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I do hope Interstellar gives this theater a nice
boost. but is it really necessary to order tickets
in advance? since the studios started opening films
at 2,000-3,000 theaters on the same I don’t think
its necessary. I have found that no matter how well
received a film is critically you know you’ll get
a seat even on Sat. and Sun.. in the past few years
the only time I have seen a substantial crowd was
the day after Christmas 2012 when I saw Les Miserables.
the theater was approx. a 3rd full.
you make a most interesting suggestion in that
CT should have a page devoted just to souvenir
programs. to which i have a question for you.
the prime roadshow period as i have stated was
the October 1955 opening of “Oklahoma” to the
Dec. 1972 opening of “Man of La Mancha”. now i
didn’t go to every such film in that period but
everyone i did go to had a souvenir program. so
here’s my question- during this period the
studios still opened their continuous performance
films in 1 maybe 2 theaters in Manhattan. so
of these films how do you think the studios decided
which would have souvenir programs?
to Howard B. –
i thank you for your take on the statement made
in the doc. and the souvenir program. you have to
admit said statement could have been worded better
since it does give the impression that there
were purpose built movie theaters in Manhattan prior
to the Spring of 1913.
Hello to Escott N.–
I am quite familiar with the costumed characters
in Times Square since I am an avid theater goer.
I am one of those true New Yorkers who never let
Times Square’s decadent “colorful” period phase them.
likewise today I ignore the costumed characters.
so L.A. residents who are turned off by the costumed
characters and crowds etc……….. in front of the
Chinese must have the backbone of a jellyfish. even
in its decadent “colorful period” the big movie
theaters in Times Square still had sell out crowds.
so since the IMAX-ing of the Chinese has gotten
A+ reviews all around for L.A. residents to avoid,
can’t be bothered with the theater because of
the crowds etc….. in front of it well
they’re probably afraid of their own shadow.
Hello to All-
I don’t know how many of you subscribe to the page
for the Astor but I have come upon a contradictory
bit of info about the theater that I would like you
I recently watched the Blu-ray disc of Quo Vadis
from 1951 and own the souvenir program. now both
contain a bit of info that doesn’t make sense
hence my question.
both the doc. on the Blu-ray disc and the souvenir
program state something about the 1912 Italian
version of Quo Vadis that doesn’t make sense. both
state that the 1912 Italian version which opened
in New York in 1913 was the 1st feature film to
charge a $1 and the first to open at a legitimate
theater. this would imply whatever feature films
opened in Manhattan previous to the Spring of 1913
opened in actual purpose built “movie theaters”.
so what purpose built movie theaters existed in
Manhattan previous to the Spring of 1913?
Hello from NYC-
I find all the tech talk fascinating, especially
screen aspect ratios. but is my assessment correct
that the IMAX-ing of the Chinese though given an A+
hasn’t really brought in the crowds to the extant
they thought it would?
many many thanks for your reply. I figure if
anyone could answer the question you could. I
didn’t see Circus World in its “in Cinerama”
roadshow run at the Warner Cinerama on 47th St.
I owned the soundtrack album plus I go the
vhs when it came out. admittedly its a corny
hokey film and while not Oscar material I still
found it an enjoyable corny hokey film.
a good film is a good film. an uneven film is
an uneven film and a bad film is a bad film
no matter what city its playing in.
I am sure NYC, San Francisco and Los Angeles
have discriminating moviegoers so if they kept
their city’s roadshow engagements running for
respectively 19,13 and 16 weeks what gives with
D.C.’s 3 weeks? the advance sale being that it
was a John Wayne film , that is was “in Cinerama”
and Samuel Bronston’s talent at over the top
spectacle should have been enough sustain a run
of longer than 3 weeks. so the only guess I can
make is the same as yours- they waited to long
to open its D.C. roadshow run.
from what I have read on this page the IMAX-ing
of the Chinese gets an A+ which prompts an
interesting question. three films opening between
today and Dec. 31 that can really shine in this
theater are Interstellar, MockingJay Pt.1 and
The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies. my question
being simple- it will be interesting to see what
the crowds are like on Sun. afternoon three days
after each film open assuming they play here. I
found quite fascinating a post on this site made
last Nov. 2013. a poster and friends went to a
Sun. afternoon showing of Catching Fire only three
days after the film opened and were shocked that
the theater at the most maybe 20% filled.
to Mark D.–
thanks for your reply. it certainly says it all.
people how decry the demolishing of grand movie
palaces react as if some big orge is specifically
targeting grand old movie palaces. the same thing
happened with San Francisco’s The Fox which was
as large as beloved as the Roxy. it was torn
down in 1963 since it had become a huge financial
liability which could simply not make it as a
single screen movie theater because it was to
to Al A.–
you have always been most kind to help me with
my inquiries so I have a good one.I hope you don’t
mind me posting it on this page since I have
no idea what page would be best. do you know of
a site that would convert 1916 dollars to 2014
dollars? the reason i ask is simple. as you know
at least 50% of feature films from the silent era
are lost. one HUGE film from that era I have always
wished would be found is A Daughter of the Gods
from 1916 starring Annette Kellerman. it cost
a cool $1,000,000 the 1st American film to do
so. so I always wondered what that $1,000,000
of 1916 would be in 2014 dollars.
while its sad that a gorgeous movie palace like
the Roxy was demolished people forget one very
simple fact. at the time it was decided to raze
the theater it was a HUGE financial liability for
the owners. once t.v. became commonplace in the
American home HUGE theaters like the Roxy were
doomed. i’m sure in 1960 when it was torn down
the weekly operating costs were astronomical.
to Ed S.–
you have always been most helpful in the past
so I have a good one for you this time. a theater
of one sort or another has occupied this location
for over a hundred years. now prior to the 86 St.
East 4-Plex opening this location was home to
the 86 St. East a single house for decades. now
was the single screen 86 St. East which was a
decent sized building completely demolished or
was it simply gutted and the current 4-plex
built within said gutted skeletal structure?
has anyone remembered what the last new studio
film to play this theater on an exclusive run was?
obviously such films as the restored Vertigo and
the special 2 week runs of The Princess and the Frog
and Dreamgirls before they opened wide don’t
count. I can’t remember so thanks for the
Hello to patryan6019-
as I said I was 98% accurate in my memory so Idon’t mind you adding new info. to which two newquestion-
*the souvenir program I bought at The Lion In
Winter was the traditional one with staples in
the spine. I bought it at the film’s premiere
roadshow run at the Lincoln Art Theater on
57th Street. I never knew it had a hardcover
edition as well.at what theater did you by yours?
*also while its not perfect I find Kim Holston’s
book “Movie Roadshows” fascinating since its the
only book I have ever come across on the subject.
now during the silent era the author lists 85
feature films as having opened on roadshow runs
in Manhattan. now whether I own them or have read
about them i know of only five souvenir programs-
The Birth of A Nation, The Big Parade, Ben-Hur,
Don Juan and The King of Kings. i can’t believe
of the 85 films Holston lists only 5 had souvenir
programs. what’s your best guess at finding out
which of the other 80 films had souvenir programs?
Hello From NYC-
i recently got the Blu-ray disc of The Great
Race which has always been my favorite of the
large scale action comedies released in the
60s. if I am not mistaken TGR played at this
theater in a traditional roadshow engagement
which lased I think between 5 and 6 months.
did anyone happen to see it during said run?
in reference to Al A.’s comment about the 3 big
AMC multiplexes being cash cows. you have to remember
these three big complexes have a policy of discount
prices before 12:00p.m. on Fri., Sat. and Sun. for any
film regular, 3D or IMAX. I’m surprised this theater
doesn’t offer the discount.
oddly enough eventhough this policy is the reason
for these three multiplexes raking in the bucks for
early shows Fri., Sat. & Sun. which they’ve been doing
for years the Regal 42 St. multiplex and the Regal
Union Square 14 multiplex still don’t offer the discount. I think the only other chain to offer the
before 12:00p.m. discount on Fri., Sat and Sun. is
we are having a lively discussion aren’t we?
Al A. makes some valid points but it is still
my belief that the one main reason the Ziegfeld
rarely has a full house is because whatever big
film plays there is also playing at 12 other
theaters in Manhattan. its NOT because of the
location. after all if the theater was hard
to find why was the 1st show of the day of Les
Miserables the day after Christmas 2012 rather
well attended? not only that but when I left
the theater there was a line half down 54th St.
for the next show.
