World Theatre

153 W. 49th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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Showing 51 - 75 of 84 comments

Scholes188 on August 19, 2007 at 4:10 pm

I remember when the NY Daily News carried ads for XXX-Rated movies. And who could forget those ads for gay porn?
No mainstream newspaper could away with now in this high-moral times.

frankie on December 14, 2006 at 9:43 am

During the 80s, a friend took me to an invitational screening here of “That’s Life” with Julie Andrews & Jack Lemmon. I shoulda stayed home !

frankie on December 14, 2006 at 9:42 am

During the 80s, a friend took me to an invitational screening here of “That’s Life” with Julie Andrews & Jack Lemmon. I shoulda stayed home !

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 15, 2006 at 6:03 am

Things were getting lurid by the early ‘60’s here:
Pagan Hellcats – NY Daily News 9/21/63

This theater was definitely known as the Embassy 49th Street at some point in the late ‘80’s. The other Embassy 49th was in the former Trans Lux 49th Street (aka Trans-Lux West) on B'way near 49th that had operated as the Pussycat and then Grand Pussycat porn house in the 70’s and early '80’s. I’m pretty sure the former World was the last to carry the Embassy moniker – and I think it ran mostly Disney re-issues during this brief period. In any event, “Embassy 49th Street” should be added as an AKA here.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 2, 2006 at 11:42 am

English… ever catch the work of Abagail Clayton at the World?:

7 for Snowy – Daily News 1/25/78

mauriceski on June 15, 2006 at 4:59 pm

I remeber this theater as “THE WORLD 49TH STREET”.It was a porn movie house.I saw some of JENNIFER WELLES classics there in the seventies.

RobertR on May 25, 2006 at 5:35 pm

Check out this ad from the war years. How odd for a Times Square theatre to have no matinees, the first show was at 530 pm.
View link

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 25, 2006 at 9:23 am

5th smash week for Seka at the “Nations Red Carpet Adult Theater” at the bottom of the page:

Post 12/11/80

And a couple of years later, a new leading lady has a hit:

Post 3/8/82

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on September 25, 2005 at 2:58 am

THESE THEATRE ADS appeared in a program booklet “Stadium Concerts Review” for Lewisohn Stadium, College of the City of New York, for July 29 to August 4, 1936. The concerts were by the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra. The small ads tout what was playing at several New York movie theatres. One of them was the World, referred to as the World Cinema. No specific titles were given, just the category of “distinctive films.”

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 4, 2005 at 11:43 am

Yeah, that ridiculous “leg ad” was the common one used for the film in America. Antonio’s wife Maria hardly appears for a moment on the bicycle, and you really don’t see much of her legs. It also carries the implication that she is being abducted by bicycle: bicycle thief = snatcher of women. This poignant tragedy is not about that at all, of course, but sex does sell tickets.

BoxOfficeBill on August 4, 2005 at 10:12 am

I never knew about that fracas. And then, in your second advertising image, there’s the detail of the female legs transported on the bicycle. It makes the film appear as though it were a caper comedy. Or, worse, as though it were “Icicle Thieves.”

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 4, 2005 at 10:01 am

In response to Boxofficebill:
Yes, it refers to the the M.P.A.A.’s refusal to issue a production code seal. Joseph I. Breen, vice president and chief of its production code administration sent a letter to the distributors (Mayer-Burstyn) saying that the movie would receive a “Certificate of Approval” provided that (1) the scene of the little boy [peeing] against the wall, and (2) all the interior shots in the bordello, into which the man chases the thief, were cut out of the picture. I paraphrase from article I have from the New York Times dated March 2, 1950. Burstyn fought, won, and ultimately the seal was granted.

Idiocy that boggles the mind!

BoxOfficeBill on August 4, 2005 at 8:54 am

To censor “Bicycle Thieves”? For what? Does the ad depict little Bruno urinating? I guess the publicity sold tickets. Ahhh…the way of the World.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 4, 2005 at 8:03 am

Here are a couple of ads for The Bicycle Thief (Ladri di biciclette) at the World in 1950.

moviesmovies on July 14, 2005 at 1:38 am

In the ‘70s I saw Gerard Damiano’s 'Memories Within Miss Aggie’ here.

