Roxy Theatre

153 W. 50th Street,
New York, NY 10020

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WilliamMcQuade
WilliamMcQuade on April 7, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Watch the move The Naked City

In the very beginning are shots of people toiling at various jobs at night. One small bit is a single woman with a pail & mop mopping the floor in that huge rotunda.

Talk about thankless jobs.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on April 7, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Fifty-seven years ago today, 20th-Fox’s “Prince Valiant,” a CinemaScope and Technicolor epic based on the famous newspaper comic strip, opened its NYC premiere engagement as the Roxy’s Easter holiday attraction. Robert Wagner, wearing a pageboy wig that reminded of Jane Wyman, played the title role, co-starred with James Mason, Janet Leigh, Debra Paget, Sterling Hayden, and Victor McLaglen. Ads prominently displayed the honorary “Oscar” that had recently been presented to the CinemaScope process. The Roxy had gone to a “films only” policy with CinemaScope, so the only support to “Prince Valiant” was a CinemaScope short subject featuring the Roger Wagner Chorale and a Terrytoon entitled “Arctic Rivals.”…Down the street, RCMH was also offering CinemaScope with MGM’s “Rose Marie,” plus a two-part Easter spectacle on the stage.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on April 4, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Fifty-nine years ago today, the Roxy opened its 1952 Easter Holiday Show with 20th-Fox’s Jane Froman biopic. the Technicolored “With A Song In My Heart,” on screen. Susan Hayward, with her singing voice dubbed by Froman, played the leading role, co-starred with Rory Calhoun, David Wayne, and Thelma Ritter. The Roxy’s stage show featured TV singer Bill Hayes, ballerina Nanci Crompton, ventriloquist Clifford Guest, and the singularly named Divena in an underwater ballet. The Gae Foster Roxyettes, dressed as Easter bunnies, did their famous routine of balancing on huge rubber balls…This year, the Roxy had strong musical competition from RCMH, which had MGM’s “Singin' in the Rain” for the screen portion of its Easter show.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on April 3, 2011 at 11:41 am

Seventy years ago today, the Roxy Theatre made history with the opening of the world premiere engagement of UA’s “Pot O'Gold,” the first movie ever produced by the son of an incumbent President of the United States. James Roosevelt’s B&W romantic comedy starred James Stewart and Paulette Goddard, with a plot spun around the popular radio program of the same title. That show’s Horace Heidt and his band, the Musical Knights, also appeared in the movie. The Roxy’s stage bill was topped by harmonica virtuoso Larry Adler, with support from Al Bernie, Ann DuPont, Weldon Barr, the Gae Foster Girls, the 12 Esquires, and the Roxy Orchestra.

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on March 29, 2011 at 6:15 pm

This photograph of the Roxy Theatre was taken in 1937 by George Mann of the comedy dance team, Barto and Mann.

Joseph
Joseph on March 29, 2011 at 2:46 pm

the Sommer Bros purchased the ROXY site from Zeckendorf and bulid the office buiding current on the site. The Sommer’s were influencial in building 1950’s “car ready” shopping malls in upsate NY as the following 1952 article states:

View link

100,000 Visit Thruway Plaza Opening

An estimated 100,000 persons arriving by autos, buses, and on foot invaded the new Thruway plaza at Walden and Harlem yesterday afternoon and evening in what plaza officials called the most spectacular opening of any building development of its kind.

The crowds saw the $7,000,000 plaza – the largest in the state and second largest in the country – sprawled on its 69-acre site exactly as it lookedo n the architect’s drawings.

Police Chied Walter J. Marynowksi of Cheektowaga said the 3,000 car parking area in front of the plaza was filled within 50 minutes after opening ceremonies at noon. A police detail of 50 kept traffic moving smoothly and directed the overflow of about 1,000 cars to the rear parking area. Marynowski estimated 50,000 persons visited the plaza within four hours after it opened.

“Shopping once was a chore and burden,” declared Sigmund Sommer, president of teh Sommer Bros. Construction Co. of Iselin, N.J., which built and will operate the plaza. “In design of this new plaza and of each store, we have tried to turn shopping into fun for the whole family.”

