Lyric Theatre

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

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Showing 51 - 75 of 104 comments

CelluloidHero2 on March 26, 2009 at 4:35 am

Attached is a 1975 photo I took of the Lyric and other marquees. This was previously posted here a few years ago however also attached are a couple of more recent photos of The Hilton.

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Harvey on May 21, 2008 at 6:43 am

From what I understand, the New Amsterdam was closed at the time so the production probably had free reign. The place is set up like some swinger’s club with individual rooms so it’s possible it’s a mock-up on a set.

DonRosen on May 21, 2008 at 6:34 am

Notice the XXX on the New Amsterdam marquee. They never ran XXX features, so it was obviously a set-up. I would like to know how they collapsed the New Amsterdam vertical sign in the movie. Finally, I never liked those yellow letters with the black background on the 42nd Street marquees. Looked sleezy and cheap.

Harvey on May 21, 2008 at 5:43 am

I can’t believe it hasn’t been brought up yet, but the Lyric is portrayed significantly in the 1988 Sam Elliott/Peter Weller actioner SHAKEDOWN.
Now since I can’t confirm the authenticity of the interior, somebody with first hand knowledge will have to chime in.

The theater is portrayed as undercover cop Eliott’s office. You’re shown a screen and auditorium. The movie showing is James Glickenhaus’s THE SOLDIER (he also directed SHAKEDOWN).

It’s definitely the interior lobby because Weller and Elliot are tracked from the concession stand to the outside and it’s obvious they came from inside the Lyric by then.

Lots of other 42nd Street theatres on display in the film including the interior of the New Amsterdam.

kencmcintyre on November 2, 2007 at 7:47 am

The Lyric is on the right in this early fifties photo:

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 12, 2007 at 1:07 am

The intro explains that.

add1ct on July 11, 2007 at 6:48 pm

what is this now like what has replaced it

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 11, 2007 at 1:46 pm

40c to 95c in 1957 for two subrun movies.

add1ct on July 11, 2007 at 1:13 pm

its a shame want happend to times square looks mad kl when all the theaters were all there. How much was it to watch a movie back then ?? in the lyric??

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 21, 2007 at 6:21 pm

I recall hearing about that incident back when it was news. I remember finding it very ironic and quite disturbing. It had always been my experience at the Lyric and other Duece grinders during the ‘80’s, that audience participation was an anticipated part of the entire “entertainment package.” By April of '88, I was already growing impatient with the change in programming on 42nd Street (many of the theaters were trying to book more mainstream product for the top of the bill) and was disconcerted by the unpleasant odors that had started to overwhelm some of the old grind houses. This story was just another – and perhaps final – reason why I stopped turning to Times Square for my cinematic adventures.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 31, 2007 at 1:46 am

New Lyric trivia.

The film on the TAXI DRIVER marquee scene, SOMETIMES SWEET SUSAN, featured future Hollwood mainstream producer, Craig Baumgarten, so it was most probably an industry inside joke.

On April 28, 1966 a manager at the Lyric was stabbed to death in an apparent robbery attempt according to the NYT. The week before, the Bryant had been robbed at gunpoint.

I just added a third Lyric Theatre on 23rd Street which may correspond to photo posted by Lost Memory on May 3(??)

billmetz on March 3, 2007 at 9:04 am

only for the summer of `1945 then i had to go back to highj school BKLYN TECH

42ndStreetMemories on February 28, 2007 at 6:30 am

How long did you work there, metz?

billmetz on February 28, 2007 at 5:20 am

i worked as an usher at the lyric 1945 20 bucks for 6 days work …i saw king kong and gunga din there about 50 times and still remember the dialogue… an usher i could go into any theatre on the block in my cheesy “uniform” at that time i think wm. brandt owned all the theatres…victory, lyric, times square, apollo,,selwyn, harris , liberty, empire and anco only the new amsterdam was the exception i remeber GRANTS across 42 stret where you could get good coffee to go and hot dogs sewrved at street level counter ……………memories

BrooklynJim on January 3, 2007 at 1:06 pm

On May 4, 2006, Lost Memory had asked, hopefully in jest, “Was there ever an El train on Third Ave?” LOL! That was the infamous 3rd Ave. El, which ran the length of Manhattan from South Ferry to the Bronx, ceased operations in the city on May 12, 1955 and was razed soon afterward.

