Showing 26 - 50 of 143 comments
Does anyone have any further information on the history, seating, etc. for the Rajah?
I also remember Ginger Rogers at Radio City. As I recall, she was a guest star in the show for a 2 week period during the 90 minute summer show that the Music Hall ran during the tourist season from Memorial Day thru Labor Day. Nearing 70 at the time, Ginger managed quite well with slow dance numbers with chorus boys doing most of the faster dancing around her. Somewhere in my archives, I have some Super 8mm footage that I shot during her numbers. All in all I have positive memories of the show although I do not recall what songs Ginger performed.
I used to look forwarded to those summer spectaculars, which were reasonably priced and reminiscent of the stage shows of previous times. Too bad they were discontinued.
Bway….Are you sure you were going past the Wagner on July 13th?
As far as I know, the Wagner is not a 99 cent store, but the Women’s Health Center. Perhaps, you went by the former Irving/Mozart, which is now a 99 cent store.
The double feature playing at the Casino in Warrenâ€™s 1963 photo must have been reissues, because â€œMonptiâ€ had its New York premiere on 4/20/59 and â€œConfess, Dr. Cordaâ€ on 10/23/60.
If memory serves correct, Munio Podhorzerâ€™s import company was called the â€œCasino Film Exchangeâ€. His imports would usually play their first run at the 86th Street Casino and be reviewed by the New York Daily News. After a week or so, they would move on to the Wagner Theater in Ridgewood and then on to the Irvington in Irvington, NJ. I presume that, from that point on, they then went on to other US cities that had sizeable German speaking populations such as Chicago, Milwaukee, etc.
To the best of my knowledge, the theater organ being worked on at Loew’s Jersey is the Wonder Morton Organ that was once at the Loew’s Paradise in the Bronx. Perhaps someone else has the definitive answer as to what happened to the Walker Wurlitzer.
Help….I too remember two theaters on East 86th Street that were very close to or on a southeast corner of 86th Street. I do not recall the avenue, but it may have been either Lexington or Third. The two marquees were on 86th Street right next to each other and one, if I recall correctly, was shaped like a semicircle. Went there twice in the late 50’s for double features of “Rebel Without A Cause” & “East of Eden” and “Forever Amber” & “Drums Along The Mohawk”. The latter two Technicolor originals reissued in “glorious” black and white. The name “Grande” kind of rings a bell.
Can anyone help “jffg718” and me with this one. ? ?
In my entry above, Loew’s Pitykin should be Loew’s Pitkin.
The following is a quote from an essay entitled “Brooklyn Yiddish Radio: 1925-1946” from a book entitled “The Jews of Brooklyn” by Henry Sapoznik, which portrays the Parkway’s place in NY radio, as well as Yiddish theater history…..
“Over at tiny WCNW in Brownsville, a weekly talent show called The Parkway Theater Program featured "the well known actress and star” Madame Bertha Hart. A genial Yiddish-speaking Margaret Dumont, Madame Hart offered her mike to a wide swatch of local Brooklyn talent. The hostess’s regular exaltations of “wonderful” and “magnificent” following every guest performance (regardless of quality) underscored the show’s local feel. After her guests performed, Madame Hart reminded listeners that they were for hire and repeated their addresses and phone numbers numerous times.
The Parkway Theater Program that aired November 11, 1936 demonstrated (unintentionally!) that most performers and audiences were recent immigrants. Programming on this date was to celebrate the eighteenth anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I. After using a bit of Kabballistic ciphering to cite the eighteenth anniversary in relation to its Hebrew equivalent of “Life” and peace, Madame Hart exhorted her guests to sing the “Star-Spangled Banner.” After the first few bars, however, it became clear that although everyone knew the melody, nobody knew the words.
WCNW also featured live broadcasts from the stage of the Parkway Theater of the works of Jacob Jacobs (the lyricist of the crossover hit “Bay Mir Bistu Sheyn”). These broadcasts, surviving today on deteriorating sixteen-inch aluminum discs, are the only known live examples of Yiddish theater in its prime."
