Roxy Theatre

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

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VincentParisi
VincentParisi on February 13, 2004 at 11:29 am

I’ve heard it was pretty good. Is there anyone out there who saw Windjammer and liked it?

Vito
Vito on February 13, 2004 at 10:42 am

Warren reminded me of that awfull destruction of the Roxy made in 1958, the 100-foot screen installed for Cinemiracle swallowed up the Roxy’s vast proscenium arch, the ornamental boxes and staircases, and then hardly anyone came to see this silly movie

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 13, 2004 at 8:30 am

The Roxy’s final downfall began in April, 1958, with the premiere of Louis de Rochemont’s feature documentary, “Windjammer,” which was filmed in the new wide-screen process of Cinemiracle and required that the Roxy build a new projection booth and make structural changes to the stage for a new screen. The Roxy’s seating capacity was drastically reduced to 2,405 by closing off the balcony and limiting ticket sales to the orchestra and first mezzanine. Showings were on a two-a-day, reserved seat policy, but “Windjammer” failed to excite either critics or public. Due to contractual obligations, the Roxy kept “Windjammer” through the summer, hoping for a touristic invasion that never took place, and then reverted to its former policy on September 17th with Warner Brothers' “Damn Yankees” and a stage show. With the Roxy’s seating capacity restored to nearly 6,000, these combo programs continued into early 1960. The final Christmas show in December 1959 was Paramount’s “L'il Abner,” with comedian Georgie Kaye and juggler Francis Brunn heading the stage portion. What turned out to be the final combo show opened on January 5, 1960, and ran for four weeks: MGM’s “The Gazebo” plus Dick Rowan and the Bizzaro Brothers topping the stage half. Then the Roxy probably hit its all-time low with a double-feature of reissued Marlon Brando “classics” for a bargain admission of $1.50 at all times. Following that came one final first-run movie, the British import “The Wind Cannot Read,” which closed the Roxy forever on March 29th, 1960. Demolition started in August and took 3.5 months.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 11, 2004 at 12:57 pm

National Theatres was, in effect, the theatre division of 20th Century-Fox. The anti-trust decree against Paramount and others became effective in 1949, not 1946, though most companies were slow to comply and it wasn’t until around 1954-55 that full “divorcement” had taken place. I think that Loew’s, Inc., parent company of Loew’s Theatres and MGM Studios, was the last to fulfill its obligations.

William
William on February 11, 2004 at 10:20 am

The original stret address of the Roxy Theatre was 153 W. 50th. Street.

William
William on February 11, 2004 at 10:18 am

The Roxy Theatre was operated by the Roxy Theatre, Inc. company which was controlled and owned by National Theatre, Inc. of Los Angeles, California. National Theatres operated select locations under special companies or corperations. Even after the Paramount decree in 1946. Other National Theatre holdings were the Fox West Coast Theatres Corp., Fox Midwest Theatres, Inc., Fox Inter-Mountain Theatres, Inc., Fox Wisconsin Theatres, Inc., Evergreen State Amusement Corp.. National Theatres controls Fox Michigan Corp., which operates the Fox Detroit, Roxy Theatre, Inc. operating the Roxy, in New York and Fox Philadelphia Building , Inc. operating the Fox Phildelphia. National Theatre would later be known as National General Theatres in 60’s and later be sold to Ted Mann in the early 70’s, to become Mann Theatres of California and later to Paramount and Warner Studios to become CineAmerica Theatres.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 11, 2004 at 7:49 am

For most of its lifetime, the Roxy was an exclusive showcase for 20th Century-Fox releases, even after the movie studio was “divorced” from owning theatres. So other distributing companies weren’t covetous of getting bookings at the Roxy, which also lost its lustre as a major tourist attraction after the opening of Radio City Music Hall.

RobertR
RobertR on February 10, 2004 at 1:47 pm

I remember reading a story once that studios would delay a release months just to get the Music Hall or the Roxy. This was also true in the 60’s and 70’s for Cinema 1 and 2 when they were the premiere art houses in the whole country. Sadly it seems there are no theatres that have that clout anymore.

William
William on February 4, 2004 at 12:58 pm

The Warner’s Beverly Hills Theatre was equipped with a pair of Century VistaVision projectors and they also had a pair of Simplex XL machines too. When they pulled the VistaVision projectors out they installed a pair of Norelco DP-70’s, this was a major Road Show Theatre.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 4, 2004 at 7:30 am

In “those days” before saturation release, the major distributors of Hollywood product made a maximum of 400 prints to cover the entire USA, which were used and re-used until they wore out. Needless to say, the first-run theatres always had the best prints unless they were flawed to start with.

PAULB
PAULB on February 4, 2004 at 5:33 am

Perhaps in 2004, we need to make the distinction with what was actually “possible”:………………..as WE all know, there was first run and sub run………..and in ‘those days’ , first run was supported by what was what the studio and purists understood the format really meant: THE REAL THING .
Sub runs and country got the 35mm run-off and sometines, as described above, interstate and overseas glamor first runs got the 35mm palm-off. Now we all know that, don’t we. Paul B.

Vito
Vito on February 4, 2004 at 4:49 am

I agree with all that Paulb wrote regarding all the widescrens, however it does not apply to VistaVision which was projected in the VistaVision format in New York at Radio City Music Hall and The Paramount. VistaVision projectors were built to run the print thru the gate horizontally, which is how the film was shot. To my knowledge only a few of these projectors were made and installed in theatres, I believe Paramount Pictures had a pair in their screening room in L.A.

PAULB
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
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
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
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
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…..how alike are they? etc for overseas reades of this site, that information would be a real zinger….thanks……PAUL BRENNAN Sydney Australia

ERD
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
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
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
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
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
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

Edd:
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
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.
Edd