New Victory Theatre

209 W. 42nd Street,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 51 - 75 of 99 comments

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 30, 2007 at 8:39 pm

Just occured to me that the actress Vanity – whom Prince had “discovered” for his movie “Purple Rain” in 1984 – was the female lead in both of those flicks I reported seeing on the Duece in Feb or March of ‘88. That must have been the programmer’s “theme” when he booked the supporting feature (since “Action Jackson” was a new or recent major release). At least there was still an attempt at creativity – even though I recall some disappointment that the theatre entrances and outer foyers were no longer adorned with the colorful and hyperbolic advertising paraphernalia that had long been the custom up and down the street.

Much as I miss those days (well, before the urine odor set in)… there is no denying that the restoration job on the New Victory is a stunning acheivement – almost as much as the magnificent job that Disney performed on the New Amsterdam across the street (much as I hate to pay them any credit)!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 30, 2007 at 8:26 pm

Jerry… I’m thinking that was a last ditch effort to keep the Victory going while the City was ramping up efforts to clean up the strip – probably around 1988/89? It didn’t last long as the Victory was shuttered by 1990.

Last time I saw a movie on the Duece was early 1988 and I recall that the Victory was still showing XXX porn. The other grinders had mostly gone mainstream – with new Hollywood product topping the bill and an older genre flick in support. One or two of the theatres were still showing Kung Fu flicks – I think the Cine 42 was one, maybe the Rialto II. The Harem was still in full porn swing and if I recall, the Empire was already shuttered. In fact, the Liberty may have also been closed at the time – but I can’t remember for sure.

My Duece swan song was a double bill of “Action Jackson” with Carl (Apollo Creed) Weathers supported by a cheapo Billy Dee Williams actioner called “Love You to Death” (or something like that) co-starring Prince “find” Vanity and the immortal Morgan Fairchild. The theatre reeked of marijuana and urine (I’m almost positive it was the Selwyn, but could have been the Times Square) and, while I soldiered on through both features, I pretty much knew about 20 or 30 minutes in to the first flick that this would be my last trip to one of the old 42nd Street grind houses.

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on October 30, 2007 at 4:52 pm

Ed, I was thinking the same thing. When did the Victory revert back to mainstream features? jerry

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 30, 2007 at 1:25 pm

Interesting to see a shot of the Victory’s marquee advertising mainstream features after so many years on the porn grind! Great shot… I’ve been looking to pick up a copy of this book for some time now.

strawberry
strawberry on October 30, 2007 at 4:55 am

Here are two photos from Nicholas Van Hoogstraten’s book “Lost Broadway Theatres”:

The Republic theatre in 1901
View link

and the Victory theater in 1989
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Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 6, 2007 at 8:41 pm

A 1970 night-time view of the Victory can be seen here. That’s a capture from a video clip on YouTube which is a segment from an A&E documentary on Times Square.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 24, 2007 at 1:57 pm

I may have posted this before, but does anyone know what NYC theater might be depicted in this photo? I found this on the web listed as a “Times Square Burlesque” circa 1942 – and I’m sure I’ve seen this image before in a book on the area, but I’ve never seen it specifically identified. Seems to me that the Victory is a likely candidate.

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on April 8, 2007 at 3:07 am

A different angle of the marquee change that I posted above, shows another double feature booking in 1962. Not too long before The Victory went to adult fare. j

View link

mrjoe
mrjoe on March 29, 2007 at 6:00 am

Thank you Warren, The staircase was so authentically and beautifully redone it seems like it’s been there forever.

mrjoe
mrjoe on March 29, 2007 at 4:55 am

I am a bit confused about the now famous steps that protrude onto 42nd street. In many photos they don’t seem to be there, yet in person they seem quite authentic to the building. Can someone tell me about them?

Scholes188
Scholes188 on March 16, 2007 at 2:28 pm

I am sorry that I didn’t see the theater while it was still showing porn. It would have been interesting to say the least.

Ian
Ian on March 16, 2007 at 2:22 pm

A few more pictures – mostly interiors here:–

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Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 25, 2007 at 4:04 pm

As I mentioned would happen in an earlier post, I took the kiddies to a show at the New Vic just the other night, where our seats were right on the stage. After the performance, I snapped a few photos of the house from this vantage point and thought I’d share them here…

Full view from the stage
Stage right
Stage left

The folks managing the theater that night were pretty strict about not allowing photographs, so these were all I could manage without drawing much attention to myself. I would have grabbed a shot looking up into the fly space or into the riggings off in the wings, but it was quite dark and I didn’t have an opportunity.

