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i love books about NYC theaters stage or film.
one of my favorite’s is Mary C. Henderson’s “42 St.”
the book contains 12 chapters or bios one might say for each of the theaters built on 42 st. between
7th and 8th Avenues. the 1st theater built on the
block was the American which was on the southside
closer to 8th in i believe 1895?
the chapter on the American begins with this
statement-“the American has the dubious distinction
of being the 1st theater built on the block and
the first torn down”. to which i reacted ???????
the 2nd theater built on the block Hammerstein’s
Victoria opened in 1899 and was torn down the end
of 1915 to built the Rialto the 1st “movie palace”
in Times Square which opened in 1916. now the
American which was boarded up after a fire in 1930
wasn’t torn down until the spring of 1931 i believe.
this being the case how can Henderson say the
American was the 1st of the 12 theaters on the
block torn down if the Victoria was torn at the
end of 1915 a good 16 years before the American.
this is where my question comes in.
there seems to be a wide range of opinions as to
whether Hammerstein’s Victoria was a)completely
torn down/demolished as we would use the term
today or if it was b)simply gutted to the bare
skeletal structure and the Rialto built within
said skeletal frame. so which is it? if its b)
that would certainly give some credence to
Henderson’s statement about the American.
i have been going to the Ziegfeld since it
opened Dec. 1969 with the reserved seat
engagement of “Marooned”. which brings me
to my question. recently the theater has had
special quick exclusive engagements like the 2
week run of “The Princess and The Frog” before
it opened wide. to which does anyone
remember what the theater’s last exclusive
regular open ended 1st run engagement was?
the last one i can think of is Oct. 1996release of the Katz/Harris restoration of“Vertigo”.
to Howard B.–
thanks for your reply. eventhough i live in
NYC i am quite aware of Grauman’s Chinese and
the El Capitan(Paramount)theaters. i last
visited L.A. the spring of 2004. to which
i know these two theaters held many exclusive
first run engagements in their heyday so if
you lived in L.A. you had to go to these theaters.
but in the 1955 – 1972 period i mentioned in
my original post i wasn’t aware these two
theaters held reserved seat engagements as did
the other 4 theaters mentioned in said post.
Hello From NYC-
i last visited L.A. the spring of 2004 and its
nice to see that this theater is still alive and
well. a question- as i understand it its still
a 1st run theater so how does it host the classic
films showings if its hosting a new film? or
are the classic films showings at the 6-plex next
i have only been to the Uptown once. it was April
of 1963 and i was on a family vacation during which
we took in a showing of “How The West Was Won”.
now i discovered Cinema Treasures the last week
of January 2011. so i decided to create a project
for myself. said project was simple. using CT
i was wondering how many of the grand old movie
theaters/palaces built in the 1913-1941 heyday of
such building were still single screen and still
operating as 1st run theaters since the day they
opened. after much browsing of CT of all the
grand old movie theaters/palaces built in the
U.S. in the 1913-1941 period i could find only 2
count ‘em 2 still single screen and were still
operating as 1st run theaters since the day they
opened. one is the Uptown and the other is Grauman’s
Chinese in Hollywood. certainly an accomplishment.
i first traveled out to L.A. in the spring
of 1980 and did so for the next several years.
to which my question- the first several years
i went to the Pacific on a handful of occasions.
by the luck of the draw the film i chose was
always playing in the main auditorium. when
i first went came out to L.A. in 1980 i could
swear in fact i’m 99% certain they still had the curved Cinerama screen up in the main auditorium.
so did they keep it up from the early 80s to
when the theater closed in August of ‘94 or was
it replaced with a regular flat screen at some
i read above that the theater closed up as a
movie house in Jan. of ‘77. to which a question-
the last reserved seat engagement was “Tora Tora
Tora” which opened the fall of '70. so i was
wondering what was the decor of the theater’s
interior at that point as opposed to today?
corny and hokey as it might be the film has
always been a favorite of mine. i wondered how
long it ran at the Ziegfeld so its nice to
know it still holds the long run title. i’m
guessing the main reason for the long run was
that the film was released when studios still
did exclusive engagements at one theater for
“big” films. so if you wanted to see “Ryan’s
Daughter” you had to go to the Ziegfeld. this
was some years before studios started opening
their “big” films in 2,000 to 3,000 theaters
across the country on the same day.
Hello from NYC-
i thank my fellow posters from L.A.for info about
the Dome’s single lens “Cinerama” engagements. i
have a new question for you.
as i see it the heyday so to speak of reserved seat
or to use the proper term roadshow engagements was
the Oct. 1955 opening of “Oklahoma” thru the Dec.
1972 opening of “Man of La Mancha” after which the
studios dropped the use of said policy. now in the
immediate Hollywood area there was the Cinerama
Dome and up on Hollywood Blvd. the Pantages, the
Warmer Hollywood known on this site as the Pacific
1,2,3 and the Egyptian for a total of four
theaters. but during the aforementioned approx.
