Palace Theatre

1564 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 151 - 175 of 249 comments

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 27, 2006 at 12:38 pm

This unusual 1943 ad shows the Palace running day-and-date with RKO neighborhood theatres in Manhattan. “Tarazan Triumphs” was released by RKO Radio, and the first “Tarzan” to be produced since MGM dropped the series:

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 8, 2006 at 6:41 am

Now forbidden Disney at the Palace:
For a news article about one of the movie’s “live” actors, check out:

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 16, 2006 at 4:03 am

RKO’s first Broadway cinema was the brand-new Mayfair, which it leased from its owner-builder, Walter Reade. By that time, RKO also had inherited the Palace, which was struggling to exist as a vaudeville house due to the simultaneous arrivals of talkies and the Depression. RKO finally decided to drop the Mayfair and turn the Palace into a cinema, though the bookings were usually second-run due to RKO’s affiliation with Radio City Music Hall and the Center Theatre. It wasn’t until the early 1940s that the RKO Palace became a first-run house, usually for the major RKO releases that, for one reason or another, didn’t get shown at RCMH. By 1949, the decline of RKO Radio Pictures caused a product shortage for the Palace, so the RKO circuit tried reviving vaudeville with a first-run but usually second-grade movie. That worked for a couple of years, but then the Palace switched to two-a-day vaudeville only, with big names like Judy Garland and Danny Kaye. With the advent of reserved-seat road show movies, the Palace returned to a cinema again until transformation into a “legit” theatre.

mauriceski on March 15, 2006 at 6:34 pm

Warren,did RKO have a Broadway Movie House for first run films?

Patsy on February 1, 2006 at 3:33 pm

In Dean and Me written by Jerry Lewis the Palace is mentioned as being one of the many theatres that Martin & Lewis performed over their 10 years together. Is this the theatre?

RobertR on January 2, 2006 at 2:53 pm

1962 Judgement at Nuremberg
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dennisczimmerman on December 31, 2005 at 9:27 am

The first souvenir programs I purchased for “Ben Hur”, “Spartacus,” “How The West Was Won”, and a few others, were hard bound programs. I think they cost $1 or $5! Then later they changed to glossy paper covers. I have about 20-25 in my collection from various roadshow films back in the 50’s and 60’s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 30, 2005 at 2:19 am

EdSolero: It’s been a couple of months since you asked about roadshow souvenir programs, but here’s what I know about them:

They were usually about nine by twelve inches or larger, contained 32 pages or more, were printed on heavy, glossy paper, with a slightly heavier paper cover. They contained pictures of the stars, stills from the movie, behind-the-scenes photos, text about the movie, the actors, the director and producer, the composer of the score, etc. There was no advertising in them, unlike the free playbills given out at legitimate theatres. The roadshow programs were not free. I only ever bought one of them, myself, at the roadshow of the original release of Lawrence of Arabia, at the Warner Theatre in Beverly Hills. I think it cost a dollar. (My balcony ticket for a Wednesday matinee was only a dollar fifty, if I recall correctly. The booklets would have been too costly to give away, with some ticket prices being that low.)

These souvenir programs are sometimes available in the movie memorabilia section of eBay, though the sellers' photographs of them don’t give a very good idea of what they are really like. I would suppose that retail shops specializing in movie memorabilia would also sometimes have them for sale, so if there is such a shop in your area, you might be able to get a close look at an example.

rennie on December 26, 2005 at 10:20 pm


Not sure if this is the right theater, but from old photos compard to what I saw, the Palace Theater, Staten Island, New York, is in ruins, closed.

It’s located on Richmond Terrace, which is a long street that runs along the north shore of the island.

Some GREAT old postcard renderings of many New York theaters and other landmarks can be found at this website:

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rennie on December 26, 2005 at 10:19 pm

I am looking for info on Percival “Patty” Roberts, my great-grandfather, stage manager of Palace Theater in New York (not sure if Staten Island or Manhattan). I have old turn-of-century photos of him standing next to switchboard backstage which is about six feet wide by eight feet tall…, lots of “Frankenstein” switches.

He knew vaudeville stars Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, etc. My grandmather would fill in between acts singing opera onstage as a little girl. Can you help me?

Thanks, Rennie Miller

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 29, 2005 at 8:05 am

One Sunday afternoon in the mid-1980s I was walking west on 47th St and noticed that the scene door of the Palace was open— they were loading in a TV awards show. The scene door was on the rear stage wall, near its north end. The stage door for performers was located under some fire escapes at stage-right on W. 47th St. As I stood in the alley by the scene door, I noticed a sign in large white letters painted on the wall of a building at the south end of the alley which said “Stage Door” with an arrow pointing to the right. This implies that the stage door of the Palace was originally at stage-left, not at stage-right on 47th St. as it is today. Does anyone know anything about this ??

