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Hello From NYC-
before I found this website I was unaware that this
theater hosted roadshow engagements or reserved seat
movie as me and my friends called them. to which
my question. the period from the Oct. 1955 opening
of Oklahoma to the Dec. 1972 opening of Man of La
Mancha I refer to as the prime roadshow period. now
during this period did the Chinese host any roadshow
engagements other than West Side Story and Hello
this question is for devotees of the good olde
reserved seat policy or to use the trade term
roadshow policy. of course the only roadshow
engagement this theater hosted was its initial
film “Marooned”. so for the Oct. 1955 to Dec.
1972 prime roadshow period did anyone attend
or know of a reserved seat run that did not have
a souvenir program?
I refer to the Oct. 1955 opening of Oklahoma to
the Dec. 1972 opening of Man of La Mancha as the
prime roadshow period. so from its opening Nov.
1963 to when the roadshow policy was discontinued
the Dome hosted many a reserved seat engagement.
to which my question- can anyone remember a
roadshow engagement at the Dome that did not
have a souvenir program?
to Escott O. Norton-
thanks for the reply to my inquiry. to which I want
to make sure I understand your reply. so are you
saying that although the Chinese is now a state of the
art IMAX theater following its Sept. 2013 reopening
that it still faces the same problem as the Ziegfeld
in Manhattan? a companion question. since its
reopening have there been any “big” films that had
almost sell out crowds? when the theater reopened
last Sept. its new sound and projection was highly
lauded by everyone. yet from the posting by the
person who saw Catching Fire on Sun. two days after
it opened the person was shocked the theater was
at the most 20% full. to bad if that’s the case.
in Manhattan many theaters have discount rates
for shows before 12 noon but the Ziegfeld is not
one of them. so if a “big” film opens at a number
of theaters in Manhattan that offer the discount
rate I will see it at the Ziegfeld because while
it may sell out at the smaller theaters I know
no matter how critically lauded the film is the
Ziegfeld will be at the most 25% filled.
to Ed S.–
it is certainly sad especially since I remember the
Mayfair/Demille as one of the prime roadshow houses
from 1955-1972(its last roadshow was The Shoes of
the Fisherman Nov. 1968).
to which a question. after I discovered this
wonderful site the last week of Jan. 2012 I created
a project for myself. said project being to
find the 1st theater built in Manhattan brick by
brick from the ground up with the intent of
showing movies or flickers as they were called.
using this site the oldest I was able to find is
the Crescent which was located at 36 W. 135 St.
and opened on the site the night of Dec. 16, 1909
as a combo picture house and vaudeville theater.
I contacted the New York Historical Society and
asked them since if anyone could say authoritatively
they could. guess what? the Reference Librarian
e-mailed back and said even they are a tad fuzzy
on the 1st purpose built brick by brick from the
ground up movie theater in Manhattan. since
whatever “movie theaters” existed in Manhattan in
the first several years of the biz were music halls,
vaudeville theaters, legitimate theaters or decent
sized unused retail spaces that were simply converted
to show films you would think the first purpose
built brick by brick from the ground up movie
theater would have been made note of in the press
of the day.
again many many thanks for the list of the other
D.C. houses the studios used for roadshow engagements.
it was rather kind of you to do so. added to the
Uptown list you kindly provided for me I guess this
covers all the prime Oct.1955-Dec.1972 roadshow
engagements. also when you have a spare moment
I would greatly appreciate your take on why
Circus World’s roadshow run at the Uptown lasted
only 3 weeks whereas other hyped roadshow epics
which likewise received critically mixed reviews
sometimes lasted 15-20 weeks.thanks in advance.
in Manhattan the Ziegfeld is still in my opinion
the theater to see a big action and or science
fiction/fantasy film. this is for both sound and
projection which brings me to my question.
no matter how critically well received a film
might be and no matter how popular it is with
moviegoers the Ziegfeld is never very full even
at optimum times like Sat. or Sun. screenings.
this is of course due to the fact that every
action/science fiction/fantasy film opens on
2,000-3,000 screens on the same day. now I’m
assuming no film which plays the Chinese will be
playing in another theater in the immediate
Hollywood area. but there is all of L.A.. so
even with the recent upgrade at the Chinese does
it in fact have the same problem as the Ziegfeld?
I remember last Nov. a poster mentioned he and
friends went to a Sun. afternoon screening only two
days after it opened of Catching Fire and the theater was at the most 20% full.
many many thanks for your detailed list. it was
quite kind of you. since you appear to be quite
well versed on the subject a two part question.
