Plaza Theatre

42 East 58th Street,
New York, NY 10022

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Showing 26 - 50 of 141 comments

captblood
captblood on September 5, 2012 at 7:34 pm

There are 11 million stories in the naked city, this has been one of them. I do have, maybe not 10 million more, but many more stories about the Rugoff -Cinema V theatres.

captblood
captblood on September 5, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Hi Jay58,

         Did you work there at one time too? Did Polly work the candy cart? I think I knew her. Robbie, was he the doorman? All of the names you mention sound mighty familiar. We are talking about the Plaza no? I don't remember many staff from Theatres other than the Plaza and Sutton because I worked the others as a fill-in or substitute, but the Plaza and Sutton were my permanent assignments. Unfortunately I do not know what became of anyone. I knew "Tack" the handiman who worked all the theatres; Mr.McMahon, the area manager; 
                

Ivy, the woman who replaced Poly on the candy cart; an Egypian Usher named Hassain; A Dooman named Kevin who was an actor; Mr. Blonje, the Assistant manager of the Plaza; the manager and asst manager of the Sutton, Mr. Sinclair and Mr. Davis, and on and on. There was a Greek-American Usherette from Queens; an Italian-American Box office young woman; Two gay black ushers who were trouble makers; and so many more. There were really nice people in the home office too. The home office was at 595 Madison Ave, around the corner from the Plaza.I don’t know what happened to any of them. A lot of people confuse the Plaza and the Paris. They were both on 58th St. The Plaza was between Madison and Park and the Paris was just off the west side of 5th, across the street from the Plaza Hotel, off the edge of the big circle in front. I forgot to mention that I worked the Sutton in 1966 while I worked the Plaza in the early to mid seventies and the home office at that same time. There was a myth or rumor that bad things followed the filming and showing of the exorcist. When it first screened there were a lot of severe fear reactions (including me, although now I find it amusing). One of the ushers who worked a lot of back to back overtime to handle the massive audiences, went home late one night and fell in front of the subway, losing an arm! Got a quarter for an old alter boy fadder?

captblood
captblood on September 5, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Hi Jay58,

         Did you work there at one time too? Did Polly work the candy cart? I think I knew her. Robbie, was he the doorman? All of the names you mention sound mighty familiar. We are talking about the Plaza no? I don't remember many staff from Theatres other than the Plaza and Sutton because I worked the others as a fill-in or substitute, but the Plaza and Sutton were my permanent assignments. Unfortunately I do not know what became of anyone. I knew "Tack" the handiman who worked all the theatres; Mr.McMahon, the area manager; 
                

Ivy, the woman who replaced Poly on the candy cart; an Egypian Usher named Hassain; A Dooman named Kevin who was an actor; Mr. Blonje, the Assistant manager of the Plaza; the manager and asst manager of the Sutton, Mr. Sinclair and Mr. Davis, and on and on. There was a Greek-American Usherette from Queens; an Italian-American Box office young woman; Two gay black ushers who were trouble makers; and so many more. There were really nice people in the home office too. The home office was at 595 Madison Ave, around the corner from the Plaza.I don’t know what happened to any of them. A lot of people confuse the Plaza and the Paris. They were both on 58th St. The Plaza was between Madison and Park and the Paris was just off the west side of 5th, across the street from the Plaza Hotel, off the edge of the big circle in front. I forgot to mention that I worked the Sutton in 1966 while I worked the Plaza in the early to mid seventies and the home office at that same time. There was a myth or rumor that bad things followed the filming and showing of the exorcist. When it first screened there were a lot of severe fear reactions (including me, although now I find it amusing). One of the ushers who worked a lot of back to back overtime to handle the massive audiences, went home late one night and fell in front of the subway, losing an arm! Got a quarter for an old alter boy fadder?

jay58
jay58 on September 5, 2012 at 4:39 am

…and Mr. Shaffner at Cinema I and II?

jay58
jay58 on September 5, 2012 at 4:38 am

Captblood: Do you know what happened to Robbie? Mr. Marx? Polly? Mr. Evans? Thanks.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on September 4, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Sept. 20, 1996 “BIG NIGHT” opened at the Lincoln Plaza, First & 62nd St, Loews 19th St. East, and Angelika.

The Paris was showing “SURVIVING PICASSO”.

