RKO Proctor's 58th Street Theatre

154 East 58th Street,
New York, NY 10022

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Showing 26 - 50 of 61 comments

mikemorano
mikemorano on September 18, 2006 at 11:07 am

Try to make some sense in your comments fella. Perhaps more people will take you seriously if you do so. There are many writers who do not use their true names. Feel free to research me to your hearts content. I have never claimed to be a theatre historian. If you consider yourself to be a theatre historian perhaps a new occupation is in order. Making unsubstantiated claims and barking at people who may question those claims is not the sign of a true historian. Get over yourself.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on September 18, 2006 at 9:02 am

I can confirm Warren’s date. The old one closed in March 1928 and the new one opened for Christmas with TAXI 13.

mikemorano
mikemorano on September 18, 2006 at 7:55 am

Since when are you concerned with accuracy fella? How do we know that your opening date is correct? Take your problems and questions to the New York Times.

mikemorano
mikemorano on September 18, 2006 at 7:09 am

Very cool lostmemory. Thanx.

DavidHurlbutt
DavidHurlbutt on July 15, 2006 at 5:20 am

Warren:
Regarding your April 4, 2005 question concerning the Phantom trapped in quicksand: The Phantom’s trusted dog(name?)appeared,saw the sinking phantom, the dog got a large vine in his jaws, the dog tossed the vine to the Phantom,and the Phantom pulled himself to safety.

RobertR
RobertR on May 22, 2006 at 4:12 pm

Claudette Colbert

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 22, 2006 at 3:47 pm

Was Karl Malden matched up with Connie Stevens or Claudette Colbert?

RobertR
RobertR on May 22, 2006 at 3:43 pm

a steamy double bill
View link

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on April 21, 2006 at 9:08 am

After my beloved RKO 23rd Street closed in 1960, we had to go to the 58th St. RKO for this Christmas show. 3 movies (my hero Audie & Francis!!!)& cartoons, the day after Christmas 1960. WOW. jerry

View link

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on March 10, 2006 at 7:12 am

One of the features that followed “The Robe” on the RKO circuit was “Beat the Devil.” I remember seeing coming attraction for it in black and white on the reduced conventional 1:1.33 screen, diminished so as to heighten the impact of CinemaScope’s size and color.

BobFurmanek
BobFurmanek on February 27, 2006 at 6:19 am

Can you imagine ANY “star” today hitting 27 theaters in 2 days?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 27, 2006 at 6:06 am

Be that as it may, Warren, audiences lucky enough to be in attendance received a level of attention that is scarcely (if ever) paid to today’s moviegoing crowds.

BobFurmanek
BobFurmanek on February 27, 2006 at 5:06 am

Indeed, like the grand theaters, an era that we will never see again. I have many photos from this tour. I’ll see if I can get some of them scanned and posted on the individual theater pages.

You can see that Jerry was having a great time. Murray the K was with him and, at one point, they got off the tour bus to play stickball with some kids on the street. You can see the kids were thrilled by the astonished looks on their faces!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 27, 2006 at 4:52 am

I think we all appreciate the postings, Bob. Thanks. The fact that there were so many tours like that by big stars like Lewis (and Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, etc) has always fascinated me. More evidence of an era of showmanship that is, sadly, long gone.

BobFurmanek
BobFurmanek on February 27, 2006 at 3:58 am

Thanks Jerry. I wasn’t trying to flood the forum with repetitive posts, but I thought fans of those individual theaters would find it interesting. Lewis wound up visiting 27 RKO theaters over the course of two days. What a schedule! He did this several times in his career, including the New York Loew’s tour for “The Bellboy” in 1960.

After the tour, Jerry wrote a letter to RKO thanking them, but also commenting on the overall run-down condition of the backstage areas. These were pretty old theaters, and those stages were no longer in active use.