*during the prime roadshow era(Oct. 1955-Dec.1972)
Manhattan had 7 large 1st run venues that the
studios used for roadshow engagements-Criterion,
Loew’s State, RKO Palace, Demille ,Warner, Rivoli
and the Loew’s Captiol. while it would be nice
to have as detailed a list per the Uptown for all
of D.C.’s roadshow houses that’s asking a bit much
so could you at least name what other D.C. houses
were used by the studios for roadshow runs.thanks.
*I’m not saying it was Oscar material or one of the
best large scale action epics but Circus World’s
3 week roadshow rum seems inordinately short. I
don’t know how long its roadshow run at the
Warner Cinerama was but it was way longer than 3
weeks. you would figure with all the pre-lease
hype for CW and whatever advance sales were in place
before opening night what’s up. again I’m not
saying it was Oscar material or one of the great
large scale action epics but there were a number
of roadshow epics in New York that got a mixed
critical response but still ran for 15-20 weeks.
so what’s with CW’s 3 week D.C. roadshow run?
to Al A.–
as always thanks for your reply. while I am
happy this theater is still alive and well as
stated in my last e-mail as hard as I have
tried I can’t remember the last time this
theater hosted an exclusive engagement. so i
suppose it had to be before the opening in 2,000
to 3,000 theaters on the same day trend started.
for instance were Close Encounters of the Third
Kind(Nov. 1977) and The Rose(Nov. 1979)exclusive
Hello to Al A.–
you have always been kind to answer my inquiries
so here’s a good one that I have not been able to
find the answer to but I bet you know it. even
after studios abandoned the reserved seat exhibition
policy they still opened their “big” films in one
maybe two theaters in Manhattan. so do you know the
last exclusive engagement this theater hosted? I’m
speaking of new films so the Oct. 1996 exclusive
run of the restored “Vertigo” doesn’t count.
to Bill H.–
thanks for the other titles from when the studios
still used the Ziegfeld for exclusive 1st run
engagements. since this theater is the place to
see widescreen films that’s why it was frequently
sold out years ago. it was the only theater in
Manhattan if the not the city playing a film.
which prompts two additional questions-
*as I stated in my post if people had no trouble
finding and getting to the theater 20-25 years ago
how is it “off the beaten path” today?
*what was in fact the last exclusive 1st run
engagement of a studio film at the Ziegfeld?
the special 2 week runs of Dreamgirls and The
Princess and the Frog before hey opened wide
to AL A.–
after posting my query I looked up on Amazon and
both a vhs and dvd of CAGS have been released. I
am surprised I never came across either when home
video stores were all over Manhattan.
also a new question you’re going to need to put
your thinking cap on for. in the NYC metropolitan
area countless theaters were designed by premiere
movie theater architects Thomas Lamb and John
Ebberson. so many I figured how did either one
have time to eat or sleep. and this isn’t even
counting other theaters they designed across the
country. now rather recently I read that after their
careers were up and running both created firms
that had architects other than them. so that many
of the movie theaters attributed to “Thomas Lamb”
per se may have actually been designed by someone
else in the firm. this sounded reasonable to me
since I can’t imagine how either Lamb or Ebberson
could possibly have designed and coordinated
construction all the theater attributed to them.
to which my question- how can one find out how
many theaters attributed to either Lamb or Ebberson
were actually personally designed by them? much in
the same vein as how many buildings, monuments etc…
attributed to the firm of McKim/Meade/White were
actually designed by McKim, Meade or White?
I suppose we all have different takes on what’s
“off the beaten path”. being a native life long
New Yorker nothing is off the beaten path for me.
per you comment the Ziegfeld is only two blocks from
Radio City Music Hall. also when the Ziegfeld was
still used by the studios for exclusive 1st run
engagement people had no trouble finding it. you should
have seen the block long lines for Close Encounters
of the Third Kind. The Rose among others. likewise the
restored Lawrence of Arabia, My Fair Lady & Vertigo.
so if people had no trouble finding/getting to the
theater 25 or 20 years ago they shouldn’t have any
I was thinking about all the roadshow engagements
this theater hosted in the prime Oct. 1955 to Dec.
1972 period. one in particular came to mind “Cast A
Giant Shadow” released by United Artists and starring
Kirk Douglas which opened here the Spring of 1966.
to which my question- of all the films which played
this theater on a roadshow engagement CAGS is the
only one I have never seen on home video vhs let
alone dvd or blu-ray. I have always wanted to see
the film to judge it for myself. could there be
some legal hold up as to why its never been out
on any home video format.
like you I always like going to the Ziegfeld for
the quality of the projection and sound. plus like
you I am surprised the theater is still in
operation. the overhead most be sizable. I’m guessing
the reason the theater is still open as a 1st run
venue is that Bow Tie Cinemas would have a revolt
on their hands if it was twinned, demolished or
converted to other use.
also no matter how well reviewed a film is and
no matter how popular the film might be with the
public there’s a very simple reason why the
Ziegfeld is rarely if ever at capacity. any film
it shows is also playing at probably 12 other theaters
and might I be so bold as to ask you a question-
you are not the first person to refer to the
Ziegfeld via “its location is well off the beaten
track”. how is a theater on 54th St. off 6th Ave.
off the beaten track?
i live in NYC and the price for first run films is
already WAY TO EXPENSIVE. so like 3-D this is
simply a way to soak more $$$ out of the audience.
this is especially true since at the Bway & 84 St. multiplex you’re forced to pay for a “reserved seat”
even if there’s only 10 people in the theater.
