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Sixty years ago today (3/10/53), MGM’s Technicolored “Lili,” a sentimental fantasy with Leslie Caron in the title role, opened its world premiere engagement at the Trans-Lux 52nd Street. Thanks to favorable word-of-mouth and the popularity of the theme song, “Hi Lili, Hi Lo,” the run extended into a second year.
Top-billed on the marquee in this 1943 photo is Abbott & Costello’s “It Ain’t Hay,” with “The Young Mr. Pitt” in support.
The film was having its first neighborhood runs after its exclusive NYC premiere engagement in midtown Manhattan at Brandt’s Mayfair Theatre.
Thirty-five cents in the Depression year of 1934 would be equal to about $6.01 in 2013.
I would guess that the interiors of most new theatres were photographed, by the architect, builder, owner, or management. But whether those photos ever got published is another matter. Trade journals were the most likely to publish them, but due to space limitations, only a very small percentage of the thousands of theatres built in the 1920s and 1930s received coverage. The interior photos that never got published anywhere probably ended up in the trash.
A letter from Lassie:
Pictured in 1948 in a two-page trade ad that also includes signage for the Roxy and Mayfair: Boxoffice
William Morris moved on to greater things, selling all his theatrical interests to concentrate on building a talent agency that became one of the largest and most powerful in the history of the entertainment world. It still thrives today as William Morris Endeavor.
Going, going, gone:
William Morris created Wonderland, which used the New York Theatre for its cinema and the Olympia complex’s roof as an amusement park. It proved an expensive failure, causing Morris to sell the operating lease to Marcus Loew, who closed the roof amusement section
and built a spill-over auditorium for Loew’s New York.
This shows the left side of the auditorium, with fire exit doors opening into alleys with open access to 165th Street.
This shows the right side wall, with fire exits opening into Merrick Boulevard.
For the curious, “Stagecoach” did not follow “Gunga Din” into RCMH. In between was Selznick-UA’s B&W “Made For Each Other” (Carole Lombard-James Stewart) with stage show.
Seventy-four years ago today (3/2), John Ford’s “Stagecoach,” now considered one of the greatest American movies of any genre, opened its NYC premiere engagement at RCMH. Produced by Walter Wanger for United Artists release, the B&W western had a cast of rising stars and character veterans, including Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Andy Devine, John Carradine, and Thomas Mitchell. Russell Markert’s stage revue, “Wedding Rhyme,”
followed an overture of Charles Gounod’s classical melodies. Walt Disney’s Technicolor cartoon, “Farmyard Symphony,” provided a screen bonus.
When the Criterion first became a cinema, this permanent stage setting was used. The glass panels at center were called “The Window of the World” and glided open to reveal the movie screen behind.
Inspired by the success of the Broadway stage musical, “Lady in the Dark,” which starred Gertrude Lawrence and zoomed public interest in the theories of Sigmund Freud.
Three of the images posted by “Movieswithdad” in the Photos Section show the marquee of the Cinema Kings Highway, and should be moved to the listing for that Brooklyn theatre.
Now known as the Peoples Bank Theatre:
This is the Jewel Theatre in Brooklyn, later known as the Cnema Kings Highway.
This is the Cinema Kings Highway, not the Midwood.
This is the Cinema Kings Highway (ex-Jewel), not the Midwood.
I think this actually shows the Jewel Theatre on Kings Highway in Brooklyn, which is listed here:
The shuttered theatre had its entrance in the peaked section, where the framework of the original marquee still protected pedestrians from the rain. At the end of its short life as a cinema, the interior had been converted into a miniature golf course, which also proved a quick failure. The building stood vacant for many years before demolition.
“Never Let Me Go” was in standard-gauge B&W and enlarged to 1:85 to 1 ratio, with considerable cropping of heads and feet. NYT critic Bosley Crowther was horrified.