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Although it may have shown a soft-core adult movie from time to time (when porn flirted with mainstream acceptance) the Lyric was never a porno house.
I saw the original Rocky here at a 2:00am showing, with the usher crying, Don’t you know you won’t be out until after 4am? I guess he wanted to go home a little earlier. We smoked some weed, right in our seats, and had a great time.
I also saw The Elephant Man here…the movie took pains to carefully show the sight of him bit by bit. Well, by the time he was fully revealed we were sort of prepared for it, and we watched in quiet amazement. However, some ladies had arrived late and hadn’t been prepared, so when he came on screen again they started shouting and carrying on at the top of their voices, much to the annoyance of the upper eastside types that otherwise filled the theater. I had to laugh because I felt like I was across town on 42nd Street. Those Deuce audiences always expressed their opinions loud and clear, unlike their staid eastside counterparts!
It was here on 42nd Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, where in the late 1970’s my girlfriend and I saw our first and only live sex show. Oh, brother.
Good article, too.
>>All that’s left is the front facade. a shame
posted by D on Jul 25, 2004 at 6:53pm
The entire theater was restored: Walls, balconies, murals, proscenium arch; and is now used as the lobby of the new AMC Empire 25.
I agree about the eclectic billing here. Once in the early 1980’s the second or third feature was Hitchcock’s Psycho from 20 years earlier. At a rock-bottom evening price of 85 cents, who could resist going in. It was the first time I’d seen Psycho on the big screen, and what a setting! I think half of Norman Bate’s family was in the audience. We all go a little mad sometimes, no doubt.
There’s nice clear film of this theater’s adult film marquee in that Travel Channel doumentary.
This was my least favorite of the 42nd Street line-up, and I was not sorry to see it close. It stunk to high heaven and because of its late run bookings and rock bottom prices it seemed to attract an even lower class of patrons than the other houses, if that’s possible! When I was here there was no balcony, only a raised rear mezzanine, like at the new Ziegfeld. But that’s where the similarity ended.
C'mon, Warren. He only wants some major films that played here, and you could probably give him a short list off the top of your head. Help a brother out!
BruceC, the New Amsterdam, Harris and Anco were not under the Brandt banner; I don’t know who ran those three. But Brandt had the Victory, Lyric, Times Square, Apollo, Selwyn, Liberty and Empire.
Jerry, I was there from about 1973 until the bitter end…at the Movieplex (in the old Roxy Burlesque site.) I would come up on the 7th Avenue exit, next to the newstand (which is still there). As my eyes swept the street the first marquees I’d see would be the Rialto and Victory, then the Lyric, and then I’d finish my initial sweep looking straight ahead at the New Amsterdam. Damn!
This is an edited repost of something I recently addded to the New Amsterdam page:
It was a thrill to come up out of the subway on Wednesday (and later Friday) mornings, make the U-turn onto 42nd Street, and see all those wonderful marquees with their breathless descriptions of the new double and triple bills awaiting inside. I loved seeing 9:00am movies at rock-bottom prices instead of going to college classes!
It’s strange to see one single wall standing on a big vacant lot. Check it out while you can!
My grandmother and great-grandmother lived at 2525 Church Avenue until the early 1970s. I think this was the first movie theater I ever went to, beginning a life-long love affair. We saw Jason and the Argonauts, circa 1963. I also saw The Greatest Story Ever Told, and Mary Poppins. As I recall we sat in the balcony.
It was a mess really only after it closed, with a leaking roof that no one repaired for years. It was my favorite place to see double features, and even in those days there was a remarkable amount of detail still existing. Of course it’s gorgeous now, but then it was a pretty decent grind house. It was a thrill to come up out of the subway on Wednesday (and later Friday) mornings, make the U-turn onto 42nd Street, and see all those wonderful marquees with their breathless descriptions of the double and triple bills awaiting inside. I loved seeing 9:00am movies at rock-bottom prices instead of going to college classes!
I saw Freaks there about 1970 when I was a young teenager. My girlfriend and I came in more than half-way through the film, and the movie freaked us out so much (One of us, one of us…) that we fled at intermission. It was years later that I finally had the nerve to watch it again, and it was as distrubing as I remembered it. A weird little theater perfect for such a weird little movie.
>>Its auditorium was in the very rear of its block, preceded by a group of vestibules containing stairways, restrooms, and one of the first theatre escalators that ran through a former carpet store, which fronted on Washington Street. The theatre held 2500 people in an orchestra, two balconies, and fourteen brass-railed boxes…
That’s just the way I remember it from the mid-1980’s!
If you ask a New Yorker about the Little Theatre, she may say, oh, you mean the one on 44th Street next to Sardi’s, now called the Helen Hayes? That’s what I’d say, anyway.
>>“Gone with the wind” which remains the worst example of 70mm
Of course, Gone With the Wind wasn’t made in 70mm, it was just monstrously blown up to that size 30-something years after it was made. I saw GWTW for the first time in that 70mm print at the UA Syosset 150, and I was shocked at the poor quality (everything was fuzzy and grainy) and the obvious cropping of the image at the top and bottom. I couldn’t belive this was the biggest grossing picture of all time! The curved screen was pretty neat, as long as nothing was being projected onto it.
I later saw GWTW at RCMH in its proper aspect ratio, and of course it was magnificent.
Robert R, that was the Bryant Theater on 42nd Street between 6th and 7th, where in the late 1970’s I saw my first and only live sex show. Oh, brother.
The lobby of the Selwyn collaped, but the auditorium, currently known as American Airlines Theater, was unharmed.
I passed by tonight and the marquee is still up and still listed the same movies as mentioned above.
Also, Niagara was pre-Cinemascope, but with the twin wonders of the Falls and MM in blazing technicolor, who needed a wide screen! I’ve seen this movie on the big screen (not in its original release) more than once…va-va-va-voom! Where did Niagara open in New York, anyway?
That link should be www.film-tech.com (without the comma)
Here’s an interesting Q & A from Roger Ebert’s 10/03/04 column concerning screen brightness. Hey, CConnolly, maybe we should get a light meter and check out some of these local houses!
Q. I know well your well-deserved attacks on theater managers who don’t have bulbs at full brightness. So when I was hired as the general manager of the Grand Cinema, a non-profit movie theater in Tacoma, Wash., I resolved not to be one of those managers. One of my first questions to my projectionist was whether we have the bulbs of our three screens at full power. We don’t.
And five months later, we still don’t. As he tells me, our theaters are so small (no more than 50 or 60 feet from projector to screen) that having our bulbs at full would burn our screens and wash out a picture. I’ve relied on his judgment, but I think it’s time to check this. Is there any evidence to suggest that a bulb should be dimmed slightly or significantly if playing in a very small theater?
Erik Hanberg, Tacoma, Wash.
A. Steve Kraus of the Lake Street Screening Room in Chicago, who is a scholar of film projection, tells me: “Yes, it is possible to be too bright. Of course you can’t literally burn the screen but the picture could be washed out and uncomfortable to watch. There are many factors in picture brightness, but there is no reason for guessing. A technician with a light meter can read the reflected brightness of the screen with the projector running without film. It should be 16 foot-Lamberts. I would recommend the forum section at www.film-tech.com, where he can get detailed advice about his particular equipment.”
They used to own the Long Beach but don’t anymore, which was torn down and rebuilt by new owners.