The carnival atmosphere at the opening was aided by the presence of the Cisco Kid, Western television star, who gave out some 25,000 autographed photographs. He left the Thruway site briefly to visit patients at Children’s Hospital and at Immaculate Heart of Mary Orphanage.

In the “bit top” behind the plaza, children watched animal acts offered by Gengler Bros. Circus. The circus and the Cisco Kid will remain at the plaza through tomorrow.

Also present for the opening ceremonies were Abraham Sommer, vice-president of the construction company, executives of the firm who have stores in the plaza and supervisor Benedict T. Holtz of Cheektowaga. Holtz cut the ribbon and accepted a television set from the Sommer brothers for the orphanage.

Several stores in the plaza are not yet completed and a 30-acre adjacent lot is reserved for possible later additions. A department store is scheduled to be added to the plaza next year.

Joseph
Joseph on March 29, 2011 at 2:05 pm

One of the individual’s directly responsible for the ROXY’s demise:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Zeckendorf

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on March 29, 2011 at 10:41 am

Today marks the 51st anniversary of one of the most tragic events in movie palace history— the closure of the Roxy Theatre, which was quickly demolished that summer and replaced by an office building. The final movie was 20th-Fox’s British-made “The Wind Cannot Read.” Stage shows had been eliminated earlier in the year. No organized efforts were made to save the Roxy, which shuttered forever less than three weeks after the 33rd anniversary of its 1927 opening.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on March 25, 2011 at 11:54 am

Fifty-eight years ago today, the Roxy opened its 1953 Easter Show with a double serving of the great songwriter Irving Berlin. On screen in its world premiere engagement was 20th-Fox’s Technicolor version of Berlin’s “Call Me Madam,” with Ethel Merman in the role she created in the smash hit Broadway musical. On its Ice-Colorama Radiant Ice Rink, the Roxy presented “Melody Time,” a tribute by the resident Skating Blades & Belles to Irving Berlin’s many evergreens, including “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “Always,” “Easter Parade,” “Blue Skies,” “A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody,” “White Christmas,” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”

Joseph
Joseph on March 19, 2011 at 9:10 am

RE: On this day in 1959, the Roxy opened what proved to be its final Easter holiday package, with Howard Hawks' Technicolor western, “Rio Bravo,” on screen. John Wayne, Dean Martin, and Ricky Nelson starred in the Warner Brothers release, with Angie Dickinson, Walter Brennan, Ward Bond, and John Russell featured. On its truncated stage, the Roxy presented “Spring Fever,” starring Dorothy Keller, with support from Earl Hall, the Roxy Singers & Dancers Moderne, and the Roxy Orchestra under conductor Robert Boucher. That year, the Roxy’s competition from Radio City Music Hall consisted of MGM’s “Green Mansions,” with Audrey Hepburn and Anthony Perkins, and a two-part stage revue including the sacred “Glory of Easter” and the secular “Spring Parade

It appears the ROXY had the better movie for Easter 1959.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on March 18, 2011 at 10:52 am

On this day in 1959, the Roxy opened what proved to be its final Easter holiday package, with Howard Hawks' Technicolor western, “Rio Bravo,” on screen. John Wayne, Dean Martin, and Ricky Nelson starred in the Warner Brothers release, with Angie Dickinson, Walter Brennan, Ward Bond, and John Russell featured. On its truncated stage, the Roxy presented “Spring Fever,” starring Dorothy Keller, with support from Earl Hall, the Roxy Singers & Dancers Moderne, and the Roxy Orchestra under conductor Robert Boucher. That year, the Roxy’s competition from Radio City Music Hall consisted of MGM’s “Green Mansions,” with Audrey Hepburn and Anthony Perkins, and a two-part stage revue including the sacred “Glory of Easter” and the secular “Spring Parade.”

