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I also remember the original exclusive 1st runengagement of “Close Encounters”. it was Nov. of1977 and there were lines around the block forjust about every screening on the weekend.
its nice that Bow Tie will continue to operate
this theater well into the future. one would have
thought the age of the multiplex would have
doomed into oblivion theaters such as the Ziegfeld.
how this theater has stayed open when you consider
the land underneath it is worth way more than
the theater could ever bring in is one of the
I thank Robert A. for his reply. while I know of
the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland i wasn’t aware it
opened as a 1st run theater and has continued to
operate as such since the day it opened as has the Chinese.
i thank Howard H. for the info. i was under the
assumption that the Uptown in D.C. had opened as
a 1st run theater but according to you it only
became 1st run in the late 50s.
therefore that makes the Chinese distinctive in
that its the only grand old movie theater/palace
built in the 1914-1941 building boon that opened
as a 1st run theater and has continued to operate
as such since the day it opened.
Hello from NYC-
I have to agree with Escott N. that as long as
the new owners preserve the original architectural
design,ornamentation, elements etc….. while in
the process of upgrading the sound and projection
systems one can’t complain to much.
also there’s one very interesting distinction about
this theater that i’m betting few people realize. the
the heyday of building grand old movies theaters/
palaces was approx. 1914 -1941. when I first came
upon this delightful website I created a task for
myself- to find any grand old movie theaters/palaces
that were built from the get go as 1st run venues
and have continued to operate as such since the
day they opened. needless to say I have centered
my search on big cities. of the searching I’ve done
so far I have found a grand total of 2- the Uptown
in D.C. and this theater. amazing when you think
was the original Vitascope Hall of 1896
built from the ground up with the sole intent
of showing flickers or was it simple a
already existing retail space redone as a
the Crescent/Gem was designed and built to
showcase films as well as vaudeville and as
such opened on the night of Dec. 16, 1909.
so doesn’t that make it the 1st theater built
brick by brick from the ground up in Manhattan
for the purpose of showing movies?
for the next several years after the faithful
night of April 23, 1896 at Koster and Bial’s
Music Hall i should think any “movie theaters”
that existed in Manhattan were simply music halls
and vaudeville/legitimate theaters converted to
show flickers as they were known.
I read the article for which Mike posted the link
in which Charles B. Moss Jr. the CEO of Bow Tie is
interviewed. he states the Chelsea multiplex will
get a redo since unlike the Ziegfeld Clearview has let
let it grow shabby over the years. I just went to the
theater this past Sat. 6/29 to see “I’m So Excited”
and the theater was in fine shape. in fact the
redesign done by Clearview after they took over
from Cineplex Odeon is still in great shape. so how
is the Chelsea in shabby condition?
the Ziegfeld is in fact in “shabbier” shape per se
since they’ve never bothered fixing the curtain.
shouldn’t the last line in the intro be changed?
the original Cinerama roadshow engagement of “2001”
did not end when the Capitol was closed previous
to being demolished. it immediately continued at
the Warner Cinerama at 47th St. and Bway.
i appreciate Escott N.’s thoughts on the 3-D retro-
fitting of “The Wizard of Oz”. i saw “Man of Steel”
this past weekend and the 3-Dness of the 3-D was
negligible. so i simply don’t see how they can use
elements of a film made in 1939 to successfully do
i have been wondering how can they retrofit a
film from 1939 into 3-D? it seems to me to be
just greed to get as much $$$ out of the public.
in fact i have seen few films actually shot in3-D where the 3-D was worth higher surcharge.
i wonder if anyone especially the theater’s
management has realized that the info on the
plaques next to the auditoriums entrances aren’t always? for instance the plaque for the Loew’s
Capitol says it was torn down at the end of
1967. so i wonder how i saw “2001: A Space
Odyssey” in its original Cinerama roadshow
engagement at the Capitol the last week of
April 1968? i am highly surprised even shocked
to a certain degree that the plaques weren’t
fact checked before they were put up.
i’m wondering how many of my fellow posters
attended all 3 roadshow engagements hosted by
this theater-A Man for All Seasons, The Charge
of the Light Brigade and The Trojan Women.
The Fine Arts is the only art house that i canthink of that hosted more than 1 roadshow engagement.
Hello From NYC-
i hope this isn’t a silly question. if the
auditorium is being done over into an IMAX
theater does that mean it can only play IMAX
movies? if that is correct then doesn’t that
limit the commercial viability of the theater?
“Robin Hood” with Douglas Fairbanks opened in
L.A. at Grauman’s Egyptian Theater. in fact it
was the theater’s debut film and played there
for 2 years.
