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My prayers are also with you! We worked together at the Astor Theater when Broadway was Broadway. It had it’s Damon Runyonesque broadly stated with colorful broad strokes of joy. I am glad we had the oppotunity. God Bless!
I was working that day at the Victoria theater. My twin was at the Astor that day. Remember it as though it was yesterday. Sad to see the Astor Hotel. As I keep saying…“great times!”
Before our family moved to Brooklyn we lived in Jamaica where the RKO Alden, Jamaica, Savoy and the Merrick would have 25 cartoons on Saturday mornings with 5 or more serials like Dick Tracy, Supereman, Hopalong Cassidy…etc. I know the Colonial would show a cartoon or two prior to a movie, but I don’t remember having seen the Saturday specials showing 25 cartoons. I might be wrong!
I will do my best to get some other information so we all can enjoy the old days! There is one thing that keeps bugging me. I don’t remember if the Colonial showed Saturday morning cartoon specials. I remeber going to the Decatur and the Monroe for cartoons on Saturday mornings. I lived on Cooper Street between 1948 and 1956. I remember seeing “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” for the first time at the Colonial and everytime I see that film on TV it brings me right back to the Colonial.Do you remember the white-haired Matron that took care of the kids in the Children’s Section. I forgot her name…Ms. Marion or something!
Can we talk more about the Colonial Theater. I think this website is for the theater and it’s history and the experiences we all had attending the old Colonial. I apologize if I am stepping outside of my bounds, but I feel completely alienated from the recent content of this site.
I was the doorman for the world premiere of that film. I was only 17 and was chosen for that position becaise of my height. Dodger (Roger C) did you work that premiere? I remember Ronnie Greewald, Tommy Walsh and Marilyn Fried. I have a Pathe news reel of that premiere and the ABC telecast of the premiere. Television was sure in it’s infancy! I opened the door for Marilyn Monroe'e limo. She sure was a beauty! i was surprised that she was relatively short…I think 5' 6". Great time!
I changed my posting name from leroyelliston to roybarry.
Great shot! In the 50’s where the “Maxwell Coffee” stood became a “Cardinal Tie” store, popular for reasonably priced ties. In between “Cardinal” and the “Astor” was “Tyson’s Ticket Agency” for all events in Manhattan. Around the corner from “Minsky’s Gaety” theater, later to come the “Victoria Theater”, was a famous deli called the “Gaety Deli” that supplied the greatest sadwiches in NYC. Better than the “Stage Deli"or the "Carnegie Deli”! They were more or less tourist places. The “in crowd” favored the “Gaety”. Most of the Broadway actors would patronize the Gaety plus a few “Damon Runyon” characters. I remember being in there with Ben Gazarra, Shelley Winters, Elia Kazan and Bob Fosse.
The “Astor” had almost a secret entrance to the “Bijou Theater” around the corner on 45th Street from the Astor’s 3rd balcony. By being a part of this website has brought back a lot of memories! And I must say very enjoyable memories at that! I cannot express the excitement of that period. Maybe my youth saw things from a youthful perspective but I am sure it was in reality a wonderful period. I also want to thank all of you for all your great input. Thanks!
Thanks! I don’t remember that “A Star was Born” was at the Paramount.
Behind the screen at the Victoria were signs that said; Gaety Theater. What was interesting about the Astor and Victoria was that the General Manager’s office was between both theaters. Managers shared the managing of both theaters. John Cusack was the GM, Wally Schaffer, Leonard Bloom, Charles Whitney; we had the Chief of Ushers, Bart Gallagher, Captain of Ushers; Adelle Camarda. All were related in someway to politics (Kennedy’s) and theater (playwright, television…etc) Interseting group of people. I have an outline of a play I was beginning to write based on this unique group of individuals. It’s somewhere in the attic turning brown I guess! Maybe someday!
Does anyone know why films like “On the Waterfront” and “A Star is Born” were put into smaller theaters like the Astor and Victoria and not in a larger theater like the Capital…Paramount? Warner Brothers showed “Battle Cry” at the Paramount and I believe “ A Star is Born” was a Warner picture also! Those two films had huge audiences.
We are a casual pedestrian society without a sense of protocol or should I say a sense of regalia? I can remember going to the Capital Theater to see “From Here to Eternity” with my date and sitting upstairs in a packed lodge/balcony and never once did I feel unconforatble. No one selfishly in tune with their own agenda, and on top of it, most of us were clean and well dresssd for the occasion.
I remember not letting people in sleevless T-Shirts at the Astor and Victoria theaters. The ushers would continuously monitor their
section every few minutes just to make sure nothing disruptive is happening. Again…another era. I still enjoy the day even if it is not like it was.
I was at the “Actor’s Studio” recently and one of the Studio’s teacher/director/coach was there. We worked together at the Astor theater in 1954 to 1956. We both ended up with careers in theater/film/television. We discussed our experiences and it seem sensorily that it was just yesterday. I was blessed to have the opportunity to be there at that time.
It is so true! The 70’s and 80’s were a horrible period for the entertainment area. Prior to the 70’s I had an apartment on West 45th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue. Never once did I ever feel in danger until the late 60’s when everything really began to fall apart. This led me to move further uptown to West 57th Street and then to the upper Westside where things were slightly less disgusting. All I can say is the Times Square of today is a blessing. Still I remember how it was in the 50’s and early 60’s and it was great! We should be extremely happy what we have today…a rejuvenated theater distrct for all to enjoy.
