Roxy Theatre

153 W. 50th Street,
New York, NY 10020

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VincentParisi
VincentParisi on July 20, 2004 at 3:09 pm

Jim-In terms of the Roxy being immortalized how can you not include Frank Loesser’s wonderful opening for the song “Guys and Dolls” which begins “What’s playing at the Roxy? I’ll tell you what’s playing at the Roxy…” where he quite ably rhymes Roxy with Biloxi?
And what’s so funny is the fact that the mini summation sounds like the plot of a movie that might have played at the Roxy.

Also do people know that todays Broadway composer Steven Sondheim speaks with great nostalgia about seeing movies at the Roxy when he was young.
We can only envy him.

JimRankin
JimRankin on July 20, 2004 at 1:04 pm

It is interesting to note that the Internet Movie Data Base (www.IMDB.com) also lists the 1952 movie “With A Song In My Heart” as being a filming location for the ROXY, though neither in this case nor that of the title “The Naked City” does it say ‘what’ is shown.

JimRankin
JimRankin on July 20, 2004 at 12:57 pm

I believe that the only way you can post an image of the programmes is by using a virtual photo such as a ‘jpeg’ or ‘gif’ scan or digital photo, but you will notice that the ADD PHOTO feature is “off line” or not in operation at this time. You would have to contact the site owners to get any advice as to how to go about it now. Of course, one could simply copy the text of a programme and type it in here, but that would not give the flavor of the original document as I am sure that you wish to do. In any case, I am not sure that they will allow images in the comments section, but perhaps a link to your images that are elsewhere.

Movieplace
Movieplace on July 20, 2004 at 10:08 am

The lobby of the Roxy can be seen in Jules Dassin’s “Naked City” from 1946. The Beacon Theater’s lobby was finished before the unfinished theater was sold to Warner’s. It is a ¼ size version of the Roxy’s grand foyer. The Beacon’s layout is the same as the Roxy. The back wall of the stage is not paralel to the proscenium. The stage sort of looks like a lopsided triangle.
I have a program from the Roxy (as well as from THE Paramount) that I could post as soon as I figure out how to do it.

JimRankin
JimRankin on July 14, 2004 at 7:42 am

The late Ben M. Hall quotes these lyrics in his landmark book: “The Best Remaining Seats: The Story of the Golden Age of the Movie Palace” wherein he has many photos and much information about the ROXY. One thinks that Cole Porter was grasping for rhymes (or ‘near’ rhymes) for “Russia” in the previous line, but then their uniforms were indeed well tailored, and Mr. Porter’s well known predeliction for young men may have had a part in the wording. I guess that it is a strange way for the ROXY to be ‘immortalized’, but one takes what one can get.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 13, 2004 at 9:13 pm

I heard these lyrics to “You’re the Top” as sung by its composer Cole Porter and thought of this marvelous site:

You’re romance,
You’re the Steps of Russia.
You’re the pants
On a Roxy usher.

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on July 11, 2004 at 1:50 pm

Here are a few films that played the Roxy over the years from the New York Times movie adds.

Feb 1931 Dracula
Mar 1939 The Hounds of The Baskervilles
Feb 1940 Of Mice and Men
Mar 1940 My Little Chicadee
Oct 1950 All About Eve
Sep 1953 The Robe
Jun 1956 The King and I
Aug 1957 The Sun Also Rises

The Roxy was the flagship theatre of 20Th Century-Fox.brucec

William
William on July 1, 2004 at 4:29 pm

“Mad, Mad World” was filmed in Ultra-Panavision which was made for the deeply curved Cinerama screens of that era. While “2001” was filmed in Super Panavision, which had to be corrected in the lab for the Cinerama process and presentation.

Vito
Vito on July 1, 2004 at 3:50 pm

Yes Warren, Cinerama was best used for travelogs, feature films like “How the West Was Won” did not work for me, I found the two seams very distracting, and if the projectionist did not set the carbons properly and keep them in the proper relationship with the aperature and reflector, there would be an annoying diference in the color and brightness in the three panels. Later with
“Mad Mad world” and “2001” which was filmed in 70mm single strip Cinerama was much more enjoyable.

William
William on July 1, 2004 at 3:19 pm

Vito
You’re right about how stereo added to the impact of those early CinemaScope films. Yes, Cinerama arrived alittle earlier than CinemaScope. But the CinemaScope films were feature films with stories and plots. The Cinerama films were mainly travelogs to showcase the format, but they still made an impact too. As for the early 3D films from Warner, they used a double-system format just like Cinerama.

JimRankin
JimRankin on July 1, 2004 at 5:28 am

Doug: if you are not in NYC, go to your local library and ask them to order in the microfilm of that date of any NYC newspaper such as the Times, and look at their movie listings. The listings for the ROXY will be there, plus the Theatre Historical Society of America has extensive data about the ROXY as well as a great many photos of it. Contact them at: www.HistoricTheatres.org

douglasmmessier
douglasmmessier on July 1, 2004 at 1:32 am

I’m writing a bio of someone. I know he saw a show at the Roxy in New York on March 17, 1931. Was wondering if there was any way to find out what he saw that night. I’m also looking for pictures that could be reproduced in the book.

