Hollywood Theatre

237 W. 51st Street,
New York, NY 10019

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Showing 101 - 125 of 146 comments

William
William on January 17, 2006 at 12:10 pm

If you look under the marquee, there is still afew of the original light fixtures left. But most of the material removed from the marquee has been trashed. There is old light bulbs that run all along the inner border of the marquee.

bazookadave
bazookadave on January 17, 2006 at 11:22 am

It sure looks that way but I am not sure. Let’s hope that if it is, they will restore the marquee to its original look.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 17, 2006 at 11:16 am

Interesting davebazooka… Is the bottom portion of the marquee the original canopy – with a new frame built around and over it to accomodate the more modern and boxy marquee?

bazookadave
bazookadave on January 13, 2006 at 2:28 pm

Whoops, double post, sorry everyone.

William
William on January 12, 2006 at 3:48 am

Since my last post for this theatre. The workmen have removed most of the inner workings of the marquee. In doing this they have uncovered some of the original lighting design for under the marquee. Nederlanders were fools to sell the theatre in the first place, but are far lesser houses. The church has maintained this house very well. The price tag would be well over 25 million dollars. Another thing is the church uses the stage area for shows from time to time.

LuisV
LuisV on January 11, 2006 at 3:22 pm

I think the trade for the Nederlander or Belasco would be ideal! These houses don’t compare to the Hollywood is grandeur, but would still work well as a house of worship. I like the Ziegfeld, but even if I didn’t, a trade for the Hollywood probably wouldn’t work. Mainly, I can’t imagine that Clearview Cinemas (corporate parent for the Ziegfeld) would be able to come up with much cash to entice the church to trade and I woldn’t trust Clearview to run the Hollywood as a first class operation. While it would be wonderful to see films here once again, the reality is that it would function and be properly maintained best as a venue for live theater.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 11, 2006 at 6:31 am

Perhaps the church could swap premises with the Ziegfeld so that the Hollywood could be returned to its original purpose as a movie palace. I’d much rather see a film there than at the Ziegfeld, and the Hollywood would also be much better suited to the press previews and premieres currently held at the Ziegfeld.

William
William on January 11, 2006 at 4:53 am

The church just started a new project on the marquee of the theatre.
In EdSolero picture of the marquee area, they reasonly put a temp sign on the marquee. Yesterday they were pulling metel pieces from the sign and sides of the marquee areas. In live next door to the church. There is two entertainment projects happening over on 8 Avenue @ 45th and 46th. One is I believe a Schubert project Academy of Musicth and the other is Disney Calvin Theatreth.. The tenants at those area locations leases are ending or have been bought out. Two local watering holes are slated to close that are in those buildings, Barrymores Bar and McHales Bar. As to the idea of a trade, the only theatres would be out of the way like the Belasco or the Nederlander theatres. The church has leased space in the building between 51st & 52nd an Broadway.

RobertR
RobertR on January 11, 2006 at 4:12 am

This place looks even better then it did when I saw a show there in the 1980’s. Some trivia Marlene Dietrich brought her one woman show here after it was such a smash the year before at the Lunt Fontaine.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 11, 2006 at 3:23 am

The Hollywood was purpose built for films in the tradition of the grand movie palaces, which were always more flamboyant than playhouses. As a cinema, it never presented stage shows with its films. It fell into the “legit” fold only when it could no longer earn a profit with movies.

LuisV
LuisV on January 10, 2006 at 1:46 pm

Hey Ed, thanks so much for the pictures. They absolutely wonderful!

I have a new idea for returning this theater to legitimate use. This theater is one of the most beautiful remaining on the Great White Way. What if the Times Square Church “exchanged” this theater for another (with some cash thrown in). Surely the Schuberts, Nederlanders and Jujamcyn have theaters they would gladly trade to get a hold of this one. That way we get a beautiful performance space returned to the public and the church still has a meeting place and additional cash for their programs of good works.

It’s just a thought!!!!!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 10, 2006 at 11:30 am

Isn’t it? I also got in to the Broadway Theater, Winter Garden Theater and the legitimate Majestic Theater (which, having never hosted movie exhibition, is not listed on this site) in the same weekend and took photos of each. The Majestic is an impressive bit of Roman inspired architecture, but I think the Hollywood outclassed the others that I toured, by far (and these photos came out the best of the bunch).

While in the neighborhood, I also grabbed some photos of the buildings that sadly occupy the sites of the former Capitol Theater, Rivoli Theater and Roxy Theater.

DonRosen
DonRosen on January 10, 2006 at 11:00 am

What a knockout theatre!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 10, 2006 at 10:26 am

I visited the church with my camera this past Sunday and was able to roam around and take a few photos. I shied away from taking any shots from the orchestra area as there were people kneeling before the altar, so I relegated myself to the balcony and rotunda foyer. As has been noted here, this is a spectacular theater and I’m thankful that the church has kept it maintained and open for the public to appreciate. I intend on going back for a service one of these days as the choir (which could be heard practicing downstairs in the lower level) sounded splendid.

