RKO Proctor's 58th Street Theatre

154 East 58th Street,
New York, NY 10022

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Showing 51 - 75 of 108 comments

AlAlvarez on September 18, 2006 at 9:02 am

I can confirm Warren’s date. The old one closed in March 1928 and the new one opened for Christmas with TAXI 13.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 18, 2006 at 8:24 am

Theatre research has never been an exact science. We all make mistakes sometimes, but I think that I have a higher rate of accuracy than many people. I would like to check the accuracy of information contributed by “mikemovies,” but I can’t find any. All of that phantom’s postings seem to be just opinions, and often off-topic.

mikemorano on September 18, 2006 at 7:55 am

Since when are you concerned with accuracy fella? How do we know that your opening date is correct? Take your problems and questions to the New York Times.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 18, 2006 at 7:37 am

The New York Times story about the 39-story office building had a major error. The theatre first opened on December 20th, 1928, and would not have been 40 years old until December 20th, 1968, which was about a year-and-a-half after the NYT report.

mikemorano on September 18, 2006 at 7:09 am

Very cool lostmemory. Thanx.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 18, 2006 at 6:51 am

This bizarre triple bill in January, 1944 included a Walt Disney featurette in Technicolor about Nazi Germany. Has it ever been revived?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 15, 2006 at 12:40 pm

Thanks, David. You’re absolutely right. Since 4/04/05, I finally managed to see the serial in its entirety. I still wish that I could remember what the double-feature was that I saw with chapter #1. I believe it was “Northern Pursuit” (with Errol Flynn) & “The Sultan’s Daughter” (with Ann Corio), but I’ve never been able to verify it. The RKO circuit apparently did not mention the serials in its newspaper advertsing.

DavidHurlbutt on July 15, 2006 at 5:20 am

Regarding your April 4, 2005 question concerning the Phantom trapped in quicksand: The Phantom’s trusted dog(name?)appeared,saw the sinking phantom, the dog got a large vine in his jaws, the dog tossed the vine to the Phantom,and the Phantom pulled himself to safety.

RobertR on May 22, 2006 at 4:12 pm

Claudette Colbert

kencmcintyre on May 22, 2006 at 3:47 pm

Was Karl Malden matched up with Connie Stevens or Claudette Colbert?

RobertR on May 22, 2006 at 3:43 pm

a steamy double bill
View link

42ndStreetMemories on April 21, 2006 at 9:08 am

After my beloved RKO 23rd Street closed in 1960, we had to go to the 58th St. RKO for this Christmas show. 3 movies (my hero Audie & Francis!!!)& cartoons, the day after Christmas 1960. WOW. jerry

View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 20, 2006 at 4:14 am

The year 1947 brought many re-issues due to a Hollywood “product shortage” resulting from labor union strikes against the major studios. Here, the 1942 “The Black Swan” is topping a bill on the RKO circuit, while 1938’s “The Great Waltz” is the co-feature at Loew’s Metropolitan:

BoxOfficeBill on March 10, 2006 at 7:12 am

One of the features that followed “The Robe” on the RKO circuit was “Beat the Devil.” I remember seeing coming attraction for it in black and white on the reduced conventional 1:1.33 screen, diminished so as to heighten the impact of CinemaScope’s size and color.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 10, 2006 at 6:47 am

During the 12-day Christmas-New Year’s RKO booking of “The Robe,” the rival Loew’s circuit countered with two program changes, Martin and Lewis' “The Caddy” & “The Vanquished,” followed by “From Here to Eternity” (as a single feature and at slightly increased prices).

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 10, 2006 at 5:25 am

“The Robe,” the first feature in CinemaScope, had its first neighborhood run on the RKO circuit (with some Skouras, Randforce and Century theatres thrown in where RKO did not have theatres) beginning Christmas Day, 1953. Advertising claimed “Nothing cut but the prices,” which wasn’t 100% true. While tickets were priced lower than during the Roxy’s premiere engagement, the nabes were charging higher than usual: 85 cents from opening to 1PM, $1 until 5PM, and $1.25 thereafter. Tickets for children under 12 years old were 50 cents at all times. The opening week of “The Robe” was such a success that the movie was held-over for five more days. On January 6th, 1954, the RKO circuit resumed its usual policy of staggered openings, with the Manhattan, Bronx, and Westchester houses showing “Calamity Jane” & “The Glass Web,” and the Brooklyn and Queens theatres presenting “Appointment in Honduras” & “Marry Me Again.” The Brooklyn/Queens combo had played the Manhattan, Bronx and Westchester theatres the week prior to “The Robe.”

BobFurmanek on February 27, 2006 at 6:19 am

Can you imagine ANY “star” today hitting 27 theaters in 2 days?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 27, 2006 at 6:06 am

Be that as it may, Warren, audiences lucky enough to be in attendance received a level of attention that is scarcely (if ever) paid to today’s moviegoing crowds.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 27, 2006 at 5:52 am

The showmanship was often for financial reasons. Most of those stars shared in the profits of their movies, so it was to their advantage to make personl appearances to attract as many ticket buyers as possible.

BobFurmanek on February 27, 2006 at 5:06 am

Indeed, like the grand theaters, an era that we will never see again. I have many photos from this tour. I’ll see if I can get some of them scanned and posted on the individual theater pages.

You can see that Jerry was having a great time. Murray the K was with him and, at one point, they got off the tour bus to play stickball with some kids on the street. You can see the kids were thrilled by the astonished looks on their faces!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 27, 2006 at 4:52 am

I think we all appreciate the postings, Bob. Thanks. The fact that there were so many tours like that by big stars like Lewis (and Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, etc) has always fascinated me. More evidence of an era of showmanship that is, sadly, long gone.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 27, 2006 at 4:08 am

I’ve been meaning to mention that the previous theatre on the site, Proctor’s Pleasure Palace, was re-named Proctor’s 58th Street when it started showing movies with the vaudeville. I guess that Pleasure Palace seemed inappropriate and old-fashioned. When the replacement theatre opened in December, 1928, it was known as Proctor’s New 58th Street for the short time until RKO took over and it became RKO Proctor’s 58th Street.

BobFurmanek on February 27, 2006 at 3:58 am

Thanks Jerry. I wasn’t trying to flood the forum with repetitive posts, but I thought fans of those individual theaters would find it interesting. Lewis wound up visiting 27 RKO theaters over the course of two days. What a schedule! He did this several times in his career, including the New York Loew’s tour for “The Bellboy” in 1960.

After the tour, Jerry wrote a letter to RKO thanking them, but also commenting on the overall run-down condition of the backstage areas. These were pretty old theaters, and those stages were no longer in active use.

It was interesting to follow his itinerary on these pages to see what happened to all these great showplaces. I don’t think anyone could do that tour today…

42ndStreetMemories on February 23, 2006 at 2:52 pm

Bryan, not to steal Bob’s thunder but I have the ad from that day. My dad took me for my birthday. Lewis was listed in the ad to visit these theaters on the previous day:
86th St…11:30am
Marble Hill…1:45pm
Yonkers… 2:15pm
White Plains…..3:15pm
New Rochelle….4:00pm
Mt Vernon…4:30pm
Castle Hill….7:15pm
86 St….10:15pm

This should total 15; the next day he “only” did 13 including the 58th St at 9:45pm. If I recall, they interrupted the 2nd feature, Love in a Goldfish Bowl with Fabian, when Jerry arrived. He did 5 minutes of schtick and took off. The ad features a signed letter from the RKO managers proclaiming their admiration of Jerry. No wonder, he sold a lot of popcorn for them. jerry