A close neighbor of Loew’s Pitykin, the Parkway opened as the Rolland Theater in the late 1920’s, being named after its proprietor, William Rolland. In 1934, its name was changed for a short time to the Eastern Parkway Theater. From 1935 to its closing in 1956, the name was shortened to the Parkway Theater.
Two summers ago, I had the opportunity of attending a function at the church that currently owns the building. I am glad to report that the interior is in splendid shape. The auditorium has 95% of its original decor. The balcony has original theater seating, while the orchestra seats have been replaced by church pews. The street level lobby and lower lobby areas appear to be pretty much intact. I could not get much information from the people attending. However, it appears that the Parkway has functioned as a church for close to 50 years and few recall what its function was before that time.
The big question is….Did the Parkway ever show movies? I posted this theater last year and was shot down because it was claimed that the Parkway presented live theater productions only during its lifetime and therefore did not qualify as a “cinema treasure”. Perhaps someone has additional information to prove that perhaps Yiddish or American films were shown in the off seasons between stage shows. Or… perhaps, CT could give the Parkway an honorable mention as a theater survivor.
Recall reading on the internet somewhere that live Yiddish radio broadcasts were also done from the theater at one time. Also, that it lacked air conditioning and therefore did not function during the summer months.
Warren…Many thanks for the splendid photo of the interior of the Jamaica Theater circa 1947, as well as all the other theater interior photos and newspaper ads that you have been sharing with us of late.
The photo was probably taken during the period when the Jamaica was presenting â€œthird rateâ€ vaudeville during the late 40â€™s. It was also during the time when they were part of the â€œsubway circuitâ€ of touring Broadway shows during the summer months. The increased use of the stage in both instances probably accounts for their springing for the new stage curtains.
My recollections of the Jamaica go back over 50 years. I am amazed at how vivid the murals appeared in 1947. I still remember the one above the proscenium arch in a rather faded condition around 1953/54, but not the ones on either side of the arch. But then it could have been the lighting and tricks of memory after all these years.
Can you post any interior photos of the Carlton, Alden, Merrick, Rialto/Savoy and Hillside?
Between 1953 and 1977, the UPAC / Broadway Theater was known as the Community Theater. During this period, it was owned and operated by Walter Reade Organization.
A photo of the 72nd Street Playhouse, circa 1916, can be found at the following website by typing in the word “Granada” in the “search” box: View link
The sign on the marquee advertises the attraction “Behind German Lines”, which I assume was during World War I. The design of the marquee and the attraction boards also suggests that the photo was taken during the teens.
Ernie…Can you elaborate any further on the “lavish appointments” of the Majestic?
Also you appear to be familiar with the Perth Amboy area and you might be able to answer a question. A number of years ago when I was driving along Amboy Avenue toward Perth Amboy from Route 1,I passed a closed movie theater on the right side called the Royal. Further on, there was another closed theater on the the right side but situated on a side street. It was obviously a rather large ex-vauldeville house, as it had the usual stage housing in the rear.
Do you recall any information on either of these theaters?
Was in the Perth Amboy area several weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon and located the former Majestic. Fortunately, it was open for an afternoon church service and I gained access. Unfortunately, the Majestic bears very little resemblance to what it must have looked like in its heyday of vaudeville and movies as described by my mother who was a frequesnt patron in the 1930’s. All ornamentation has been removed both on the interior and the exterior. All surfaces have been modernized. However, one can still identify the general design of a theater on the exterior and the lobby, balcony, boxes and the proscenium arch on the interior. For a picture of the Majestic of yore, go to the following website and type in the word Majestic in the search box. View link
The Majestic was not as lucky as the Stanley in Jersey City or any number of other theaters, which were restored to their original splendor when taken over by a church organization.
For many years, the FOX was operated by Fabian and was advertised in the newspapers as Fabian’s FOX. They also had Fabian’s STRAND, which was a short distance away on Fulton Street.
Did Fabian ever have any other theaters in the five boroughs of NYC ?