SeaBassTian
SeaBassTian on September 4, 2012 at 9:15 pm

I definitely saw Big Night on 58th St. in late ‘96 and I didn’t think it was at Paris but I could be mistaken. Does anybody have a copy of Sept. 20 New York Magazine?

captblood
captblood on September 4, 2012 at 6:05 pm

I worked there in the 70s. It was a Rugoff Theatre then. Rugoff Theatres became Cinema V. I met Mr. Rugoff. The Plaza was a very comfortable theatre as were all of the theatres in the Rugoff – Cinema V chain. Many celebrities saw films at the Plaza. There were sometimes also gala film openings. The Plaza was where Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn opened in N.Y. with a gala film opening. Believe it or not there was still paraphanalia from that event in the theatre when I worked there.I met many stars through working for Rugoff Theatres. I worked in all of the Theatres and in the home office. The Plaza and the Sutton were two of my permanent assignments but I also worked in the Cinema I & II; The Paris; The Grammacy; The Art; Either the Murray Hill or the Kips Bay, I forgot which it was. All great theatres with good crowds. I met Darin McGavin; Patricia Neal; Henny Youngman; Dustin Hoffman & more to speak to and Sylvia Sydney; Yoko Ono; Eli Wallach; Ann Jackson & many more just to be in the room with. I enjoyed working in the Plaza and other theatres of the chain. It was one of my jobs that was the most fun. I wound up knowing every scene and move of Milos Forman’s Visions of 8; Alfredo, Alfredo; The Exorcist; Bang the Drum Slowly; Gimmee Shelter; and many more AND I wound up knowing ALL the Dialogue of The Blue Max. It was a happy family in those days and everyone who worked there was tight with each other. A Sunday Shift was like special duty and everyone cooperated to get some food in and to sympathize with each one’s Sunday morning and afternoon feelings (by evening everyone was back to normal).

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on September 4, 2012 at 8:21 am

This closed in late January 1996 and the last movie was “GRUMPIER OLD MEN”. “BIG NIGHT” never showed here.

SeaBassTian
SeaBassTian on September 3, 2012 at 6:55 pm

This venue was definitely still open in the fall of ‘96 when I had the pleasure of catching Big Night there…

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on May 24, 2012 at 10:34 am

Hello-

my original post in which i said that calling the the theater “out of the way” or “hard to find” was a bit much was from my personal experience. the first time i can remember going to the Plaza was to see “Anne of the Thousand Days”. this i believe was the beginning of 1970. until reading my fellow posters replies i had no idea that the theater was first built to be an elegant second run house. so i guess the Plaza must have become a prime first run house shortly before my first visit. i seriously doubt Universal would have
booked a big Oscar bait film like “Anne….” into an exclusive Manhattan run at a theater out of the way or that no one could find.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on May 23, 2012 at 8:22 am

The Plaza was very successful as a subrun theatre. The conversion to art house took place only because a distributor desperate for an east side outlet for his films took over the lease. The location, near other art houses, and down the street from the Paris was perfect.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on May 22, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Hello- this was one of the most prominent quasi-art houses in Manhattan in that it would occasionally play big films as well. granted it was on 58 St. between Park and Madison but to deem that it was “hard to find” as the intro states it sooooo way off base. it was a favorite theater of mine. i would have loved to have the downstairs lounge as my apartment.

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on December 23, 2011 at 12:56 am

The last big engagement at the theatre (before it became a move-over house) was David O. Russell’s Spanking The Monkey, which had a long run from July to September 1994.

jay58
jay58 on September 17, 2010 at 8:10 am

…if you worked there in the 60s, you should! Please read my earlier posts and see if you remember me! We lived next door.

jay58
jay58 on September 17, 2010 at 8:09 am

Is “Vinnie P” still reading? I’d love to know if you remember Robbie.

Astyanax
Astyanax on September 6, 2010 at 5:37 am

Thanks Al for the reference to the American Musical schedule in 1974. Going through the pages of that VV edition, the head spins at the humber of summer film festivals, including the Carnegie Hall Cineam & Cinema Studio. In addition to the art house fare, you could catch a double feature of Bananas & Sleeper for a buck. So much for technological progress with Netflicks & On Demand.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on June 21, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Thanks johnjohn.

