Astor Theatre

1531 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 201 - 225 of 324 comments

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 27, 2007 at 6:53 am

By the time of this 1974 photo, the Astor had been turned into a flea market. I can’t make out the booking at the adjacent Victoria. “The Godfather: Part II” was being shown across the street at Loew’s State: www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/astorflea.jpg

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 10, 2007 at 8:21 pm

Here’s an interesting view shot from behind the spectacular signs across the street from the Astor, circa 1967.

This was scanned from a New York Daily News Sunday Magazine edition devoted to Times Square.

dodgerg
dodgerg on November 12, 2006 at 11:16 am

To Ron Salters, re: the Astor – What a sad, ignoble ending for such a true Cinema Treasure.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 12, 2006 at 10:45 am

To Steve Fredrick- a theatre will not be found here in Cinema Treasures if movies were never presented in it… I never saw a show at the Astor, but I remember it in the 1970s when there was a “flea market” inside the auditorium. The seats had been removed and there were rows of tables. You entered thru the fire exit doors on the left auditorium wall.

Steve
Steve on November 12, 2006 at 10:31 am

What wonderful comments about the Astor Theatre. You folks know your New York Broadway theaters. I am hoping that you experts can answer my question. Where is the CT listing for the first Helen Hayes Theatre? I have looked under the different theater names (the Fulton, the Folies-Bergere), but have found no listing. Please advise me as to the Helen Hayes Theatre listing? Thank you for your assistance.

Gilbert
Gilbert on October 29, 2006 at 5:39 am

Dodger, a shame you missed James Dean. Maybe you got to walk on the same red carpet. And the cultural history of the US since WWII… just a small topic then! How many volumes do you plan to write? I’ve not finished the research for my book after almost two years and I’m only looking at one exhibition.

dodgerg
dodgerg on October 29, 2006 at 5:06 am

Sugs, I can’t remember dealing with any “celebs”. Unfortunately, I started work at the Astor about 2 months after James Dean attended the Premier there of “East of Eden”, so I never got to meet my hero. To answer your question — my interests now are in writing. I am presently writing a book on the cultural history of the U.S. since WWII.

Gilbert
Gilbert on October 29, 2006 at 3:47 am

Dodger, I wonder if you ushered any celebs to their seats? I don’t just mean film stars, as an aspiring artist you may have recognised some of the big names in the avant-garde, Pollock, Motherwell, de Kooning perhaps? Maybe even Lee Krasner, Dorothea Tanning or Buffie Johnson. Did you make it as an artist?
Sugs

dodgerg
dodgerg on October 29, 2006 at 2:59 am

In the Spring of 1955, I was an aspiring artist, living in Greenwich Village. I worked nights at the Astor Theater as an usher/doorman. My job was to strut up and down under the big marquee, all dressed up like an admiral, and spout out the following lines in a loud voice: “Step right this way, ladies and gentlemen! Next show begins in 15 minutes! Immediate seating in the balcony! Tonight we have "East of Eden”, with James Dean, Julie Harris and Raymond Massey!“ I think I saw "East of Eden” 16 times. James Dean was my hero. On my breaks I would sit on the curb in front of the Astor with the manager of the nearby hot dog stand, smoking cigarettes and watching the girls go by. After my shift ended, about 2 o'clock in the morning, I’d walk all the way back downtown to the little 2-room apartment on West 4th Street that I shared with my best buddy, a boxer who earned his money sparing at Stillman’s gym. i still have my pay envelope from the Astor. I was pleasantly surprised to find your interesting site, and to see how much interest there still is for the Astor and the old Times Square.
Dodger G

RobertR
RobertR on October 18, 2006 at 4:55 pm

Another great GWTW ad
View link

RobertR
RobertR on October 9, 2006 at 4:54 pm

We will never see films presented in such a classy way like this again
View link

Gilbert
Gilbert on September 12, 2006 at 3:31 pm

Pause for reflection..
Back to the good news…
In case anyone is interested, Buffie Johnson’s work is still represented by the Anita Shaplosky Gallery, NY, who showed an original panel from the Astor Mural in an exhibition in 2002 celebrating Buffie Johnson’s 90th birthday. As we know, the panel was not 45 feet high.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on September 12, 2006 at 3:09 pm

My compliments to the NYT and whomever asked for correcting history!
This is good news.

