Astor Theatre

1531 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 151 - 175 of 324 comments

dodgerg on May 22, 2008 at 6:53 pm

Well said, Ed Blank. Well said.

edblank on May 22, 2008 at 6:44 pm

What a weird buzz I got wandering into the Astor’s former shell after it had become that flea market. The place was abuzz but junky. You can’t get that buzz, I think, unless the shell of the old structure is the same and you can remember clearly how it had been when it was a moviehouse (the ticket-taker was just about here, the screen was against that wall over there, etc.).
Our memories are valueless to just about anyone who didn’t experience these grand old movie emporiums firsthand, but Cinema Treasures is a treasure trove of shared recollections by people who can revivify and amplify one’s own fading memories. Thank you, one and all. — Ed Blank

dodgerg on May 19, 2008 at 7:27 am

wow. Thanks Warren. Great pictures. Especially that Gone with the Wind one. I saved both. You’re a treasure trove of info. Good work.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 19, 2008 at 6:27 am

Here are new links to exterior views of the Astor Theatre:
View link
View link

kencmcintyre on April 1, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Here is a July 1941 ad from the NYT:

dodgerg on March 28, 2008 at 6:02 am

Hi again Leroy. As I mentioned previously, I worked at the Astor as an usher for a short time in May, 1955 — East of Eden. I would also love to see that photo. Thanks.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 28, 2008 at 3:08 am

Leroy, I would love to see that photo, but I’m not a member of that server. I remember you both as ushers at Loew’s Valencia in Jamaica, which was just before the Astor & Victoria. Could you send me a copy privately at .com?

roybarry on March 28, 2008 at 2:28 am

View link

Picture of my brother and myself as ushers at the Astor & Victoria theaters from 1953-56

kencmcintyre on March 27, 2008 at 7:05 pm

Here is a November 1931 ad from the NYT:

kencmcintyre on March 26, 2008 at 6:16 pm

Here is a November 1946 ad from the NYT:

kencmcintyre on March 22, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Here is an August 1929 photo from the Ben Hall book, “Best Remaining Seats”:

kencmcintyre on March 22, 2008 at 7:33 pm

Here is an October 1955 ad from the NYT:

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 3, 2008 at 4:34 am

Here’s a 1932 view of billboard displays at the Astor and Gaiety. Note the massiveness of the Astor Hotel beyond the Astor Theatre:

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 23, 2008 at 11:33 am

The Astor and Victoria were often advertised in tandem, but with distinctly different lettering for their names. The Astor tended to get the better movies, due to its prestigious history and larger seating capacity:

roybarry on January 21, 2008 at 11:53 am

Okay! Let’s all go out for a beer! I’ll have Sasparilla…gave it up 9 months ago. The best thing I ever did!


Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 21, 2008 at 11:35 am

Sorry! The title is “The Proud and Profane,” not “The Proud and the Profane.” The WWII drama was supposed to be Paramount’s answer to “From Here to Eternity,” and even had one of its stars, Deborah Kerr. Filmed in B&W VistaVision, it did good business but never became an Oscar-winning blockbuster like “FHTE.”

AlAlvarez on January 21, 2008 at 11:11 am

Good grief! Thanks Ed.

For the record, I was just trying to narrow the scope for the date on the photo. My memory plays tricks on me all the time and I don’t think I am crazy either, but I can contribute by looking some stuff up easily at my end.

I wasn’t born yet when Leroy was a doorman at the Astor & Victoria and I would not think of belittling his valuable first-hand accounts in any way.

I never make mean spirited comments as I am just not wired that way.

roybarry on January 21, 2008 at 8:48 am

That’s it! They couldn’t use the title of the book. There was a big to do about Holden doing this part. I thought it was a good film!