17 year period the studios released a number of
their “big” films on roadshow engagements so i
should think more than four theaters were needed.
so this is my question- during the 17 year period mentioned above what other theaters in the
L.A. area were regularly used by the studios for
exclusive roadshow engagements other than the four
in the immediate Hollywood area?
in recent years the Ziegfeld has had an occasional
exclusive engagement. for instance the two week
limited engagement of “The Princess and the Frog”
with an accompanying show at Roseland. but
discounting such special engagements what was the
last time this theater had a regular open ended
exclusive engagement of a new film?
Hello Again From NYC To My Fellow PostersIn L.A..–
i thank my fellow posters in L.A. for
answering my many inquiries about the
Cinerama Dome. a new two part question-
*since the Dome was rather technologically
advanced for 1963 i assumed the period
from groundbreaking to the opening night
of “It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World” was
at the least a year if not more. yet a
fellow poster replied that the period
of time from the ground breaking to the
opening night of IAMMMMW was only 18
weeks. is that true? it seems like an
awfully short period of time in which
to build a fairly large theater. the
reason i bring up how long it took to
build the theater is simple. i am
trying to determine if the decision to
abandon the 3-Strip Cinerama process
in favor of the single lens version was
made before the groundbreaking or after
construction of the theater had begun.
*now if my count is correct there were
10 single lens Cinerama films. “Its A
Mad Mad Mad Mad World” from Nov.‘63
being the 1st and “Krakatoa-East of Java”
from July'69 being the last. to which a
question- did all 10 single lens Cinerama
films play the Dome or did some play
whatever old time movie palace in the
Hollywood area that had been converted to
show the original 3-Strip process?
i thank my fellow movie buffs in L.A. foranswering my questions about L.A. movie going.i have a new question that i’m betting hasan interesting answer.
the Cinerama Dome opened Nov.‘63 with the
premiere of the 1st single lens Cinerama film
“Its A Mad Mad Mad Mad World”. now considering
how technologically advanced the theater was
for Nov.'63 i’m guessing the groundbreaking for
the theater was at least 1 year maybe 2 years?
before the opening night. which is where my
question comes in. when the groundbreaking
took place the 1st narrative 3-Strip Cinerama
film “The Wonderful World of the Brothers
Grimm” hadn’t even opened yet. so does that
mean before “…..Grimm” and the 2nd narrative
3-Strip film “How The West Was Won” even opened
the powers that be knew in 1961 that the 3-Strip
process would go the way of the dodo bird and
built the Dome from the get go as a single lens
as i mentioned in previous posts in the late
50s Hollywood was still operating on the A movie
and B movie production level. now just because
a film is a A level picture doesn’t mean its
going to any good or receive critical acclaim
or be a hit at the box office. to which what
was the last A level picture to play the
Roxy that was both critically well received
and had a healthy run?
i hope i understood my fellow posters replies
correctly. to which that none of the grand old movie
theaters or palaces to use the popular term built
in Toronto specifically to be 1st run houses are
still in operation as such from the day they opened.
this puts Toronto in the same boat as NYC, Chicago
and San Francisco.
also to my fellow poster’s comment on the Castro
Theater in San Francisco. the Castro is most
certainly a movie palace and it deserves our admiration in that its in damn good shape and
has continued in operation since it opened in 1922.
but and there’s always a but. my original post
or inquiry was about grand old movie theaters/
palaces that were built from the get go specifically
as 1st run theaters. unfortunately the Castro
doesn’t qualify since its always been my
understanding that the theater was built from the
get go as a 2nd/3rd run neighborhood theater.
i admit i’m not the world’s best typist.
so in my post it should read “even if they’re
Hello To Canadian Neighbors-
i’m from NYC and have been posting a question
on pages for big cities of which Toronto is
certainly one. here goes- the big era of grand
old movie theater building or palaces to use the popular term in the U.S. was approx. 1913-1941.
now none of the grand old movie theaters/palaces
built in this period in NYC specifically as 1st
run theaters continue to do so if if they’re
still standing. now L.A. has Grauman’s Chinese
among a few and Washington,D.C. has the Uptown
but like NYC San Francisco has zippo. so i was
wondering if any of the grand old movie theaters/
palaces built in Toronto in the above mentioned
period have continued to operate as 1st run
venues in more or less their original condition
since the day they opened.
sorry about that. i thought anything to do
with motion picture exhibition was a legitimate
topic. oh, well. never said i was perfect. :–)
therefore since this website is apparently
only for the discussion of actual physical
theaters rather than motion picture exhibition
policy do you know where i could discuss the
topic of souvenir programs? thanks in advance.
as always i thank my fellow posters for their
replies. today i have an interesting two part
question. hear from you soon.
