Palace Theatre

1564 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 76 - 100 of 225 comments

techman707 on February 21, 2011 at 8:21 am

I believe the late opening of Ben-Hur was because the portable booth and installation wasn’t ready. They probab;y never figured on the new booth.-LOL

Coate on February 20, 2011 at 8:34 pm

The 1969 re-issue of “Ben-Hur” mentioned in several recent comments actually began in February 1969, though it didn’t open in New York until June 18. “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” premiered on November 5, 1969.

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techman707 on January 21, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Bob, I only worked a few shifts at the Palace. One of my partners (Louis Romeo) at the DeMille came over from the Palace and worked there for many years. My other partner, Jack Linn, was ALSO a stagehand at the Music Hall, and would frequently leave to run up the block to the Music Hall to do his shift.

It’s funny you should mention the short focal length lenses at the Palace. I can’t remember the specific name of them at the moment, but Bill Nafash installed these giant lens magnifiers (like Magnacoms only five times the size)in front of the prime lenses. After “Mr. Chips” finished, he took them back and left them wrapped in brown wrapping paper in the store, which is where I found them. When the Oceana Theatre in Brooklyn was being triplexed (it was later turned into a sixplex), we built a projection booth on the front of the first 3 rows of the loge. The throw was only 45ft, but the scope screen was 42ft wide. I used those magnifiers in front of the shortest focal length lenses Schneider made at the time. Like in the Palace, it required the lens to be slipped forward to open the gate on the XL’s. However, we had a vignetting problem with scope when using regular anamorphic lenses. In the end, Schneider wound up making us special short focal length lenses that NO LONGER required the lens to be moved forward to open the gate. For Cinemascope, to gave us what they said was the last set of “Cinemascope 55” anamorphic lenses that they still had in Germany. With the new prime lens, they fit the FULL XL lens mount without an adapter. I would mention the cost of those Schneider lenses, but it’s too obscene to put in type. However, that’s when I learned that you can do anything if you have enough money.-lol Cost aside, Schneider makes the BEST lenses I have seen to date.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 21, 2011 at 9:09 am

My mistake, William. That was indeed a popular price/continuous show run on “Can-Can”.

William on January 21, 2011 at 9:04 am

Al, Was “Can-Can” a 35mm move-over from Rivoli Theatre. Since 70MM did not get to the Palace till 1969 with “Ben-Hur”. “Can-Can” opened at the Rivoli Theatre in 70MM Todd-AO and played 33 weeks there.

RobertEndres on January 21, 2011 at 8:13 am

Techman: Perhaps you can verify a couple of stories about projection at the Palace. Bill Nafash said that when they installed 70mm for “Ben-Hur” and “Chips” the throw from the temporary booth to the screen was so short that they had to use very short focal length lenses to get the screen size they needed. To get the picture in focus with that set-up the lenses sat so far back in the lens barrels that the gate couldn’t be opened for threading. Thus the lens collar had to be slipped forward to thread and then pushed back into position after the threading was complete. Bill said that more than once the operators forgot to move the lens back into position and the reel came up spectacularly out of focus.

Did you ever work the 35mm/frontlight booth in the Palace? When I came to New York a stagehand at the Hall who also worked a show at the Palace snuck me into the booth to see the show. The Simplex X-L’s were still there, and as I recall it the bases had been cut down and the angle was so steep (as you mention above) that the operators would have had to sit down on cut-down stools to thread the machines.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 21, 2011 at 7:05 am


June 1969 for “Ben-Hur”, November 1969 for “Chips”.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 21, 2011 at 7:03 am

That was APRIL 1969 for the “Ben-Hur” reissue.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 21, 2011 at 7:01 am

Some Palace Roadshows

Nov. 22, 1932 “THE KID FROM SPAIN”

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on January 21, 2011 at 2:19 am

>>but when vaudeville died out the Palace seemed to switch back and forth between film and legit stage shows…

Not exactly correct.

techman707 on January 21, 2011 at 12:01 am

Chris, There were many film that “premiered” at the Palace, although the last couple you mention were roadshow openings, many were just premieres with continuous showings.

Although I worked as a projectionist across the street at the DeMille, I recall the 70mm projector installation for Ben-Hur and the premiere of “Goodbye Mr. Chips” at the Palace. The projection throw was just too steep for 70mm projection (they were already using custom made lenses to help correct for the keystone and focus problems with 35mm films). They finally decided to install a temporary projection booth in the balcony for the 70mm run, with Cinemechanica projectors, which were removed, along with the balcony booth, after the run of “Goodbye Mr. Chips”.

bigjoe59 on January 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm

as always i thank my fellow posters for replying to my questions.
here’s a new one. when the Palace first opened and for many years
after it was the premiere vaudeville house in the country. but when
vaudeville died out the Palace seemed to switch back and forth
between film and legit stage shows. this is where my question
comes in. aside from the roadshow engagements of 55 DAYS AT PEKING
in 1963 and the re-issue of BEN-HUR in June of 1969 and the
premiere of the musical version of GOODBYE MR. CHIPS in Dec. of
1969 how many other films premiered at the Palace with roadshow
engagements? many thanks in advance for the info.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 7, 2011 at 10:26 am

Ad for the August 1957 re-launching of the Palace as an “important” first-run house.

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Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 16, 2010 at 3:16 pm

A photo-ad in Boxoffice magazine, April 6, 1959, showing marquee and crowds at the entrance for The Diary of Anne Frank.

rennie on July 19, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Just found out my Great-Grandfather, Percival “Patty” Roberts was manager and electrician at Palace in Manhattan at the turn of the century!! Wow!! I have sepia photos of him at switchboard backstage.

JSA on June 21, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Visiting the Palace was one of the highlights during my trip to NYC last week. What a gorgeous, amazing place. And the show, West Side Story, was beautifully staged. “Cool” and “Dance at the Gym” musical numbers were just stunning!


Bway on May 21, 2009 at 10:38 am

Great photo, to compare to the current one.

kencmcintyre on May 2, 2009 at 6:14 pm

Here is a 1948 photo from the Smithsonian:

kencmcintyre on April 11, 2009 at 3:27 pm

That’s a nice photo.

JimS1 on February 11, 2009 at 2:54 pm

My first time at the Palace I saw Gwen Verdon in SWEET CHARITY. I also saw GOODTIME CHARLEY, the musical about Joan of Arc with Joel Grey and Ann Reinking. I also saw WOMAN OF THE YEAR, WILL ROGERS FOLLIES and AIDA. I had NO idea that the Palace had once again been used as a movie theatre following the runs of SWEET CHARITY and HENRY SWEET HENRY and before APPLAUSE opened in 1970.
One of my happiest theatre memories was attending the final preview of APPLAUSE with Bacall. That was an exciting evening for me. It was a Sunday night and there were lots of actors in attendance as Sunday night was their night off. I was on a college theatre trip and was very lucky to snag a great orchestra seat earlier that day. It must have been a house seat as the location was ideal.
Great memories at the Palace. Hope to see the new WEST SIDE STORY!

kencmcintyre on November 30, 2008 at 8:49 am

Not Life, Warren, that was me. There was no identification on the photo.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on November 29, 2008 at 6:59 am

It took me a long time to spot the Palace (on the far left) because I never saw a parade march UP Broadway and my bearings were off; I guess when it was a still a two-way street, why not!