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So, the theatre was re-christened sometime in the last week or so. I have pics I’ve uploaded showing some of the new signage.
This listing is all but ready for the “demolished” label. The space the theater once occupied is now just a hollowed out concrete and steel cavern. The rest of the building’s interior has nearly all been stripped down to iron and mortar as well. I just posted a picture from last week, where you can still make out, behind the construction netting, the fenestration and some of the signature wrought iron work that decorated the facade just above the Mayfair/Demille’s entrance and canopy. I image that these elements, too, will be hacked off and carted away in due time.
Meanwhile, I still wonder (and worry) about the fate of the landmarked Embassy 1 (Newsreel) Theatre, one block to the south. Restored and used for over a decade as the Times Square Visitor’s Center and Museum, it has now been closed and, once again, boarded up.
There are absolutely no stage facilities whatever, Mikeoaklandpark. And there’s barely any lobby space at all. I’ve uploaded a photo from last week. Alas, while Ken’s initial revision to the introduction above was a bit premature in saying the place had been boarded up, this is, in fact, what has since happened. A fresh barrier of plywood is now in place, covering the entire entrance right along the sidewalk.
This part of the block has been under scaffolding for some time (including the Palace Theatre entrance and the Doubletree Suites Hotel entrance on the corner of 47th), so it is difficult to get a good, representative photograph; but I will try to snap a shot in the next day or two, to update the gallery.
One correction… The building is not boarded up. It is cordoned off, at the sidewalk, but you can still see into the outer and inner vestibules. One of the doors is always open, as this is a staging area for workers of the Times Square Alliance, who keep the area sidewalks clean and empty out the trash bins. There is also a sign that says the entrance is still open for access to offices at 1560 Broadway.
A little behind on posting this, but I walked by this theater (as I do every week day) about a week ago, and noticed signs outside stating that the Times Square Museum and Visitor Center is now “permanently closed.” The signs refer folks to a website for the Times Square Alliance, but there is no informatin there about the closure (except an echo of the message already on display in the outer vestibule).
Here’s a link to the Museum and Visitor Center page on that website.
I wonder what will now become of this restored little gem?
Hey techman707… It is true that those latter day souvenir booklets were not made to accompany a two-a-day hard ticket engagement, but the booklets themselves were very much in the same style and content as those old, classic roadshow souvenirs. I know, because I actually have a pair of vintage booklets – one for “HOW THE WEST WAS WON” and the other for “IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD.”
The HTWWW booklet is distinct from others that I own, because it originally came in a hard cover (unfortunately, lost over the years by youthful neglect). Not sure how may other program booklets were that extravagant. Did they typically charge for the booklets during the Roadshow era? Or were they handed out, complimentary?
Oh, I know, Mike. I’m now a Lynbrook resident, these last 7 years plus. I’ve been back on a few occasions, and those are most definitely the same seats I remember from 1979!
Techman707… thanks for that info. That is what I thought, based on the slope on the floor I noticed when I snapped those pics of the demolition site.
As for programs… They actually outlasted the Roadshow era, well into the 1980’s and probably – with diminishing frequency – the very early ‘90’s. I still have my souvenir booklets for the original Star Wars trilogy, several Roger Moore-era Bond flicks, Warren Beatty’s Reds, and even Rocky II! A few of those were purchased at first run engagements in Times Square, but I recall some of them being available even at the candy counters of some of the local neighborhood theaters, like Century’s Green Acres, Sunrise Cinemas, and the UA Lynbrook.
LeonNorman1814… Try posting it to the Strand Theatre page. The Orleans was carved out of the backstage area of the old Strand, while the main house was twinned to become the RKO Cinerama I and II around the corner on Broadway. Would love to see that pic.
The street view should be corrected. The theater would have been located to the south of Sunrise Highway, just on the other side of the railroad tracks. George Street comes into a T interesection with Deer Park Ave. Not sure if the theater was on the actual corner of George and Deer Park, or across the street, opposite the terminus of George St, facing east.
Would hope there’d be room in the schedule for the Promotor to step aside, say one or two days a week, so that the FOTL can continue to run their movie programs…. with a generous subsidy from profits, of course. I mean, don’t they deserve that much respect in this situation?
