Hollywood Theatre

237 W. 51st Street,
New York, NY 10019

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Showing 51 - 75 of 146 comments

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 27, 2007 at 8:14 am

I must amend my recent comments about the early Warner Brothers wide-screen process called Vitascope. It turns out that simultaneously with “Kismet,” WB made another Vitascope feature, “The Lash,” starring Richard Barthelmess in a swashbuckler about early California. “The Lash” was released in December, 1930, and apparently had only a single engagement in Vitascope, and that was at the Warners Theatre in Hollywood, CA. The Warners Theatre in downtown Los Angeles ran “The Lash” simultaneously, but in standard 35mm. When “The Lash” opened in New York City, it was shown only in 35mm, and at the Winter Garden Theatre, which was then under lease to Warner Brothers.

LuisV on July 26, 2007 at 10:36 am

“The Miller” is a sure thing and will be built as part of the “Bank Of America” tower which takes up the eastern portion of the block bounded by 6th Avenue, W. 43rd and W. 42nd Streets. Tha facade of the original theater was spared while the rest of the original structure was demolished. The entrance will remain on W. 43rd St. Some of the original details from the theater were removed and stored prior to demolition and will be incorporated into the new theater structure. I don’t know if it will keep the “Miller” name upon reopening. My guess is that they’ll sell the naming rights to the highest bidder.

I’m curious about the other two projects referenced above regarding the Schuberts and Disney. Can you provide any additional info?


William on July 26, 2007 at 10:05 am

The Shubert’s have one in the works on 8th. Ave. between 45th & 46th.. and there was a Disney project also in the works.

bruceanthony on July 26, 2007 at 9:53 am

William what are the two broadway theatre projects in the works? I think the Henry Miller is one but what is the other one?
Thanks Brucec

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 26, 2007 at 6:17 am

Although the Hollywood ended its cinematic life before the wide-screen era, the theatre had the distinction of being the only one in New York City to ever present a feature in Vitascope, the process that Warner Brothers developed to compete with Fox’s Grandeur and MGM’s Realife. Vitascope used 65mm photography and projection. The first and only Vitascope film was WB’s “Kismet,” which gave the legendary Otis Skinner yet another opportunity to play a flamboyant character that he first did on the Broadway stage and then in a silent movie. “Kismet” opened at the Hollywood Theatre on October 30th, 1930 and ran several weeks on a two-a-day policy. Although the movie did good business and received favorable reviews, WB found Depression-strapped exhibitors resistant to any type of wide-screen presentation (many were still making payments on the installation of sound equipment), so Vitascope was abandoned. I don’t know exactly how large the Vitascope screen was at the Hollywood Theatre, but newspaper reviews said that it filled nearly the entire width of the stage.

William on June 28, 2007 at 4:29 pm

You’re right the Hollywood Theatre is a true gem in Times Square. Two weeks ago I was on top of the Times building, wonderful view. Well soon the new project on 8th. Ave. between 45 & 45 streets will happen, as soon as the last leases are finished.

LuisV on June 28, 2007 at 4:18 pm

I totally agree on everything you just said. Nederlander made a HUGE mistake in selling. The Nederlander theater is a real dog on the least desireable street in the theater district. However, if the church was offered enough money they could still have a large enough space for their congragation and focus on spreading “the word”. In the meantime, they could renovate the Nederlander, which sorely needs it. By the time that’s done they’ll be sitting on another incredible asset as Times Square continues its incredible resuregence. The new New York Times headquarters down the block is almost complete. The new office building at 11 Times Square has just started construction at 41st and 8th. In addition, the Port Authority has just authorized construction of a major office tower over the Bus Terminal so the area will just continue to get more valuable. It would be a win win for everyone, but I don’t think it will happen. I would just rather see a show at the renovated Hollywood instead of a renovated Nederlander. The Hollywood is a much much better theater!

William on June 28, 2007 at 4:08 pm

Nederlander Theatre is a dog, it’s worn out. The church has spent their money wisely on the maintaining the old Hollywood Theatre. If the theatre was worth keeping as a Broadway Theatre. Nederlander should just kept leasing the theatre to the church, but not selling it to them. Nederlander made the mistake in selling it in the first place.

LuisV on June 28, 2007 at 3:55 pm

They would do it because their mission should be to help the poor and to reach out to people. Money makes this happen. They would still have another theater to use as their new church which they could then renovate to the same loving standards that they used for The Hollywood! It would be “The Christian” thing to do.

