Astor Theatre

1531 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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AlAlvarez on January 20, 2008 at 12:16 pm

Since the marquee mentions Oscar nominations, that places the photo after February 19, 1956 and before March 13 when MEET ME IN LAS VEGAS opened at the Astor. Magnani won that year on March 21. Sinatra didn’t win for the movie with the Saul Bass logo.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 20, 2008 at 11:46 am

I can’t give an exact date for this photo, but “The Rose Tattoo” opened at the Astor Theatre on December 12, 1955 and held-over into 1956. The movie at the adjacent Victoria Theatre, which is identified on the marquee only by its famous Saul Bass logo, opened December 15, 1955, and also held-over into 1956:

roybarry on November 25, 2007 at 12:10 pm

Whe I was a doorman during High School years 1952-56 the early show was 85 cents and the after 5pm show was $1.10 – $1.25. I remember having a date and going to the Capitol Theater to see “From Here to Eternity” and the ticket was $1.80. I was completely wide-eyed when I saw that price. That time you could go the the “Gaety Deli” on 46th Street and get a humongous Corn Beef Sandwich for 75 cents. Or you could go to “Hectors Cafeteria” and get the Friday Fish Cakes and Spaghetti for 60 cents. I was only making 95 cent an hour though! If I remember correctly Stalag 17 was playing at the Astor.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 25, 2007 at 11:38 am

Two Shows Daily, All Seats Reserved. All evenings, $1.10 to $2.20. Weekday matinees, 75 cents to $1.10. Saturday, Sunday, and holiday matinees, 75 cents to $1.65:

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 24, 2007 at 10:47 am

Yes,“Singin' in the Rain” was the Easter movie at Radio City Music Hall in 1952. A few months ago, I displayed an ad at the RCMH listing, but I’m not sure if it’s still up. If you can’t find it, contact me privately and I’ll send it to you.

AlAlvarez on June 24, 2007 at 10:45 am

Correct. March 27, 1952.

roybarry on June 24, 2007 at 10:06 am

What theater did “Singin in the Rain” premiere? Was it Radio City?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 23, 2007 at 10:34 am

The nearest newsreel thatre to the Astor was the Embassy, on the opposite side of Brodway in the same block as the Palace. There eas also a Trans-Lux 49th Street newsreel theatre on the same side of Broadway as the Astor.

roybarry on June 23, 2007 at 10:14 am

Does anyone know the name of the newsreel theater that was located on Broadway? I know there was one that was replaced by the Cinerama theater, but there was alittle one near the Astor, Horn and Hardart and Hectors? I’m trying to remember the name. Thanks!

roybarry on June 17, 2007 at 8:13 pm


I wasn’t in town for the whole summer of 1958. It’s funny how the streets look not as attractive if they are not wet. Something about
night shots,especially in B&W need the wet look. So many films do that when they are shooting at night.

I saw the “East of Eden” premiere from the two-disc set of East of Eden’s DVD. Things have improved so much since then directorily (meaning the TV coverage of the premiere). The segment of the premiere did not do justice for a world premiere that was televised and on radio at the same time. I always have the visual of “Singin in the Rain” as the ultimate premiere. I can be seen in the footage of disc number 2. I’m the one by the curb in the full shot waiting for the next car to arrive. Later they have a good shot of Ron Greenwald, Tommy Harris and Johnny O'Neil. In the Marilyn Monroe video of her life there is a short segment that is shown from the area where I was. I could be seen briefly but the other guys got a full picture. I worked the world premiere of “A Star is Born” and Monroe came to that also. She dropped her hankechief when coming out of the Limo. I had the honor of giving it to her people. If anyone know if there is any film coverage of that premiere I would be most grateful.

Looking at all this as a 16 year old going on seventeen seeing all the celebrities and never knowing that I would be working with a few of them in my career in theater. One that comes to mind is Carol Channing. I left the show “Coco” with Hepburn to spend nearly a year in London with Carol Channing. My guess at that time was who is Carol Channing? I wasn’t aware of her status when I worked that premiere. What does a kid from Brooklyn know! See ya!


AlAlvarez on June 17, 2007 at 7:34 pm


Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 17, 2007 at 4:58 pm

Roy, I guess that you had left the Astor by the time of this photo from August, 1958. The movie played simultaneously at the Victoria (which is just out of view) and took over the entire billboard space above the two theatres. Across Broadway, Loew’s State had Jerry Lewis in “Rock-A-Bye Baby.” I can’t make out what’s playing at the Criterion:

roybarry on June 15, 2007 at 9:52 am


I feel the very same way. I was lucky to do my Broadway work in the 60’s and 70’s. The biggest problem then was the porno problem. The theaters were great without implanted microphones on the actors. It definitely was a different world. My wife and I just finished directing “Stalag 17” the play. Doing it was a blast, especially brining me back to the 50’s when I worked at the Astor when Stalag was playing.

Your image of Las Vegas is a true depiction of how Times Square is today. But when I think of the alternative of the trash that 42nd Street was for a long time…I would rather have it the way it is today. Thanks for the comments!