Hello to my fellow posters-
there are a number of roadshow engagements that
had souvenir programs but I do not have in my
collection. hence my question. other than EBay
does anyone know of a website that sells movie
memorabilia? of the handful of sites selling
movie memorabilia that I’ve seen the only
programs listed are the ones I already have.
I recently read “Movie Roadshows” by Kim Rolston
and I was amazed at the number of such films that
had souvenir programs I have never come across.
any help would be appreciated.
to techman 707-
the not sending out of messages noting
someone has responded to a comment is
happening again. I did not receive a note
in my inbox that my entry on souvenir
programs had been replied to by you..
the prime roadshow era was from the Oct. 1955
opening of Oklahoma to the Dec. 1972 opening of
Man of La Mancha after which the studios
discontinued the policy. I have 137 souvenir
programs in my collection. I have to admit a
dozen or so of that number are not actual
souvenir programs sold in the theater lobby but
fancy brochures the studio released to publicize
of the 125 souvenir programs in my collection
13 are hardcover.other than the hardcovers in my
collection the only other one I know of is for
Porgy and Bess which played the Warner.
of the 13 I own two are from films which opened
when this theater was the Demille a prime
roadshow house. namely Spartacus and Hawaii.
the other 11 are-
Around the World in 80 Days
The Greatest Story Ever Told
How The West Was Won
King of Kings(1961)
Mutiny on the Bounty(1962)
My Fair Lady
The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm
a bit of info on just how elaborate these
hardcover programs could get. both the Ben-Hur
and Spartacus programs had a fold out with
several watercolor paintings of scenes from
the film. and to top that the King of Kings
program included a sealed package of 8x10 color
photo portraits of the main actors in the film.
thanks for the info. as you state the 179min. cut
was just used in previews and was cut to 158mins.
for the premiere roadshow runs like the one at the
Capitol. so however long the film’s roadshow run
was at the Capitol the Dodge City sequence was intact
the entire run and was only cut for the general
release prints which went to neighborhood theaters
I asked around so to speak and Cheyenne Autumn’s
premiere engagement at the Loew’s Capitol was a
traditional roadshow engagement with 2 shows during
the week and 3 on the weekend. unfortunately it
didn’t have a healthy or long run. still since it
was a traditional premiere roadshow engagement I
just can’t imagine it not having a souvenir program
regardless of the length of said engagement.
a further question about Cheyenne Autumn. was the
engagement of the film which opened Dec. 1964 a
traditional 2 shows during the week and 3 on the
weekend roadshow engagement?
thanks for your reply about roadshow engagements
having souvenir programs. the reason I ask is simple.
I have approx. 135 souvenir programs in my
collection starting with the one for the 1925 silent
version of Ben-Hur. most I bought at the theater
when I saw the film others at memorabilia shops in
Manhattan and L.A..to which with all the memorabilia
shops I’ve been too and all the online sites selling
such stuff I have never come across souvenir
programs for such prominent roadshow engagements as
The Diary of Anne Frank(RKO Palace),Cheyenne Autumn
(Loew’s Capitol)and Gigi which played the Royal
which was normally a legit theater. these are just
a few of the prominent roadshow engagements in the
17 year period mentioned for which I have never
come across a souvenir program. so I wondered if
quite possibly they didn’t have one hence my
my fellow posters have always been most kind in
answering my questions. this time I have a good
one on a subject that I find interesting.the prime
roadshow period was the Oct. 1955 opening of
“Oklahoma” at the Rivoli thru the Dec.1972 opening of “The Man of La Mancha” also at the Rivoli. now
in this a bit over 17 year period the studios
heavily used 7 Times Square theaters for their
roadshow engagements(Criterion, Loew’s State, RKO
Palace,Demille,Warner, Rivoli and the Loew’s
Capitol). which is where my question comes in.
Regardless of how good a film turned out to be if
a film played at one of these 7 theaters it can
be classified as a prominent release. so can
anyone think of a prominent roadshow engagement at
any of the 7 theaters named above that did not
have a souvenir program? every roadshow engagement
I ever went to had a souvenir program so I can’t
imagine a prominent roadshow run not having one.