Teatro Hispano

1421 Fifth Avenue,
New York, NY 10035

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Mt. Morris Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Mt. Morris Theatre was opened prior to 1911. It is listed in the Film Daily Yearbook, 1930. By 1940 it was screening Spanish movies and is listed as the Teatro Hispano, and was still open in 1956.

It is an imposing well built building located on the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and East 116th Street.

Its appearance from the exterior was well maintained when I photographed it in 2003 in its current use as The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of The Apostolic Faith.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 29, 2006 at 2:18 pm

Here’s an undated B&W shot of the 116th Street facade showing the balcony fire escapes still intact:

Mt. Morris fire escapes

The shot was taken by Matt Weber who hosts a site at www.urbanphotos.com featuring his excellent photography of all sorts of NYC street scenes. He was kind enough to let me grab a handful of his theater shots for use here. Some of his images were also used on the recent forgotten-ny.com page on 42nd Street.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 29, 2006 at 2:29 pm

I forgot to mention that it appears the theater had two balcony sections, judging from the view of the fire escapes. And this aerial view from the local.live.com indicates considerable fly space:

View to the East

You may have to close the welcome box at the left of the page to get a proper view.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 29, 2006 at 2:30 pm

I should have written “two balcony levels” rather than “balcony sections”.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on December 25, 2006 at 8:15 am

This theatre is mentioned in Rogelio Agrasanchez, Jr.’s excellent book MEXICAN MOVIES IN THE UNITED STATES.

It was inaugurated as the Campoamor on August 10, 1934 by Argentinian tango singer Carlos Gardel (currently known as the composer of the song VOLVER) plus a variety show and the film CUESTA ABAJO. The film was a New York production starring Gardel himself. The theatre thrived with a string of Spanish language melodramas designed to make the audience cry. The Jorge Negrete feature UNA CARTA DE AMOR was granted standing ovations.

It was the CERVANTES by 1936 and then the HISPANO and was briefly known as the RADIO TEATRO HISPANO from 1940.

A photo as the TEATRO HISPANO is available in the book mentioned above.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on May 12, 2008 at 8:17 pm

According to a New York Times June 1991 article this was designed by Hoppin & Koen.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on March 1, 2010 at 11:03 pm

This Mount Morris was already showing movies in 1911 according to the NYT. It is still listed in the Film Daily Yearbook for 1947 as the Teatro Hispano with an address of 1 West 166th street.

Harlem
Harlem on April 29, 2010 at 1:20 am

The comedian Milton Berle, in a profile interview by Arthur Marx (Groucho’s son) for Cigar Aficionado Magazine reflected on a interesting experience he had at Harlem’s Mt Morris Theater.

‘A man named Schoenstein heard Milton and hired him to sing at the Mt. Morris Theater on 116th Street and Fifth Avenue in Harlem the following Thursday night.

Thursday at Mt. Morris was “songwriters' night,” when composers of pop tunes were encouraged to get up and plug their newest “standards.”

Because Berle was under 16, the rules of the Gerry Society prevented him from performing onstage at night. The organization had been founded to curb the exploitation of child actors by greedy parents. But Schoenstein got around this obstacle by having the young Berle sing while standing in a box at the side of the stage.

The songwriter that evening turned out to be Irving Berlin, who was there to introduce his latest song, “Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning,” which was the big number from his army show, Yip, Yip, Yaphank. Berle sang it while wearing a Boy Scout uniform.'

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on June 30, 2011 at 9:49 pm

The Mt. Morris is prominently mentioned in this recent Wall Street Journal article by Will Friedwald: wsj.com

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