Showing 601 - 625 of 731 comments
Hello to Ed S. –
thanks for your reply. you of course make a
valid point about whether the projection/screening
set up at the Crescent was permanent in other
words constructed along with the rest of the
theater or perhaps hastily put up at the
last minute and then later made permanent. i guess
we will never know since anyone who went to or
worked at the theater is long gone.
also after reading your reply an interesting
thought occurred to me. if the theater this page
is for the Embassy 1,2,3 were still showing films
wouldn’t it be the oldest theater building in
Manhattan being used as a movie theater? after all
it opened in 1910 as the Columbia a burlesque
Hello Again To My Fellow Posters-
as always i thank my fellow posters for their
thoughts/comments on my posts. its nice to have
a lively discussion.
now if you read my last two posts i never use the
term “movie only theater” just “movie theater”.
i admit the Cresent in terms of its size or
ornateness wasn’t in the same class as the Rialto
of 1916. but since it did have movies as part
of the bill on opening night that would imply
i’m sure you’ll agree that the intention of
screening movies as well as having vaudeville acts
must have been part of the design and construction
phase. i can’t imagine they chose to show films
on a whim the morning of the opening night. so what
are your thoughts on this as a more valid way of
describing the Cresent-“the oldest theater i could
find in my search that was built from the ground
if not as a movie only theater at least as a
combo movie/vaudeville house”. i admit that’s a bit
much but since is it the oldest purpose built
theater i could find that screened movies on its opening night and for some time after i think its
distinctive place in the history of movie exhibition
in Manhattan should be duly noted.
Hello To My Fellow Posters In L.A.–
i live in NYC and enjoy reading this page to
see what’s going on in the movie going world
of L.A. so i have a question for fellow posters
in L.A.. does anyone know what the oldest
continually in operation movie theater is in
L.A.? my one qualification is that it has been
a commercial house the entire time. for instance
the Egyptian on Hollywood Blvd. doesn’t count
since its been a non-profit film society type
house for a number of years.
Hello Again to AL A.–
thank you for your quick reply. its always good
too read your thoughts on the subject.
as i said i have a rather liberal definition
of what constitutes a built from the ground up
or to use the proper term purpose built movie
theater. now no one can contest that the Cresent
was designed to be and was built from the ground
up as a theater and opened on the night of Dec.
16, 1909. now i don’t know this to be fact but
i’m guessing the technical know how and equipment
needed to show movies or photoplays as i believe
they were called in the early years was a bit
more complicated by 1909 from when they made
they debut at Koster and Bial’s Music Hall in
April of 1896. my point being since movies were
a part of the bill on the opening night of
Dec. 16, 1909 the thought to exhibit movies as
well as vaudeville must have been a part of the
whole design and construction phase. that’s why
i am classifying the Cresent as the oldest purpose
built “movie theater” i could find in my search.
whether is was a large theater in terms of seating
capacity or whether is was ornate in its exterior
or interior design or whether is was considered a
major theater in terms of the product or performers
it got isn’t important. the important fact is that
on the opening night movies were part of the bill.
Hello To Al A. & techman707-
as always i enjoy reading my fellow poster
replies. to which your comments of May 4.
i guess i have a rather liberal definition
of what classifies as a built from the ground
up or to use the more proper term purpose
built movie theater. my search used the
nifty list this site complied of all movie
theaters that ever existed in New York State.
i of course just looked up the theaters
listed under New York, New York which was the
list’s notation for Manhattan.
the oldest purpose built “movie theater” i could
find was the Cresent at 36 W. 135 St.. it opened
on the night of Dec. 16, 1909. true the opening
night program as you can imagine was a double bill
of movies and vaudeville but the important fact
to remember is this- the fact movies were shown
as part of the opening night program would seem
to be proof that during the design and construction
phase it was the intent to exhibit movies as well
as vaudeville. to which this fits my definition of
a purpose built “movie theater”.
i thank my fellow posters for their replies
to all of my questions. its been most helpful.
as you know for the past several weeks i have
been browsing a neat list this site complied of
all the movie theaters that ever existed in New
York State. the purpose being to find the oldest
built from the ground up or to use the more
proper term purpose built built movie theater
in Manhattan. to which on the list i just looked
up the theaters listed under New York,New York.
now for some time the furthest back i could go
using my criteria was the Regent and the Bunny
both of 1913. then i found out the late Apollo
of 42 St. was built in 1910 to exhibit both movies
and vaudeville. well i found an even older theater
that was built to exhibit both films and
vaudeville. the Cresent later known as the Gem
was built at 36 West 135 St. it opened on Dec. 16,
1909 with a program of both movies and vaudeville.
