Ziegfeld Theatre

141 W. 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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RobertEndres on October 9, 2019 at 5:46 am

Mark, I’m not sure when the Zeiss projectors were taken out. I think they were there when I left the Hall to work for Dolby in 1999. Our engineers were there to align the Dolby equipment for premieres until the end so perhaps they’ll know. I’ll see if I can find out. The last things I ran there were a screening of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” in 70mm reel to reel and then a couple of 35mm prints in a series of classic films – one of them “The Professionals”. At that point they had platters, but the Zeiss projectors were still there.

MarkNYLA on October 7, 2019 at 2:34 pm

Thank you, Robert Endres. If I may ask you, would you know about when the Zeiss machines were removed for the JJs? (not exactly, but ballpark is fine).

RobertEndres on October 7, 2019 at 5:49 am

Just a few comments on the above: RCMH used three projectors for ALL presentations of the “Napoleon” triptych. (I was Head Projectionist for all of the screenings at the Hall.) Yes the contour was used. The first time we did it, we used the house picture sheet which was 70' wide and closed the masking to the center until the changeover to the triptych. Subsequent presentations were done on thee 30' fast fold screens butted together with a strip to mask the joins. That screen was upstage of the first blacks which were closed to the center and opened on cue by a stagehand at the start of the triptych. Bob Harris did bring a 70mm test roll in, but they had not printed the three images together so we never even tried it.

The Ziegfeld did have Zeiss Favorit 35/70mm machines for most of it’s career. I attended a presentation of “Soldier Blue” there on a visit to New York before I came to work at the Hall. At that time the console in the rear center of the auditorium was in use. The idea was that there was a man on the console to run the show and then thread up the three machines in the both for the next show. There was automation to do the changeovers and control the lights and curtain. The union still insisted on two men on a shift so the console was eventually scrapped.

At one point after a critical review by Rex Reed of the projection, the Zeiss projectors were removed and replaced with 35mm machines which were in use when I came to New York to work at the Hall in 1974. They were taken out and the Zeiss Favorit machines were put back for the 70mm run of “That’s Entertainment”. They were in use for the years I worked vacation relief there when the Ziegfeld had a long run of 70mm presentations. They were removed and replaced with Century JJ’s which were there when the house closed.

HowardBHaas on October 6, 2019 at 7:50 pm

Mark, as my article stated, Century 35/70 https://www.in70mm.com/news/2014/ziegfeld/index.htm

MarkNYLA on October 6, 2019 at 6:37 pm

Can anyone say with confidence what kind of film projectors the Ziegfeld had? I know that they opened with Zeiss Favorit 35/70 machines which I saw in place around 1982 or so, but I seem to recall that they were taken out in the late eighties for … Century JJs? Does anyone know for sure?

vindanpar on September 2, 2019 at 1:18 pm

One thing I can say for sure is that Bill Boggs and Hermione Gingold were sitting behind me at Napoleon. Can one dream that?

veyoung52 on September 2, 2019 at 1:09 pm

The “live” event featuring full orchestra conducted by Francis Coppola’s father used three projectors focused on a large screen in front of the curtain. The subsequent engagement(s) with a 70mm print were projected onto the Hall’s screen behind the curtain. This was discussed on this site at some length at the time.

bigjoe59 on September 2, 2019 at 12:59 pm


to vindanpar- I saw Napoleon twice during its original rum at RCMH. I honestly can’t remember how the curtains were used. so I wouldn’t worry about having a “senior moment” especially if that’s the only “senior” thing you have.

vindanpar on September 2, 2019 at 12:51 pm

A rising curtain doesn’t seem to make much sense to me in the case of Cinerama. But he was there I wasn’t. And I’m quite surprised they would show it at that time with curtains not working. It would remove all element of surprise as to the screen size.

