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I meant to write in my second sentence above, “After paying to see "North by Northwest” at Radio City Music Hall three or four times, I finally got a job as an usher for about $40 a week so now the movie was paying me to watch it!"
Today, August 6, 2009, marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest” at RCMH. After paying to see the movie three or four times, I got a job as an usher for about $40 a week. There was a training class where they taught us how to answer the patron’s questions (how high was the proscenium and the number of seats in the orchestra etc.) I can still tell you. I got to watch the movie (the reason I wanted the job) while helping people find a seat. (This was before “Psycho.” the first movie that forced the public to see from the beginning.) I saw “North by Northwest” about 60 times. What I remember most is that the audience laughed and reacted to the action exactly the same at every performance. I also remember that none of the ushers, including me, got the symbolism when Cary Grant pulled Eva Marie Saint to the upper birth as Hitchcock cut to the train entering a tunnel! I saw the movie with an audience not too long ago and people still react the same as they did 50 years ago-but now everyone gets the last scene! (The next picture to play was “The FBI Story.” I lasted about a week before giving notice. I had to go back to school.) Those were the days.
For the record: Warren Harris was not “removed” from CT. He resigned as he no longer felt comfortable posting because of his problems with one of the other members. Ross Melnick will verify it.
OOPS! The theater was not named the Guild when it opened, but whatever it was called, I was curious as to what was there before it became a theater???
If Radio City Music Hall opened in 1932, and the Guild in 1939, does anyone know what the space was used for in the seven years in between? Too bad NBC did not rent it for broadcasting after Trans-Lux stopped showing films, like NBC did with the Center Theater in 1950. The Guild would be the perfect for the Tonight show or any program that requires an audience.
Why is the a latino swawp meet that is in the shell of the old Fox Van Muys theateer have a conflicting addreess, 6455 Van Nuys Blvd, with the address, of the theater, which is listed here as 6417? I know the swap meet is the same spot in what once was the theater. Tis a pusslement! I made some photos to prove it, but the site would not let me post them. (I, too, remember Cupids Hot dogs a few a few blooks a way and miss them as well.
I have not been to New York since 1960—as I have been living out of town—but when i went to the corner of 50th Street and Seventh Avenue, all I could find was a coffee shop! What happened to the Roxy?
I think this theater was re-named for Peter Jay SHARP, (not “Tharp” as written above. Mr. Sharp was the son of Evelyn Sharp, who at one time owned the Carlyle Hotel along with the old Paramount Building at 1501 Broadway. Mr. Sharp was also in real estate and was the final owner of the Astor Theatre before it was demolished. I think I am right but whoever runs this site might want to check and make the corrections, if I am.
When the original Price is Right was on NBC (with Bill Cullen), it was a daily program originating from the Hudson Theatre on West 44th Street. It was also in black and white. When they added the color version, which was broadcast once a week and in the evening, this version came from the Colonial Theatre in the 1950s and early 60s, before the program moved to CBS where it was broadcast from Television City in Hollywood (with Bob Barker).
As I little boy, what I mean, when I was a young boy, (I was tall for my age) about 8 to 10 yrs old, I attended this theater in the 1950s. What I remember is that on Saturday afternoons, they still showed serials (Zombies of the Stratisphere) and there were “matrons” who tried to keep the kids in line. I remember seeing a revival of “Gone with the Wind” here (for the first time) and a newer movie, “The High and the Mighty” too, but not much else, except that the theater was undistinguished architecturally and its CinemaScope screen was not very impressive, just a regular “wide screen” with the top masking pulled down a little which made the screen smaller. not bigger.
This was one of the theaters I used to frequent on Saturday afternoons before I was 12. My most vivid memory is sitting in the front row of the loge with my foot on the railing and somehow one of my loafers fell off and landed on someone’s head in the orchestra below. I am sure they were pissed so I never got it back and had to go home with only one shoe!
“The World of Henry Orient,” another movie that played at the Radio City Music Hall (as the Easter attraction in 1964) had its very first preview a few months earlier at the RKO 86th Street. It played to a full house and the audience loved it on 86th Street, but it was not such a big hit at the Music Hall, unfortunately.
I went to the Fordham in 1953 or 54 to see Shari Lewis on stage with her puppet “Lambchop.” My one and only time, so RKO did use the stage upon occasion, as well as the screen for movies. Those were the days!
To add to the list of Broadway’s legit houses where movies had their premieres there was also the Booth where MGM’s Jullius Caesar opened in 1953.
Bill Cullen hosted The Price is Right from the Hudson before the program moved to the Colonial Theater where it was broadcast in color. This waa before the program moved to CBS and the west coast. Trust me, I know of which I speak (or write!)
Oops…I just realized I misspelled the name of the theater across from the Surf in my post above…it was the “Normandie,” not “Normandy.” Sorry about that.
Thanks Warren for the link to the FLASH pages :–) The picture of the Center’s auditorium was interesting as one can see the contour curtain when it is down. Too bad they did not publish a matching shot of the Music Hall on the opposite page. Too late now….
