Radio City Music Hall

1260 6th Avenue,
New York, NY 10020

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vindanpar on June 3, 2017 at 4:40 am

I believe Thrill of It all was the big ‘63 summer movie.
The 3 Bs was the hit Easter show.

Charlie Brown was indeed the ‘69 Christmas movie and while I thought it was pretty bad compared to the TV specials of the 60s it had the best stage saw I saw there. Quite elaborate and spectacular with the finale showing the blast off and landing on the moon of Apollo 11 which had just occured that summer. Great special effects with no computer graphic cheating thank god. Wonderful ending with the stage rising with the image of the flag being planted on the moon with a large frame descending to freeze the image in time. The rest of the cast filled in the stage in front of it for the grand finale. I though all Music Hall stage shows were supposed to be like that. They weren’t.

moviebuff82 on May 31, 2017 at 7:27 pm

When did RKO sell the theater?

paul baar
paul baar on May 31, 2017 at 11:50 am

I saw Doris Day in"The Thrill of it All" 1963 Easter show,and"A boy named Charlie Brown" 1969 Christmas show.

vindanpar on May 18, 2017 at 6:39 pm

I had never heard about the Godfather being offered to the Hall. And as an Easter show?

That seems pretty strange especially considering the NY rollout that Evans devised for it in Loew’s One and Two and other NY theaters which was a major profit making innovation at the time.

The Easter show that Year was What’s Up Doc which was a perfect holiday G rated film and a huge popular success both at the Hall and across the country. And they were considering an R rated violent epic? Especially after it presented the camorra cement brick The Brotherhood?

The first non G rated holiday film was Mame in ‘74.

People say that a problem with the Hall was they wouldn’t show any quality R rated films(which they never did during the stageshow era.) That is total bunk. The Music Hall couldn’t get quality PG rated films. THAT was the problem. Exhibitors didn’t want the sky high overhead or the old-fashioned Hall itself. There were plenty of films at the time that should have played at the Hall but the studios didn’t want the Hall to have them. I would look at the ads thinking why isn’t Cabaret, That’s Entertainment, Murder on the Orient Express, The Way We Were…playing at the Hall? Because by then it was turning into an embarrassment. The stageshows were beyond dire. Cheap flimsy sets, hardly anyone on stage, the Rockettes reduced to 30, no ballet company, the great gold curtain opening getting smaller and smaller. And the Hall was playing one astonishing turkey after another. You would sit there in a complete stupor watching things like Hennessy or The Girl from Petrovka. Not only were you shocked the Music Hall was playing them you were shocked that anybody was making them.

And then in 1976 the Music Hall presents what certainly is keen competition for the worst film in cinema history-The Bluebird. Some people actually consider it the worst and I wouldn’t argue with them. You should have seen the tourists flooding into the foyer during the film. New Yorkers had thrown up their hands by that point and couldn’t be bothered.

And Play it Again Sam flopped at the Hall(I read somewhere Allen never wanted another film of his presented there. Same thing with George Roy Hill after Henry Orient. I wouldn’t count the revival of The Sting-which was a terrific presentation by the way.It probably never looked or sounded so good. It should have opened there. A perfect Music Hall film.) Then turned into a long run east side hit. That helped to seal the Music Hall’s fate.

moviebuff82 on May 17, 2017 at 11:45 pm check out the picture as Fallon is sitting on top of the marquee.

RobertEndres on May 3, 2017 at 6:38 pm

Yes, along with 5.1 sound. (That’s ironic since the original release was in mono in most, if not all theatres.) Following the picture the stage presentation was done on a set that copied Brando’s office in the film.

moviebuff82 on May 2, 2017 at 7:59 pm

was it a 4k print?

RobertEndres on May 2, 2017 at 6:22 pm

“Godfather and Part 11” was screened digitally at the Hall (one of our Dolby engineers was there for the sound E.Q.) “Reservoir Dogs” did screen on 35mm at the Beacon the same weekend. Since it was Tarantino’s personal print it was screened on two projectors with changeovers.

markp on May 1, 2017 at 10:18 pm

HowardBHass, I’m sure it was DCP. I wasn’t there, I was working, but given that 35mm seems like a curse these days, I’m sure it was digital.

moviebuff82 on May 1, 2017 at 8:53 pm

The hall turns 85 this christmas. Any chance they’ll have an anniversary event or will they wait until 90 in 2022 and perhaps 2032 when it turns 100?

HowardBHaas on May 1, 2017 at 6:29 pm

I am curious. Did The Godfather & Part II screen in 35mm or DCP? what were the prices? how many attended?

RobertEndres on May 1, 2017 at 5:41 pm

“All That Jazz” didn’t screen at the Hall. In 1979 they changed the format from movie/stage show to it’s present use with Bob Jani’s stage “Spectaculars”. Had “All That Jazz” opened a couple of years earlier it could have qualified for Bob’s Movie Musical Memories". Other than one offs and special series the Hall didn’t have any long movie runs other than those mentioned above.

One irony, the Hall was offered the original run of “The Godfather” and considered it even though it was rated “R” but ultimately rejected it even though they could have used a hit. It would have accompanied the Easter show with it’s “Glory of Easter” prologue set in a cathedral with “novices” (officially they weren’t called “nuns”). It was felt that you couldn’t come out of the violent ending of “The Godfather” into a religious sequence like “Glory”. Thus this weekend’s screening at the Hall was finally fulfilling the offer made years earlier.

