not that bad!)

At any rate, aside from the RC Music Hall, the Astor seemed the biggest of NYC’s big time picture houses – if only because of that memorable facade!

Just was in NYC a couple weeks ago, and now it’s virtually impossible to distinguish what’s really behind all the digital advertising in Times Square. I did manage to locate the Palace though, the onetime Mount Olympus of vaudeville (vertical sign).

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Thanks, Tinseltoes. The image also teaches me that the Gaiety was once under the purview of Minsky’s Burlesque! I knew the Gaiety was the preeminent burlesque house in NYC during the late 1930’s, but I didn’t know it was part of the Minsky’s stable. I suppose that only makes sense. You should post this image on the Gaiety/Victoria page as well. There is a reverse angle photo (take from the 46th Street corner with the Astor in the background) that you posted March 15, 2010, on that page which is dated 1934 and shows the Gaiety still in operation as a cinema (albeit with a pair of older titles, including the seeming exploitation documentary “Wild Women of Borneo”).

Narragansett55 on September 23, 2010 at 12:04 pm

That’s strange Chuck. I’ve clicked on it five times now and it takes me right to the pic. Try this one: View link

Narragansett55 on September 23, 2010 at 4:04 am

“Best Foot Forward” with Lucille Ball, June Allyson and Nancy Walker played at the Astor in August 1943. Here’s a pic of my Mom (on the left) and her friends in front of the WAAC booth with the Astor and the movie marquee visible to the right.

By the way, I spent the better part of my workday today reading all the messages that have been posted here the last six years. Thanks to everyone for sharing their memories and info.