now whether in the design and construction stages
the builder intended to show films well who knows.
it may only have been a thought after the
construction was finished. but the important fact
remains that on the opening night the program
consisted of movies as well vaudeville. the theater
ceased operation in 1937 and for many years the
building was used by a community organization. the
building is now demolished.
does anyone know if the Sutton had anyexclusive roadshow engagements other than“The Blue Max”?
in the last say year and a half of the Roxy’s
life i was under the assumption that in the
movie industry at the time it was quite clear what
was considered an A film or a B film. for instance both the Loew’s Capitol and the Paramount went out
playing A films. so it would have been nice if the
Roxy’s final film had been a big A film.
as i said in my previous post in its last days
the Roxy was playing many B if not C films. in fact
the last film to play the Roxy was what a friend
of my parents referred to as a C film. i forget the
title but in had “Wind” in it. to which what was
the last first run A level film that the Roxy
thanks for the info. there were many large grand
old movie theaters that continued to operate as
single screen first run movie theater for several
years after the Roxy was torn down. the Criterion,
Loew’s State, Loew’s Capitol, the Rivoli, the Warner the Demille and the Paramount. i guess they were
able to survive as single screen movie theaters long after the Roxy was torn down because they were manageably large whereas the Roxy which had like
twice the seating capacity of the Paramount was
just to frigging big for its own good.
also what are your thoughts on the fact that till
the day they closed down both the Loew’s Capitol
and the Paramount were still playing first run A
level movies. respectively PLANET OF THE APES and
2001:A SPACE ODYSSEY for the Capitol and THUNDERBALL
for the Paramount. a friend of my parents said
that in its last 2 years or so the Roxy at times
played B or even C movies. now this was long before
mutliplexes when studios opened a film in 2000 to
3000 theaters on the same day. so if the Capitol
and the Paramount were able to book first run A
level films till the day they closed why wasn’t
i was able to attend many of the great old
movie houses in the Times Square area when they
were still more or less in their original condition and they before were twined or torn down. the Roxy
wasn’t one of them. to which i have what i hope
is a simple question. the decision to tear down
the Roxy was made i believe in June of 1960. so
as well loved as the theater was and had ornate as
it was by June 1960 wasn’t a movie theater as HUGE
as the Roxy just plain economically unviable?
when did the price for shows before 12.pm.
go up to $7? i saw MEN IN BLACK 3 last weekend
and it was still $6.
to AL A.–
thanks for your reply. granted no one ever
said the National either as a single or twin
theater wasn’t successful. if you have a
minute read the two previous posts i alluded
to in my post of 5/22/12. doesn’t the
sentiments expressed in these two posts make it
seem certainly to some one you had never
been to the National that the theater had
gotten as seedy, run down, ill kept etc…
as the general area itself? i just wanted to
make the point to people who had never been
to the National that in all the times i went
there in its 26? year history regardless of the
quality of the films the theater itself was
always well run, well maintained etc….
this is of course the direct opposite of the
Embassy 1,2,3. i admit i went to the tri-plexed
former Demille a number of times simply because it
was convenient. in fact the last film i saw there
which was shortly before it closed up shop was
“Living Out Loud” with Holly Hunter and Queen
Latifah. my point being in the year or two
before it closed both the main auditorium and
the two upstairs were in run down condition.
in fact the men’s room for the main auidtorium
downstairs and the men’s room and the two
upstairs were in decidedly un-mantained
condition. i wonder how the theater was never
closed for health code or building violations.
the city closes eateries at the drop of a hat
for the same reasons.
Hello To My Fellow Posters-
i wish to comment on the replies to
my post of 5/22/12. i don’t see why the
ethnic or demographic composition of the
audience needs be mentioned. all i was
commenting on was the fact that even during
Time Square’s most “colorful” period the
denizens of the area that produced said
“colorfulness” never seemed to frequent the
National(either as a single screen or twin)
as they did the grind houses on 42 St. aside
from the quality of the movies being shown
i never remember this theater ever being run
down, seedy, a shadow of its former self etc…
terms which i’m sure could have been applied
to the grind houses on 42 St.
my original post in which i said that calling the
the theater “out of the way” or “hard to find” was
a bit much was from my personal experience. the
first time i can remember going to the Plaza was
to see “Anne of the Thousand Days”. this i believe
was the beginning of 1970. until reading my fellow
posters replies i had no idea that the theater
was first built to be an elegant second run
house. so i guess the Plaza must have become a
prime first run house shortly before my first
visit. i seriously doubt Universal would have
booked a big Oscar bait film like “Anne….”
