Center Theatre

1236 Sixth Avenue,
New York, NY 10020

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Showing 26 - 50 of 123 comments

RCMH on March 18, 2009 at 6:46 pm


You would have to pay a fee to use any of the photos they have. But you should probably contact them to discuss what you are looking for.
They may another option for you. Hope that answeres the question.

RichDesign on March 18, 2009 at 6:01 pm

How does it work with the archives? Can I call them up and ask for them to look for something and make a copy or take a picture or do I need to pay something or go in person? Let me know what you think. thank you!

RCMH on March 15, 2009 at 8:41 pm


When I had access to the archives, I only saw the binders with pictures of the theater. I don’t recall seeing any of pictures of the stage lifts in action, but would not doubt that they are there. As for floorplans and architectural drawings, I did not see them, although I did not have access to an adjoining room. I would seem logical that they would have the the Associate Architects original plans of the theater.

RichDesign on March 14, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Are there pictures of the lifts in action in any of the books mentioned above? Or a stage diagram/floor plan which shows the layout?

RichDesign on March 14, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Yes, I am with Bob Jones. I work at the stage and see the lifts being used on a daily basis. I’m doing a heritage type program about our theater and the people who were involved in the early days. I think the story of the lifts is interesting and wanted to find out which is what brought me here to this blog.

thank you to ChuckClutz for the info.

RCMH on March 13, 2009 at 8:30 pm

According to Daniel Ockrent, author of Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center, Edward Durell Stone was not involved in the design of the Center Theater (RKO Roxy). Eugene Schoen was the interior designer of the the theater (after he came in second to Donald Deskey on the interior design of the Music Hall.)

Christine Rousel is the archivist of Rockefeller Center. The archives has many binders of photos of the Center Theater.

Didn’t the stage end up at Bob Jones University when the theater wqas demolished?

CharlesClutzNCARB on March 13, 2009 at 10:29 am

The stage equipment was supervised and built under the direction of Peter Clark, Inc, and the stage and orchestra elevators and revolve were built by Otis Elevator, Inc. The archives of these firms may have the shop drawings and photos of their installations. They are both in existance.

Other potential sources of information are the Library at Lincoln Center and the Avery library at Columbia University. Architectural magazines of the time: Architectural Forum and Architectural Record. If you can gain access to the Rockefeller archive, they may help. Nelson Rockefeller was the brother actively involved with the two theatres.

Edward Durrell Stone’s archive at the University of Arkansas (I believe) may have some information since he was actively involved in the interior design, not the exterior as some have claimed.

RichDesign on March 11, 2009 at 6:51 pm

I’m doing a research project about a theater at a small college in the south which has the stage lifts and turn table from the Center Theater.

this site has been great reading! thank you all!

Someone wrote above (a few years ago) that they had the blue prints. I would love to see them! Can you contact me if you still read this?

Does anyone else know of any pictures of the lifts in action? Or know who made the lifts? or know anything else that might be useful to me?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 23, 2008 at 7:30 am

By popular demand, here are renewed links to previously posted images:
View link
View link

CharlesO321 on May 24, 2008 at 8:41 pm

My mother and I drove from our home in Maine to New York to meet her brother, a Music Professor at Robert College in Istanbul, Turkey, who was returning to the USA on sabattical leave. Before returning to Maine he and we attended a performance at the Center Theatre of “The Great Waltz” on 10 September 1935. Recently, in a long-forgotten file, I came across my like-new copy of the Playbill for that performance. I cannot but wonder if it may be a “collector’s item” worthy of hanging onto or, at least, passing on to our grand daughter. Any thoughts?
In the years since I have met many a New Yorker but have yet to meet even one who was aware that such a threatre ever existed.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on March 1, 2008 at 8:48 am

A vintage postcard of the Grand Foyer, Center Theatre. Photographed possibly at opening in 1932:

LuisV on February 25, 2008 at 8:23 am

I agree with Warren if for no other reason that if Edward Durell Stone had actually designed these two spectacular theaters we would have seen him commissioned to design others around the country and, alas, he was not. This leads me too believe that he did not actually design these theaters, but instead was one of many contributors of which he was the most well known.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 25, 2008 at 5:54 am

Photo captions often turn out to be incorrect. I still stand by my claim that he was only one of a number of supervising architects of the entire Rockefeller Center project, and that he was not the architect of RCMH or the New Roxy/Center.

RCMH on February 24, 2008 at 4:34 pm

According to Daniel’s Okrent’s Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center, Edward Durrell Stone was the architect of the theaters.

When I visited the Archives Office at Rockefeller Center, I saw many photos of the theaters with his name as the architect.

LuisV on February 23, 2008 at 11:32 am

I’m also very sorry that I never got to see this theater. It appears from the photos posted on this thread that this truly was a spectacular theater. I love that chandelier! To think that The Center, The Roxy,The Capitol and Radio City were all within a block of each other is truly incredible.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 23, 2008 at 9:12 am

E.D. Stone was not the architect of either the Center or RCMH. He was merely one of the supervisory architects of the entire Rockefeller Center project. William Morrison’s “Broadway Theatres” credits the firms of Reinhart & Hofmeister; Corbett, Harrison & MacMurray; and Hood & Foulihoux, as architects of the Center. Nicholas Van Hoogstraten’s “Lost Broadway Theatres” gives only “Reinhart & Company” as architect.

ERD on February 23, 2008 at 8:45 am

While I always went to Radio City Music Hall as a child, I am sorry that I never went to the Center theatre before it was demolished.
I guess the reason was because it was an NBC studio by that time, and my parents never got any tickets for the shows broadcasted there.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 20, 2008 at 1:46 pm

This rare ad from January 1st, 1933, shows the two Radio City theatres with their original presentation policies:

RCMH on February 12, 2008 at 6:28 pm

I heard from a contact at Rockefeller Center that plans are in the works for their 75th anniversary. Hopefully, they will includes this theatre in their celebrations.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 11, 2008 at 11:37 pm

The date given for this photo is April 26, 1964, which is undoubtedly wrong. Not only was the the Center long gone by then, but “The Voice of Firestone” aired on NBC only from September, 1949 until June, 1954.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 11, 2008 at 11:23 pm

Another from the Library of American Broadcasting shows the Center’s big stage when the house was billed as “America’s only ice theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 11, 2008 at 11:17 pm

This photo must date to about 1950, as the marquee announces the imminent arival of NBC television productions in the theatre.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 4, 2008 at 8:16 am

Better than a photograph, this 1933 sketch shows how the auditorium’s huge chandelier was more than just decorative:

LuisV on January 7, 2008 at 7:04 am

Great thought TomR. I would hope that a celebration of Rock Center’s 75th anniversary would include Radio City as well. I would doubt that the Center Theater would even be mentioned as so few people even know that it ever existed. I only found out about it after discovering the CT website a few years ago.

RCMH on January 6, 2008 at 8:08 pm

Officially, the RKO Roxy/Center & Radio City Music Hall were designed by the Associated Architects. Edward Durrell Stone was the staff architect that was assigned the job of designing the theaters. Unfortunately, he was fired before the theaters opened due to the fact he took an outside job while on the Rockefeller Center payroll.

While Donald Deskey handled the interior decortaion of the Music Hall, Eugene Schoen had that job at the RKO Roxy/Center.

I was really disappointed that the New York Times did not dedicated its entire The City section of the Sunday paper to the 75th anniversary of the both theaters, 2 weeks ago. When the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings turn 75, the entire section was dedictaed to those great New York City icons. Hopefully they are planning on honoring all of Rockefeller Center this year. The RCA/GE Building will be 75 this spring.