You are absolutely correct! I believe there was another film that used the word “pregnant” and created a stir among the religious groups.
Can you believe how much we have changed! Remarkable!
It’s funny that you mentioned “Stalag 17” and the “Moon is Blue”. In July of 1953 I became one of those unique ushers at the Astor Theatre and its sister hheatre the Victoria. “Stalag 17” was playing and right after I began working there in came t"The Moon is Blue" where they dared say the word “pregnant”. We were considered one of the smaller theatres that had heart. At that time the Roxy, the Capitol, the Strand were all going strong. Of all the theatres there was something different about the Astor and Victoria. Our uniforms were unique, bright and vivid!
There was a positive energy in the 50’s that we don’t have anymore.
The 1545 Broadway entrance was behind the box office of the Victoria. I remember Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Paul Newman, Shelley Winters, Elia Kazan, Lee Strasberg, Burt Lancaster and many others going into the 1545 building. Kermit Bloomgarten had his office in the 1545 Building as well as Stasberg. For a kid at 15 it was something beyond magic.
Maybe it was my youth, but I cherish the expeiences I had and feel extremely lucky to have been there!
Picture of my brother and myself as ushers at the Astor & Victoria theaters from 1953-56
Why all the tension?
Did anyone go to JHS 73 (William J. Morrison) between 1950-53?
When I was involved working at the Astor & Victoria Theaters, Artcraft Strauss was the name of the company that did all the billboards anfd signs for the two theaters.
Okay! Let’s all go out for a beer! I’ll have Sasparilla…gave it up 9 months ago. The best thing I ever did!
That’s it! They couldn’t use the title of the book. There was a big to do about Holden doing this part. I thought it was a good film!
Hey! Why don’t we write a play…maybe we can make a movie of this? I should have not re-acted the way I did. Let bygones be bygones! However memories get distorted it’s still a great experience to reminisce those days. During the 4 years I worked at the Astor and Victoria theaters (Friday 4-10, Saturday 9:45 to 5, Sunday 11:45 to 5, full-time summer months) they would show sneak previews shown especially at the Astor theater.
I remember vividly the previews (not premieres) of East of Eden, On the Waterfront, The Big Knife, The Star is Born, Meet Me In Las Vegas, Main Street to Broadway and many more. The big moguls of the Movie Companies, reviewers …etc, would attend. Customers would get the privilegeg of seeing two films for the price of one. The Criterion and Loew’s State would also do the same. It was always be shown on a Monday or Tuesday with the the attendees filling out the questionaires given when they entered.
There was a film with Willaim Holden made based on the novel “The Magnificent Bastards”, but the film had a different name. Many of Hollywood’s big names at that time came to see this film at preview. “The McConnell Story” starring Alan Ladd and June Allyson also had the same experience. That film also had a big studded premiere. Had an embarrassing experience working that World Premiere. I was the doorman opening the limo doors when they pulled up in front of the Astor. It was alway mayhem with the photographers and the press. Sometimes the limos would come in en masse making the shuffling of opening the doors difficult. One of the limos had Natalie Wood and her mother. When the limo arrived I let out Natalie Wood and her mother, not knowing that there was someone else in the limo ready to depart. To my chagrin I closed the door on Tab Hunter as he was ready to get out. He chuckled and was very amused…but I was more or less embarrassed. I was only seventeen and something like that seemed more tragic that what it really was. Years later I had the opportunity to meet him and told him the story and again he chuckled. He also confided that that period in Hollywood was all publicity. He eneded up doing some good work later in his career. There was a film he did with Sophia Loren that I thought was one of his best films.
My wife who is 10 years younger doesn’t seem to feel the importance of that era. She loves to hear the stories of my experiences. I have an older brother who worked the Copacabana when Jules Podell ran the club. I keep telling him he should write a book about the machinations that went on there. Sorry getting long-winded!
I’m sorry for the mistake…but that to was previewed prior to the opening. I am not crazy! Must be a more gentle way of communicating!
The film at the Victoria was “THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM”; Frank Sinantra, Kim Novak, Eleanor Parker, Darren McGavin, Arnold Stang. It was previewed around Thanksgiving in 1955, and opened in January of 1956. I was working there during my High School years as a doorman for both theaters and was a senior at Boy’s High in Brooklyn. “MEET ME IN LAS VEGAS” was at the Astor Theater prior to “THE ROSE TATTOO”. Earlier on this site I gave a history of my experiences working there at the Astor & Victoria. They both were owned by the same company (Cty Entertaiment Corporation) and had a interlocking alley between both theaters. Great time!
Whe I was a doorman during High School years 1952-56 the early show was 85 cents and the after 5pm show was $1.10 – $1.25. I remember having a date and going to the Capitol Theater to see “From Here to Eternity” and the ticket was $1.80. I was completely wide-eyed when I saw that price. That time you could go the the “Gaety Deli” on 46th Street and get a humongous Corn Beef Sandwich for 75 cents. Or you could go to “Hectors Cafeteria” and get the Friday Fish Cakes and Spaghetti for 60 cents. I was only making 95 cent an hour though! If I remember correctly Stalag 17 was playing at the Astor.
I am going back to 1945-48. I 1948 I moved to the Bushwick section of Brooklyn…Cooper Street to be exact. Different world…but we had the Colonial Theater!