Radio City Music Hall

1260 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, NY 10020

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markp
markp on January 3, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Local news station WABC7 in New York is reporting that there is an electrical fire burning in the basement of the hall and the building is full of smoke.

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on December 30, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Guess my New York Giants will be 12th ranked in the NFL Draft when it returns to this venue this April.

NewYorker64
NewYorker64 on December 30, 2013 at 1:34 pm

I’ve really enjoyed these comments, and I’ve got another dimension for everyone to consider: the surmise of film is likely part of a larger loss… that of the tradition of spectacular theater, as opposed to just “entertainment.”

I, too, saw the Spectacular this year and observed the continuation of a trend that brings a bit of sadness. While there are clearly so many talented and dedicated people working on this show, it is becoming sub-standard when measured against what the Hall is actually capable of doing. The magic and surprise of transitioning sets are gone, the numbers no longer crescendo and build, one of the world’s most technically proficient and unique stages is more or less static, the organ at best is used as a sweetener for the soundtrack. When new technology is introduced, it comes off as weak gimmick. (Those who saw the “snowflake” number understand what I’m talking about all too well… did anyone at all watch the stage or did we all just look up, wonder and worry about the weirdo orbs?)

No doubt there is a very real need for contemporizing the show for younger audiences – we don’t want to end up where we were in the mid-seventies with an irrelevant format putting the theater in danger of extinction. As a theater-goer, I’m first likely to hang the director, who admittedly has done wonderful things to restore the proficiency of the Rockettes (though while putting them through the paces of the most sophomoric choreography –- what’s with all the incessant pointing?!).

I think this is a three-pronged problem… art vs. commerce vs. talent. The first two are a necessary evil and will forever co-exist. The third, well, that’s just a shame — a lack of imagination and understanding of spectacle in the middle of an embarrassment of riches that is The Showplace of the Nation.

I’m not giving up. My fingers are crossed for Hearts & Lights. Pensively.

markp
markp on December 30, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Thank you so much. I would really enjoy that.

rcdt55b
rcdt55b on December 30, 2013 at 11:27 am

We are fairly certain that the 3-D film will still be used for next year. It just works too well and is still an important feature in the show. They still had some problems with the LED 3-D wall this year so it would be risky putting it on that. In the 7 years or so that I’ve been here, we lost the film for a show only 2 times.

The surround speakers that were put in actually are used for the entire show, not just film. They are also used in a lot of the events during the year.

Thanks for your comments Mark but the legend here is Bob Endres. Also, few people know that the man that worked with Bob here, is retired but still works about 10 days doing the Christmas Show with us. Andy plans on being here next year too. Remind early in the show next year and I will give you a tour of the booth.

Vito
Vito on December 30, 2013 at 11:14 am

So the plan for next year as of now is to include the 70mm 3-D opening sequence? it may not be much but at least I can hold off holding a wake for film at RCMH A while back a ton of new surround speakers were installed in the theatre you can see the boxes just about everywhere on the walls and mounted in front of the mezzanines my question is are they used for anything other than film sound and with movies basically finished will the speakers be removed as well or used for other purposes

markp
markp on December 30, 2013 at 9:41 am

Thank you rcdt55b. I’m sure she will be asked to return. It will give her a break from her other job a few blocks awy, Motown the Musical. On another note, I’m hoping to someday be able to meet the legend that is rcdt55b, as one projectionist to another.

rcdt55b
rcdt55b on December 30, 2013 at 8:55 am

Congrats Mark. Hope she is back next year. Also, I can see the seams from the booth.

markp
markp on December 30, 2013 at 8:38 am

And as a side note, after tonight my wife will have completed her 6th season as a dresser for the Rockettes at the hall on the Christmas Show.

markp
markp on December 30, 2013 at 8:36 am

Mike(Saps)and rcdt55b, I mentioned back in Nov when I saw the Christmas show the night before it opened how annoying those seams were in the digital panels. I don’t know where you were sitting, but from the 2nd row from the stage it was bad. I was grinding my teeth the entire time, because I routinely install these at the Prudential Center in Newark NJ and we always take care to make sure that doesn’t happen. I being a projectionist for almost 38 years (until digital put me out of work this past May) would love to have seen all this on film. But as we are finding out, film is dead, and if the Hall no longer has its “sheet” than there is no hope for any change. I would just hope in the future they try harder to eliminate the visible seams on the digital screen.

rcdt55b
rcdt55b on December 30, 2013 at 8:18 am

It will be removed next week during load out and installed again next October during load in for next year’s show.

Vito
Vito on December 30, 2013 at 7:58 am

I am wondering if that silver sheet is installed every year for the Christmas show and will be removed after tonight’s performance. I would like to point out to those of you who are not aware, rcdt55b used that word correctly, Sheet is the correct and common word used to describe a movie screen in our business. If in the day you were to go backstage at any of the theatres featuring stage/screen shows such as Paramount or Roxy you would find in the rigging one marked Sheet for the screen as well as Rag which was how stage curtains were labeled. I wonder if the word Rag is still used in B’way houses today.

rcdt55b
rcdt55b on December 30, 2013 at 6:04 am

Mike, the 3-D video game sequence is on a separate LED wall made up of many horrible looking panels that do indeed have distracting seams (film wouldn’t do that…but that’s for another discussion). The second 3-D scene that I’m assuming you’re talking about is the Santa fly-in to Radio City. That is still 70MM film shown on the large silver screen and not the picture sheet. As I said earlier, the picture sheet has been removed.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on December 30, 2013 at 5:41 am

I saw the Christmas show on Saturday morning and two things struck me — one, the use of the ceiling arcs nearest the stage for projecting animated trains and Christmas scenes. I’d never seen the ceiling used that way before and if was very effective.