RobertR on November 8, 2005 at 1:09 pm

Check out this anti-Japanese ad from 1943
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RobertR on November 7, 2005 at 9:52 am

New Years 1960 “Can Can” day and dated with the Brooklyn RKO Albee
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RobertR on November 3, 2005 at 11:50 am

1961 another Rock Hudson movie at the Palace, day and dating with Trans-Lux 85th Street.
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RobertR on November 3, 2005 at 11:48 am

1961 another Rock Hudson movie at the Palace, day and dating with Trans-Lux 85th Street.
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RobertR on October 30, 2005 at 12:04 pm

In 1960 the Palace went legit for a few months for this engagement of Belafonte.
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Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 27, 2005 at 4:55 am

Talking about the trashing of original exteriors, didn’t the Broadway Theater get the same treatment? I remember seeing Les Miserables there in 1988 and the exterior was under scaffolding. I believe the facade was completely modernized (removing all traces of character, taste and architectural merit) to fit in with the new hi-rise that was constructed above and around the theater’s shell. I just took a peak at the Broadway’s page and there is very little information about its architectural style. If anyone has any recollections, please add to the page: /theaters/2250/

I might be attending a performance of the new musical The Color Purple at the Broadway in the coming months so I’ll try to make some mental notes (and see if I can’t grab some photos).

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 27, 2005 at 4:37 am

Don’t get me wrong, Vincent… I take issue with it as well. We all probably would have been very sad had the developers kept the Rivoli’s interior but obliterated it’s colonaded facade, but better to have the theater preserved to such a large degree than to have it permanently eradicated from existence as it was. Since most Times Square facades were (or would have been by now) completely obscured by billboards, electronic signage and other forms of over-the-top advertising, I’m quite satisfied to trade off the loss of the original neo-classical limestone facade for the preservation of the Palace’s gorgeously opulent interior appointments.

As for those free programs… were they like the Playbills you get at a Broadway theatrical show? Or like the programs at RCMH? Perhaps towards the end of the roadshow era, not every theater had them. Maybe only the Roxy and RCMH. Perhaps others can elaborate here?

VincentParisi on October 27, 2005 at 4:01 am

Good post however I do take issue with the developer completely obliterating the wonderful New York facade and marquee of the Palace. It had all the glamour and brilliance of a New York jewel. Now it is just another generic attempting to be snazzy might as well be a theme restaurant front.
Even though I came at the depressing tail end of the roadshow era(Fiddler and Nicky and Alex) I don’t remember any free programs or leaflets being handed out. Only programs for sale. Anybody out there who went often in the 50’s and 60’s remember free programs in the NY theaters for hardticket engagements?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 26, 2005 at 12:05 pm

Going back to Gustavelifting’s post in August… those souvenir booklets were not exclusive to classic “roadshow” engagements. I grew up and started going to movies after the “roadshow” era had ended and can recall being able to purchase souvenir booklets for all sorts of movies even at the local neighborhood twins and quartets. Throughout the 70’s and well into the 80’s I was able to purchase these booklets at the candy counters of theaters like the UA Midway, the Lynbrook, the Meadows, Century’s Green Acres Theater and other cinemas. I have booklets for movies like “Moonraker”, “Rocky 2”, “Hair”, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and all three original “Star Wars” films.

Free programs are another matter alltogether and were probably restricted to the finest first-run theaters back in the “roadshow” heyday… but those souvenir booklets were definitely available on wide release with good regularity through, say, 1983 or 84 when they seemed to just tail off rather rapidly. I remember when I saw “Apocalypse Now!” at it’s first run engagement at the Ziegfeld, the film was presented without any credits or title sequences at all and, instead, patrons were handed a bi-fold that listed the full film credits. I don’t think “Apocalypse Now!” had an exclusive engagement at the Ziegfeld – at least not for long – but that was the only theater in NYC that presented the film in that way, as far as I can recall. The neighborhood showcases ran a version of the film that included the end titles sequence superimposed against the footage of nepalm explosions that you now see when the movie runs on TV (I assume the DVD presents it the same way).

Anyway, the Palace Theater presents a fine example of how developers were able to take advantage of a classic theater’s air rights yet still be able to build over and around to preserve the complete interior of the theater. The Liberty Theater on 42nd Street is another example, sitting silently within the structure of the recent Hilton Hotel and awaiting completion of renovations for adaptive re-use. Too bad the Rivoli Theater just up the road from the Palace couldn’t have been treated with as much respect. Or the old Strand across Duffy Square… Or the Capitol and Astor or ANY of the old palaces that once proudly anchored Times Square. Not to mention the RKO Keith’s in Flushing.

RobertR on October 18, 2005 at 11:24 am

This picture of the Palace is so representative of how Broadway used to be.
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uncleal923 on August 15, 2005 at 4:36 pm

I remember those souvenir booklets. I must have been to those roadshow pictures not knowing what they are.