Today I purchased a 2007 calendar, “Old New York,” published by the City Museum of NY. One of the highlights was Berenice Abbott’s classic shot of the Lyric Theatre, c. 1936. Check it out.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 18, 2006 at 6:01 pm

Oh wait, the Hilton never showed movies so there is no Hilton page… Duh!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 18, 2006 at 5:59 pm

I suppose this belongs more on the Hilton Theater page than here, but I grabbed these two shots of the former Lyric facade the other night while seeing a show next door at the New Victory with the kids:

The Grinch
Grinch times two

42ndStreetMemories on August 2, 2006 at 8:54 am

Funny stuff, Ed.

Can’t imagine any entertainer, or ANYBODY for that matter, who would want to be vulnerable on a stage – on The Deuce – when 100 flying discs have just been distributed.

Great ad. jerry

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 2, 2006 at 8:39 am

Smokey at the Lyric in 1978:

NY Daily News 1/25/78

As usual with the 42nd Street grinds, the Lyric isn’t listed at the bottom of the ad (only the National Theater around the corner on B'way is listed for Manhattan), but it was on this theater’s historic stage that Smokey Robinson made two live appearances to support this blaxploitation epic for which he wrote the musical score. I don’t imagine he sang at all at either appearance – just a few appreciative words and a wave to the crowd, I suspect.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 24, 2006 at 10:50 am

I took a series of photos of the vacant Duece grind houses in 1993 and recently scanned them to my photobucket account. Here is a shot of the Lyric and neighboring Victory, stripped of their billboard signage and their marquees displaying some sort of public poetry project:

1993 Lyric and Victory

Here’s a 2002 shot I took of the restored Lyric facade used as the entrance to the big Ford Center for the Performing Arts complex:

2002 Ford Center restoration

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 4, 2006 at 4:58 am

Was there ever a bypass on 42nd street in the 19th century? There is something similar on 42nd street shown in the latest KING KONG movie. Could it be the old east-west cattle run was still around in the thirties?

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 4, 2006 at 3:22 am

The Lyric at 100 Third Avenue (listed here as the Bijou) is in a four story building; this looks a lot shorter.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 3, 2006 at 4:39 pm

Looks like an elevated train column in front of the theater, so that means it’s not on 42nd Street.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 21, 2005 at 6:08 am

Came across a pair of old Playbills from Broadway shows I had seen when I was a teenager (one from November of 1978, the other from May of ‘81). Interesting article in the '78 Playbill about the theatrical community’s efforts to work with the Mayor (Koch during his first administration at the time) to clean up the Times Square area. There’s mention of the League of New York Theaters and Producers working with the “Mayor’s Midtown Action Office and Midtown Enforcement Project” to permanently close area peep shows, massage parlors and “other sex-related businesses.” Sound familiar? Perhaps the Giuliani’s administration circa 1994?

It’s funny how the article takes a sunny outlook on the situation, referring to a time “a few years back” when “the Times Square area was in many people’s minds a composit of Dante’s Ninth Circle and the outer space, spaced-out bar in ‘Star Wars.’ The Great White Way was splattered with sleaze. Actresses and actors went on talk shows and made jokes about muggers.” Meanwhile, any true clean-up of the area was more than a decade in the future and at the cost of some of our greatest cinematic and theatrical palaces (not to mention any trace of Times Square’s once-unique character and atmosphere).

The article also mentions a “recent announcement” by the Brandt Organization to restore the Lyric and the Apollo on 42nd Street to legitimate theaters. I don’t think anything ever came of that plan for the Lyric, but I do know that attempts were made to use the Apollo as a legitimate stage in the early ‘80’s. In fact, the '81 Playbill I found lists Richard Thomas appearing at the Apollo in “Fifth of July” under the “How many of these shows have you seen?” section in the back of the magazine. In any event, the plans did come to fruition eventually, albeit with the destruction of the orignal Lyric and Apollo interiors and the creation of the new Ford Center for the Performing Arts (now Hilton Theater) which, as described in comments above, incorporates architectural elements from both old houses into its design.