Roxy Theatre

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

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PAULB on February 2, 2004 at 3:37 pm

With this cinemascope 55 business, I have always taken it to mean THE FILMING PROCESS not the exhibition process: like Camera 65 for Ben hur or Dimension 150 for Patton. In Sydney we also saw ads for CAROUSEL and THE KING AND I and even on the theatre front proclaiming ‘the wonder of ’ CINEMASCOPE 55 etc. but it never said the film was shown in it. As with vistavision, all the prints were just in 1.85:1 so any cinema could show the shape of Vistavision, so yes the picture was a Vistavision picture (as it said on the opening logo and the poster and the ad and the screen was a rectangle not as wide as cinemascope) ….so it was Vistavison. It is really only Cinerama that advertised “cannot be seen in any other theatre” otherwise all these processes would have said that. BEN HUR opened in Sydney in 1960 in 35mm but as the ad said: CAMERA 65 brings you….etc. CAROUSEL was a CINEMASCOPE 55 presentation YES, (on a 35mm print).
..just as it probably was all over the planet.

Vito on February 2, 2004 at 5:28 am

Well I did a litle more research on the Cinemascope 55 question.
According to the info I received from an old local 306 projectionist, Carousel opened in February 1956 at the Roxy and was indead shown in a reduction 35mm print. That is not to say that Edd is incorrect because there were a few experimental 55mm prints made and in fact Fox did want to show the film in 55 but it never materialized at least not to his knowledge and certainly not in The Roxy. The advantage to shooting the film in 55mm and then reducing to 35mm for projection was improved picure quality and lower grain.
The idea was only used one other time for “The King And I” which was also shown at The Roxy in 35mm. As for Kitty’s comment about the advertising, I don’t believe the ad actually said “shown in"
Cinemascope 55. It was the same for VistaVision which was shown all over during the late 50s, the ads read VistaVision but were shown in regular 35mm. The only theatres in New York to install VistaVision projectors were Radio City "White Christmas” and The Paramount “Were No Angels”

PAULB on February 1, 2004 at 4:11 pm

Thanks for that clarification…for a minute or two there I was very excited……I have also come to realise that THE STATE THEATRE SYDNEY has many ROXY features as well, particuarly the foyer rotunda (5 floors high, green pillars, dome and massive chandelier) and the 3 levels of seats and the rear aisle pillars, and interior designs etc. The State auditorium is not the cathedral look of the Roxy though, it is more like a huge beehive with French renaissance interior and gothic foyers. The art galleries and marlbe lights/statues all intact. It was thoroughly repainted and cleaned in 1982 and remains to this day much loved by everyone who set foot within and the premiere film location and concert venue in gorgeous Sydney. The State is in its 75the glorious year in 2004 and is still the absolute jewel inSydney’s luxury theatre crown. There is a website and I guess you can all find it via google on the internet.
Australia’s cinemas of the 20s really are as spectacular as those of the USA and we are lucky that TV did not arrive until 1957 which meant our luxury movie palaces lasted well into the 70s and 80s when alot were able to be retained. Sure we lost quite a few but just as many are still with us. Australia only has 19 million people in a land mass bigger than the USA so we have been blessed again. Look up REGENT MELBOURNE, ASTOR ST KILDA, CAPITOL SYDNEY as well.

ERD on February 1, 2004 at 4:09 am

By smaller version of the Roxy, I meant that the Beacon Theatre was
built as a movie palace. The interior is different but incorporated some of the features of the Roxy.

PAULB on February 1, 2004 at 1:17 am

Like many others, I am astonished to know that THE BEACON is a smaller version of THE ROXY.
I have never heard of that anywhere I have looked previously. Can someone please elaborate on the above comment and info… alike are they? etc for overseas reades of this site, that information would be a real zinger….thanks……PAUL BRENNAN Sydney Australia

ERD on January 31, 2004 at 6:22 pm

The Roxy theatre was originally intended to be the flagship theatre of the William Fox theatre chain in New York, but Fox did not have enough financial support to see it through. The only other theatre built that was suppose to be a part of this chain was The Beacon theatre, a smaller version of the Roxy, located on 74th Street and Broadway in Manhattan. It is still used for concerts & shows.

ERD on January 30, 2004 at 9:59 pm

I went to the Roxy many times in the 1950’s when I was young. I still have the original Roxy programs of DAMN YANKEES & THE SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, which played there a short time before it closed. The 3 Kimball console organ was no longer used. The instrument had a unique sound system that came from the orchestra pit.

bruceanthony on January 16, 2004 at 2:05 pm

I would love to see color pictures of the interior of the Roxy. I have only seen black and white. Its a shame that the Roxy and the San Francisco Fox are no longer with us what were they thinking. Today they would make great concert halls presented by clearchannel.Brucec.

bbin3d on January 16, 2004 at 10:51 am

Yes Vincent, seeing BLONDES at the Roxy was pretty dazzling for a kid. Even though it was so long ago when my Mom took me and my sister to see the film, I still have vivid memories. (In fact we had our choice of seeing THE BAND WAGON at the Radio City Music Hall or BLONDES at the ROXY). I remember the beautiful technicored print and having Russell & Monroe step out from behind those red sequined curtains before and after the credits was a sight! Some things always stay with you.

