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That would be wonderful vincent, I would be there every week, in my favorite seat, front row in the first balcony. As for movies, I don’t understand why the Hall never shows them anymore. What a magnificent experience for all the young people who have to endure a movie sitting in a tiny multiplex and have never experienced seeing a movie in a theatre like RCMH. The last time I believe a movie was shown there at all was back in 2002 with a special 40th anniversary presentation of “West Side Story” I believe the same was done for the 50th anniversaty of “Singin In The Rain” We should, all of us, write the management and suggest something like a movie now and then accompanied by a stage show.
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”
Sorry Warren, I was refering to the Center theatre on B'way built in 1914 which I believe Roxy managed but did not build.
That is how I remember things as well, thanks Warren for clearing all that up. I believe the original Center was built back in 1914
There sems to be a bit of confusion in my mind regarding the Roxy and the Center theatres I am thinking perhaps they were not the same. Having lived in New York all my life I remember the Roxy all thru the 50s and60s but not the center. Weren’t they two different theatres? THe Roxy is the theatre that presented Cinemascope for the first time and played ice shows on stage, not the Center. I think the Center was demolished to make way for what later became Rockefeller Center and NBC had their TV studios there. Can anyone clear this up.
Thanks Warren, my only memory of the Roxy is post 1953 after the Cinemascope engagement of “The Robe” which was followed by a string of Fox Cinemascope films, Fox played all the big ones there with the smaller films going to the Paramount. Most if not all the Roxy stage shows, as I recall, were on ice, and yes I recall the stage was cosiderably smaller than the Hall. They now have tours of the great Music Hall, which includes backstage, if you are in New York it’s a must see.
Quite right Warren, in fact movies playing at Radio City and Roxy were exclusive and no other theatre within a 100 miles could play those films at the same time. I also heard, but not sure of the fact, that “King Kong” was so big when it opened that it played at both theatres continuously. I knew someone who had been a projectionist at the hall during the 50s and 60s, when 3 or sometimes even 4 projectionists were on duty at all times running the four,later to become five, projectors. The film presentaion there was always perfect.
Anyone looking for help restoring the theatre can reach me at
The Music hall was one of the few theatres to install VistaVision projectors for the engagement of “White Christmas” in 1954.
Jean, I was working on the restoration until I started to have serious concerns regarding Stephanie’s ability to bring it all together. I spent many hours in the projection room repairing and replacing broken equipment. When last I was there we were able to show movies again. Every thing in the projection room is working and in fact I ran a short film which we projected onto the stage curtain. The Cinemascope screen has been bolted to the ceiling to prevent it from falling, and one of the three original stage speakers is intact and usable. If anyone ever again shows serious interest in picking up where Stephanie left off I would be interested in helping out again.
The name of the theatre was changed to The Victory and was run by The Moses brothers untill it closed sometime in the early 60s. The manager was Josie D. who also worked relief at the Lane another Moses theater. The Victory had no air conditioning but placed large noisy fans in the back of the theater to help move the air around, anyone remember that? They alsp had a projectionist with a drinking problem so many a show was run either out of sequence and even upside down. Ah the good ole days
I worked for Mr.Moses back in the 1950s. Elias was a real old fashion showman. One of my jobs was changing the marquees at two of this theatres, The Lane and The Victory, and come rain or snow or wind or rain the marquees HAD to be changed. Mr Moses would then inspect the Lane marquee before I could put away my latter. Those were the good ole days of the downtown movie house.What I would give to see Mr. Moses standing in the lobby greeting the patrons and good ole Vic the projectionist running up the stairs at the last minute to start the show. Sometimes when we had a good crowd Mr. Moses would send me up to the booth to play records till Vic arrived to start the show. I sure miss The Lane.
Hi Larry, I don’t believe there is any interest in saving the theatre. Steckman allowed the building to deteriate too much I’m afraid. What we need is someone who feels the way we do and has a lot of money.
Hi Jean. I too was (is) a volunteer at the St. George. Havent seen or heard from Stephanie in a while and don’t know what is going on.
Have you heard?
I once worked the Paramount and attended many, many movies there as a kid and young adult, it was my favorite theater. Prior to the building being sold, Stephanie Gilmore,who was at the time restoring another theater, and I toured the Paramount with the owner. What we found was very disturbing, the theater had been neglected and in very bad condition.The beautiful mirrors in the main lobby had been removed and the walls painted grey and the lighting fixtures had all been removed. The restrooms looked as though a bomb had gone off inside, just debris and garbage everywere
Then we went into the main auditorium which was once grand and ornate was anything but. The ceiling had been leaking for a long time so the walls were water stained and the paint peeling, most of the walls had been painted black. The seats, which originally numbered at about 2000, were removed and the space littered with junk and boxes belonging to the owner. We made our way through the rubble to the stage and climbed up amoung the many boxes strewed around. The stage floor had also been damaged by water and was I thought dangerous to walk on. Looking up I saw the original Cinemascope screen up in the flies waiting to come down and reflect those wonderful images once again, but alas that was never, I thought, ever going to happen again.The main screen curtain had been torn down by a rock group which played there a few years prior when the grand ole gal was used as a nightclub, I’m told that they just tore it down and threw it in to the crowd, later to be thrown away.
Our next stop was the balcony, which still had the 500 seats still in place, this was the only thing so far that had not been distroyed or damaged by the savages that had previously rented the theater.I sat in one of the seats and weeped, I remember saying out loud, what have they done to you. Next stop was the projection room, which had been stripped of everything, there was nothing at all left in the room, I asked the owner what happened to the projection equipment, but he did not know.
The Paramount was truly dead. I am not sure what the new owner has in mind for this once magnificent theatre but my understanding is it will never again be what it once was. Im a way as painful as it was I am glad I got to see the theatre in that awful condition, it makes it easier for me to see it converted into what ever is next.
I want to see it put out of it’s misery.