Roxy Theatre

153 W. 50th Street,
New York, NY 10020

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Showing 51 - 75 of 1,150 comments

MarkDHite on November 2, 2014 at 11:20 am

Here is a link to the photo I mentioned. It is from the Library of Congress, dated 1945 with the caption “Head usherette Capt. Rosemary Smith inspects line of uniformed usherettes who are holding gloved hands up to be examined, Roxy Theater, New York City.”

Here is a link to the page, the photo may be opened in three different formats and resolutions.

MarkDHite on November 2, 2014 at 2:16 am

Women were probably employed in concessions, box office, and as secretaries and receptionists. Earlier, there would have been a “matron” in the ladies lounge and a nurse in the theatre’s medical rooms. And of course, as cleaners. It’s an excellent question. Perhaps someone with direct knowledge can recall what jobs were open to women, other than as performers, at the Roxy in the 1950s and earlier.

dotty64 on November 2, 2014 at 1:46 am

Does this mean that the only jobs available for women at the Roxy in the 1950s was at the candy concessions?

MarkDHite on October 31, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Simon is saying that after WWII the Roxy went back to an all male usher staff. That sounds right, even though I wasn’t there, I’ve never seen a picture of a female usher at the Roxy except during wartime. I have a photo that I downloaded, I don’t know where from, that shows an older woman and her staff of wartime usherettes at the Roxy. The uniform is a very basic uniform dress with one row of buttons all the way down the front. If it’s not already in the photo section here, I will try to add it the next time I’m at my computer. Cheers

Joseph on October 31, 2014 at 5:38 pm

To Simon, Please see my photo of a female ROXY usherette. Females WERE recruited during WW2 because of manpower shortages.

Simon L. Saltzman
Simon L. Saltzman on October 31, 2014 at 10:59 am

As a Roxy usher in 1956 and 1957, I can tell you that there were no women ushers during that time. I recall a couple of women in uniforms who worked at the candy concession.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on October 31, 2014 at 7:58 am

You’re romance, You’re the steppes of Russia, You’re the pants, on a Roxy usher, I’m a broken doll, a fol-de-rol, a blop,

But if, baby, I’m the bottom, You’re the top!

— Cole Porter

dotty64 on October 31, 2014 at 2:55 am

what did the female usherette uniforms in the 1950s look like?

Joseph on October 30, 2014 at 5:21 pm

to dotty64:

Yes female ushers became common during the WW2 era.

dotty64 on October 30, 2014 at 3:13 am

Can anyone tell me if there were female ushers at the Roxy. If not, what jobs were available for girls in the early 1950s?

KCB3Player on September 26, 2014 at 8:01 am

The Roxy and the Fox were horrible losses for North America.

jamestv on September 22, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Radio City Music Hall has Rockefeller Center behind it, the Roxy and the Capitol had no one.

bigjoe59 on September 22, 2014 at 1:31 pm

to Mark D.–

thanks for your reply. it certainly says it all. people how decry the demolishing of grand movie palaces react as if some big orge is specifically targeting grand old movie palaces. the same thing happened with San Francisco’s The Fox which was as large as beloved as the Roxy. it was torn down in 1963 since it had become a huge financial liability which could simply not make it as a single screen movie theater because it was to frigging big.

MarkDHite on September 20, 2014 at 2:06 pm

What you say is true. The Roxy must have had huge operating expenses, and while I don’t think it ever lost money it must have been clear by 1960 that it’s days as a big moneymaker were quickly dwindling. However, I think the Roxy was doomed more by the value of its Midtown Manhattan real estate. From the time it was acquired by Rockefeller Center in the early 50s I imagine the plan was to just keep it going until the most advantageous deal could be made to capitalize on its location as Rock Ctr developed the west side of Sixth Ave. First the air rights were used for other development and then the lot was finally used for a new office building. Rock Ctr already had Radio City Music Hall and had no interest in keeping two huge movie palaces going. It probably never had a chance to survive after about 1952.

bigjoe59 on September 20, 2014 at 1:42 pm

to LorinW.–

while its sad that a gorgeous movie palace like the Roxy was demolished people forget one very simple fact. at the time it was decided to raze the theater it was a HUGE financial liability for the owners. once t.v. became commonplace in the American home HUGE theaters like the Roxy were doomed. i’m sure in 1960 when it was torn down the weekly operating costs were astronomical.