Johnjohn
Johnjohn on May 27, 2010 at 4:16 am

The Plaza Theater on 58th St. was a great cinema, one of the irreplaceable ones. I grew up in Westchester and I went there in 1965 at age 15 on my very first date to NYC. We ate at Reuben’s (just down 58th street a block or so, and another lost landmark), and then to the Plaza to see The Knack…And How To Get It. These places were really classic places, and I remember them like it was yesterday.

jbailey212
jbailey212 on February 11, 2010 at 2:51 pm

I really enjoyed reading this thread. The Plaza was one of my favorite NY cinemas. I saw “Diva” there about 20 times, I think it ran for close to a year. I think Nagisa Oshima’s “In the Realm of the Senses” played there as well. In the mid-late 70s I used to call the theater just to hear that wonderful woman’s voice on the recording. She was so theatrical, she had a British accent. “Thank you for calling the Plaza Theater, located on 58th Street east of Madison Avenue…” As for the small theater that was located inside the Plaza Hotel, that was the Cinema 3. I remember seeing Carlos Saura’s “Cria!” there, with Geraldine Chaplin.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on January 20, 2010 at 9:32 pm

The American Musical at the Plaza.

View link

captblood
captblood on January 18, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Hector, Thanks for your comments; missing a beautiful theatre; valuing meaningful / beautiful buildings & adding to the list of unusual films. I agree, all the Rugoff-Cinema 5 theatres were comfortable, classy and beautiful. I forget the ones downtown. I only worked the upper East Side. I think the Kips Bay, Murray Hill and Grammacy were Cinema 5. I think there was one in the Village too (The Art?). Oh, “The man with one red shoe” & “Gimme Shelter” played at the Plaza. Someone should write a book about this; ie: the history of the Plaza; the history of Rugoff-Cinema 5; The society that first builds and then throws away magnificent structures, etc. OR a book called: “The Theatre Moguls”. Cinema 5 was also a film distributer, ie: “released by Cinema 5”. I have some memoribilia from the Plaza. I saw about a dozen really famous people while I was there. Plus two or three in the neighborhood; Plus more when I worked in a health club on 59th St. It was really fun working there in those days.

TPH
TPH on January 18, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Capt. Blood, I share your sentiments. The Plaza certainly rode the crest of art/commercial films after coming into the Rugoff fold. Even movies that didn’t work such as Petulia or Taking Off were still an event when seen here. But that was the same for the entire Cinema 5 chain. But the standouts like Finzi Conitinis & Amarcord were all the more special when seen here.

captblood
captblood on January 18, 2010 at 2:12 pm

I have only just discovered (1/10) that the Plaza is no more. I am very dismayed. This was a beautiful, comfortable theatre with an illustrious past. It should have been saved or declared a landmark. It was one of the elite theatres of the Cinema 5 chain. Situated on the posh upper east side of Manhattan, along with the Cinema I & II; Sutton; and Paris Theatres; it was one of the creme d'la creme. Cinema 5 aquired the chain of theatres that were owned by Rugoff Theatres including the Plaza. Before that the Plaza was owned by Ilya Lopert, who I believe was the original owner. I worked at the Plaza as an usher and doorman in the 1970s. I worked in all the other threatres mentioned above and also in the home office of Rugoff Theatres and later Cinema 5. The original Film “Robin Hood” (with Flynn, DeHaviland & Rathbone) premiered at the Plaza and was a gala event. While I worked there, another gala opening was held for “Happy Mother’s Day, Love George”. Many stars appeared and there were searchlights outside and a red carpet. Situated in that neighborhood, many celebrities passed by or came in to see a film. I met many famous people there. Some of the films I remember while I worked for Cinema 5 theatres were: The Blue Max – 1966 or 67, Sutton; Happy Mother’s Day – Plaza; Alfredo, Alfredo (a riot! see it if you can) – Plaza; The Exorcist – Cinema I & II; Visions of 8 – Cinema I or II; Garden of the Finzi Continis – Plaza; Hell in the Pacific – Sutton; White Dawn; A Tear in the Ocean; Yellow Submarine; so many more!!! As for the staff, I remember Mr. Blonje, the asst. mgr; Mr. Geller, the Mgr; Kevin, the doorman – an aspiring actor; Ivy who staffed the refeshment cart and was later replaced by a cute girl of Greek heritage; The cute Italian box office ticket seller; Hassain, my co-worker & friend; Tac the handiman and Mr. McMahon the area manager. I am sorry and angry to see this theatre being misused as a restaurant. This is one problem in our culture, money overrides all other concerns including beauty, meaning, nostalgia, history, etc. That’s why we lost the original Penn Station, 100 times grander than Grand Central. Horrible!!!

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on January 2, 2010 at 10:31 am

Too bad. But I guess they had to place kitchen somewhere. The old lounge would have made a very nice private dining and party room.