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Vito, thanks for that great story about the Fox Fanfare. 20th Century Fox had the best-looking AND the best-sounding studio logo in the history of the movies.
You’re welcome, Christian. That’s the first photo I posted to the web – I’m glad it worked. I hope you find your book. I’m looking forward to reading some of those stories.
Mike: the Loew’s officially closed in 1986. Here is the theater history page from their website:
The Stanley no longer shows movies but you can take a tour of the theater, which has been fully restored by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The State, sadly, no longer exists. In its place is a high-rise apartment/office building which hasn’t opened yet. The State is the one I went to the most when I was a kid in the 1960’s (they got all the Disney movies).
Pete’s right – there’s no exit music in “Ben-Hur”. Besides, the exultant music Miklos Rozsa composed for the final shots and the end title card couldn’t be topped anyway. Better to let the audience go out having just heard that.
I hope some of you who are reading this were there to see “Ben-Hur” last night. The picture and sound were beautiful, and the chariot race was never before as thrilling as it was from the front row of the Loew’s.
Maybe this link will work better:
Here’s a link to a picture I took in 2003 of the “King and I” footprint block. I hope it works:
Another funny line, from early on in the film: Cedric Hardwicke to Heston: “We have heard how you took ibis from the Nile to destroy the venomous serpents which were sent against you when you laid siege to the city of Saba.” Try saying that 3 times fast! Whether you take it seriously or not, “The Ten Commandments” is a real cinema treasure.
I remember The Closing of the Capitol being talked about on NBC’s Today Show in September 1968, but I was too young to attend. By the way, CConnolly, was the Anne Baxter “Ten Commandments” line you mentioned, “Oh Moses, Moses, you stubborn splendid adorable fool”? There were so many lines like that, but that one came to mind first. During one long-ago annual TV showing, my brother kept track of how many times the name “Moses” was spoken in the film. It ran into the hundreds.
I remember The Closing of the Capitol being talked about on NBC’s Today Show in September 1968, but I was too young to attend. By the way, CConnolly, was the Anne Baxter “Ten Commandments” line you mentioned, “Oh Moses, Moses, you stubborn splendid adorable fool”? There were so many, but that one came to mind first. During one long-ago annual TV showing, my brother kept track of how many times the name “Moses” was spoken in the film. It ran into the hundreds.
I agree with CConnolly. In 1989 “The Abyss” was shown at the Music Hall for one night only prior to its official opening day (in 70mm I think), and the place was packed. And didn’t Bob Furmanek say he saw the latest Harry Potter movie there last year? Was that open to the public or was it an invitation-only event?
Gee I don’t know, CConnolly … “Psycho” (1960) filled the entire orchestra section of the hall – thousands of seats, and on a weeknight yet! – while when I saw both “Kill Bill” movies on first run they each played to half empty theaters. But you can’t go by me – I’d go see any movie that played the Music Hall.
Before “The Exorcist” started that night, Friedkin told a great story relating to what CConnolly and R.H. said: in 1973 he and writer/producer William Peter Blatty were editing the film at Warner Bros' editing facility at 666(!) Fifth Avenue. They took a break for food at a nearby deli, and passed Radio City. Friedkin said to Blatty, “Well, there’s one theater our movie will never play!”
About the beat up print of The Exorcist REndres told us about: there was a splice during an early scene with Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn, creating a jump cut where Linda Blair seemed to teleport across the room from one place to another. It got a huge laugh from the patrons in the Hall.
Ron: I was wondering about that myself. When the WB series began, it was advertised as the First Annual Classic Film Festival. One year later the Universal series was the Second Annual, then it just died. I figured they’d get to RKO eventually, and then I’d fulfill a longtime dream of seeing “King Kong” at Radio City.
I’d like to second what R.H. and RobertR said about the classics series shown at Radio City in the ‘90s: some of those shows I attended (Psycho, Jaws, The Exorcist, My Fair Lady) looked like complete sellouts to me. There was a struggle to find seats, even down near the front. I’m sure if the Hall did what Valencia suggested (old time movie/stage show combination with the Rockettes) and charged 2004 Christmas Show prices for it, they’d sell out the house for sure. I know I’d go, along with every New Yorker who posts on Cinema Treasures.
“Ben-Hur” at the Loew’s Jersey on March 5th – 44 years after I first saw it there when I was 6 years old. I was hoping this day would come someday.
In recent years I only remember the curtain being used for “Lawrence of Arabia” in 2002, and now “Raging Bull”. It was definitely not used for “The Phantom of the Opera” on New Year’s Eve – it might have made the movie a little better than it was.
I saw “Raging Bull” at the Ziegfeld last night and the crowd was bigger than I expected, and very much into the movie as well. The presentation was quite good too – only 3 commercials and one trailer, and they opened and closed the curtains. It was also my first time seeing black and white on the Ziegfeld screen. I’m glad I went. Now let’s see if they extend the exclusive engagement beyond the originally announced ten days – I’m sure they’ll do better with this great classic than with the latest Hollywood dud they’ve got booked into the theater next.
I saw THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI here last weekend, and they put on quite a show: newsreel, cartoon, audience singalong, etc. And the theater itself was beautiful. I’ll be going back again for sure.
This link will take you to some great pictures of the theater’s Cinerama screen when it was known as the Casino. How wonderful “How the West Was Won” and “2001” must have looked on that screen:
SJL: I’d say the first time a Star Wars film played at the Ziegfeld was the Special Edition of “Star Wars” in 1997. You’re right about the Astor Plaza – that was always the big-screen home of Star Wars in New York when the films were new. I think I would’ve tried to see them at the Ziegfeld if any of them had played there as a reissue.
I saw my first movie here, a reissue of “Bambi” in 1957 when I was 2 or 3 years old. Many more great movie experiences followed (“West Side Story”, “Birdman of Alcatraz”, “Marnie”, “Help!”, “You Only Live Twice”, “Woodstock”) which is why I feel so sad whenever I pass by the location where it once stood.
The theater CConnolly, Pete and BoxOfficeBill are talking about, the Cinema I, is in the news today. It’s going to be torn down this spring, unless it can somehow be saved. I’ll never forget going there to see “The Exorcist” on its third day – the most frightened audience I’ve ever been a part of.
The closest I ever got to the Roxy was seeing the incredibly detailed scale model of its auditorium on display at the American Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, NY. Even in miniature form it looks like one of the grandest theaters that ever existed.