Guild Theater

33 W. 50th Street,
New York, NY 10020

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Showing 51 - 75 of 111 comments

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 14, 2005 at 1:03 pm

That’s similar to the way Fox, Warners and Irwin Allen handled the billing of Paul Newman and Steve McQueen for “The Towering Inferno” – and it was replicated in a single title card in the opening credits. One name on the left and the other on the right but higher in the frame.

I never attended a film here, but the Guild was featured in a recent re-run of Late Night with David Letterman on the cable channel Trio the other night. Robin Williams was the guest and he was promoting the 1989 movie “Dead Poet’s Society.” For the segment, Letterman sent a camera crew to the Guild to get a glimpse of the movie playing on screen (he was still on NBC and therefore working several floors above the Guild in the RCA Building).

The camera starts on the street and enters through the main doors, past the turnstile into the small lobby and then to the left through the 2nd set of doors leading to the standing-room area at the back of the auditorium. The camera turns right to look over the half-wall at the screen but the end-credits are already rolling. So, Letterman starts interviewing people exiting the theater for their reactions. He follows a few of them through the exit doors located at the back of the auditorium (these doors would have been just a few steps down to the left of the entrance) and on to 50th Street. Very funny stuff and a nice little glimpse into this vanished little Art Deco gem.

Mikeoaklandpark on July 27, 2005 at 1:02 pm

Interesting Warren all three theaters are now gone. That is so sad

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 27, 2005 at 9:44 am

Warren, that “Boeing Boeing” ad is wild. It’s pure ‘60’s. Check out the body measurements under each actress’ name (Thelma Ritter: ? ? ?).

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 27, 2005 at 9:30 am

And producer Hal Wallis is probably still spinning in his grave over that one!

RobertR on July 27, 2005 at 9:18 am

And I think in the opening credits the two names spin around in a circle don’t they?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 27, 2005 at 8:00 am

Here’s how Paramount resolved the top-billing battle between Tony and Jerry in 1966:

BoxOfficeBill on June 29, 2005 at 12:44 pm

Here’s a Showbill Program from the Guild in November 1959. If you want to read the fine print, after you click on the URL you must click the image itself so that it enlarges on your screen. I’m sorry that the print-out won’t be so clear.

View link

View link

As a kid in the late ‘40s, I remember the Guild as a Newsreel house around the corner from RCMH. I became aware of it as a first-run foreign-film house in December ’51 when, standing on line for RCMH’s Christmas show, I noted that the Guild was premiering Alastair Sims’s “A Christmas Carol,” the London Tower Film that has become television’s archetypal holiday version over the years. Memorable films that I remember seeing at the Guild include Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai” and Truffaut’s “Jules et Jim.”

“The Mouse That Roared” became Peter Sellers’s break-away hit in the USA. Three years earlier I’d seen Alec Guinness’s “Ladykillers” at the Sutton. Sellers played a small part in that film, but I didn’t remember it. “The Mouse” was deeply funny at the time (when Cold War jitters still prevailed in full force), and Sellers’s multiple-role acting was truly astonishing. One of my friends whom I’d seen it with didn’t believe that Sellers acted all three major parts. It’s a good thing that the Guild provided a Showbill to prove it. A year later, the Guild premiered “I’m All Right Jack.”

RobertR on June 9, 2005 at 5:58 pm

May 1969 “Sound of Music” was playing here with ads saying ….“spend the holidays with the most popular film of all time, this is your last chance to see it !!!”. Four years was an incredible run to be in release. I think in 1973 it had a big re-issue playing on Broadway at the National.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on June 3, 2005 at 11:06 am

After the Capitol, “2001” moved in September 1968 to the Cinerama (the old Warner Theater, remodeled and divided into 3) on Broadway and 47th. After that, I believe the New Embassy 46th St. got it next (in 35mm), and then the Guild. It opened in neighborhood theaters throughout the NY/NJ area in March 1969, but it must’ve been very popular in midtown since it was still playing the Guild in August.

RobertR on June 3, 2005 at 10:42 am

In a NY Times ad for 8/10/69 2001 a Space Odyssey is playing her at the Guild. Was this the first place it moved after the Capitol? What a change in venue to go from Cinerama to the Guild.

br91975 on March 31, 2005 at 2:26 pm

Is the slope in the current Times Square Visitors Center the same slope which existed when the Embassy 1 was operating as a cinema? If so, without having seen a film there, hardbop, I easily second your point.

hardbop on March 31, 2005 at 2:14 pm

I remember The Guild well. Never went there too often. Last film I caught there was Demme’s “Beloved” back in ‘98. One problem with the Guild was the atrocious sight lines. If someone sat up close the bottom of the screen was so low you would have to move over and sit on the side to get a clear view.

The Embassy 1 was also like that. Terrible sight lines.

chconnol on January 27, 2005 at 10:11 am

Yes, I agree that that is the one. Thanks. Yet another cinema mystery solved for me.