VincentParisi on January 16, 2004 at 10:11 am

Marty clearly states that they were advertised in the process(you can also see it in pictures of the Roxy marquee) but that the actual presentaton was anamorphic 35mm. So you can film it in the process and say so but not present it as such(would most people really know?) I guess at this point all we can do is go back in time and go into the Roxy projection booth and see just what type of film those reels contain.

Gentlmen Prefer Blonds at the Roxy. That must have been something.

bbin3d on January 16, 2004 at 9:55 am

I have original ads from CAROUSEL and KING AND I and both emphatically state the new process CINEMASCOPE 55. I am sure both had their initial engagements in Miami in this process. Also, FOX released both films in this process on their laserdisc releases. I can’t say for sure about DVD releases. As a child I saw GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES at the ROXY, one of the last non-wide screen films to play the theatre.

Stephen Paley
Stephen Paley on December 13, 2003 at 6:17 pm

Marty Hart, curator of the Wide Screen Museum website, is probably the most knowledgable man in the world about the early wide-screen processes, and if he says “Carousel” and “The King and I” were never released in the 55mm format, he knows of what he speaks. (He also knows punctuation—“afraid” as used in the context of your post should not be capitalized.

Edd on December 13, 2003 at 3:02 am

Vincent, I am Afraid you are wrong and more so is Marty.
I own copies of both these prints, in original 55 format. I can confirm that they were indeed released in scope 55. The prints I have are X West End London.

VincentParisi on December 8, 2003 at 9:36 am

According to Marty Hart on his amazing web site he claims that though both King and I and Carousel were filmed in Cinemascope 55 they were never shown that way not even in their first run engagements and no known prints are said to survive in that original process.

unknown on November 4, 2003 at 8:56 am

I had the privilege of Ice Skating
in some of the shows at the Roxy Theatre. I was born and raised in
Brooklyn, New York and at 17 I became a
professional Ice Skater. I still have
some pictures a friend of mine took during one of the shows I performed in,
at the Roxy. It holds so many memories
and till this day it seems like yesterday. I skated at the theatre in
1955-1956. The re-opening of the ice
show was coupled with the movie opening
of The Rains of Ranchipore with Lana
Turner.( I think I spelled it right),if
not forgive me.

JimRankin on December 8, 2002 at 9:08 am

The THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA ( has in its ARCHIVE (see the link by that name on their sidebar) many photos and much other information from the late Ben M. Hall’s collection. The ROXY was also notable for many interior innovations not mentioned in Mr. Gabel’s fine capsule description/history, such as the Carrillon or cathedral chimes, the triple stage elevators topped with a turntable allowing great stage dynamics, a full cyclorama, the ‘Silouhette Light,’ and much else to its claim to fame including a small Hospital room and nursery room for the kiddies in addition to a huge basement space of floors devoted to producing, as well as the Rehearsal Hall and Music Library rooms. It may not have been the most lavish (some say the San Francisco FOX took that honor) nor even as famous as the still-open CHINESE THEATRE in Los Angeles, but its record of innovation is secure and a found memory to those old enough to have seen it in life. Those young enough in spirit will see it recreated in their imaginations, from the springboards provided in the photos and materials at the THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY in Elmhurst, Illinois, about 15 miles west of Chicago. Their MARQUEE magazine has had several articles pertaining to the ROXY.

thenson702 on August 15, 2002 at 9:29 am

Can anyone tell me where I can find photos of this theatre?

VitoPetroni on February 15, 2002 at 11:21 am

Lucy is quite right, it was “Carousel”, which was projected in Cinemascope 55, that premiered at the Roxy.Special 55mm projectors were installed as well as a new sound system. Very few theatres installed Cinemascope 55, presenting the films in a reduced 35mm print. The 55mm process was only used twice after that and then the process disappeared. In 1953 The Roxy was the first theatre to install Cinemascope with the showing of “The Robe”.

Stannorton on December 8, 2001 at 2:39 pm

When the Roxy opened a cartoon in the New Yorker had a little boy asking his mother as he was being led through its massive, glorious lobby “Does God live here?” I have a six by seven foot photograph of the famous Gloria Swanson hanging in the my den

John P Keating Jr
John P Keating Jr on December 2, 2001 at 10:21 am

I remember a picture in Live magazine of Gloria Swanson in an evening gown standing in the rubble of the Roxy.

LuertiAngelo on October 12, 2001 at 1:51 am

I’m writing a book on costume designers of Music Hall. I’m looking for some data about Marco Montedoro who after having designed for Moulin Rouge and Folies Bergere in Paris, from 1932 started to work for Roxy Theatre N. Y. Can you or somebody help me in finding as many data as possible on his activity in N.Y.? I will appreciate very much. Thanks in advance for your courtesy. Best regards. A. Luerti

LucyAnnSaltzman on August 3, 2001 at 12:15 pm

Hey George, I think you mean “Carousel,” not “Oklahoma.” “Carousel” opened at the Roxy in 1955 in Cinemascope 55. “Oklahoma” in Todd A0 opened on reserved seats at the Rivoli.

George on July 31, 2001 at 4:28 pm

I attended the premier of Roger & Hammersteins Oklahoma in 1955 at the Roxy, my father installed the sound systems, this was the first Todd-AO in NYC I believe. Rogers & Hammerstein were in attendance as well as the recording engineer Fred Heinz. Roxy had 2 projection rooms, each with 3 Todd-AO, norelco AAII projectors.