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My Grandpa Joe took me to see this show on my first trip to the Hall. It’s almost fifty years to the day!
Oh, well. Here’s hoping they mount the show in 2015. In the meantime, I heard a rumor about the spectacle which will replace Heart and Lights. It’s a musical update of The Exorcist. In the new version, James Dolan becomes possessed by the spirits of both Leonidoff and Russell Markert. When all attempts at a conventional exorcism fail, Father Merrin calls upon the Rockettes to kick the unwanted spirit out. The Rockettes succeed, leaving Leonidoff and Markert to ring in a new era for the Hall.
Bob, I remember The Fabulous Four and certainly, Airport. Airport was the first time I recall seeing the title of the movie above the marquee. It was on the building in lights, to the left of the spandrel. Was The Great Race shot in 70mm or was it a blow-up print? On every home video I’ve seen, the aspect ratio is 2:35 or 2:55 to 1.
Let me echo Bob Endres' sentiment about the 1964-65 Hall adverts. My Grandpa Joe took me to the Hall for the first time in the summer of 1964. I was four years old. The Unsinkable Molly Brown and Follies ‘64 was the first show I saw there. It was the first of 11 visits with him, days that transcended special. It changed and defined my life. We were always among the first 50 people to enter the Hall for the day’s first show. We sat house left of the lighting console, Joe in the seat now designated as BB 413. Mine was the lone seat in Row AA, long since removed. I still consider it as “my seat”. I remember being so small and the Hall so big that when the bandcar rose, I did not know if they were rising or the building was sinking. For almost 50 years, I have cherished every moment I spend at RCMH. I know that OSHA regulations have changed the illusion somewhat. I hope someday they figure out how to leave the bandcar out of sight until showtime without anyone falling into the pit.
Bob, I know the Hall did not present films in “roadshow” format though I recall seeing at least one with an intermission. Could it have been The Great Race in 1965?
Sad news indeed, however, movies at the Hall
can always return. Nothing like a good show-biz comeback to lift our spirits. In the meantime, I’ll meditate on my now 36 year old mantra. “It could have become a parking lot.”
I’m going to be there this Friday morning for the first performance.
rcdt, I meant for “Hearts and Lights”. And have they added a number to replace “Let Christmas Shine”?
rcdt, from what I’ve read thus far, it appears Haberman and Co. are not putting in any “kick” numbers for the 36. Is this true?
rcdt55b, I agree with your assessment about “Snow”. It may be impossible to liven that number, short of having the skaters get married in Central Park. It could be made timelier if it was a same-sex marriage. That said, I have a go-to mantra during the slow sections of the show. I meditate, breathe and keep repeating, “The Hall could have been a parking lot.” I can’t wait to see the spring show.
I’m glad “Let Christmas Shine” is out. I kind of felt sorry for the six, count ‘em, six singers on the Choral Staircases. They looked so lonely. I hope its replaced with a good, old-fashioned Rockette tap number. And who is going to make the sophomoric joke about Radio City having “balls”? Oh, that would be me.
I recall seeing a trailer at the Hall, followed by the scroll advertising the name of the stage show with the upcoming feature film.
Is there anything other than the marquee title to commemorate the 85th Anniversary of the Rockettes? I assume the “85th” designation goes back to the debut of the Roxyettes at the Roxy Theater.
Where is the “Doncho” curtain these days?
For starters, there is the 1983 TV Movie, “Legs”. It was the story of three dancers auditioning for one spot in the line. Shanna Reed, Maureen Teefy, and Deborah Geffner played the dancers. Gwen Verdon played the director of the Rockettes, a role based on Violet Holmes. The movie featured bits and pieces of some of the Rockette numbers being performed at that time. I remember that a friend’s loft was rented to serve as the apartment that the three women shared.
6200, 5988 5945â€¦Why is there all this discussion about the seating capacity of the Music Hall? I will now set the record straight. I am here to unequivocally state that Radio City Music Hall has a seating capacity of one. That’s right. You read it here. One seat. It used to have two, but one of them was taken away a long time ago.
It was a lone seat in the Orchestra at the front of Aisle E, Row AA, Seat 413. Some might have looked at it as just another theater seat, albeit a very plush one. For me, it was the place where some of my happiest memories were created. From the summer of 1964 until 1979 it was my seat, the only one I occupied at the Hall. Iâ€™d sit there in awe of everything Iâ€™d be seeing in front of me. The sight behind me was just as awesome. Every time I turned around, Grandpa Joe would be there.
Grandpa Joe and I were the best of buddies. No matter what we were doing, every moment with him was special. But â€œspecialâ€ is an inappropriate word to describe the days we went to Radio City. Those were transcendent days, far beyond special. I too, felt transcendent with what seemed like a ceaseless smile.
I reveled in all I could see, the city; the skyscrapers; the people and the noise. Emerging from the 50th Street station on the IRT Subway Line, there it was. The red neon lights on the marquee shining like a beacon. Weâ€™d arrive early enough to be among the first 100 people on line. Grandpa would send me across the street to Whelanâ€™s Drug Store for a season-appropriate drink. Iâ€™d return to the line with a couple of Egg Creams (or Hot Chocolate) and watch as the 50th Street door to the Box Office would open and close. â€œIs it time yet, Grandpa?â€ â€œNo, not yet, soon.â€ We would talk for a bit. My excitement grew as I watched the line grow along 50th Street, looking at all the people and seeing the windows heralding the current movie and stage show. Then the door would open, and stay open. â€œItâ€™s time!â€
Entering the theater, I would be amazed at how quiet it seemed. The place was so big, but never overwhelming. Everything about the Music Hall looked and sounded beautiful; the dÃ©cor; the seats; the lights; the movies and the glorious music. Then, at some point, Iâ€™d hear it. That tapping sound began. One, two, three and four, one, two three and four, it gets louder and louder. â€œGrandpa, whatâ€™s that?â€ â€œYouâ€™ll see.â€ One, two three and four, one, two, three and four, I still hear it. Better than that, I still feel it…
“Up The Down Staircase” played the Hall in the Summer of 1967. It is one of the famous “Radio City 11”. Well, they are certainly famous, and fabulous to me. I don’t have time to go into detail now; I will in my next post, which will be all about the numbers 2, 11 and 36.
