Radio City Music Hall

1260 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, NY 10020

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Vito
Vito on February 12, 2014 at 6:22 am

So I am watching this ad on TV for the new spring show and there is a still shot of the stage completely covered by some sort of hideous set. The curtain cannot be seen at all Is that the look for that show and will the curtain not be used?

RobertEndres
RobertEndres on February 11, 2014 at 11:47 am

Stephen, thanks for posting the ads for the 1964-5 season at the Hall. The “Mary Poppins” ad has particular signifcance for me as I was in New York for the first time on my own after getting out of college and had come to attend a convention of the Society of Motion-picture and Television Engineers. I wrote to the Ben Olevsky, Head Projectioist at the Hall to ask if I could see the booth during my visit and got an invitation from Ben to call him. On my first night before I had a chance to call I stumbled on the Hall and bought a ticket to see “Mary Poppins”. A few days later Ben gave me an extensive tour of not only the booth but the whole facility. I was awed to actually be able to walk into the booth that I had been curious about for so long.

It was almost exactly ten years later I was again awed to walk into that booth — this time as the newly hired Head Projectionist. The “Poppins” ad brings back a lot of memories as it marked the start of something that continued for 35 years.

robboehm
robboehm on February 11, 2014 at 7:07 am

Remembering Shirley Temple. The Little Colonel opened at RCMH on March 21, 1935. See photo section.

Stephen Paley
Stephen Paley on February 1, 2014 at 2:55 pm

In anyone is interested, I have posted ads for all nine of the program changes at RCMH in1964. This was first year of the New York World’s Fair of 1964-65 (hard to believe it was 50 years ago) from April into October. You can find the ads in the RCMH photos section.

Vito
Vito on January 29, 2014 at 1:00 am

As to Heart & Lights just knowing the Rockettes are dancing to Fosse will put my butt in a seat.

robboehm
robboehm on January 28, 2014 at 10:34 am

January 26th marked the 75 anniversary of the premiere of Gunga Din. See photo section.

NewYorker64
NewYorker64 on January 19, 2014 at 8:31 am

rcdt55b: Anything you can/want to share about Heart & Lights?

rcdt55b
rcdt55b on January 19, 2014 at 8:02 am

I forgot to add that one of the main things that helped that was the change to 7000 watt lamps. Add in all many, many minor changes and adjustments the last few years and the 3-D effect works very well.

rcdt55b
rcdt55b on January 19, 2014 at 8:00 am

During various morning tests last year, I walked around the entire house to look at the 3-D effect. There are really no bad seats anymore. Obviously, the more centered you are, the better the effect. However, even in the seats way off to the side, the 3-D effect was VERY apparent.

michaelkaplan
michaelkaplan on January 4, 2014 at 3:56 pm

On the subject of 3D, I recall that in 1954 (or was it 1953?) the Music Hall decided not to show Kiss Me, Kate in 3D, opting for the flat version for various technical reasons. One was that so many seats in the huge hall were located off-axis and there was significant loss of light when wearing glasses (typical of 3D projection even today). Wonder if that has been resolved in some way …

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on January 4, 2014 at 3:18 pm

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Smoke-Reported-Radio-City-Music-Hall-238676221.html

markp
markp on January 3, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Local news station WABC7 in New York is reporting that there is an electrical fire burning in the basement of the hall and the building is full of smoke.

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on December 30, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Guess my New York Giants will be 12th ranked in the NFL Draft when it returns to this venue this April.

NewYorker64
NewYorker64 on December 30, 2013 at 1:34 pm

I’ve really enjoyed these comments, and I’ve got another dimension for everyone to consider: the surmise of film is likely part of a larger loss… that of the tradition of spectacular theater, as opposed to just “entertainment.”

I, too, saw the Spectacular this year and observed the continuation of a trend that brings a bit of sadness. While there are clearly so many talented and dedicated people working on this show, it is becoming sub-standard when measured against what the Hall is actually capable of doing. The magic and surprise of transitioning sets are gone, the numbers no longer crescendo and build, one of the world’s most technically proficient and unique stages is more or less static, the organ at best is used as a sweetener for the soundtrack. When new technology is introduced, it comes off as weak gimmick. (Those who saw the “snowflake” number understand what I’m talking about all too well… did anyone at all watch the stage or did we all just look up, wonder and worry about the weirdo orbs?)

No doubt there is a very real need for contemporizing the show for younger audiences – we don’t want to end up where we were in the mid-seventies with an irrelevant format putting the theater in danger of extinction. As a theater-goer, I’m first likely to hang the director, who admittedly has done wonderful things to restore the proficiency of the Rockettes (though while putting them through the paces of the most sophomoric choreography –- what’s with all the incessant pointing?!).

