American Airlines Theatre

229 West 42nd Street,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 51 - 61 of 61 comments

42ndStreetMemories on February 26, 2005 at 6:29 pm

I just found a beautiful color clip of the Selwyn and entire north side of 42nd Street from 1956 on the website. The Selwyn is showing (3 Coins in the Fountain & Love is a Many Splendid Thing), Apollo (Naked Night & Divided Heart), Times Square (Best of the Badmen & Badman’s Territory), Lyric (Man in the Grey Flannel Suit & Magnificent Roughnecks), Victory (Purple Heart & Guadalcanal Diary). Here’s the link View link

Jerry 42nd Street Memories

caspers42 on January 16, 2005 at 6:58 am

I find it quite interesting how the front of this theatre just happened to “collapse”, and now there is bright neon lights on its front, was the current home of Pax a part of the Selwyn’s lobby, and was their just office space in the floors above the original and current entrances?

42ndStreetMemories on January 15, 2005 at 4:11 am

Usually the Lyric & New Amsterdam billings (my time….1950s-early 1970s)would be listed in the newspapers because they were showing 1st run (post-Broadway)films and they would appear in the ad taken out by the films' distributor. The Selwyn would show the same double feature as the Lyric but a week later, as the Harris did after the New Amsterdam ran it. So in theory if you missed a double feature one week, you knew that it would be at the Selwyn. No one would say “Let’s go to the Selwyn”, it was always “let’s go to the Deuce” and most likely you’d end up at the Empire, Anco or Victory which didn’t advertise at all and had the most creative re-release double features. Jerry 42nd Street Memories

AndyT on January 14, 2005 at 3:43 pm

I don’t think so —– I know I didn’t. I believe that these theaters were not even included in specific movie display ads, and the owners certainly didn’t spend money on advertising.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 14, 2005 at 3:40 pm

So people did not typically decide to go to these theatres by seeing them in newspaper listings or ads?

AndyT on January 14, 2005 at 3:35 pm

I think that most of us were unable to distinguish between the various theaters even when they were showing films. Ownership did little to establish identities for the grind houses —– the prospective customer simply walked up the street until they were seduced by a triple feature. I think there were few of us that said “Let’s go to the Selwyn.”

RobertR on January 14, 2005 at 1:55 pm

This theatre I think would be called American Airlines Theatre becauce most New Yorkers (except theatre buffs) have no idea anymore which theatre was which from the movie days.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 14, 2005 at 1:44 pm

In everyday conversation, do New Yorkers actually call it the ‘American Airlines Theatre’, or do they still call it the Selwyn?

42ndStreetMemories on December 28, 2004 at 2:12 pm

The Selwyn of the 50s-60s usually showed the double features that had previously played at the Lyric. The theater was the first one you approached on the southside of the street going from west to east. It was situated next to the Apollo. The Travel Channel has been playing an hour long program on Times Square this week with shots of the Deuce from the 70s. Jerry 42nd Street Memories

dave-bronx™ on October 6, 2004 at 11:19 pm

A former doorman at City Cinemas, who had previously worked at the Selwyn in the late 80s-early 90s, told me that at some point while he worked there they closed the orchestra and made all the customers sit upstairs in the balcony. This was because the rats in the orchestra section were chasing the customers away.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 15, 2003 at 4:34 am

The theater has been lovingly restored to it’s original luster after many years as a typical 42nd Street grind-house. The original lobby occupied the ground floor of the 5 or 6 story Selwyn building, which collapsed while renovations were being made to the theater in December of 1999 (just days before the huge annual New Years Eve celebration in Times Square — making cleanup and safety concerns a pressing concern). As I recall the theater from the ‘70’s and '80’s, there was a huge boxy marquee that ran the entire width of the Selwyn building… and just to the right of the theater entrance (but still under the marquee), one could grab a quick bite or soft-drink at the VERY greasy-spoon diner called The Grand. On the exposed east-side brick wall of the Selwyn theater could be seen a large but fading mural advertising the pleasures of enjoying a fine movie at one of 42nd Street’s many air-conditioned theaters. I have a photo of it somewhere. If I can find it and get a good scan, I’ll email it to this site’s host.