BoxOfficeBill on February 16, 2005 at 10:18 am

Gerald and Warren— Ah, yes, the Avenue Playhouse on Sixth Ave — I recall it in my mind’s eye on the west side of the street, mid-block, with a semi-circular white marquee framed by green neon tubing. Both of you have contributed good info to its page on this site. I recall nothing about its policy, and remember it just as a mysterious presence in the area. And yes, Warren, Bryan Kerfft’s elequent history of the World at the top of this page fully explains the origins of its English decor. I’m going to work on uncovering the name of the film I saw there in the late ‘50s.

Benjamin on February 16, 2005 at 9:41 am

Correction to my post above:

It seems to me that it was probably the Trans-Lux West Theater (on west side of Broadway, south of 49th St.) that was demolished in 1987, not the World Theater (north side of 49th St., between Sixth and Seventh Avenues).

Benjamin on February 16, 2005 at 9:22 am

Since corrections and elaborations about the identity and history of this theater have been scattered over a number of different posts, I’d like to try and summarize in one place what I think seems to be the correct information.

The WORLD THEATER, located “midblock” on the north side of 49th St., between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, started out as a cinema theater with the name the Charles Hopkins. (It had been built as a playhouse, called the Punch and Judy.) It then became the Westminster (1934), the World (1936), and finally the Embassy 49th (1982). It was demolished in 1987(?).

The TRANS-LUX WEST THEATER, on the west side of Broadway between 48th and 49th St. (but almost on the corner of 49th St.), was renamed the Embassy 49th after the theater that was midblock on the north side of 49th St. (i.e., the Hopkins, Westminster, World, Embassy 49th) closed down. Sometime after receiving the name of this other theater, the formerly named Trans-Lux West was renamed once again, this time as the “Pussycat Theater.”

It was the Trans-Lux West Theater (not the World) that was replaced by the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza (a hotel, not an office building). The site of the World Theater was, instead, the site of an office building (not a hotel) built by the Rockefeller Center people — after what seemed like years of being an empty lot. (I think the main tenant in the building is Lehman Brothers?)

It was the WARNER/CINERAMA (originally the Strand), which was located on the west side of Broadway between 47th and 48th Sts., that was replaced by the skyscraper office building referred to in one of the previous posts on this page. (I forget the name of the eponymous major tenant, but I believe it is a financial services firm.) This is the building that has three rows of “ticker-tape” lights, each going at a slightly different rate of speed, running across its facade.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on February 16, 2005 at 8:25 am

BoxOfficeBill, De Sica’s “Shoe Shine” did not open at the World. It premiered at the Avenue Playhouse on 6th Avenue and 47th Street on August 26, 1947 where it settled in for a long run.

BoxOfficeBill on February 16, 2005 at 8:02 am

Thanks, Warren, for the World’s early history as a showcase for British imports. That might explain the theater’s Tudor design. I recall being inside it only once in the late ‘50s, and can’t remember for what film. Its glory days as the theater for “Open City,” “Paisan,” “Bicycle Thief,” “The Titan,” and “Shoe Shine” had passed, and the major imports were then opening at the Paris, Fine Arts, Plaza, Beekman, et al. I’ve got to look up the films that played there in the late '50s before porn set in.

MagicLantern on February 14, 2005 at 4:26 pm

Yes, this is a rather extensive segment of “Inside Deep Throat” (2005) – highly recommended for fans of old theatres and their marquees in the 1970s.

scottfavareille on February 14, 2005 at 3:10 pm

The new documentary “Inside Deep Throat” has numerous shots of the theater during the days it showed Deep Throat, including news footage of one raid that had been staged for the purposes of getting publicity for the city’s attempt at shutting the theater down.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 22, 2004 at 6:02 pm

At the end of the 1996 film “Celluloid,” an Italian movie about the making of Rossellini’s “Open City,” the scrolled narrative mentions the World Theatre by name as being instrumental in the beginning recognition of the film’s worth. Still virtually unseen and unappreciated in Italy, “Open City” began a 21-month run at the World with showings from 9 A.M. to 11 P.M., beginning in February, 1946. International acclaim for the revolutionary movie followed, augmented by its subsequent success in France later that year. So the history of Italian neo-realism owes a debt to Rod Geiger (the American G.I. who negotiated the importation of “Open City”), to its then-distributor Mayer-Burstyn, and to the World Theatre which showcased it in the middle of Manhattan.