Astor Theatre

1531 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 26 - 50 of 324 comments

Tinseltoes on June 29, 2012 at 8:58 pm

According to this two-page trade ad, Danny Kaye’s “Wonder Man” sold one million tickets in its 21-week engagement at the Astor Theatre in 1945: boxofficemagazine

Tinseltoes on June 26, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Here’s a 1941 trade ad for one of the Astor’s biggest hits: boxofficemagazine

Tinseltoes on March 29, 2012 at 3:23 pm

The blue sidewalk came with the 1959 modernization. It wasn’t a feature of the original Astor Theatre.

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.

Tinseltoes on March 28, 2012 at 7:27 pm

By this day in 1946, Alfred Hitchock’s “Spellbound,” starring Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck, was in the 22nd week of its exclusive NYC premiere engagement at the Astor Theatre. The B&W suspenser was still attracting such big crowds that producer David O. Selznick had booked his earlier Hitchcock winner, the B&W “Rebecca” with Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, into a special return engagement adjacent to the Astor at the Victoria Theatre to attract some of the turnaways.

AlAlvarez 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.

Tinseltoes on May 31, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Sorry, Big Joe, but I don’t know the answers to those questions. I suggest that you check the newspapers and trade journals of the time…I find the “new look” baffling. As I write this, I can’t see your query before me as I would have in the past. And what happened to the “preview” option?

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.

Tinseltoes on May 27, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Sixty-three years ago today, Walt Disney’s Technicolor cartoon feature, “Melody Time,” opened its world premiere engagement at the Astor Theatre. The RKO release had a “live” prologue featuring Roy Rogers and child actors Luana Patten and Bobby Driscoll, followed by animated episodes introducing such new Disney characters as “Pecos Bill,” “Johnny Appleseed,” “Little Toot,” and “Slue Foot Sue.” Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers also performed on the soundtrack, along with the Andrews Sisters, Dennis Day, Buddy Clark, Frances Langford, the Dinning Sisters, Jack Fina, organist Ethel Smith, the orchestras of Fred Waring and Freddy Martin, and many others. The Astor advertised “Special Children’s Prices At All Performances,” but did not specify amounts.

robboehm on May 3, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Rarly “twin” theatres.

Tinseltoes on May 3, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Fifty years ago today, John Wayne’s Technicolor epic “The Alamo” opened at the Astor and adjacent Victoria for its first NYC engagement with popular prices and continuous performances. The United Artists release had premiered the previous October at the Rivoli Theatre as a reserved-seat roadshow with a runnng time of three hours and 12 minutes. The version shown at the Astor and Victoria was 26 minutes shorter, but no mention was made in advertising. Nor was the original Todd-AO presentation at the Rivoli. Presumably, the Astor and Victoria gave “The Alamo” wide-screen treatment, but without crediting any process. The dual booking used a “staggered” screening schedule throughout the day and night, with the Astor starting first and the Victoria following half-an-hour later.

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).

Tinseltoes on April 12, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Seventy-nine years ago tonight, MGM’s “Grand Hotel,” which broke tradition by casting five of the studio’s biggest stars in one film, opened its world premiere engagement at the Astor Theatre on a reserved-seat roadshow policy. Starring Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery, and Lionel Barrymore, and with the esteemed Lewis Stone and Jean Hersholt heading the supporting cast, the B&W adaptation of Vicki Baum’s best-selling novel went on to win the “Best Picture” Academy Award for 1931-32. Tickets at the Astor were scaled from 50 cents to a top of $2, and bookable eight weeks in advance.

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”).

Tinseltoes on April 8, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Seventy-five years ago tonight, MGM’s “The Great Ziegfeld,” a spectacular B&W musical biography with William Powell in the title role, opened its world premiere engagement at the Astor Theatre as a reserved-seat roadshow. Screenings were twice daily, with an extra midnight performance on Saturdays. Tickets were scaled from 50 cents to a top of $2. Here’s a link to a photo of the Astor’s exterior signage for the engagement, which ran for months and was followed by a conventional popular-priced booking at the Capitol Theatre: View link

Tinseltoes on December 19, 2010 at 3:02 pm

On this day in 1954, Elia Kazan’s “On the Waterfront” ended an exclusive and highly profitable run of 20 weeks at the Astor. The theatre then closed for three days for the installation of a new CinemaScope screen and four-track stereophonic sound for the world premiere engagement of Walt Disney’s live-action “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” which started on December 23rd. Supporting the Kirk Douglas-James Mason starrer was Disney’s first Donald Duck cartoon in CinemaScope, “Grand Canyonscope.”

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.

RichHamel on August 10, 2010 at 5:08 pm

I had no problem viewing. Make sure you have quicktime installed. That might be the problem.

edblank on August 10, 2010 at 3:02 pm

I do clean house daily. That’s not the issue. The apparatus you’re using to post some videos is triggering a “sign up or get lost” message. No way around it. Never ran into this on Cinema Treasures before. I believe that in all cases (wasn’t kleeping track at first), short video clips are involved. It’s OK, though. If I’m missing only video clips, it won’t impair my ability to learn more about the theaters from the texts. I won’t address this issue again because I don’t want to clutter the flow of historical commentary. Thank you, though.

Tinseltoes on August 10, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Perhaps you can’t view them because you don’t have enough space available on your computer. Temporary files tend to pile up if you don’t run Disk Cleanup or similar program regularly, every few days if you do a lot of linking.

TLSLOEWS on August 9, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Thanks William you must have a newer computer than Ed or me,most of the stuff I try to look up works but not always.

TLSLOEWS on August 9, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Does not work for me either Tinseltoes,Thanks.

William on August 9, 2010 at 9:09 pm

It works fine for me. Saw it three times no problems.

edblank on August 9, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Doesn’t work, Tinseltoes. No amount of clicking on the empty box activates it. It seems to require subscribing to something called eFootage. But thank you.