I think this is a three-pronged problem… art vs. commerce vs. talent. The first two are a necessary evil and will forever co-exist. The third, well, that’s just a shame — a lack of imagination and understanding of spectacle in the middle of an embarrassment of riches that is The Showplace of the Nation.

I’m not giving up. My fingers are crossed for Hearts & Lights. Pensively.

markp
markp on December 30, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Thank you so much. I would really enjoy that.

rcdt55b
rcdt55b on December 30, 2013 at 11:27 am

We are fairly certain that the 3-D film will still be used for next year. It just works too well and is still an important feature in the show. They still had some problems with the LED 3-D wall this year so it would be risky putting it on that. In the 7 years or so that I’ve been here, we lost the film for a show only 2 times.

The surround speakers that were put in actually are used for the entire show, not just film. They are also used in a lot of the events during the year.

Thanks for your comments Mark but the legend here is Bob Endres. Also, few people know that the man that worked with Bob here, is retired but still works about 10 days doing the Christmas Show with us. Andy plans on being here next year too. Remind early in the show next year and I will give you a tour of the booth.

Vito
Vito on December 30, 2013 at 11:14 am

So the plan for next year as of now is to include the 70mm 3-D opening sequence? it may not be much but at least I can hold off holding a wake for film at RCMH A while back a ton of new surround speakers were installed in the theatre you can see the boxes just about everywhere on the walls and mounted in front of the mezzanines my question is are they used for anything other than film sound and with movies basically finished will the speakers be removed as well or used for other purposes

markp
markp on December 30, 2013 at 9:41 am

Thank you rcdt55b. I’m sure she will be asked to return. It will give her a break from her other job a few blocks awy, Motown the Musical. On another note, I’m hoping to someday be able to meet the legend that is rcdt55b, as one projectionist to another.

rcdt55b
rcdt55b on December 30, 2013 at 8:55 am

Congrats Mark. Hope she is back next year. Also, I can see the seams from the booth.

markp
markp on December 30, 2013 at 8:38 am

And as a side note, after tonight my wife will have completed her 6th season as a dresser for the Rockettes at the hall on the Christmas Show.

markp
markp on December 30, 2013 at 8:36 am

Mike(Saps)and rcdt55b, I mentioned back in Nov when I saw the Christmas show the night before it opened how annoying those seams were in the digital panels. I don’t know where you were sitting, but from the 2nd row from the stage it was bad. I was grinding my teeth the entire time, because I routinely install these at the Prudential Center in Newark NJ and we always take care to make sure that doesn’t happen. I being a projectionist for almost 38 years (until digital put me out of work this past May) would love to have seen all this on film. But as we are finding out, film is dead, and if the Hall no longer has its “sheet” than there is no hope for any change. I would just hope in the future they try harder to eliminate the visible seams on the digital screen.

rcdt55b
rcdt55b on December 30, 2013 at 8:18 am

It will be removed next week during load out and installed again next October during load in for next year’s show.

Vito
Vito on December 30, 2013 at 7:58 am

I am wondering if that silver sheet is installed every year for the Christmas show and will be removed after tonight’s performance. I would like to point out to those of you who are not aware, rcdt55b used that word correctly, Sheet is the correct and common word used to describe a movie screen in our business. If in the day you were to go backstage at any of the theatres featuring stage/screen shows such as Paramount or Roxy you would find in the rigging one marked Sheet for the screen as well as Rag which was how stage curtains were labeled. I wonder if the word Rag is still used in B’way houses today.

rcdt55b
rcdt55b on December 30, 2013 at 6:04 am

Mike, the 3-D video game sequence is on a separate LED wall made up of many horrible looking panels that do indeed have distracting seams (film wouldn’t do that…but that’s for another discussion). The second 3-D scene that I’m assuming you’re talking about is the Santa fly-in to Radio City. That is still 70MM film shown on the large silver screen and not the picture sheet. As I said earlier, the picture sheet has been removed.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on December 30, 2013 at 5:41 am

I saw the Christmas show on Saturday morning and two things struck me — one, the use of the ceiling arcs nearest the stage for projecting animated trains and Christmas scenes. I’d never seen the ceiling used that way before and if was very effective.

Second, during the two 3D portions of the show, the screen (picture sheet? ha!) they used was abysmal. It was several panels assembled together and the seams were so prominent and visible that it was really distracting and reduced the effectiveness of the 3D images. My suspension of disbelief was sorely tested during those sequences.

Otherwise, as usual it was marvelous to be in such a grand house again; it just warms me all over.