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To all my friends here on this page who have been talking about the real Christmas Show. GOOD NEWS. Someone just posted an audio only recording from the 1978 show. For those of us who saw those shows it should still give you goose bumps because we can see the show in our minds. For our younger friends, at least you can now hear what we have been talking about all this time. A large vocal chorus, a 60 + piece orchestra and you can hear when the organ comes in at the end. The only thing missing is that you can’t feel the building shake. I would only hope that people from RCMH see this and listen to find out what has been missing all this time. This is why we stood outside in the cold and the snow for three hours and more every christmas. I hope you all enjoy this.
For those of us who could not be there but would have liked to, Sooo, how was the show?
Re: the organ. I believe It’s not the age but the budget. If you don’t use it, you loose it. Also, they put in a 10 ton PA system, so re-mike the poor thing. For those who don’t know, the design of the auditorium sends the sound of the organ towards the stage and not the seats. They could use what is called tone shoots but they would need 8 of them and they are not going to cut into the walls for 8 large holes. So, use 8 mikes. Also I haven’t felt the organ shake the place in years. I don’t know if it’s from the air leaks or was that caused by the old PA system. I do know that 16 foot trombones will shake the place. The grand organ has them plus a lot more that should jiggle your eyeballs. This past christmas show, when the crowd was coming in I like to sit in the first row of the 2nd mez. and I could hardly hear the organ. Up until the end of the 70’s you knew the organ was playing. One other thing I forgot to mention in my prior post. While I was being interviewed I made a big stink about a young trumpet player in the orchestra. In the middle of a rockettes number with the orchestra in site. This kid with an orphan annie hair-cut takes a big yawn and lifts both hands high over his head. Everyone could see this. I told them that it took my attention away from the stageshow and that I bet in the old days when the elevator went down he would have been asked to leave.
Mr. Leonidoff, by reading your description, I can see it in my mind. It gives me goose bumps. To everyone one else, if you never saw this, you really missed the real RCMH. Buy the way, I wonder why the conductor does not use the lighted baton anymore? They haven’t used it for years.
In answer to Leon Leonidoff, What I mean by Big Mistake is that that is part of the magic of the Music Hall, It always is done, I expected it and very disapointed when it didn’t happen. One of the best scenes created for the Christmas show after the films were dropped was “Christmas In New York” I just sat there with my mouth open. Also, Maybe you would know this. The very ending of the old show just before the curtin came down. The organ, orchestra and chorus would go up (I believe it was) the Gm7th chord starting with Gm7 with G on top to Gm7 with Bb on top, Pause, then to Gm7 with D on top and end with a F chord. At the F the organ would go back into its alcove, the orchestra would start down and the curtin started coming down. The piece being played was either Oh Holy Night or Oh come all ye faithfull. It was a very powerful ending and always left with a lot of red eyes and handkerchiefs. I might be wrong about the actual key for the chords but it works just as well. I still use it when I play a large pipe organ and it still gets me.
Some info for “tolover”. Last time I checked, there were over 600 dead notes on the organ. Most of these are to be fixed before the concert. Re: the fireworks from the 40’s, I remember seeing a color photo of them in a 1951 popular machinecs mag. with a full page story on how they were made. I was at the hall in the early 60’s and almost jumped out of the chair when I saw them being used on stage. I only remember that it was a year or two before the Worlds Fair opened. In fact when I went to this past Christmas show I was questioned if I could give a non-bias review after the show. When I told them how many Christmas shows I’ve been to and have performed on the Great Stage they excepted me. After the show I went down and was escorted into a booth and was asked many questions re: this new show as compaired to older shows and I know I was asked questions to see if I was really paying attention (Believe me I was!). When they asked me about the new firewords part I told them that because it came out at you and the tech. involved it was better than the originial (they looked at me like I was from Mars or something, They didn’t know that there were fireworks used there before. So I explained it to them. I also told them that I was disapointed that the orchestra didn’t go down on the orchestra lift and come back out on the rear of the stage (BIG MISTAKE). Also I did not like the 12 days of christmas number (It is too long.). Then I told them to spend some money and get the guts back into the organ. I ended with they should go back and look at the ending for the original Christmas Show. With the organ, orchestra and chorus all going up the chord ending on the 7th, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house and they havn’t had an ending so moving as that was yet. For anyone in the know I was #92.
I have a question to ibnybill. You say that the show will be stored upstate this year. Do you know what happened to the wherehouse they had uptown I think in Harlem?
PKoch, I checked into it and the theatre was the Loews Gates and then I checked with an older area resident who who said the same thing that I said in that it stopped showing movies on the night of the blackout and was empty for a short while and then became a church. I remember these facts because I worked in the area at the time and went by it on a regular basis.
PKoch, The theatre was located on B'way right around the corner from the Police Pct. stationhouse. After the blackout it stood empty for awhile and then became a church.