I saw The Great Gatsby yesterday 5/11 at the
12:00p.m. showing. i arrived the theater a few
minutes before film began and was pleasantly
surprised how many people were in the audience.
in fact the crowd for the next showing 3:15
was a decent size as well. this is notable
when you consider how many other theaters in
Manhattan the film is playing at.
to Joe Vogel-
thanks for the info about roadshow engagementsin the Hollywood/L.A. area. being a New Yorkeri have always been interested in which theatersin the Hollywood/L.A. area were the ones traditionally used by the studios for reservedseat movies as me and my friends called them.
speaking of which. i believe it was somewhere on
this site that i saw an ad from the fall of 1960
announcing the start of mail orders for the roadshow
run of “Exodus” at the Wiltern Theater on Wilshire Blvd. to the best of your recollection was that
the only roadshow enagagement that the Wiltern
a history question. down thru the years
Grauman’s Chinese(i refuse to call it by
any other name) hosted many exclusive
first run engagements of big films when
studios still opened their big releases in
only one theater. this is where my question
comes in- other than the roadshow engagement
of “West Side Story” did the Chinese host
any other roadshow engagements?
hello to Tinseltoes-
you certainly make a valid point. so this past
weekend i did some further investigating. the notes
of which are posted on the Lyric/Bijou’s own
well i was in the area again this past weekend
and decided to see exactly what was at 100 3rd Ave.
in my post on the other page i noted there was a
fairly tall new structure in the middle of the
block which i had viewed from the other side of
the street. well guess what? that new structure
which is either 6 or 7 stories is in fact 100
3rd Avenue. its now a fancy upscale bar. the
door was open and i noticed a doorman/bouncer.
its possible he knew nothing about the history of
the building but it didn’t hurt to ask. so i asked
him if the new structure was in fact a completely
new building. well he did in fact know of the
Lyric Theater. i hope i correctly understood him
in that the trendy upscale bar and the additional
floors are built within and upon the original
building and not is not completely new.
the famous photo with the Chaplin cut out
next to the box office always made the theater
look bigger than it actually was. it was
viable as a theater in that it was quite long
as opposed to wide so a decent number of seats
could have been accomodated.
to Al A.–
as always thanks for the info. as i said in my
previous post i wasn’t completely ruling out the
existence of a Lyric Theater on 3rd Ave. between
12th & 13th i just didn’t see how it was
possible. all of the buildings on the left side
of 3rd Ave. between 12th & 13th St. are rather
small/narrow so i do see how only one building
could possible have housed a movie theater of
any note. is it possible that when it was the
Lyric has captured in the famous photo that the
auditorium per se was in fact a combination of
two buildings? i only remember it as the Bijou
a gay porn house and assumed the Bijou was
housed in only half of the original building.
also take a look at the photo again. since it
was taken in the late 30s shouldn’t there be a shadow from the 3rd Avenue El?
Hello to Al A.–
you have been most helpful with questions i have
had since i discovered this website. now they say
if you search the Internet long enough you’ll find
what you’re looking for but that’s not strictly
true. this where your help comes in.
there is a well known photo i believe by Bernice
Abbot of a Lyric Theater on 3rd Ave. between 12th
and 13th Sts. the date the photo was taken is
given as 4/24/36. the headline film for the day
is a Chaplin flick noted by a cardboard cut out of
Charlie himself directly to the right of the
box office. my point being i don’t think there
was ever a movie theater called the Lyric on
3rd Ave. between 12th and 13th Sts.
i was in the area this past weekend so i decided
to investigate. if you look at the left side of
3rd Ave. between 12th and 13th Sts. all the
building are older than the theater would have
been. there is a newer building in the middle of
the block but it only occupies the space between
the two adjacent older buildings. also the front
is way to narrow when you consider how wide
the front of the Lyric is in the photo. also the
same thing happens if you look at the right side
of 3rd Ave. between 12th. and 13th Sts. all the
buildings seem as old or older than the theater
would have been. again there is a newer building
in the middle of the block but it again only
occupies the space between the two adjacent
older buildings. likewise the front is way to
narrow to be be occupying the same space as the
theater’s wide front did.
my point being as evidenced by my survey this
past weekend there may very well have been a
Lyric Theater with a wide front showing a Chaplin film on 4/24/36 in Manhattan but i don’t see
how it could possibly have been located on
3rd Ave. between 12th and 13th Sts.
oddly enough the Bleeker Street Cinema always played
porn during its final years. i believe it was gay
rather than straight.
speaking of the legit theaters that once
were located on the south side of 42 St.
between 7th and 8th Aves. the Lew Fields
Theater was razed because it had been redone
so many times there was no point trying to
renovate it. the American was razed in 1931
after being heavily damaged in a fire.
the Eltinge was renovated and is now the
lobby for the AMC Multiplex. the Liberty
is now used as a restaurant and the New
Amsterdam was renovated back to its 1903
glory. so my question is simple- when the
renovation for the “new” 42 St. began in
earnest in the early 90s what was the state
of the Candler Theater? was it in such bad
shape they decided to demolish it or was
it in perfectly renovatable shape but no
one wanted to spend the money so it was
i can see my phrasing was a bit off. i should
have asked when the Columbia/Mayfair/Demille/
Embassy 1-2-3- interior was gutted after it closed
up shop as a movie theater where exactly was the
Famous Dave’s BBQ located? i have been a
frequent TKTS booth customer and never remember
a sign stating the former theater interior
contained such a restaurant.
this is a question i have been wanting to
make for a while. the Columbia/Mayfair/
Demille/Embassy 1-2-3 may have been gutted
but where is the Famous Dave’s BBQ the
interior now allegedly contains?