Trans-Lux 85th Street Theatre

1144 Madison Avenue,
New York, NY 10028

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Showing 26 - 30 of 30 comments

Harold Warshavsky
Harold Warshavsky on August 15, 2004 at 11:09 pm

I remember going to this theatre in either May of ‘66 or '67 to see Ulysses by Joseph Strick on reserved seats; the adds for the theatre at that time called the theatre the Trans-Lux 85TH Street Cinema Cafe.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 10, 2004 at 9:05 am

The Trans-Lux 85th Street was situated at 1144 Madison Avenue, and had 586 seats, according to the 1957 Film Daily Year Book. It opened in the late 1930s and showed only hour programs of newsreels and short subjects until around 1950, when newsreels could no longer compete successfully with television’s “live” broadcasts. During the newsreel era, the theatre used a rear projection system, which had to be changed to a conventional one to handle 3-D, CinemaScope and other wide screen processes.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on May 8, 2004 at 2:30 am

Seth, thanks for the great information. Where precisely was it located? Was it on Madison Avenue at 85th Street? I have an address of 1144 Madison Avenue for a Trans-Lux theatre.

SethLewis on May 8, 2004 at 1:55 am

I remember this theatre well from my youth on the East side in the 60’s and 70s…a precious looking place with a flat marquee and a canopy…dark wood in the lobby…single aisle downstairs and a smallish balcony which still might have added up to 450-500 seats…an interesting mix of first-run and second-run (showcase) programming with the odd foreign film thrown in and often kids' programs on the weekends…this may be one of the few East Side theatres I remember with a matron
Through the years a showcase for various studios (Warner Bros, UA, Fox, Universal) often day-dating with the Trans-Lux East on 58th and 3rd…Remember seeing a double feature of Bonnie & Clyde/Bullitt here, as well as The Secret of Santa Vittoria, The Hot Rock (twice, sold out both times), an Israeli musical called Kazablan (I’m still embarassed about) and probably a few other pictures here
Think that they booked Deep Throat here and had to move it to the 86th St East due to public protest – a one-off hard core porn taken to a silk-stocking residential area…Put simply this theatre, even more than say Loews Tower East (now 72nd St) or 68th St Playhouse would have to be in the highest wealth per capita area of any in NY…perhaps the world ( that may be held now by the Chelsea in London)
There is now a high rise building with I think a Banana Republic on the ground floor but the shop might also be Armani

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on May 7, 2004 at 7:09 pm

I believe I visited this theatre only once, in November of 1974, for a special revival engagement of the 1953 film THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF GIUSEPPE VERDI, presented by Opera Presentations, Inc.