In responce to PKoch. You must remember that the devastation in Bushwick was caused by the residence (not all) on the night of the big black-out in July of 1977. The Loews on Broadway was still showing movies until the lights went out. The patrons were escorted out of the theatre, they closed the door and never came back. Yes the stories are true. When the sun came up the next day what I saw reminded me of streets in Europe during WW II after a large bombing raid and to this day, the neighborhoods there and around there haven’t come back to where they were the day before the balckout.
Sorry you missed the mini concert but it will happen again. Most likley early next year. As soon as I hear anything I will post it.
I found out that the organ will be used this saturday from 1 to 4 PM as a mini-concert I’m told that all are welcome to come and listen. This means the auditorium only.
I did see the Three Stooges in the 60s in the Kanema (spelling?) on Pitkin Ave. in East New York. I was also inside the Lowes Pitkin in the mid 70’s when it was a church. It was still beautiful. You could have put on live shows at any time. Even the pipe organ was still there. I also, about the same time took a walk through the Palace which was just a few blocks away and it was a bombed out mess due to fire and water damage. I got out when pieces of the ceiling came down near me.
Sorry it takes me so long to read all the posts. Re: the post on Aug 23,24. The theatre was a church for awhile and 4 days after they left the building the looters started going in. The glass on the front door was smashed in. I happened to see that so I went in with a flashlight and saw they started in the lobby to rip the copper wiring out of the walls. I went in up to the stage area and it was really nice in there with the large overhanging mez. That was the one and only time I was on the inside and that was in 1978.
Gertz department store was one of the top of the line places to go for a wedding dress. The best thing about Gertz was going there as a kid to see Santa!!! It was better than Macy’s in Manhattan is now! I’m talking about the mid to late 1950’s when I was taken there. The line would go all around the place with all kinds of things to see. The smaller childred would be able to walk on a raised walkway while the bigger kids and the adults walked along with you on the floor level. I took your mind off of the endless line until to got to see the big guy himself. :–)
Veyong, I can’t be sure of the exact date. Mabe it was 1960 but I do know it was at the Valencia. The El train was still there. The electric buses were running on Jamacia Ave. I can still see the goldfish in the lobby, the huge Ben-Hur posters and billboards in and outside the theater and I was so impressed with the woodcarvings all over the walls.
Another note to PKock and HeMan re: anti-aircraft guns. I just checked with my father-in-law who told me when he came home from the war, he remembers 90mm guns in Aqueduct Racetrack and more in Hamilton Beach on Crossbay Blvd. where there now is a VFW all by itself.
to PKoch. I wasn’t around yet during the war but I did hear this story when I was a kid living in the neighborhood. It might or might not be true. Also I was in the Valencia only one time and that was to see Ben Hur in 1959.
Just a note to PKock and HeMan re: your post in July. I have heard that there was an anti-aircraft battery where Aqueduct Racetrack is today. I never heard anything about baisley pond park having one. I lived just across Rockaway Blvd. from the park in the early 50’s.
I do not remember much re: the Alan Freed shows but there is a Alan Freed web site that has just about everything about him with photos of those days. Don’t have the web address handy but you can find it by doing a search.
To Mariec53, Murry the K shows were at the Brooklyn Fox about 2 blocks away. Allen Freed did shows at the Paramount.
The photo in Warren’s posting of Dec 6th could not be this Park Theatre. Facing the entrance, it was located on the right end of the block and did not have such a fancy entrance.
I remember a Park Theatre which was located just off Rockaway Blvd. East of the Van Wick Expressway. I don’t remember the exact block it was on, the last time I was inside was to see Old Yella and I remember very little about the inside of the building. I was about 6 years old at the time. I do know that the building was taken down in the early 60’s and was left as an empty lot for many years. It may still be a empty lot.
For the exact wording talk to your accountant but if you are not a “not for profit business” you can collet money and then use it to to restoration and then at the end of your year have that amount taken off your taxes as a business expence for building upkeep. Again talk to your accountant on the exact way this can be done so you will not have any problems down the road.
In an answer to Justin Fencsak. I believe It’s mostly the cost factor holding them back from producing more shows. I do remember only one year they brought back the Easter show. Guess they didn’t fill as many seats as they expected. I have performed on the Great Stage and boy it is a thrill the stand there and look out at almost 6,000 people. I’m sure a lot of acts would love to put their show on there but like any other business, you want to make some money. So they will go for the smaller places like the 1,200 to 1,5000 seat houses which cost a lot less and the real big acts would want to go for something like MSG. Even for RMH to produce a show the cost is great on a day to day basis and a BIG outlay of cash way before the people sit in the seats. But most of us here can remember seeing a movie and the stage show for $1.25 (general admission) if you stood on line for hours in the cold and snow.