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 15, 2007 at 9:26 am

Roy, the Times Square district has been cleaned up, but in the process lost all of its character. Today, it reminds me of a combination of the Las Vegas Strip and any of the Disney theme parks. Herds of people just wandering around and gawking also make it resemble a human zoo. Most of them seem to be tourists and the rest from outer space. Whenever I must go there to a show or to shop at Virgin Music, I can’t get away fast enough.

roybarry on June 14, 2007 at 4:57 pm

Warren and Dodger,

My brother and I worked at the Astor Theater from July 15, 1953 to August of 1956. I was a doorman for the East of Eden premiere. I saw a clip in the Marilyn Monroe video-bio that showed a glimpse of me when she arrived. I’m not sure which premiere it was. I would love to know where I can get a copy of the DVD you mentioned. My email is The website to our studio is They sure were great times. Broadway had an energy then it does not have now. I was younger at that time and maybe I saw things with new-opened eyes. I’m happy that the Times Square area has cleaned up. It was a real mess for a long time. Miss the old Gaety Deli and Hectors!



dodgerg on June 14, 2007 at 3:00 pm

To Roy Barry — It was great to read your posting. I stil can’t seem to get an email to that address, so here’s the info in a nutshell. Although we must have worked together, the reason you can’t remember me is most likely because I didn’t work at the Astor that long — probably only a matter of weeks. However, I do have a pay envelope dated May 18, 1955 from City Entertainment Corporation and a handwritten note to a Mr. Helsinger(?)from “Gallagher” which reads: “This will introduce Mr. G—–. He starts tonight as usher."
I own 2 DVDs that feature the 1950s Astor pretty prominently : Kubrick’s "Killer’s Kiss”, and Kazan’s “East of Eden”. On the East of Eden premier section, there are some good closeups of the ushers and doormen. I wonder if you are in these pictures? Thanks again for your posting. I have great memories of those times.

dodgerg on June 14, 2007 at 1:40 pm

To Roy Barry — Sorry, my fault. I left out a letter. I’ve just sent a new email to the correct address.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 14, 2007 at 9:44 am

Roy, welcome back! As I said once before, I remember you and your brother from Loew’s Valencia, when Bernard Zelenko was the manager. I was on the daytime ushering staff and you were on nights, as I recall. Ida Magerkirth was chief of service during the day and Frank Keene at night. I joined in May, 1953, so you must have left soon after that, since “Stalag 17” opened at the Astor around that time, though it had a long run. It didn’t reach the Valencia until that fall, but we did a huge business since it was the first Queens booking and exclusive for the borough.

dodgerg on June 13, 2007 at 11:54 pm

To Roy Barry — I cannot respond to the email address you posted. Do you have another?

roybarry on June 13, 2007 at 10:53 pm

Warren and Dodger G.

I submitted a while back how I ushered at the Valencia Theatre in Jamacia, NY when I was in Junior High School. When I went to my sophmore year at Boy’s High my twin brother and I got a job at the Astor Theatre in 1953. The movie “Stalag 17” was playing at the Asor and I believe that “The Moon is Blue” was playing at the Victoria. During the 3.5 years working full time during the summer and full weekends during school. It was an exciting period.

Because my brother and I were tall we were doorman as well as ushers with the white gloves and sharp uniforms. We had the opportunity to work all the world premiers including “East of Eden”, “On the Waterfront”, “The Star is Born” and many more. We were even called in from school to be the doorman for the opening of “Guys and Dolls” at the Capitol Theatre where they used doorman from all the different theatrs including the Paramount, Loew’s State, Criterion and the Roxy. Had met Bob Hope, Marilyn Monroe, Shelly Winters, Raymond Massey, George Montgomery, Karl Malden amd many more.

I still vividly remeber the smells, the feeling of the air conditioning, the alley between the Astor and Victoria and best of all the stairs to the locker room. A lot of fond memories. By 1958 my brother and I worked professionally with Bob Hope and I had a wonderful career in theatre and television. Working there was a great place for a fledgling actor. Nearly every Saturday morning Karl Malden would drop by 1545 to Kermit Bloomgarten’s office. He would always call me “Butch”! Lee Strassberg me tho 1545 to teach some of his classes. Ben Gazzara, Shelly Winters, Richard Davalos would be some of the attendees. A few years later I would be studying with Lee Strasberg. Funny world!

I still remember the managers…Mr. Bloom, Mr. Cusack, Mr. Shaeffer, Mr. Whitney, Captain of ushers, Ms. Camarda and Mr. Gallagher. I can go on forever about working there. A lot of fond memories.

Dodger G if you could give me a line at rbarry@actorsplace .org would be greatly appreciated. I am trying to place you. I was there when you were working.


Roy Barry

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 10, 2007 at 2:34 pm

The 1912 Italian silent spectacle Quo Vadis? opened at the Astor Theatre in early 1913. It was promoted as a “gorgeous $150,000 production.”

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 10, 2007 at 2:06 pm

The second paragraph in the introduction is misleading. The Astor Theatre wasn’t exactly “next” to the Astor Hotel. They were separated by West 45th Street. The hotel occupied the entire blockfront of Broadway between 44th and 45th Streets. The theatre’s entrance on Broadway was just above 45th Street, and the Astor shared that blockfront between 45th and 46th Street with some stores and the Gaiety (later Victoria) Theatre.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 10, 2007 at 1:10 pm

This 1946 view shows the Astor already grinding away in the early morning with “The Best Years of Our Lives,” which ran nearly three hours and was the longest movie to play there since “Gone With the Wind.” The adjacent Victoria, with the British import, “Witness to Murder,” had not yet opened its doors for the day:

William on June 6, 2007 at 4:58 pm

The Astor Theatre in Times Square opened on Sept. 21st. 1906.

AlAlvarez on May 3, 2007 at 1:00 pm

Variety, August 12, 1959

Broadway Astor’s 800G Facelift

“In a change of plans, United Artists and City Investing have dropped the idea of combining the Astor Theatre and the Bijou on Broadway into a single house. Instead, a complete renovating job will be done on the Astor alone. It’ll run to $800,000, the cost to be shared 50-50 by UA and City Investing.

Seating capacity of the Astor will be cut to 1001 from the present 1100 and the new wide screen will measure 50ft. by 27ft. The third balcony will be eliminated and the mezzanine section will be extended…It’ll reopen on Dec. 17 with the preem of ‘On the Beach’, the Stanley Kramer production. “