Flix70 on April 28, 2017 at 12:32 am

Fans of classic cinema will be excited to learn that this Saturday’s 45th-anniversary “Godfather” reunion panel at Radio City Music Hall will stream live on the Tribeca Film Festival’s Facebook page starting at 8:10 PM EST.

The landmark reunion will be moderated by Taylor Hackford and feature director Francis Ford Coppola along with stars Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, James Caan, Diane Keaton and Talia Shire. Fans attending the event will be treated to a screening of both “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II” beforehand.

Talk about an offer you can’t refuse.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 26, 2017 at 4:44 pm

The R rated “ALL THAT JAZZ” opened in late 1979 and may have screened at RCMH.

RobertEndres on April 26, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Thanks Mike. I took the man in charge of house operations word and didn’t check on my own.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 25, 2017 at 8:00 pm

Cabaret: USA:PG (MPAA rating: certificate #23094)

RobertEndres on April 25, 2017 at 7:35 pm

After commenting on vindanpar’s entries above I got to thinking about his date of 1979. I then remembered that there was a special series at the Hall called “Musical Memory Lane” that ran in the mornings after the movie/stage show policy was eliminated. Bob Jani had just taken over the operation and his first show was a “Summer Spectacular”, but he wanted to continue the link to the Hall’s movie heritage. I checked my files and, sure enough, both “Flower Drum Song” and “Funny Face” ran during that series which screened at 11 A.M. Monday’s through Friday’s most weeks. I also realized that I had indeed been behind the projector when vindanpar saw them. Since they were not first run films, the union gave the Hall permission to have only one man in the booth. My “assistant” who was the only man retained from the previous crew didn’t want to do the series so I ran all of the films.

I was surprised that the series ran from 6/18/79 to 11/12/79 and featured 22 titles. I did remember “The Jolson Story” which was in 70mm and “Cabaret” which was the first “R rated” movie to play the Hall.

Among the other statistics were that from the time the house first showed film “The Bitter Tea of General Yen” until the last, “The Promise” in 1979 there were 674 features. In 1985 we did 10 weeks of movie/stage show presentations with “The Black Cauldron” and “Return To Oz” sharing the same Disney stage show. If you count “The Lion King” and “Barney’s Great Adventure” which had runs of at least four days the total number of shows with stage presentations was 677.

The only features that I didn’t count were in the “Art Deco” film festival in 1974 which also featured an art deco antiques show in the lobby. Each of those titles only ran one time. We also did a four feature silent series with Kevin Brownlow in which each feature only ran once, and “Napoleon” also silent with orchestra which ran multiple times over a couple of years.

RobertEndres on April 21, 2017 at 9:20 pm

Alas I didn’t do “Flower Drum Song” or “Funny Face” at the Hall. “Funny Face” was one of the first VistaVision films from Paramount and the very first VistVision picture “White Christmas” did play the Hall with true horizontal VistaVision projectors, one of the few places that did. They were so new (and rare) that I found hand drawn threading diagrams in the booth files. By the time “Funny Face” played it was in a standard reduction print from the VistaVision negative but it must have looked great on that screen.

In my post above I was trying to think of a young girl who played the Hall before becoming more famous. I think now it was Leslie Uggams, and while I can’t find a direct reference to the Hall she was working as a teen ager around the city at that time.

moviebuff82 on April 17, 2017 at 7:10 pm

I like the ads on this theater page. Shows you how showmanship was during the time that the Hall played new movies.

vindanpar on April 16, 2017 at 12:01 am

And Robert Endres probably was behind the projector for both Funny Face and Flower Drum Song when I saw them there!

vindanpar on April 15, 2017 at 11:47 pm

And since Comfortably Cool posted two ads for the 60th anniversary of the ‘57 Easter show I’d like to say that I saw a beautiful print of Funny Face at the Music Hall in what might have been '79. Better than Napoleon!

Those Richard Avedon(Dick Avery) designed sequences on the large Music Hall screen were stunning to look at.

vindanpar on April 15, 2017 at 11:30 pm

In the footage that I mentioned above of the Flower Drum Song premiere Youngman is seen entering as an audience member.

In an ad for another film which was probably posted by Comfortably Cool the stage show includes Gary Morton though I can’t imagine he even achieved minor fame until he married Lucille Ball. Could a comedian in the midst of a Music Hall stage spectacular make any kind of impression?

Maybe Martin and Lewis could have but it seems they played everywhere in NY but the Metropolitan Opera(you could have stuck them in the third act of Fledermaus as joint jailors. I saw Dom Deluise do Frosch there and he was hilarious)and the Music Hall.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on April 15, 2017 at 9:09 pm

According to internet research, Henny Youngman performed at Radio City Music Hall in three editions of the Night of 100 Stars" stage spectaculars in 1982, 1985, and 1990.I’ve yet to find any references to Youngman working there during the movie/stage era of 1933-79.

hanksykes on April 15, 2017 at 6:32 pm

Then I’ve gotten the wrong movie, but I did see Youngman appearing on stage twice .

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on April 15, 2017 at 3:07 pm

An ad for “Flower Drum Song” uploaded here makes no mention of Henny Youngman performing in the stage show: