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I have a copy of a the NYT article about the history (and closing) of the theater. June 1, 1960 for anyone interested. Has a shot of the marquee at that time.
I was standing on the 23rd Street side while it burned, after the closing, but didn’t have the heart to copy the article.
I also copied ads of many of the films that I saw there, from the NYT microfilm.
So, since I’m not near Lincoln Center any longer, this will have to do. Thanks again. (Don’t forget the Terrace on 23rd; would love to see images of that one – lol), jk
Warren, you’d make a great private investigator. I lived a tad to the right at 24th & 8th; somewhat after this photo.
How about some interior shots of the long entrance way and the beautiful concession area. You can do it!
I think the Deep Throat confusion lies in the fact that
“Deep Throat II” was made for the Drive-In/mainstream crowd with an “R” rating in 1974, two years after the stir caused by the original. There was also “Linda Lovelace for President” in 1975 and “R” rated, as well. jerry the k
Sorry to see that there haven’t been any postings on this theater since it is a childhood memory but I’d like to hear from folks who remember being there.
Anyone have info or photos? jerry k
This theater opened in 1963 and disappointed a community who had anxiously awaited the replacement to the old RKO on 23rd & 8th.
The theater opened….. searchlights, red carpet and the 3 Stooges (Joe DeRita vintage, in tuxes)getting out of a limo…. in early 1963 with Orson Welles' THE TRIAL, I believe. This crushed me, family and friends who were used to seeing weekly double features…. Rodan, House on Haunted Hill, Audie Murphy westerns, etc. at the old, majestic RKO. We still had to trek up the the RKO 58th St to see the “normal” RKO programming.
After about 6 months of protests, the theater switched to the “normal” fare in the summer of 1963. I remember being away in New Jersey when I saw the ad in the Daily News and I couldn’t wait to get home to AIP’s beach and horror flics. The classics.
In 1965 RKO reverted back to its original concept and THE PAWNBROKER played there for what seemed like years. Then the 1st run of CARRY ON CLEO (single feature) debuted while also playing at one other RKO theater…..you guessed it….the 58th St! By now, we would just go up to 42nd Street and find the RKO-Loew’s programming at cheaper prices.
The theater eventually returned to the normal RKO fare.
What was the source for the bottom image. I’d like to see more shots of this great theater. Jerry K
Thanks, Gerald. My email is listed in my profile. The search continues…..j
Great mix. And amazing foresight to keep a log!!!
I have been trying to recreate the films that I saw in the 50s & 60s in the theaters that didn’t advertise regularly: Terrace (23rd St)and all of the 42nd Street theaters. If you have a spreadsheet or any way to email that portion of your list…..I’d greatly appreciate it. I’m on this great treasure hunt. j
I bet thet you remember the other movies. What were they? j
You are our Time Machine. An escape from the drudgery of the impotent movie going experience of today. Would it be too corny to say “Thanks for the Memories”. Long lost memories that this site has graciously resurrected. j
You bring back a great memory (or great mammary) of seeing Meyer’s “LORNA” there in ‘65. My research of my mis-spent youth shows that the co-feature was “LOVE THE ITALIAN WAY” with Elke Sommer. Great stuff for a 15 year old. j
Thanks, Warren. Speaking of the “two-day bills”, I’m looking at an ad from 1959 where the RKO’s (except Albee, Palace)all played a new double feature (of revivals) for 1 day only!
Ad reads “TODAY ONLY…TAKE YOUR CHOICE….54 GREAT PICTURES * 27 DIFFERENT SHOWS”
Unfortunately my RKO 23 got Brigitte Bardot (bad news for a 9 year old) paired with Pork Chop Hill. Now that I think about it, I guess the two films did go together. j
How exactly did the “product split” work in Brooklyn? I noticed in the ads from the 50s, the Albee usually played the same “A” film that hit my RKO 23rd St immediately afterwards but that the Albee frequently had a different “B” picture. I also noticed the the Allied Artist Bowery Boys series always played Brooklyn but never my Manhattan RKO/Loew’s theaters.