Vito
Vito on June 30, 2004 at 3:00 pm

You are right Warren,I forgot about Cinerama which was an 8 channel magnetic track interlocked with the three projectors, as opposed to 3-D which was an optical photographic track, I seem to recall the stage speakers were recorded on the left print and the surrounds on the right in a 3-D config. Correct me if I am wrong.

Vito
Vito on June 30, 2004 at 5:53 am

William, I worked for fox in the 50s on 50th St near 10th ave.
Many a morning was spent at the Roxy opening new Fox films. I remember the magnificent marguee which advertised CinemaScope in huge neon letters:
CINEMASCOPE THE MODERN MIRACLE YOU SEE WITHOUT GLASSES.
The reference of course, to the 3-D movies playing at the time which required poloroid glasses be worn. Movie goers were astonished at the size of the screen and the magnificent 4 track sound, the thunder and lightning sequence was especially impressive with lightning striking thru the surrounds all over the theatre. Although WB had played around with stereo a little less than a year earlier with some 3-D films at The Paramount such as “House Of Wax” and later with “Charge at feather River”, it was “The Robe”,
I think, that really impressed moviegowers with stereo sound. Agree?

William
William on June 29, 2004 at 7:14 pm

The Roxy Theatre was the Best place to see CinemaScope in the city because, it was Fox’s premiere showcase house for it. It was premiered for the industry there and the public. Just like Todd-AO was the premiere showcase at the Rivoli Theatre.

bbin3d
bbin3d on June 29, 2004 at 7:11 pm

In reading one of the prior comments made in February, I remembered going to the Roxy to see LIL' ABNER with my parents. I didn’t realize that was the last Xmas show to play this theatre. The following year I did see THE LAST VOYAGE at the theatre. I wish I could remember more about what the inside of the theatre looked like. Those pictures posted bring back some memories. I guess I was a bit young and it has been a long, long time. I vaguely remember the outside.

EMarkisch
EMarkisch on June 29, 2004 at 6:27 pm

Bit of useless trivia. Although the mighty Roxy is gone some 43 years already, about 100 seats live on in the lodge room of the Floral Park Masonic Temple in Nassau County, Long Island, NY. The end stancheons (spelling?) display the distinctive “R” initial associated with the Roxy. Legend has it that one of the Masons had a connection with the Roxy and obtained the seats for their lodge room when the theater was going to be demolished.

Incredible that “Cathedral of the Motion Picture” is gone such a long time already. My first encounter with the Roxy was around 1950 when my father took me to see Walt Disney’s “Peter Pan” and an ice show on the stage. An experience not to be forgotten. Sitting in the balcony watching the ice light up in different colors from florescent tubes buried under the ice. A few years later seeing Sonja Heinie in person with her ice revue was another memorable experience.

The Roxy, in the mid 50’s was also the best theater to see CinemaScope, especially in four channel magnetic sound. The screen had a slight curve and was quite large. Memorable films were “The Robe”, “There’s No Business Like Show Business”, “The Rains of Ranchipur” and “The Egyptian”. At times, the rear channel sound, used mostly for effects, seemed to come from the very top of the
theater.

William
William on April 10, 2004 at 7:27 am

As in my earlier post of Feb, 11th.
The Roxy Theatre was operated by the Roxy Theatre, Inc. company. Which was controlled & owned by National Theatres Inc. of Los Angeles. National Theatres was the parent company for Fox. So the Roxy was the show case house in New York for Fox product.

RobertR
RobertR on April 9, 2004 at 2:01 pm

Although at the end they did play a few double features I think I read.

RobertR
RobertR on April 9, 2004 at 1:27 pm

Wow Monogram and Republic seem like low end product for the Roxy

Roxymusicco
Roxymusicco on April 9, 2004 at 1:23 pm

I’m pretty sure that the BEACON was supposed to be called The Roxy Midland or Midtown. Roxy actually apporved of the design and W. W. Ahlschlager wa the architech. The rotunda is a smaller version of the Roxy’s and the BEACON, too, is uilt on an angle with a triangular stage. The theatre building extorior is very similar in design to the Roxy. I think it was around that time that Roxy got involved with Rock Center. From what I could find the Roxy played mostly FOX products along with Monogram and Republic.

BBssbsc
BBssbsc on March 26, 2004 at 3:20 pm

Does anyone have insight, information, documentation, etc. on the whereabouts of the grand piano used for stage presentations at the Roxy. Any help would be most greatly appreciated.
Thank you.
Bill B.

dickdziadzio
dickdziadzio on March 18, 2004 at 10:43 am

On the DVD of WEST SIDE STORY after the music overture – when the overhead camera shots begin -DVD chapter 2, 37 seconds in- freeze the dvd- in the lower right hand corner- they had just demolished
the roof and walls of the ROXY but you can see the orchestra seating grid built at that 45 degree angle between 50th and 51st street. The MUSIC HALL roof can be seen in the left part of the letterboxed image.

richklein
richklein on March 18, 2004 at 8:49 am

What was the name of the organ player who played beforw the film