It was interesting to follow his itinerary on these pages to see what happened to all these great showplaces. I don’t think anyone could do that tour today…

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on February 23, 2006 at 2:52 pm

Bryan, not to steal Bob’s thunder but I have the ad from that day. My dad took me for my birthday. Lewis was listed in the ad to visit these theaters on the previous day:
86th St…11:30am
Regent….12:15pm
Hamilton….12:45pm
Coliseum…1:15pm
Marble Hill…1:45pm
Yonkers… 2:15pm
White Plains…..3:15pm
New Rochelle….4:00pm
Mt Vernon…4:30pm
Castle Hill….7:15pm
Chester….7:45pm
Fordham….8:30pm
Franklin….9:00pm
Royal….9:30pm
86 St….10:15pm

This should total 15; the next day he “only” did 13 including the 58th St at 9:45pm. If I recall, they interrupted the 2nd feature, Love in a Goldfish Bowl with Fabian, when Jerry arrived. He did 5 minutes of schtick and took off. The ad features a signed letter from the RKO managers proclaiming their admiration of Jerry. No wonder, he sold a lot of popcorn for them. jerry

BobFurmanek
BobFurmanek on February 23, 2006 at 10:10 am

To promote his new film “The Ladies Man,” Jerry Lewis appeared on stage at this theater on July 13, 1961.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 12, 2006 at 7:15 am

The mall in the former Saks/Korvettes was Herald Center or something like that. Now that you mention it, I recall Toys ‘R’ Us being there a few years back. Which was the mall that had a glass front cafeteria or food court on the 3rd or 4th floor that faced Herald Square and looked across at the old Hotel Martinique (I think that was the name)?

Astyanax
Astyanax on February 10, 2006 at 6:43 am

The former Gimbels site is now Manhattan Plaza, a vertical mall with a wide range of shops. The Sak’s site also has a number of tenants including a Daffy’s, and until recently a Toys ‘R Us.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 7, 2006 at 1:26 pm

Astyanax… I can recall making that very run (for gloves) one cold winter’s evening when I attended a film at the Cinema I & II across Third Ave from Alexanders! And I remember when Saks and Gimbels were on Herald Square. Didn’t Saks become a Korvette’s at some point? I seem to recall they both became malls – but I don’t think the one that was in the former Gimbels building is still in existence.

Astyanax
Astyanax on February 7, 2006 at 5:07 am

There was a period in the 60’s when both Alexander’s and this theater fronted on Third Ave. The deparetment store had a small entrance on the avenue leading into the store. Originally the Alexanders’s lot was supposed to be a branch of Sak’s 34th St. department store, which was orginally at Herald’s Sq. between Macy’s and Gimbels. That Sak’s was the frumpy mid-price sibling of Sak’s Fifth Ave., and was soon closed in the face of stiff competition from other mid-range retailers.

Alexanders was a great place to stop if you were early for a movie. It had late hours and was a god-send when during a weather change you needed to run in for an umbrella or gloves.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 6, 2006 at 8:03 am

AlexNYC, I believe Warren’s photos are of the theater that previously occupied the site of the RKO Proctor’s 58th. The latter Proctor was an atmospheric design, which the former clearly was not. Warren did post a photo of the atmospheric Proctor back on July 8th, which still very much validates your lamentation on its passing.

AlexNYC
AlexNYC on February 6, 2006 at 7:35 am

Wow, RKO Proctor’s 58th is indeed a lost treasure. I never had the opportunity to see it in time, I only recall the highrise in it’s place now. Thanks for sharing the photos Warren.

bazookadave
bazookadave on October 24, 2005 at 11:21 am

Here is a pic of the block where the RKO Proctor’s once stood. Now it’s the site of a bland office tower. All the old structures along both sides of the street have been replaced.

View link

I think this pic is from the same angle as the second pic posted by Warren on July 18, 2005, which shows the marquee advertising Joan Crawford in “Humoresque.”

bazookadave
bazookadave on October 20, 2005 at 5:32 am

Warren I admire your knowledge of the city’s history, it is awesome! I am not sure about Alexander’s, my mom used to take me there in the subway from uptown, way back in the 60s. One of my earliest memories is a floor in Alexander’s where there was a section I used to call the “Pretty Lights,” it was an island in the middle of one of the floors where there were mannequins displaying all the wildest 60s wear for women. However I have no recollection of the RKO Proctor’s and neither does my mom. She does recall the RKO on 86th and believes she and my dad saw “Rio Bravo” there around 1960, when they first moved to the area.