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on March 14, 2011 at 11:55 am

Fifty-nine years ago today, 20th-Fox’s B&W “Deadline, U.S.A.,” writer-director Richard Brooks' gritty thriller about the newspaper world starring Humphrey Bogart, Ethel Barrymore, and Kim Hunter, opened its NYC premiere engagement at the Roxy Theatre. Hollywood singing-and-dancing star Gloria DeHaven topped the stage show, with support from the Norma Miller Dancers, juggler Veronica Martell, the comedy team of Noonan & Marshall, and the resident Gae Foster Roxyettes, H.L. Spitalny Singers, and Roxy Orchestra.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on March 13, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Here’s a link to 1938 newsreel footage showing the resident Gae Foster Girls rehearsing outdoors on the Roxy Theatre’s roof: View link

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on March 11, 2011 at 9:57 am

Eighty-four years ago tonight, the Roxy Theatre had its grand opening with the Gloria Swanson starrer, “The Love of Sunya,” on screen, and a spectacular stage show designed by the theatre’s founder and namesake. Tragically, the Roxy survived for only 33 years (most with a stage/film policy), and has been missing from the New York scene for just over half a century. What a loss!

Joseph
Joseph on March 6, 2011 at 7:40 pm

crowds of people attending a demonstation of CinemaScope at the ROXY:

View link

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on March 6, 2011 at 4:24 pm

“Halls of Montezuma” also introduced Roxy audiences to newcomer Robert Wagner, who would become a fsmiliar face there due to his contract with 20th Century-Fox, its principal screen supplier. At least a dozen of Wagner’s 20th-Fox films opened at the Roxy, most notably “With a Song in My Heart,” “Stars and Stripes Forever,” “Titanic,” “Beneath the 12 Mile Reef,” “Prince Valiant,” and “Broken Lance.”

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on March 6, 2011 at 3:54 pm

The Roxy Theatre came full circle with “Halls of Montezuma.” In 1942, 20th-Fox’s Technicolored “To the Shores of Tripoli” also opened there. The two titles are forever linked in the lyrics to the official hymn of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Joseph
Joseph on March 6, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Footage from the HALLS OF MONTEZUMA premiere:

View link

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on February 11, 2011 at 11:14 am

Fifty-eight years ago today, the Roxy presented the first animated feature in its history, Walt Disney’s Technicolor version of “Peter Pan,” in a special “pre-release engagement.” Supplementing the screen bill was Disney’s live-action short, “Bear Country.” And on the Roxy’s radiant “Ice Colorama” stage, the new revue was entitled “Crystal Wonderland” and featured the resident Roxy Skating Blades & Belles in addition to specialty acts. Advertising claimed that this was “Wonderful ADULT entertainment that the whole family will love.” Tickets for children under twelve were 50 cents at all times.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on February 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Thanks for the info Tinseltoes.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on February 6, 2011 at 11:46 am

Seventy years ago today, 20th-Fox’s Technicolor adaptation of Zane Grey’s “Western Union” opened its world premiere engagement at the Roxy Theatre. Directed by Fritz Lang, the outdoor epic starred Robert Young, Randolph Scott, Dean Jagger, and Virginia Gilmore. Topping the Roxy’s stage show was the popular vocal group known as The Smoothies, supported by Jeanne Brideson, Bob DuPont, Marie Hollis, the Gae Foster Girls, and the Roxy Orchestra under Paul Ash…The booking was part of a “Shoot-Out on West 50th Street,” with nearby Radio City Music Hall also opening a super-western on the same day— Columbia’s B&W “Arizona,” with Jean Arthur, William Holden, and Warren William under Wesley Ruggles' direction. Leonidoff’s stage revue, “The Last Time I Saw Paris,” had five spectacular scenes inspired by the hit song by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II.

CConnolly1
CConnolly1 on February 4, 2011 at 7:55 am

View link

A very interesting image from the Museum of the City of NY archives. This shows the foundations of the Roxy as it was being constructed. You can clearly see the diagonal layout that has been mentioned many times on this site.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on February 1, 2011 at 10:40 am

Here’s a link to a marquee view from the Roxy’s disastrous 1958 engagement of “Windjammer” in the Cinemiracle process: http://cinerama.topcities.com/roxycinemiracle.htm

BillSavoy
BillSavoy on January 24, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Thanks so much for sharing your memories! I own 6 programs from 1938, but unfortunately, not your’s! I’ll keep searching!
Bill
P.S.: What was it like working for Fanchon & Marco?

clairebg23
clairebg23 on January 24, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I danced at the Roxy in 1938, military number,movie was A Yank in the RAF. I returned four years later as a regular Gae Foster Girl. Had to leave due to illness but have wonderful memories of my short but fulfilling career at the Roxy. This site brought back many happy memories.