Second, during the two 3D portions of the show, the screen (picture sheet? ha!) they used was abysmal. It was several panels assembled together and the seams were so prominent and visible that it was really distracting and reduced the effectiveness of the 3D images. My suspension of disbelief was sorely tested during those sequences.

Otherwise, as usual it was marvelous to be in such a grand house again; it just warms me all over.

Vito
Vito on December 30, 2013 at 2:47 am

As we mourn the end of movies at the Hall we must take time to be grateful for the fact that the theatre is still with us; for movies or no movies this treasure is alive and thriving. As rcdt55b has written we need to get used to the changes embrace them in fact for the Hall will continue to change as new technologies emerge and new challenges for the brilliant Music Hall staff and the great stage in particular emerge. Recently we have had the pleasure of reading posts from rcdt55b who has kept us up to date on the goings on at the theatre I very much enjoyed being kept up to dates on everything Music Hall. I am sure rcdt55b would agree that our greatest contributor here in the Radio City thread has of course been REndres. As most of you know Rob for many years was Chief Projectionist during the time of movies and stage shows and after the Hall stopped showing movies Rob continued to inform delight and entertain us with marvelous Music hall stories. Today is the final day of the 2013 Christmas show and could conceivably be the last time film will be projected at RCMH. So everyone join me at approximately 8PM tonight as the last show begins and bow our heads in a moment of silence ;)  Any final thoughts Rob?

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on December 29, 2013 at 1:18 pm

or even a sporting venue….The New York Liberty once played an exhibition game at this venue.

DavidM
DavidM on December 29, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Sad news indeed, however, movies at the Hall can always return. Nothing like a good show-biz comeback to lift our spirits. In the meantime, I’ll meditate on my now 36 year old mantra. “It could have become a parking lot.”

Vito
Vito on December 29, 2013 at 11:50 am

Well the end of an era has finally come movies are finished at the Hall. It was inevitable I suppose with the death of film and the fact that in order for the Music Hall to show Digital movies it meant setting up two Digital projectors in the mezzanine which probably became an it’s just not worth it situation. The beginning of end came a year or so ago with the removal of all the changeover equipment needed to run reel to reel I saw that as a sign of things to come. Now they have put the final nail in the coffin with the removal of the picture sheet (screen) and the speaker border and stage speakers

One has to wonder if they end up dropping the 3-D form the Christmas show or find a Digital way to replace the 70mm how long it will be before all the projectors are removed and that space utilized for some other equipment.

So goodbye to movies at RCMH it was a heck of a place to see a movie but now that it’s pretty much over we can all stop dreaming and hoping for movies to return which let’s face it we all knew but did not want to accept would never again happen.

So let’s hold on to our memories of the good ole days at RCMH we will never see the likes of that again.

rcdt55b
rcdt55b on December 29, 2013 at 9:48 am

First off, get used to the stuff hanging everywhere. With more and more shows and the “need” for “effects”, more things will be added. Of course things change from show to show but there be always be equipment hanging everywhere…….. ……On a sadder note, the house picture sheet has been removed and most likely discarded. Also, the speaker border with the stage speakers has been dismantled and most likely permanently removed……….

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on December 29, 2013 at 9:14 am

Next year on April 25 marks 35 years since the Hall’s schedule changed to mostly live events and less movies, and 15 years since the last time it was renovated.

edlambert
edlambert on December 29, 2013 at 9:02 am

My second experience at RCMH was seeing the Christmas show back in 1989 or ‘90. I see from more recent photos that the auditorium has lots of audio and visual equipment hanging from the rafters and destroying the view of the magnificent architecture of the space. If this “stuff” appears only as needed for special events, ok. I’d hate to see it there were I to return to see the Christmas show or some similar event.

markp
markp on November 27, 2013 at 10:48 am

Thank you Ken, Ross and Stephen. With my wifes next paycheck, from none other than Radio City, a Christmas present for me.

Ross Melnick
Ross Melnick on November 27, 2013 at 8:00 am

A few years ago, Andreas Fuchs and I wrote a new chapter, revised the old book, created new theater pages, and then a new publisher came in to MBI and killed the new edition just before it went to press. Cost cutting at its finest. Thus, there are no revised versions of the book on the docket. It is now officially out of print but the CTA has copies for sale and there are some tattered used ones for sale in other outlets.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 27, 2013 at 7:09 am

MARK; The ‘Cinema Treasures’ book is available at its published retail price $40.00 + p&p from the UK, from the Cinema Theatre Association

markp
markp on November 27, 2013 at 5:52 am

Hi Ross. Just a question, and I think its on topic, is the Cinema Treasures book still in print? Any ideas where to get it? Ive checked big and small book stores, with no luck. Thanks, and Happy Thanksgiving.