I guess no matter how well reviewed or not a
roadshow film was its theatrical shelf life still
varied from city to city. now I don’t remember
how long Circus World’s roadshow run was at the
Warner Cinerama at Bway & 47 St. but it was
most certainly longer than 3 weeks. so I’m guessing
whatever merits the film may have had were more
inviting to NYC moviegoers than D.C. moviegoers.
still a roadshow run of only 3 weeks especially
for a big well publicized film regardless of whether
is was Oscar material still seems inordinately
short. hey the biggest roadshow disappointment in
the prime Oct. 1955 thru Dec. 1972 period in Manhattan was Half a Sixpence which ran 6 weeks.
I have an interesting question pertaining
to roadshow films. some studios seemed more
adept at keeping complete roadshow prints
in good condition than others. for instance
all of MGM’s roadshow epics released by
Warner Home Video first on dvd and now
blu-ray are the original roadshow prints.
yet on the available dvd and blu-ray of South
Pacific and The Sand Pebbles only the
general release prints are in good condition.
the accompanying roadshow prints are quite
uneven. any thoughts?
I thank all of my fellow posters who commented
on my question as to how “off the beaten track”
the Ziegfeld is. the reason the Ziegfeld rarely
has anything amounting to a decent sized
audience is because any “big” film
which opens there also opens at a dozen other
theaters in Manhattan. my point being said lack of
a decent sized audience has nothing to do with it
“being off the beaten path” in the strict sense
of the term. after all people had no trouble
finding it in the 70s and 80s when it still played
exclusive 1st runs.
you certainly make a valid point about the foot
traffic around the Ziegfeld once the workday is
over. but and there’s always a butt.
though Marooned was the theater’s one reserved
seat engagement studios continued to use the
theater for exclusive 1st runs even after the
reserved seat policy was discontinued. these
exclusive engagements were for both new films
and restored classics(My Fair Lady, Vertigo etc..).
so if people were able to easily find the
Ziegfeld when studios still used it for exclusive
1st runs I don’t see why people should have
trouble finding it now. plus I bet the foot
traffic after the work day was over was no different
then than it is now.
thanks Al for validating my inquiry as to whether
CAGS opened at this theater on a traditional
roadshow engagement. its possible the recently
released blu-ray disc is the general release
print since of all the roadshow films i went to
I never remember one without an intermission.
also to techman707. I don’t wish to sound vain
in my knowledge of roadshow souvenir programs
but I am confident that Hawaii was the last such
film to have a hardcover one.
also to answer your question. I do not have
a souvenir program for The Jazz Singer. my oldest
souvenir program is for the silent version of
Ben-Hur which opened Dec. 1925.
while we’re on the subject. I am one of the few
people I know of who collects souvenir programs
that has a complete one for 1926’s Don Juan with
John Barrymore. I say complete because in the
center of the program they placed a large sized
color post card of Barrymore in costume. I should
think programs which still have the card are more
valuable then those that don’t.
hey I’m not 19 anymore either but I pride myself
on being say 98% correct in my recollections. according
to “Movie Roadshows” by Kim Holston CAGS opened at
this theater March 30, 1966 on a roadshow engagement.
in fact I can remember seeing a full page ad
about advance tickets sales in the Arts and Leisure
section of the Sunday Times weeks before the film
also I happen to like “Hawaii”. its one of the
big roadshow films of the 1955-1972 period that
is better than its slightly off reputation. I saw
it at this theater during its original roadshow
engagement. I just hope at whatever point they release
a blu-ray disc of the film it is in fact the complete roadshow print.
also “Hawaii” has interesting distinction. its the
last of the roadshow films to have a hardcover
I just watched the Blu-ray disc of Cast A Giant
Shadow which was released this past Tues. a very
entertaining though fictionalized account of the
events. rather a well done grand scale film.
to which my question. the film opened at this
theater the Spring of 1966 on a roadshow engagement.
the interesting part is that on the blu-ray disc
the film has no intermission. I thought intermissions
were part and parcel of roadshow engagements?
also the blu-ray disc has a running time of 2 hrs.
18mins.. yet the Wikipedia page on the film gives
the film a running time of 2hrs. 26mins. what
happened to the other 8 minutes? if you are
going to release a blu-ray disc of a roadshow
film shouldn’t it be the roadshow print?