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 21, 2008 at 8:22 am

The William Holden film based on “The Magnificent Bastards” was “The Proud and the Profane,” co-starring Deborah Kerr. The Paramount release opened at the Astor Theatre on June 13th, 1956, according to the website of The New York Times.

roybarry on January 21, 2008 at 7:48 am

Hey! Why don’t we write a play…maybe we can make a movie of this? I should have not re-acted the way I did. Let bygones be bygones! However memories get distorted it’s still a great experience to reminisce those days. During the 4 years I worked at the Astor and Victoria theaters (Friday 4-10, Saturday 9:45 to 5, Sunday 11:45 to 5, full-time summer months) they would show sneak previews shown especially at the Astor theater.

I remember vividly the previews (not premieres) of East of Eden, On the Waterfront, The Big Knife, The Star is Born, Meet Me In Las Vegas, Main Street to Broadway and many more. The big moguls of the Movie Companies, reviewers …etc, would attend. Customers would get the privilegeg of seeing two films for the price of one. The Criterion and Loew’s State would also do the same. It was always be shown on a Monday or Tuesday with the the attendees filling out the questionaires given when they entered.

There was a film with Willaim Holden made based on the novel “The Magnificent Bastards”, but the film had a different name. Many of Hollywood’s big names at that time came to see this film at preview. “The McConnell Story” starring Alan Ladd and June Allyson also had the same experience. That film also had a big studded premiere. Had an embarrassing experience working that World Premiere. I was the doorman opening the limo doors when they pulled up in front of the Astor. It was alway mayhem with the photographers and the press. Sometimes the limos would come in en masse making the shuffling of opening the doors difficult. One of the limos had Natalie Wood and her mother. When the limo arrived I let out Natalie Wood and her mother, not knowing that there was someone else in the limo ready to depart. To my chagrin I closed the door on Tab Hunter as he was ready to get out. He chuckled and was very amused…but I was more or less embarrassed. I was only seventeen and something like that seemed more tragic that what it really was. Years later I had the opportunity to meet him and told him the story and again he chuckled. He also confided that that period in Hollywood was all publicity. He eneded up doing some good work later in his career. There was a film he did with Sophia Loren that I thought was one of his best films.

My wife who is 10 years younger doesn’t seem to feel the importance of that era. She loves to hear the stories of my experiences. I have an older brother who worked the Copacabana when Jules Podell ran the club. I keep telling him he should write a book about the machinations that went on there. Sorry getting long-winded!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 21, 2008 at 6:55 am

In all fairness, I’d hardly consider AlAlvarez' remarks to be an excoriation of leroyelliston. And the suggestion that one’s memory might be playing tricks need not be taken as a questioning of one’s sanity. My thanks to both Leroy and Al for sharing their facts and insights here for us to enjoy. Warren, your contributions to CT have been immeasurable, but you must admit that when the mood strikes, you are more than capable of administering some expert excoriation of your own!

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 21, 2008 at 5:48 am

Is it necessary to excoriate someone for a slight memory lapse about two movies shown at the Astor more than half a century ago? “The Rose Tattoo” ran about three months. “Meet Me in Las Vegas,” an expensive MGM musical that had been rejected by Radio City Music Hall, lasted only a few weeks.

roybarry on January 20, 2008 at 9:39 am

I’m sorry for the mistake…but that to was previewed prior to the opening. I am not crazy! Must be a more gentle way of communicating!

AlAlvarez on January 20, 2008 at 9:34 am

Leroy, I think your memory is playing games. How could MEET ME IN LAS VEGAS have played prior to THE ROSE TATTOO when it opened in March 1956? The sign over the theatre in the photo even announces the date.

THE ROSE TATTOO opened in December 1955 as Warren stated.

roybarry on January 20, 2008 at 8:13 am

The film at the Victoria was “THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM”; Frank Sinantra, Kim Novak, Eleanor Parker, Darren McGavin, Arnold Stang. It was previewed around Thanksgiving in 1955, and opened in January of 1956. I was working there during my High School years as a doorman for both theaters and was a senior at Boy’s High in Brooklyn. “MEET ME IN LAS VEGAS” was at the Astor Theater prior to “THE ROSE TATTOO”. Earlier on this site I gave a history of my experiences working there at the Astor & Victoria. They both were owned by the same company (Cty Entertaiment Corporation) and had a interlocking alley between both theaters. Great time!