ERD
ERD on December 19, 2006 at 6:24 am

Excellent pictures of the auditorium, Ed. Thanks for sharing them with us.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 18, 2006 at 8:39 pm

I was back to the New Victory last Friday for another show… which can only mean more excessive photography on my part:

View from 2nd floor of McDonalds across the street
Looking out the porthole window in the balcony stairwell
A pair of cherubs
Dome centerpiece
Proscenium from balcony
Side box view from balcony
Dome view
Detail of motif over proscenium
Detail of valance curtain and proscenium
Ceiling from side balcony
Left side of house and boxes
Proscenium view from dead-center balcony
Molding detail
View from the top (elevator landing/usher station)
Main lobby from landing of mezzanine stairs

You see… I have this new digital SLR with an 18-135mm telephoto zoom lens so I had to break it in. For the next show we’re attending, we have seats that are actually on the New Victory stage, so I hope to get a shot of the house from that unique vantage point.

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on August 15, 2006 at 7:44 am

I posted this about 18 months ago so forgive me for doing so again.
But this film clip has a great shot of the north side of 42nd Street, the way that I like to remember it. 1956 is the date. jerry

View link

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 2, 2006 at 1:15 pm

Here’s an ad from the good-old bad-old days:

Sylvia – NY Daily News 1/25/78
Three adult Duece bookings all in a row! Though I wonder if the film advertised at the Times Square was really a hardcore flick.

CelluloidHero2
CelluloidHero2 on May 26, 2006 at 8:46 am

Great ads Ed. They have helped me remember what theaters I originally saw some of the films advertised. (Ordinary People and Altered States at the Loew’s Astor Plaza and The Seduction at the Loew’s State). Thanks for taking the time to post.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 26, 2006 at 6:09 am

Yeah, Al… I didn’t notice the Night Shift Twin, but I was going to inquire here about the Frisco. I have some of those block porno ads that the Post and News would cluster at the bottom of the mainstream movie ads that I plan on posting at the appropriate theater pages here on CT and was going to pose the question. I don’t see the Frisco listed in any of those blocks, but I do see the Night Shift, which was apparently an all male adult cinema carved out of office space on the two floors above theHollywood Twin on 8th Ave near 47th. I’ll post the ad for it on that theater’s page since it lists the very same address of 777 8th Ave.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 26, 2006 at 12:13 am

Ed, The FRISCO and NIGHT SHIFT TWIN in the Movie Clock above are two Manhattan porn houses I had never heard of before 3/10/82 .

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 25, 2006 at 10:52 am

Here’s a shot I took in the fall of 1993 showing the Lyric and Victory at a time when most of the Duece theaters were shuttered (the Harris and Harem were still kicking around) and their marquees and facades subject to public art and poetry:

1993 marquee poetry

I also snapped these two photos in 2002 while attending a show with the kiddies at the New Victory:

2002 Facade detail
2002 side boxes

I also have these images from the NY Post in December 1980 and March 1982 reavealing that the Post did include 7 of the Duece grind houses in their “Movie Clock” listings. Aside from the Cine 42, they are all clustered together in the 2nd column in each image below:

Movie Clock 12/11/80
Movie Clock 3/10/82
Full Movie Clock 3/10/82

The last shot is a full view of the 3/10/82 Movie Clock that reveals all the porn theaters that were listed – inlcuding the Harem, making it 8 Duece theaters on the list. Not listed are the New Amsterdam (which was on the verge of closing down in ‘82), Harris, Anco and Rialto Theaters. I also checked contemporary copies of the News and Newsday I have and none of these theaters are listed at all. Meanwhile, the Apollo was flirting with legitimacy:

News Theater Directory 12/9/80

The other feature both the Post and News ran in those days was something called the Neighborhood Movie Guide. The Post ran nearly a full page listing, while the News' version barely filled a single column (and in those abbreviated versions seemed mostly filled with XXX Porn listings). Here are a couple of samples to jog some memories:

Post Nabe Movie Guide 12/11/80
Post Nabe Movie Guide 3/9/82
News Movie timetable 12/15/80
Mews Movie Directory 12/9/80

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 7, 2006 at 3:28 am

Nice shots, Ed!

There was a Loew’s Victory on 155th Street and 3rd avenue open in the 40’s that does not appear to be listed here. Does anyone have any info on that one?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 6, 2006 at 4:53 pm

I’m reorganizing my photobucket albums, so none of the links I posted back on February 26th are still working. If anyone is interested in seeing those photos, here is a link to the Victory Theater album I just added:

42nd Street Victory photo album

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 6, 2006 at 4:49 pm

I was at the New Victory this past Thursday for a show and took this detail shot of the stone banister at the bottom of one of the balcony stairways:

Banister carving

The rough carving is a bit hard to read precisely. It might read “1995” or this could be a remnant from the peak of this theater’s most seedy incarnation in “1975”. I can’t imagine how someone would have had the time to pull this off in the theater’s current well patrolled state of existence.