William on June 28, 2007 at 3:52 pm

Why would the church get rid of this jewel for a worn out theatre? Even with money thrown in , it would never happen. The church has offices in the building that fronts on Broadway where the old entrance was located. There are two Broadway theatre projects in the works now.

LuisV on June 28, 2007 at 3:31 pm

This theater is truly spectacular and is the single most promising theater to be returned to either legitimate or movie use. It is a travesty that this theater was sold to a church in the first place. However, the church that lovingly restored this jewel is not going to give it up without major money. I say the Nederlanders should trade their Nederlander theater on W. 41st Street with this theater with cash thrown in. The Church can then restore that theater. In the meantime, Broadway would get a superior house that could also host movie premieres on Monday nights when the house is dark.

William on June 27, 2007 at 12:43 pm

The art nouveau lobby entrance on Broadway was closed off in the late 40’s. By looking at the current building that lobby is long gone.

Hibi on June 27, 2007 at 12:33 pm

Does anyone know if the original lobby on Broadway still exists inside or has it been converted to other use?

AdoraKiaOra on June 26, 2007 at 3:49 am

Those pictures are simply stunning! Im a great lover of theatre arcitecture and im now convinced that is the most beautiful building ive ever seen. Im stunned! I dont remember it looking that amazing when i went in years back
The pros arch looks like a gat way to heaven (pun kind of intended!)

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 4, 2007 at 8:37 am

Yes, it’s the same Hollywood Theatre, but I believe that the photo has been displayed (or linked) here before. It shows the original Broadway entrance, which cut through an office building to connect to the auditorium. The 2007 entrance on 51st Street was then only an exitway from the Hollywood’s auditorium…I think you’ll find that most, if not all, of the theatre photos in the NYPL digital collection have been posted here by now. I wish that the NYPL had done a better job of displaying them at the website. The majority could have easily been rejuventated to provide a clearer view.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 2, 2007 at 6:08 am

The name changed from Hollywood Theatre to Warner Theatre on August 15th, 1947, with the premiere engagement of the eagerly-awaited filmization of one of Broadway’s longest-running stage productions: www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/hollywarner.jpg

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 22, 2007 at 6:14 am

The Automat between 46th and 47th Streets had an address of 1557 Broadway. A vintage postcard showing the interior can be seen by searching the word “Automat” in the Digital Image Gallery at the New York Public Library’s website: www.nypl.org

ERD on April 21, 2007 at 4:03 am

Ed, the pictures you took of the Hellinger are excellent. Thanks for letting us see them.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 20, 2007 at 6:43 pm

That’s right – although in my day the Globe Theater entrance had been long before relocated around the corner as the Lunt-Fontanne. The Automat building is still recognizable – albeit shorn of any original facade elements – and I believe houses a discount emporium of some sort. I wonder if any of the original H&H interior elements remain – such as the elaborate columns and ceiling work. I doubt it, but I’ll have to poke my head in there one of these days.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 20, 2007 at 3:17 am

That Automat was on the west side of Broadway between 46th and 47th Streets, just north of the Globe Theatre and just south of the Central (which had numerous subsequent names, including Forum). The Globe is now the Lunt-Fontanne, with entrance on 46th Street.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 19, 2007 at 7:27 pm

There was a theater just a door or two down from the Horn & Hardart off B'way & 47th… I believe it was the Forum 47th aka Movieland – also demolished and replaced by a high rise building (the W Hotel).

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 11, 2007 at 6:02 am

The Strand has its own listing here as theatre #2975. You should be able to find history and photos there amongst the numerous postings. Unfortunately, the Strand was demolished and replaced by a huge highrise building.

TommyC123 on April 11, 2007 at 4:12 am

Thanks Warren! What happened to the Strand? What is there now? Is there a link to photos?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 10, 2007 at 11:00 am

The Strand was in the next block north of that Automat. The Strand’s electrical sign on the corner of 47th Street & Broadway was sometimes used for movies being shown at the Hollywood, which was under the same ownership as the Strand but situated at 51st Street & Broadway. The Strand and Hollywood were two different theatres. In its last phase as a cinema, the Hollywood was renamed the Warner. After the Warner became a playhouse called the Mark Hellinger, the Strand was renamed the Warner.

TommyC123 on April 10, 2007 at 6:43 am

Was the Strand/Hollywood next to the Automat? If so I have a picture I would like to share, the photo is from the 1940’s I believe.“Rhapsody in Blue” was playing at the time.