*i have a decent size collection of souvenir
programs. i think approx. 120? these are
actual souvenir programs that were sold in the
the theater lobbies and not the thin but colorful
leaflets or pamphlets theaters often gave out
during a film’s run. here’s part one- for all
of you with a sizable collection of actual
souvenir programs which are your favorites?
now this has nothing to do with the quality of
the film itself just how well designed you think
the program is. my top 3 are “The Greatest Story
Ever Told” which may be the most elaborate
souvenir program in my collection.“Don Juan”
starring John Barrymore. not only is the
program itself in mint condition but its a
complete program in that is still has the
separately printed colorized full length portrait
of Barrymore that was placed in the middle of
the program. then i would choose “The Ten
Commandments” from 1956 which rather than have
photos from the film had full color paintings
of the scenes. so for people with sizable
collections what are your favorites?
*part two. everyone who collects x,y or z
whether it be coins, stamps, 1st edition
books has a “Holy Grail” that one item they
have always wanted but never been able to
locate. for movie souvenir programs mine would
be the one for “The Birth of a Nation”. i
believe TBOAN was the 1st film to sell a
souvenir program in the lobby. i found a
copy in a movie memorabilia store in L.A. a
few years ago but it was in such frayed worn
condition there’s was no point in spending
the $35. i would be willing to spend a
reasonable amount for a near mint if not a
mint condition copy.
Hello to Simon S.
thanks for the info about the engagement of “The
Robe” at the Roxy. now the film had a souvenir
program of which i picked up a almost mint condition
copy of in a memorabilia store about ten years
ago. which leads to this question-if a film playing
at the Roxy had a souvenir program when the film
ended its run would the Roxy send all the unsold
copies back to the studio in question or did
they keep a few? i have always wondered about that.
the reason i ask is simple. in early 1966 i was at
my friend’s house after school and noticed a souvenir
program for “The Great Race” on the bookshelf. he
mentioned his parents had gotten it when the film
played its first run engagement at Radio City
Music Hall. when TGR had played my local theater
they didn’t sell the program. so i said “oh,well”.
the next week i had an idea. i wrote a letter to
RCMH and inquired as to whether they had any
copies left. now this was several months after
the film had left the theater. i included a $1
for the program and $1 for s&h. guess what? the
next week i received a package from RCMH which
contained not only a mint condition copy of the
souvenir program but the two $1 bills. :–)
the first Cinemascope film “The Robe” debuted
at the Roxy. but how long did it run on what
i assume was an exclusive engagement? the reason
i ask is simple. in the approx. 50+ years it
was a first run venue even the most successful
films ran just so long at Radio City Music Hall.
i always enjoy reading my fellow posters comments.
to which i myself do not consider this theater in
the-“Out Sight~Out of Mind” category. i mean Radio
City Music Hall is within spitting distance and
people don’t have trouble finding that theater.
so considering we humans have the ability to walk
and Manhattan has both great bus and subway
lines i don’t see how this theater is anymore “out
of the way” than any other movie theater in Manhattan.
Hello To My Fellow Posters-
there’s one statement in the doom and gloom
article from this past Sunday’s N Y Post that
seems made up simply to give the article
bite. it says patrons were shocked when they
arrived at the Ziegfeld the Memorial Day
weekend an the doors were looked. but why would
people have shown up at the theater that
weekend if it was temporarily closed and there-
fore couldn’t have had any advertised screening
the Roxy was torn down if i remember correctly June/July of 1960. which prompts this question-
at that point Hollywood was still operating on
the A level and B level movie system. so does
anyone know what the last successful long run
of an A level film was a the Roxy?
Hello To techman707-
as always i thank my fellow posters for replying
to my posts but as the saying goes the plot
in her book “"42 Street” Mary C. Henderson
chronicles the life as it were of the 12 theaters
that were built on 42 St. between 7th and 8th
Avenues. the 12 essays are chronological by the
date the theaters were built. the first essay is
for the American which opens with this statement
–“the American has the dubious distinction of
being the 1st theater built on the block and the
first one torn down.” now Henderson herself
acknowledges Hammerstein’s Victoria as one of
the 12 theaters.
now several weeks ago i mentioned that the
statement that opens the chapter on the American
didn’t make sense since the Victoria was torn
down at the end of 1915 to build the 1st Rialto
which opened in 1916. as a reply a fellow
poster said that Henderson didn’t consider the
1st Rialto of 1916 a completely new edifice/
structure implying it encompassed a part or parts
of the Victoria. yet in your reply you said the
Victoria was completely torn down to build the
1st Rialto. so since Henderson considers the
Victoria as one of the 12 theaters built on 42 St.
and you said it was completely torn down to build
the 1st Rialto doesn’t that make her statement
that opens the chapter on the American incorrect?
if i am not mistaken the big building period
for grand old movie theaters or palaces to use
the popular term was 1913-1941? this is where
my question comes in.
none of the theaters built in Manhattan to be
exclusive first run engagement theaters survive
as such. for instance Radio City Music Hall is
now a multi-purpose venue and hasn’t been a
1st run theater since 1979. so i was wondering
if any of the grand old movie theaters/palaces
built in Chicago in the period mentioned above
have continued to operate in more or less their
original condition as exclusive 1st rum theaters
since the day they opened? Washington,D.C
has the Uptown and L.A. has Grauman’s Chinese
among a few but Manhattan comes up zippo as does