Robert R… Here’s a bit of Arion trivia for you.
The entrance to the theater was framed by two showcases on the right and a single showcase on the left. The one on the left was actually a disguised door. When opened, it revealed a staircase which led to an apartment above the area over the outer and inner lobbies, the rest rooms and the boxoffice. Sporadically, one would see the tenant coming and going.
Ken…Thanks for the verification on the address.
Webmaster….Please add the name Windsor to the “a.k.a' for the Beverly. THX.
Robert…There was little decoration inside or out. The outer lobby with the flower boxes that stood between the doors to the rest rooms on the right as you entered, was more square than long and narrow and was where the ticket taker stood. The inner lobby at the back of the auditorium was on the long and narrow side and was where the concession stand was. This area or inner lobby was separated from the seated area by 4 ½ foot high marble dividers topped by another 2 ½ feet of clear glass and nothing above that.
The walls were painted plaster on the lower approximate 5 feet with the balance up to the ceiling being covered in a red damask for acoustical purposes. Wall sconces provided illumination. The ceiling had a huge oval plaster decoration. As far as I know, no
chandelier(s) ever hung from the ceiling. Huge radiators spaced along the side walls provided steam heat, which, at times, clanged merrily away during the show. That is when management decided to provide some heat!
Meant to add to my last posting….Isn’t it odd that the image of “Arion, the Greek musician riding on a dolphin” was never visible in any part of the theater’s decor? Perhaps there was something prior to the late 40’s, when I started going there regularly, that was covered over or removed in a renovation of one kind or another.
GarrettH….Finally, another Middle Villageite has made it to this page. I too graduated from PS 49. I was in the last 8th grade graduating class. That was way back in 1953, when dinosaurs roamed Juniper Valley Park.
Yes, in its final years, the Arion left quite a bit to be desired in the cleanliness department and it got worse as time went on. Remember the men’s room with those gigantic smelly urinals? They had to date back to when the theater was built in 1921.
Thanks for the explanation of where the name “Arion” came from. I wondered about it all these years, but never tried to research it. Now I am finally in the know.
Lee…Thanks for putting the facade back into focus for me. It could have been that during my Savoy movie-going days in the 50’s, the facade was sort of overpowered by and lost in the shadows of the old Jamaica Avenue el.
In any event, the Savoy was quite unique and had a personality all its own.
Lee Tyler….Thanks for posting the picture of the Savoy, pre 1932, when it was the Rialto. As the Savoy, I recall that the marquee was a silver and black Art Deco design. However, for the life of me I cannot recall the facade above the Savoy marquee. Certainly not the imposing one as pictured above the Rialto marquee in the old photo. Was it changed at the time that the Savoy marquee was installed? Or has my memory gone south? Does anyone recall what the facade looked like during the 1950’s?
I do vividly recall the lobby which was oval or round and painted all white. They used to have great displays of the b/w stills advertising the upcoming triple features.
It appears that a typo error may have been made in the address for the Beverly. If you Mapquest 523 Third Avenue, the theater shows as being located at 34th Street and Third Avenue. In reality it was located at 50th and Third.
The address should be 823 Third Avenue, which then maps out correctly near the corner of 50th Street between 50th and 51st Streets.
Does anyone have any other information about this mostly forgotten nabe house?
Attended the Colony Theater once in the very late 50’s for a revival of one of the Astaire/Rogers classics paired with another revival from RKO Radio. Recall that the theater was quite modern, very clean, comfortable and had a cozy ambience. Up until very recently, it was a Parade of Shoes store, which I presume replaced the clothing store mentioned above. Since all of the Parade of Shoes stores have now closed, the former Colony space sits there awaiting a new retailer.
CConnolly….The Earle is listed as the Eagle, which is its current name as an Indian moviehouse. The other theater which you are looking for that one could see from the LIE is listed as the Loew’s LeFrak. Happy reading.
Peter…Thanks for the clarification of costs. Figured as much, but did not realize that the costs would be so astronomical… Thank you NYTOS for a great show.