Another couple of shots posted, that I took a week or so ago. The shed doors located directly in front of the old theater entrance, were open and I was able to take a shot of the open space clear to what might have been the back wall of the auditorium (meaning, the farthest wall from Seventh Ave.
Having never seen a movie at this Embassy, I do not know how the theater was oriented with respect to the building’s footprint. However, as I was standing there, I could see where the floor began to slope down and away towards the back. You can’t make it out as well in the photos, as you could with the naked eye, standing in that doorway.
The slope starts around the point where that orange meshing is, sloping down towards the back wall, and also more steeply to the left, it appears. Not sure how the auditorium was oriented within the building, as I never attended a film at this theater.
If they ever re-build the Lynbrook – and that is a big “IF” – the Fantasy may suffer some consequences. Of course, I think the place will still have some legs, because of its location. There are always young people spilling out of bars and restaurants, in RVC, particularly on weekends. The theater never lacks for foot traffic.
Saw a construction worker outside of the building, yesterday morning. He confirmed that the building is being entirely dismantled, and the site to be prepped for new construction.
I’ve been wondering the same thing, Howard. Someone here said the entire building was being dismantled. If I ever see one of the construction guys, I’ll ask. Or, if I find myself with a spare half-hour before work, I can try to sift through the dozen or so permits they have posted on the corner of the construction shedding!
Added a few more glimpses of the interior demolition, as viewed through construction peep-holes on Seventh Ave. Images taken middle of last month.
Ironic, and sad back to back comments – one with the text of an article announcing the construction of the Drake, the other a link to an article about it’s demolition.
The shot of Tony Curtis, as Falco, watching Hunsecker’s sister enter the theater, was filmed at the corner of W. 54th Street and Sixth Avenue. The bar and restaurant behind him is now the site where the New York Hilton is located. That would make it appear that the theater itself was the original Ziegfeld Theatre. However, neither the interior shots of the theater, nor the exterior showing the sister entering (and later the Marty Milner character in the outside foyer) were shot at the Ziegfeld.
Suggesting it was the Ziegfeld actually makes sense, since at the time of the filming, that theater had been used by NBC as a television studio. But the exterior shots are of a different facade, just judging from the windows and storefront immediately to the right of the marquee.
As for the Rivoli, by this time (1957) the interior had already been streamlined for its wide-screen road show retrofit. The interior shots in the film show far too much original vintage ornamentation to be the Rivoli – not to mention the design around the proscenium is a bit different. I don’t know where they filmed those shots, but it is definitely an old movie palace that had been retrofitted for direct-throw wide-screen projection (you can glimpse the new booth, cut into center of the loge, in the background), just not the Rivoli.
With King Vidor at the helm, Selznick producing, and a budget that allowed for location filming in Hawaii (this was scrapped, according to IMDB.COM trivia, due to weather related problems), not to mention the fact that it was based on very popular stage material, I would say “Bird Of Paradise” likely constituted an “A” picture for RKO.
This probably doesn’t belong here, Bloop. The “Interboro” stamped on the ticket in the lower left corner, refers to the chain that ran the Elmwood Theatre in Elmhurst, NY.
Just posted a couple of shots I took with my cellphone over the last week or two, through the construction shedding peepholes, to see the demolition in progress. The first shot shows a portion of where the old Mayfair/DeMille entrance used to be. The second is another storefront or two down towards 47th Street, but may reveal recesses (stripped to concrete) that may have been a part of the theater.
The left interior wall shown here is the northern wall of the entire building, so this is definitely where the Mayfair, and later DeMille, entrance was located. Later, when renovated, the entrance space was cut in half. The donut shop took the left half, and the theater, the right. This day I passed, was the only time, so far, that I’ve seen the roll top gate was actually at least most of the way up, exposing the demolition within the actual theater portion of the building. And I take a peek into those peepholes every morning!
This section was most definitely storefronts along Seventh Avenue (probably around the spot where the old Columbia Theatre entrance used to be), but not sure if any of the recesses shown in the back here were a part of the Mayfair/DeMille.