into an exclusive Manhattan run at a theater out
of the way or that no one could find.
as always i thank my fellow posters for their
replies. while “42 Street” is one of my favorite
books about Manhattan theater history the opening
statement to the chapter on the American has
always perplexed me. now the Rialto of 1916 is the
movie theater which “replaced” Hammerstein’s
Victoria. since i’ve read the Rialto was the first
movie “palace” built in the Times Square area i
assumed it was a brand new from scratch building
but apparently not according to Henderson. so how
much of the Victoria existed in the Rialto? for
instance was the Rialto simply built within the
gutted frame of the Victoria so all that was left
were the four walls?
also considering Henderson’s thoughts on the
subject how much of a older structure would have
to still be present for the “new” theater not
to be considered a “new” theater as she does?
this was one of the most prominent quasi-art houses
in Manhattan in that it would occasionally play big
films as well. granted it was on 58 St. between Park
and Madison but to deem that it was “hard to find”
as the intro states it sooooo way off base. it was
a favorite theater of mine. i would have loved to
have the downstairs lounge as my apartment.
i have lived within walking distance of the
building my entire life. now i just turned 61
and never remember the building in operation as
a movie theater. the marquee was kept up long
after it closed. so when did it close as a
i have to respond to the comments made by
rivoli157 and GaryCohen. while the surrounding
area may have gotten “colorful” at one point
the theater itself never went down hill or got
seedy however you wish to phrase it. it fact
“The Towering Inferno” opened on an exclusive
Manhattan run Dec. 1974 that lasted till the end
of May 1975. in terms of –“then the twinning and
the real decline of Times Square-no one in their
right mind went to a movie theater on Broadway”.
that is of course simply not true. from the day
the it opened as a single screen theater
Dec. 1972 thru its closure as a twin in 1996 the
theater was a well run operation and always ran
1st run engagements. whether or not the films
were any good was a matter of opinion. during the
theater’s 24 year existence i went there many times
and no matter how “colorful” the area may have
gotten at one point the theater(s)were always well
run and the patrons were regular well dressed well
behaved folk and not the “colorful” denizens of the
area as has been implied in the comments.
while the body of the theater(the auditorium)had
been converted to the U.S.A. disco and subsequently
demolished to build the swanky W hotel the lobby
area stills stands as is still operates as the
i first became aware of this theater when i was
a delivery boy for a local supermarket in the early
70s at which point it was already showing porn.
i have always assumed it was a vaudeville house
which had seen better days. but from the intro
at the top am i to understand it was built from
the ground up as a movie theater in 1914 and was
not a conversion/renovation of an older structure
into a movie theater and that it was strictly a
movie theater its entire life?
while quite fascinating and beautifully designed
Mary C. Henderson’s book “42 Street” contains a
big factual error that i’m surprised the proof
reader didn’t catch. the book is a biography if
you will of the 12 theaters that were built on
42 St. between 7t hand 8th Avenue. the twelve
chapters are arranged chronologically by the date
the theater was built. therefore the American is
the 1st theater discussed and therein lies the
factual error. the chapter begins with i believe
this statement-“the American has the dubious
distinction of being the first theater built on
the block and the first theater torn down”. this
is not true. while it was the first theater built
it was not the first theater torn down. Hammerstein’s
Victoria right on the northwest corner of 7th
Avenue and 42 St. was torn down at the end of
1915. the American wasn’t torn down till 1931.
i remember the Walter Reade theaters serving coffee
so its nice to know the Rugoff theaters had a similar
policy. i’m guessing the primary reason they were
able to pull it off was because of the manageable
size of the theater’s audience.
i liked the Fine Arts. one thing that the theater
did in the 70s and maybe early 80s was offer free
coffee in the downstairs lounge from i think 5p.m till closing. i believe other Walter Reade theaters
did so as well. can you imagine that being done
as always i thank my fellow posters for replying
to my inquiries. so Al A. if i understand you reply
correctly the 55th St. Playhouse went from being
a top art house to a gay porn house in short order?
i suppose anything is possible in the big wide world of Manhattan real estate even the fall of 1971. its
just i can’t picture the theater going from being
a top art house than say two or weeks later becoming
the top hard-core gay porn house in Manhattan. i
naturally assumed there had to have been a significant closed up period.