RobertR on January 27, 2005 at 10:04 am

I think you are correct. I am sure it played there.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 27, 2005 at 8:58 am

To CConnolly:
I’m not positive, but from your description it sounds like it could have been the Cinema Rendezvous (57th Street Playhouse, etc.) It is now the Directors Guild of America Theatre and is listed at:

chconnol on January 27, 2005 at 8:19 am

In late 1984 or so, Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” was re-released with a pretty bad rock score accompaniment (not good…). Being a long time fan of Lang’s I went to see it but it was before I was keenly aware of the great NY theaters. I have no idea what theater it was but it was in the 6th Avenue area. I remember the lounge/bathrooms were downstairs and the place was VERY art deco. Smallish but beautiful. For some reason, I thought it might’ve been on 57th Street but I don’t think it was the Sutton because there was a balcony.

Can anyone tell me what theater I saw this in?

Benjamin on January 16, 2005 at 9:06 pm

A few weeks ago I went back to the Rockefeller Center concourse to take a closer look at the two stairways opposite the Radio City Music Hall corridor. These two little staircases do seem a little grand for just access to the service area that I thought they led to, as they kind of symmetrically wrap around the box office which is positioned in the center.

But they still seem kind of small — and so very, very much out of the way — for a main entrance to a museum. (I once worked at a similar “underground” location in Grand Central, and people found it very inconvenient and difficult to find — although it was directly adjacent to the Times Sq. shuttle, and directly below a very easily found street address!)

I’m interested in learning more about the museum, and hope that John S. Rogers, or someone else, might be able to elaborate a bit more as to how this entrance was used? Was this concourse entrance a secondary entrance, the same way that the Music Hall entrance was a secondary entrance? It seems strange that the museum wouldn’t have a main entrance on street level, since the museum itself surely extended upwards to street level. (There are pictures, from 1936(?) and 1934, of the very high ceilinged interior of the museum in the book “Rockefeller Center” by Carol Krinksy — pgs. 90 and 142).

I checked the WPA Guide to NYC (1939) and while they have a little over two and a half pages on the Museum and mention all the subways that go to the museum, they don’t give an entrance location other than 30 Rockefeller Plaza (the RCA Building’s address facing the ice skating rink).

Here’s two descriptions of the museum from Krinksy:

“The Museum dispays occupied the hard-to-sell windowless interior ‘Forum’ space on the lowest floors of the RCA Building, extending toward the RCA Building West. The long lease made the Museum a better tenant than the occasional municipal art exhibitors or the restauranteurs originally envisioned for the area.” (page 91)

“Below the [radio] studio area [of the RCA Building] was an area which had the advantage of offering wide spans of clear space — as much as 45 feet high and 117 feet wide — but which had the disadvantage of being entirely in the unlit interior of the building. The managers and architects labored throughout the 1930s to find a suitable use for this potentially profit-making waste space. It took until 1934 for the architects … . to design the area to provide a two-syory exhibition space. It had balconies at the second floor level which led to smaller exhibition rooms. The space became the site of two Municpal Art Exhibits in 1934 and 1935. When the Musuem of Science and Industry took a fifteen-year lease beinning in January 1936, Edward Durell Stone redesigned the space to create a lively display area with stepped ramps around part of a central rotunda, a scheme not entirely remote from that of Frank Lloyd Wright’s later Guggenheim Museum … As at the Guggenheim, the public was led along a preordained path, an arrangement better suited to lively displays of basic scientific principles and technology than to the contemplation of great paintings.” (pg. 143)

Thanks in advance for any additional info that anyone can provide!

dave-bronx™ on January 15, 2005 at 3:32 am

The Guild had a cat on duty to take care of those situations – however, when the show was running ‘Morris’ could be found relaxing in the projection booth, confined there so that he didn’t upset the customers while patroling the auditorium in the dark.

worldcity on January 14, 2005 at 6:25 pm

A less appetizing footnote to the declining condition of the Guild in its final days: On my last visit — and I do mean LAST — the audience was additionally entertained by the silhouettes of rats climbing up the side of the screen. When the action, and scrambling, moved to the floor, everyone sat with their legs pulled up, knees under their chins. On mentioning this to the manager, we were told that they had never received a complaint on that subject!

worldcity on January 14, 2005 at 6:18 pm

Yes, those stairways for years led below the RCMH areas to the Museum of Science & Industry, which, during WWII, contained a vast and fabulous array of military and patriotic displays, aircraft, etc. Nothing like it!

RobertR on December 17, 2004 at 3:50 pm

The Austin is now the Kew Gardens Cinemas, the Astro is the wrong name of the theatre I am thinking of.

dave-bronx™ on December 17, 2004 at 3:36 pm

It was near Union Turnpike…

dave-bronx™ on December 17, 2004 at 3:36 pm

Wasn’t the Austin on Austin St. In Kew Gardens Qns? It was a porno joint in the mid-1980s – I knew someone who worked there, he said an old woman owned it at that time…

br91975 on December 17, 2004 at 3:20 pm

I did a search on the site for the Austin, Robert, but no match. I also searched some time back for a theatre you mentioned in response to one of my posts on the Nova Cinemas page a few months ago, the Astro, but found no info on that one either. What do you remember of those two theatres?

br91975 on December 17, 2004 at 3:14 pm

The Embassy 72nd Street was once a newsreel house, explaining the existence of its entrance turnstile.