Marquee and facade
Exterior detail under canopy
Rotunda ceiling
Rotunda mezzanine
Mezzanine balustrade
Balustrade detail
Rotunda view from stairs
Rotunda mirror and chandelier
Proscenium from loge
Proscenium side view
Auditorium side view from loge
Proscenium crown
Loge seat end-cap
Face at the bottom of the stairs
Close-up

I could have taken dozens of detail shots, there is so much intricate ornamentation. The rotunda mirror pictured above is situated on the eastern foyer wall which is in the direction of Broadway, so I assume that the vestibule from the original B'way entrance must have emptied into the rotunda at this point below the mirror. I neglected to take a photo of the exterior auditorium facade just to the left of the marquee pictured in the first photo. However, you can make out in that photo two green copper flag-pole holders just to the left below the roof line (and obscured by some tree branches). There is a matching set on the other end of the building further down the block with the flagpole still intact intact. Atop that flagpole is a metal cast bird in flight (an eagle perhaps, but I couldn’t make it out).

This place is, in a word, sumptuous! Sunday services 10AM, 3PM and 6PM… As Warren said, one of the best shows in town and it’s FREE!

LuisV
LuisV on January 9, 2006 at 6:00 pm

This is one of the most beautiful theaters in New York! I happened to be passing by and the doors were open for a church service and I stopped in. It was incredible to see a movie palace still is beautiful condition! The church has done a wonderful job in taking care of this wondrous facility.

For many years this was a theater for Broadway productionsand was named the Mark Hellinger. I remember seeing the musical “Timbuktu!” with Eartha Kitt in the early 80’s. What a shame that it didn’t remain a live theater venue. I pray for the day that the church sells the theater back so that it can return to live theater. I want to publically thank and “Praise” the Times Square Church for its stewardship. Now that Broadway can support a “New” venue for theater, it would be amaazing if they could return it to its rightful use and use the proceeds to build a new church or fund good works.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 8, 2005 at 7:25 am

Warren points out the location of the original Lindy’s on Broadway and 51st. Actually, I believe there was a predecessor elsewhere along Broadway, but this was the restaurant where gangster Arnold Rothstein had his own personal booth and where the colorfully crooked characters created by Damon Runyon held court (though it was dubbed “Mindy’s” in Runyon’s short stories). Long after owner Leo “Lindy” Lindemann’s death, the restaurant operated on the corner of 45th and Broadway in the ground floor of the 1 Astor Plaza skyscraper that went up in the early ‘70’s – this is the location you’re thinking of hdtv267 (and the one that remains in my memory).

Last I knew, that location had closed and Lindy’s (now part of the Riese Organization) was up on Broadway and 53rd and I seem to recall there is also a Lindy’s across from Penn Station in the Hotel Pennsylvania on 7th Ave between 33rd and 32nd Streets.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on December 8, 2005 at 4:23 am

Yes, the Mark Hellinger is still an eye-popper. Last month on a Sunday afternoon at 2:30 pm my car ride from upstate dropped me off just outside the theater as it was filling up with church-goers. I went inside and marveled at the wonderfully bright preservation of the lobby. Ushers were not letting visitors into the auditorium, but I peered through one of the sheer-curtained glass doors and saw that the interior is as splendid as the lobby. It’s very close to what I remember from the days between “My Fair Lady” (‘56) and “Coco” ('69), right down to the sheer-curtained doors. Warren has mentioned an article on the City Section of the NYTimes on 4 December 2005. The color picture of the rear balcony looks wonderful. Bravo!

ERD
ERD on November 9, 2005 at 1:02 pm

The key word is service. As entertaining as it may be, that is not the main goal-obviously. It still is a church. It would be nice someday to see the place return as a fully functional theatre as it was intended to be.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on October 1, 2005 at 6:19 am

The status should be changed to “open.” If you go during a service, it’s one of the best shows in town, and admission is FREE!

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 3, 2005 at 6:13 am

Here’s a 1940 view of the original entrance on Broadway. Curiously, the marquee gives credit to the movie’s author, but fails to mention the star, who by that time was developing into “boxoffice poison.” The restaurant to the left was the legendary Lindy’s, whose corner site is now occupied by a McDonald’s:
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/131-3147_IMG.jpg

DonRosen
DonRosen on July 19, 2005 at 1:29 am

Looks like the musical “Times Square Church” is playing. I think “Legs Diamond” with Peter Allen was one of the last big shows here.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 13, 2005 at 9:39 am

The last movie to play at the theatre under its original name of Hollywood was WB’s “Possessed” (Joan Crawford & Van Heflin), which opened on May 29, 1947…The Hollywood was built on part of the corner site of the famous Hotel Albany, which was demolished starting in October, 1928. The site was shared with a new office building that fronted on Broadway. The theatre was actually behind it, but had an entrance lobby on Broadway that cut through the office building. The Hollywood’s boxoffice and marquee were directly opposite the Warner-Piccadilly, which was on the east side of Broadway. The current entrance shown in the introductory photo was originally just a side exit from the Hollywood.