There were no depressing films that played Radio City. Downbeat, maybe. Evocative, thought provoking, definitely. I"m Bipolar, and I can’t imagine the instance of sadness or depression that I would stay in one moment after seeing The Rockettes take the stage. I think it is physically and emotionally impossible to be depressed at the Music Hall.
Patrick: Is the English Lady sick, Auntie Mame?
Mame: Oh, she’s not English, darling, she’s from Pittsburgh.
Patrick: She sounded English.
Mame: Well, when you’re from Pittsburgh you have to do something.
On many levels, Auntie Mame is certainly one of my favorite Christmas presentations at the Hall, and I never saw it there. The World Premiere engagement began December 4, 1958. A little over two weeks earlier, I made my Premiere in the World on November 17. I always considered Auntie Mame to be my birth movie, so to speak. It has a special place in my heart.
I remember thinking that its inclusion in the Christmas Show was somewhat odd. “Why did they choose a documentary?”, I remember asking myself. Granted, we are discussing one of the finest documentary films ever made; a veritable blueprint for living. But Auntie Mame touched on some very serious issues. Poverty, racism, bigotry, alcohol abuse and single parenthood are some of the major issues addressed in the film. Have you ever noticed those two smartly dressed women in the scene where Mame introduces Patrick to Acacius Paige? One look at them and you can see a subtext of lesbianism. This is interspersed with tales of abject horror. I am referring to the dangers brought on by wearing too many bangle bracelets on the stage, the ghastly squashing of ping pong balls and, I shudder at writing these words, Daiquiris made with Honey. The Daiquiri incident alone could bring up so many things when viewed by people with weak constitutions.
Auntie Mame is my favorite documentary; I’ve watched it over 100 times. It is a testament to the filmmaker’s finesse; their ability to touch upon so many social issues in a two hour film. The topics are raised at such a rapid fire pace that you simply go along for the ride, but the seeds of thought are planted. I implore you to watch it again; see what comes up for you, especially during the Daiquiri scene. Many a day I would sit with friends at the former McAnn’s on West 51st Street. We would discuss this great movie for hours over rounds of “Flaming Mames”.
Next post for me, the Christmas “Goose” from 1964.
Is this the first time in 30 years that a “Spectacular” run is extended? I recall the Christmas show usually running through the first weekend in January. That was the run of the show when I worked at the Hall in 1979/80.
Butts in the seats, crowds waiting to get in, not being able to move on 6th Ave. This is good news!
Thanks RCDTJ, with an apology for transposing the T and D in my original post. As per the picture, I had hoped there might be something new in the show to look at. Perhaps in 2010…
Thinking about the future, with tongue-in-cheek, what’s everybody doing on Monday 12/27/2032?
“Be it ever so humble, there is no place like Radio City” – Jack Parr
Happy Holidays, everyone. It has been a while since I last posted; eight months to be precise. I read some of the posts since March just to play catch-up. The pictures are great, especially those from Life Magazine. If GabeDF is reading this, I’m happy to join the campaign to get the marquee lights flashing again. I don’t have the time at the moment, but I can’t wait to read Bob Endres' posts about presentation and D Cove. RCTDJ — I just looked at your pics. What was that on the pit elevator? is the band car spruced-up this year? I couldn’t tell if it was that or the set piece where the “ice” stage is placed. This is all great as I seek my audience with the much loved “36” later this week.
Over the past eight months, I’ve given “birth” to a blog. It is all memoir, mostly essays of significant times in my life. And this is certainly “on topic”; so much of my life has centered around the Music Hall. I will be writing about the times I spent there. If you’re interested. it’s at http://singingexterminator.blogspot.com
All of a sudden I have an overwhelming urge to walk on some carpet depicting singing ladies (or fish) and to sit on something covered in plush, salmon (Bob, the “fish” tale is making more sense now.) colored velvet.
I’m kind of curious. Do the marquee lights still have the capacity to flash as they used to?
Hank: I agree with you. I think that the current contour curtain is made from a much lighter fabric than the first two. It does not seem to hang like it used to and is very billowy. Lately, I’ve seen the feet of people moving about the stage when the curtain is down, something I do not recall seeing in the past.
Thanks, Lost Memory, for the LIFE photos. I’m am going to post some of my photos in the near future.
OldJoe: I cannot be a newer piece; it has a small cigarette burn in it. I am confident it has been walked on for many years. It has a brown background with tan and dark brown/black “women”.
OldJoe: Did the purple “singing women” take on a brownish tint after 45 years of use? I know my carpet is not from the 1979 renovation. I recall that carpet as having a black background.
REndres: I have read and heard them referred to as “Singing Ladies”, but your explanation makes much more sense. So, singing ladies or fish, I’d still like to determine how old they are. I am very fond of the carpet, which hangs in my bedroom. In fact, I have so much Music Hall memorabilia, I could open a small museum.