Here is some more info about the Winter Garden’s history: The first show, “Vera Violetta,” starred Al Jolson. It also featured Mae West, who, as everyone knows, went on to be one of Paramount’s biggest stars. Rudolph Valentino was another future star who tread the Winter Garden’s boards as part of a dance team, Glass and Di Valentina. The Shubert’s “Passing Shows,” six editions, played at the Winter Garden as did the Dolly Sisters and Marilyn Miller. Another future film star, Joan Crawford, was a chorus girl in “Innocent Eyes,” another Shubert review that played in 1924. Warner Brothers leased the Winter Garden for Al Jolson’s second talking picture, “The Singing Fool,” charging three dollars a ticket, a new high for a movie at the time. The Winter Garden reverted to vaudeville and legit until it became a movie house once again in 1940s. Movies stopped being shown in 1948 and the Winter Garden became one of Broadway’s premiere musical houses: Phil Silvers in “Top Banana,” Rosalind Russell in “Wonderful Town,” Mary Martin as “Peter Pan,” Beatrice Lillie in the last “Ziegfeld Follies” as well as the musicals “Follies” and “West Side Story.” Barbra Streisand became a star in “Funny Girl” and Tammy Grimes triumphed as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” as did Angela Lansbury when she played “Mame” as well as mama Rose in the first revival of “Gypsy.” And then there was “Cats” and “Mama Mia”….
In response AlAlvarez’s post above, I have a memory of the Normandy—but not a happy one. When I was visiting my grandmother in Miami Beach in the early 1950s, I went to the Normandy and had a drink from the public water fountain in the lobby and then I came down with a bad sore throat! (So from then on, I was forbidden to drink from public fountains! At the time, there was also a Polio epidemic— so public pools were out as well. (Lucky for me, the ocean was just across the street.) Re: the Surf Theatre,. I remember seeing All About Eve there as well as The Halls of Montazuma. I also remember that on an outside wall, the Surf featured a huge 24-sheet billboard that advertised the movies.
I think, but am not sure, that David Marcus was an Israeli miliary officer in the late 1940s. I did not Google the name…so this is only a guess.
Growing up in nearby Bronxville, we attended movie theaters in White Plains on Saturday afternoons (until I was 12, in 1955), including the Pix as well as the RKO, but there is no mention on the CT site of the Loew’s theater that was also in White Plains. It was on Main Street, a few blocks west of the RKO theater and I think it was called Loew’s State. Anyone remember it or have any info about its history?
If anyone is interested, below is a desciption of the technical facilities in CBS’s (Color) Studio 72.
The description comes from Ed Reitan’s website regarding the history of early color television:
Studio 72 (1954)
New York, Broadway and 81st St.
Theater purchased in early 1954.
Two Control Rooms (Color and B&W with TK-11’s)
Live Cameras (4 – TK-40A’s); Slide, 35mm and 16mm Film Scanners (DuMont 16mm and Philco 35mm). The studio had side by side Monochrome and Color control rooms. Later, 3-vidicon RCA TK-26 Film/Slide chains replaced film scanners in this studio.
This was the first major CBS NTSC color studio. CBS featured a rotating schedule of one-time New York program colorizations including the “Ed Sullivan Show” from Studio 72. The December 25, 1958 “Nutcracker” on “Playhouse 90”, the first color video-taped CBS show, originated from this studio. As colorcasting was progressively slowed on CBS during the late 1950’s, only the monochrome equipment in this studio was used for origination of a number of black and white telecasts including “The Verdict Is Yours”. Harold Deppe worked for CBS at Studio 72. He reported in March, 1997 that between the infrequent CBS colorcasts, none of the color equipment was even regularly powered – so much equipment maintenance had to be done when a rare colorcast was scheduled.
It was not known when Studio 72 was retired. Eventually, only the TK-26 Film Chains from Studio 72 were moved to the Broadcast Center on West 57th Street in the early 60’s. Thus, the only CBS East Coast color capability in the early 1960’s was from film and video tape.
The Beekman theater, regarded as one of New York’s premier movie art houses since it opened in 1952 and one of the last single-screen theaters in Manhattan, will shut down next Sunday. A spokesman for Clearview Cinemas, the theater chain that operates the Beekman, told Reuters that it was being forced to close because its landlord, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, had exercised a lease option to take back the property in order to establish an outpatient care facility there. In an interview with Reuters, Woody Allen, who featured the theater in Annie Hall, mourned its extinction. “The Beekman epitomized New York movie houses at their best,” he said. “The size, the architecture, the location seemed perfect. I saw many great films there by great foreign filmmakers, and it was an honor to have my films shown there.”
Warren, who knows more than anyone on the subject, posted this info here last January, in answer to Myrtle’s question above… the last movie was “The Wind Cannot Read” which opened on March 9th…..and the Roxy finally closed forever on March 29, 1960.
Sorry for the typos in my post above.I should have spelled it Major Bowes’s … well, nobody is perfect!