Astor Theatre

1531 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 151 - 175 of 246 comments

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 11, 2007 at 1:21 am

Here’s an interesting view shot from behind the spectacular signs across the street from the Astor, circa 1967.

This was scanned from a New York Daily News Sunday Magazine edition devoted to Times Square.

dodgerg on November 12, 2006 at 4:16 pm

To Ron Salters, re: the Astor – What a sad, ignoble ending for such a true Cinema Treasure.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 12, 2006 at 3:45 pm

To Steve Fredrick- a theatre will not be found here in Cinema Treasures if movies were never presented in it… I never saw a show at the Astor, but I remember it in the 1970s when there was a “flea market” inside the auditorium. The seats had been removed and there were rows of tables. You entered thru the fire exit doors on the left auditorium wall.

Steve on November 12, 2006 at 3:31 pm

What wonderful comments about the Astor Theatre. You folks know your New York Broadway theaters. I am hoping that you experts can answer my question. Where is the CT listing for the first Helen Hayes Theatre? I have looked under the different theater names (the Fulton, the Folies-Bergere), but have found no listing. Please advise me as to the Helen Hayes Theatre listing? Thank you for your assistance.

Gilbert on October 29, 2006 at 10:39 am

Dodger, a shame you missed James Dean. Maybe you got to walk on the same red carpet. And the cultural history of the US since WWII… just a small topic then! How many volumes do you plan to write? I’ve not finished the research for my book after almost two years and I’m only looking at one exhibition.

dodgerg on October 29, 2006 at 10:06 am

Sugs, I can’t remember dealing with any “celebs”. Unfortunately, I started work at the Astor about 2 months after James Dean attended the Premier there of “East of Eden”, so I never got to meet my hero. To answer your question — my interests now are in writing. I am presently writing a book on the cultural history of the U.S. since WWII.

Gilbert on October 29, 2006 at 8:47 am

Dodger, I wonder if you ushered any celebs to their seats? I don’t just mean film stars, as an aspiring artist you may have recognised some of the big names in the avant-garde, Pollock, Motherwell, de Kooning perhaps? Maybe even Lee Krasner, Dorothea Tanning or Buffie Johnson. Did you make it as an artist?

dodgerg on October 29, 2006 at 7:59 am

In the Spring of 1955, I was an aspiring artist, living in Greenwich Village. I worked nights at the Astor Theater as an usher/doorman. My job was to strut up and down under the big marquee, all dressed up like an admiral, and spout out the following lines in a loud voice: “Step right this way, ladies and gentlemen! Next show begins in 15 minutes! Immediate seating in the balcony! Tonight we have "East of Eden”, with James Dean, Julie Harris and Raymond Massey!“ I think I saw "East of Eden” 16 times. James Dean was my hero. On my breaks I would sit on the curb in front of the Astor with the manager of the nearby hot dog stand, smoking cigarettes and watching the girls go by. After my shift ended, about 2 o'clock in the morning, I’d walk all the way back downtown to the little 2-room apartment on West 4th Street that I shared with my best buddy, a boxer who earned his money sparing at Stillman’s gym. i still have my pay envelope from the Astor. I was pleasantly surprised to find your interesting site, and to see how much interest there still is for the Astor and the old Times Square.
Dodger G

RobertR on October 18, 2006 at 9:55 pm

Another great GWTW ad
View link

RobertR on October 9, 2006 at 9:54 pm

We will never see films presented in such a classy way like this again
View link

Gilbert on September 12, 2006 at 8:31 pm

Pause for reflection..
Back to the good news…
In case anyone is interested, Buffie Johnson’s work is still represented by the Anita Shaplosky Gallery, NY, who showed an original panel from the Astor Mural in an exhibition in 2002 celebrating Buffie Johnson’s 90th birthday. As we know, the panel was not 45 feet high.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on September 12, 2006 at 8:09 pm

My compliments to the NYT and whomever asked for correcting history!
This is good news.

Now about the war on terrorism…

Gilbert on September 12, 2006 at 7:00 pm

Yeah, that’s what I thought, and I didn’t even have to notify the NYT of their mistake! Was that you Warren, or one of Buffie’s friends? Or did the NYT spontaneously admit to a mistake..?

Gilbert on September 4, 2006 at 4:10 pm

Thanks Warren I’ll give it a go, but am checking my source first, would hate to have to ask the NYT to print a correction of a correction!

Gilbert on September 3, 2006 at 11:12 am

Thanks Warren, I don’t think much of the accuracy in the NYT obit however. The murals cannot have been made up of 200 panels each 45 feet high. My info is that each panel was 10 feet high. If they were 45 feet, where on earth would the artist have stored them once they were returned?