I have an ad from the 50s when the Apollo was showing NANA with Charles Boyer. The distributor’s ad reads “spicy adult cinema package”. As Gerald mentions. “sex sells”….that’s Marketing 101.
But “grandad of porn”, “stupid history games”???? That ad, like most, was prepared by the film’s distributor. And if the Apollo is to be signaled out….‘respectable’ theaters such as the Beekman, Art, Gramercy, Symphony can also be attibuted to the parenting of porno. They are listed in the ad, as well.
If you were there, you know that the Apollo had some of the most respectable programming on the street. As far removed from porno as the Times Square’s action fare.
JACK D…..please contact me at
Watching MIDNIGHT COWBOY last night with a lot of great shots of the Empire, Victory, Lyric from 1967. Great example of Empire’s programming in the shot: FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD & TARZAN and the VALLEY OF GOLD. Went back and froze the DVD in several spots for a lot of great detail.
Silver Screens website has some of the images
Still looking for booking info for the Empire in 50s & 60s.
Jerry the K
Great stuff, Bill. West Side Story & Psycho are two of my favorites. Did you find these images on-line or did you scan from newspapers? Jerry
The theater is the Variety PhotoPlays and there is an active thread at /theaters/288/
I never went in it (coward) during my time there in the early-mid 60s but I did look at the posters which were all over the place, it seemed like the booking changed 4-5 times a week if not daily. Very unusual programming of films, I recall. Jerry from Florida
As I mentioned earlier, I recall two marquees, one on the north side where there was a road that looped back to the entrance on the south side of RT 3. As a kid, I swore that there were 2 Drive-Ins since we drove by one night and the marquees were in the process of changing and there were two different double features shown.
One night, I remember getting stuck in traffic on our way home to Manhattan from a NJ trip and being thrilled that I got to see a lot of the movie; no sound but who cared.
The 1956 Movie Year Book lists it as the S-3 in Rutherford where an in-door theater, the Rivoli is also listed. East Rutherford has a listing for the Rex.
Here are some nice shots of the Ruskin. Still going strong.
I don’t remember this one either. But with that programming, Dad probably made certain that my eyes focused on the main 42nd Street marquees.
Brings back a memory of seeing an action double feature at the Empire in the 50s but the “Coming Attractions” were for a nudist film at another theater. Dad put his hat in front of my eyes and laughed.
When Loew’s had the Spooner, the ads from the 50s show that it did not play the features paired in the “mainstream” Loew’s theaters but mainly, double features that had just completed the RKO circuit or double features that had not been booked anywhere else (revivals or a pairing of “B” films). The Bay Ridge & Boro Park seem to be two other Loews' theaters in the same pattern.
My time at the Bleecker goes back to the mid-60s and my first time there was for Robert Downing’s CHAFED ELBOWS which was like nothing I had ever seen before. I believe it was paired with Kenneth Anger’s SCORPIO RISING that Rudy mentioned earlier. I’d love to hear more from Rudy who is a poster on another site that I used to frequent. If he doesn’t respond to this posting, I’ll email him and ask (plead) for more Bleecker memories; especially the SCORPIO RISING story that he left us hanging with in November. Jerry the K
What type of programming did the theater have and when did it close? Thanks. Jerry
I have a postcard from the Museum of the City of NY with a 1950 shot of a crowd going into the Garden. Send me your email address and I’ll try to get a scanned copy to you.
I just tried the link above to the video clip and it worked. After clicking on the link, it should take you to the getty images website then click on “play clip”. It’s a great clip (from 8mm in a moving car?) of the entire north side. Jerry
I guess in order to get more 42nd St-ish type fare like Columbia’s 1966 Matt Helm flic, Murderer’s Row and The Professionals (seen in the front of Marc Eliot’s book Down 42nd Street), they had to book Columbia’s ‘Roz & Hayley as nuns’ tripe.
The programming of Out of the Past & Tension at Table Rock was what made 42nd special to me. And those double features were the ones not advertised in the papers, so it was a treat to come up from the subway and scan the marquees. Jerry