LorinWeigard on September 19, 2014 at 2:52 pm

This is why people go to Europe—they don’t bulldoze their architectural masterpieces to rubble. The iconic LIFE cover of Gloria Swanson in the ruins of the legendary ROXY says it all.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 21, 2014 at 10:11 am

Jack Benny’s radio show may still be the most consistently hilarious variety show ever to have been broadcast – on radio or TV, for that matter.

robboehm on February 21, 2014 at 7:01 am

See photo section for May 21, 1947 ad featuring a stage appearance by Jack Benny. Jack Benny and Bob Hope were then tied for favorite comedian in that, the heyday of radio. Film being shown was enough to discourage people from seeing it twice to stay for a second stage show.

robboehm on February 15, 2014 at 10:28 am

Carousel opened with a formal premiere on February 16, 1956 with regular, continuous, performances starting the next day. There was also an ice skating review, albeit shorter for this feature, because of the length of the film. See photos.

robboehm on January 30, 2014 at 7:17 am

Photo of 11/11/42 ad for opening of “Springtime in the Rockies”, a big hit for Betty Grable, uploaded. This movie sparked her romance with bandleader Harry James whom she married the following year. The featured song, “I Had the Craziest Dream”, became their theme song.

Simon L. Saltzman
Simon L. Saltzman on January 2, 2014 at 8:19 am

More pertinent info re above: British Gaumont helped to keep the Roxy going during the difficult years (1932 – 1937)by giving the Roxy exclusive first run rights to its releases, including “The 39 Steps.” …thus offering a buffer to the decision by the Hollywood studios to not let the Roxy have its A product because of its low admissions scale. The Roxy survived this, inlcuding the departure of Roxy himself (to run the RCMH and RKO Roxy (later to become the Center Theater), and more including Cinemascope without stage shows, Two-a-day with “Windjammer” and other policy changes that occurred during the managament of Roxy’s nephew Robert C. Rothafel who took charge during the 1950s.

bigjoe59 on January 1, 2014 at 5:09 pm


I thank Simon S. for his reply. the reason I asked the question was simple. during the theater’s 33 year lifespan Hollywood operated very much on the A,B or even C movie production levels. so i’m guessing for every Carousel or Anastasia they also played B or C films between the bookings of A level films.

Simon L. Saltzman
Simon L. Saltzman on January 1, 2014 at 4:08 pm

There are many answers to Bigjoe’s question. The Roxy played only A films from the time it opened in 1927 until the Depression years between 1931 and 1937 (assuming that means films produced to be the top of a double feature in subsequent release). Between 1933 and 1937 the Roxy severely lowered its admission prices and economized on the stage shows. During that time, the major studios balked at having their major films play there. It was only after/when Twentieth Century Fox contracted with the Roxy to supply it with their major films did the 6,000 seat theater regain its status. Between 1937 and its closing, the Roxy was consistently an outlet for A films. Your rating of films is presumably based on the intention of the studio and not the quality of the film. This does not take into account the many modestly produced “sleepers” that needed critical approval to succeed and a Roxy premiere was a help.

bigjoe59 on December 31, 2013 at 10:50 am


I didn’t start going into Manhattan by myself to see movie still the fall of 1965 at which point the Roxy had been gone 5 years. to which a question- in its 33 year life would you say the Roxy played as many B level or even C level films as it played A level films?

Joseph on December 30, 2013 at 6:04 pm

The TGI Friday’s was preceded by another restaurant. I believe a Child’s was on the corner of 50th and 7th for at least a couple of decades before the Taft was closed and re-modeled into the Michelangelo Suites during early/mid 1980s. The Roxy ticket lobby is the space currently occupied by TGI. The Roxy Rotunda, which was behind the ticket lobby was destroyed along with the auditorium and the rest of the Roxy building in mid-late 1960. The THS Roxy annual, published in 1979 or 80, claims that the Rotunda was to incorporated into the Taft Hotel expansion design William Zeckendorf was supposedly planning at the time. Of course this never happened. In fact I cannot locate any reference to the Hotel Taft expansion after the Roxy building was sold by Rock Center to Zeckendorf. Zeckendorf’s visions were constantly filled with hyperbole, which probably led to his bankruptcy and downfall. Rather than expand the Taft, the partially demolished Roxy was later sold by Zeckendorf to a couple of amateur NJ real estate developers (their first venture into NYC real-estate) in order to raise cash for his crumbling empire.