Now about the war on terrorism…

Gilbert
Gilbert on September 12, 2006 at 2:00 pm

Yeah, that’s what I thought, and I didn’t even have to notify the NYT of their mistake! Was that you Warren, or one of Buffie’s friends? Or did the NYT spontaneously admit to a mistake..?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 12, 2006 at 6:18 am

The September 11, 2006 issue of The New York Times carried the following correction on page A2: “An obituary on Sept. 2 about the artist Buffie Johnson misstated the dimensions of the panels that made up the mural she painted for the Astor Theater in New York in the late 1950’s. Although the finished mural was 45 feet high, each of its 224 panels measured roughly 5 feet by 10 feet; the panels themselves were not 45 feet high.”

Gilbert
Gilbert on September 4, 2006 at 11:10 am

Thanks Warren I’ll give it a go, but am checking my source first, would hate to have to ask the NYT to print a correction of a correction!

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 3, 2006 at 7:26 am

Sugs, if you doubt the accuracy of the claim in the obituary, I suggest that you send an e-mail to They will usually investigate and print a correction if they find that the account was wrong.

Gilbert
Gilbert on September 3, 2006 at 6:12 am

Thanks Warren, I don’t think much of the accuracy in the NYT obit however. The murals cannot have been made up of 200 panels each 45 feet high. My info is that each panel was 10 feet high. If they were 45 feet, where on earth would the artist have stored them once they were returned?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 2, 2006 at 3:30 pm

The following is quoted from the obituary of Buffie Johnson published in The New York Times on September 2, 2006: “In the late 1950’s, Ms. Johnson was commissioned to paint a huge abstract mural for the Astor Theater on Broadway at 45th Street. Comprising more than 200 45-foot-high panels, the mural, in deep blues, evoked the city at night. The panels were returned to her when the theater was demolished in 1982.”

Gilbert
Gilbert on August 23, 2006 at 9:39 am

Hi, I’ve been reading this page with some interest, particularly the pieces about the Astor Mural. You might be interested to know that Buffie Johnson, the artist who painted the murals, died in New York on Augist 11 2006 at the excellent age of 94. Buffie was still painting up until about five years ago when her sight sadly failed. There is no detailed biography available about this once important abstract artist and I am hoping to include her in a book I am writing about a group of avant-garde artists who were active in the 1940’s. I wonder if anybody knows what happenned to the mural, which was said to be the largest in the world at the time it was assembled. As it was made up of over 200 smaller panels, does anybody know where any of these might be? Have you looked in your loft..?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 18, 2006 at 12:06 pm

Right, Bill. I forgot about HTWWW. I think Warren’s suggestion makes sense. Of course, these days, it is not uncommon to see several different Jude Law or Cuba Gooding, Jr, movies opening up within weeks of each other. Neither of those actors are even half the star John Wayne was in his hey day, but you get the point. Perhaps the example of Robert DeNiro (who has been quite ubiquitous in recent years) is a better comparison.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on August 18, 2006 at 11:56 am

Ed: I felt the same way when I found out that “How the West Was Won” had its world premiere in London in November 1962, then had several more 1962 openings in Europe, Japan and Australia before finally coming to the US in February 1963. It didn’t even open in New York until April. An unusual release pattern, but I’m sure MGM and Cinerama had their reasons.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 18, 2006 at 10:51 am

That never occurred to me, Warren. Good point. Just a friendly note here – I’d feel just as informed by your comment and a bit less like I’ve been chastised if you didn’t use the quotations in your response. Seriously, just a friendly note – I don’t want to start a war and I’m sure you didn’t intend any condescension. But a courteous tone goes a long way towards stemming possible ill will.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 17, 2006 at 3:17 pm

No, I don’t think it was “a bit odd.” It was just good business sense. Wayne was making more movies than he probably should have in those days. Their releases had to be spaced out, or he would have been competing against himself.