Gilbert on August 23, 2006 at 2:39 pm

Hi, I’ve been reading this page with some interest, particularly the pieces about the Astor Mural. You might be interested to know that Buffie Johnson, the artist who painted the murals, died in New York on Augist 11 2006 at the excellent age of 94. Buffie was still painting up until about five years ago when her sight sadly failed. There is no detailed biography available about this once important abstract artist and I am hoping to include her in a book I am writing about a group of avant-garde artists who were active in the 1940’s. I wonder if anybody knows what happenned to the mural, which was said to be the largest in the world at the time it was assembled. As it was made up of over 200 smaller panels, does anybody know where any of these might be? Have you looked in your loft..?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 18, 2006 at 5:06 pm

Right, Bill. I forgot about HTWWW. I think Warren’s suggestion makes sense. Of course, these days, it is not uncommon to see several different Jude Law or Cuba Gooding, Jr, movies opening up within weeks of each other. Neither of those actors are even half the star John Wayne was in his hey day, but you get the point. Perhaps the example of Robert DeNiro (who has been quite ubiquitous in recent years) is a better comparison.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on August 18, 2006 at 4:56 pm

Ed: I felt the same way when I found out that “How the West Was Won” had its world premiere in London in November 1962, then had several more 1962 openings in Europe, Japan and Australia before finally coming to the US in February 1963. It didn’t even open in New York until April. An unusual release pattern, but I’m sure MGM and Cinerama had their reasons.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 18, 2006 at 3:51 pm

That never occurred to me, Warren. Good point. Just a friendly note here – I’d feel just as informed by your comment and a bit less like I’ve been chastised if you didn’t use the quotations in your response. Seriously, just a friendly note – I don’t want to start a war and I’m sure you didn’t intend any condescension. But a courteous tone goes a long way towards stemming possible ill will.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 17, 2006 at 7:25 pm

The Duke at the Astor:
McHilarious! – Daily News 11/25/63

According to, this one opened in the UK in February, 1963, a full 9 months before coming to the States! A bit odd for a Wayne vehicle, wouldn’t you say?

irajoel on July 23, 2006 at 6:05 pm

You can view some nice images of movie material here. Most are souvnir programs and most are for sale. I have posted here a real nice photo of some man stanging under the astor sign for spellbound.

you can also view my entire inventory for sale at
email me at

SeanVQ on April 19, 2006 at 8:45 am

MGM movies showcased at the Astor:
11/27/1925 – ‘The Big Parade’ – John Gilbert & Renee Adoree
09/23/1927 – ‘The Student Prince’ – Ramon Novarro & Norma Shearer
12/30/1927 – ‘The Enemy’ – Lillian Gish & Ralph Forbes
03/23/1928 – ‘The Trail of 98’ – Dolores del Rio & Ralph Forbes
08/03/1928 – ‘White Shadows’ – Monte Blue & Raquel Torres
11/16/1928 – ‘Jimmy Valentine’ – William Haines & Leila Hyams
02/08/1929 – ‘The Broadway Melody’ – Bessie Love & Charles King
06/14/1929 – ‘The Hollywood Revue’ – All Star Revue
12/20/1929 – ‘Devil-May-Care’ – Ramon Novarro & Dorothy Jordan
01/24/1930 – ‘The Rogue Song’ – Lawrence Tibbett & Catherine Dale Owen
06/27/1930 – ‘The Big House’ – Chester Morris & Wallace Beery
10/24/1930 – ‘War Nurse’ – Robert Montgomery & June Walker
12/26/1930 – ‘New Moon’ – Lawrence Tibbett & Grace Moore
02/06/1931 – ‘Trader Horn’ – Edwina Booth & Harry Carey
06/05/1931 – ‘A Free Soul’ – Norma Shearer & Leslie Howard
09/11/1931 – ‘The Guardsman’ – Alfred Lunt & Lynn Fontanne
11/15/1931 – ‘The Champ’ – Wallace Beery & Jackie Cooper
12/25/1931 – ‘Hell Divers’ – Clark Gable & Wallace Beery
04/15/1932 – ‘Grand Hotel’ – John Barrymore & Greta Garbo
09/02/1932 – ‘Strange Interlude’ – Norma Shearer & Clark Gable
11/11/1932 – ‘Payment Deferred’ – Charles Laughton
12/23/1932 – ‘Rasputin and the Empress’ – The Barrymores
03/17/1933 – ‘The White Sister’ – Helen Hayes & Clark Gable
04/28/1933 – ‘Hell Below’ – Robert Montgomery & Walter Huston
08/25/1933 – ‘Dinner At Eight’ – John Barrymore & Jean Harlow
11/17/1933 – ‘Eskimo’ – Travelogue
12/29/1933 – ‘Queen Christina’ – Greta Garbo & John Gilbert

CelluloidHero2 on March 3, 2006 at 10:50 am

I recently saw the TVM “It’s Good To Be Alive”,(Roy Campanella story) on the Fox Movie Channel and during the opening credits there is a great shot of the Astor Theatre. In the background you can see the Victoria. Another quick scene shows the Harlem Theater. The film was made in the early 70’s with Paul Witfield as Campy. A young Lou Gossett is also in the film. The real Campy bookends the story as he sits at a desk writing his life story. Also, in the opening credits are nice clips of Campy and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

VincentParisi on January 1, 2006 at 10:42 pm

In the new picture book on Dean there is a full page photo of the Astor marquee and billboard at the time of Eden.
Those individual billboards from the 30’s to the 50’s are wonderful but I remember as a boy seeing the block long billboard with The Bible, Dr Dolittle, Star and Krakatoa. They were pretty spectacular to me.