Also I saw Napoleon at the Music Hall during its first run not the second. I distinctly remember the curtain being used. If it wasn’t I would have been appalled and remember it. But then maybe I’m having a senior moment(ugh, I can’t believe I’ve reached an age where I can say that.)

veyoung52 on September 2, 2019 at 11:32 am

Vindanpar, just dug this item out of my files…from the NYTimes 4/24/55: re VistaVision installation: “The screen now used at the Paramount is 64 by 35 feet…”

veyoung52 on September 2, 2019 at 9:29 am

“In fact the use of them at the beginning of This is Cinerama was so effective it knocked audiences for a loop” What actually knocked audiences for a loop was the abrupt change in screen dimensions, not the presence or absence of screen curtains. Somewhere on this site, possibly the New York Broadway or Warner Theatre sections, is a post from a gentleman who claims to have attended This Is Cinerama in its very first week at the Broadway and states that the vertically-rising curtain was not operating. Some other local runs of the 70mm This Is Cinerama in your area were also presented sans curtains…I’m thinking of the Bellevue in Montclair NJ…not sure about the presentations in Nanuet and Hicksville. And, just for the record, the three-panel presentation of Abel Gance’s Napoleon at the Music Hall some years back featured its colossal screen in front of the Hall’s curtains.

vindanpar on September 2, 2019 at 8:05 am

Yes I do remember the lights but I did not mention them and perhaps Canby did not as well because it was so poorly and weakly executed(I had no idea they were meant to simulate curtains) that it made no difference. To me it was still a bare screen. From what I’ve read the curtains and borders truly made a difference. In fact the use of them at the beginning of This is Cinerama was so effective it knocked audiences for a loop. I wonder if the Vistavision screen at the Paramount was larger than that of the Music Hall which of course always used curtains no matter what. Also wasn’t it slightly curved compared to the Hall’s flat screen?

veyoung52 on September 1, 2019 at 11:28 pm

re “…bare screen with no curtains…” Not quite entirely true. An image of curtains was projected upon the entire screen. At the end of the overture, this image dimmed but the center section upon which the prologue was projected remained totally unlit to give the impression that there was soft lighting on curtains concealing the entire screen that had partially opened to project the prologue. Canby didn’t mention this in his initial review or in his Sunday follow-up piece. I’ve been told that a similar light curtain had been used years earlier at the Times Square Paramount when the VistaVision installation entailed the removal of the screen curtain.

vindanpar on September 1, 2019 at 7:50 pm

It was an old Cinerama print simply transferred to 70mm so shown with a single lens on a bare screen with no curtains and therefore no showmanship whatsoever. Vincent Canby wrote a piece on it at the time so if you have access to the Times' archive you might want to read it.

bigjoe59 on August 29, 2019 at 11:43 am


in vindanpar’s comment of 7/17/19 he said Zefferelli’s R&J was a replacement “for the shameful presentation of This is Cinerama”. what was shameful about the presentation of TIC?

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on August 29, 2019 at 8:01 am

What happened to the numerous Ziegfeld Theatre images uploaded to the Photos Section by “NYer”? All seem to have suddenly vanished.

bigjoe59 on June 24, 2019 at 2:26 pm


I read a lot via computer, magazines and newspapers and have not come across a single item about the Paris' imminent closing.

moviebuff82 on June 24, 2019 at 12:23 pm

Later this year, this venue turns 50 years old. With the closing of the Paris imminent, there won’t be any more single screen movie houses from this era anymore, although radio city occasionally shows movies and tv shows on its screen.

moviebuff82 on May 19, 2019 at 3:29 pm

On this date 20 years ago, the phantom menace premiered to a sold out crowd.

Mark_L on October 28, 2018 at 12:33 pm

According to an Associated Press article from 12/1967, it was planned that Saturday night screenings would require formal evening dress.

HowardBHaas on August 2, 2018 at 4:47 am

Sunday, after enjoying a movie at the Paris, I went to see the Ziegfeld exterior. I was delighted to see “Ziegfeld, A Walter Reade Theatre” still on the marquee. The Ziegfeld -Ballroom- flag was nice.The left & right sections of the marquee were changing graphics with jazzy Art Deco details, in white & black- “Z” and “The legend lives on” (in caps). Much of the former entry was walled off with a blank wall with flower boxes so current entry is narrower. No poster cases. An elevator has an entry at the front area. The redone lobby & stairs can be seen from outside. Alongside the fountains on the plaza that runs with the former auditorium had been gutted & that space fenced off to be redone to whatever. I’m not happy with the quality of my photos so maybe in the future I will photo again & post better photos.

vindanpar on May 30, 2018 at 2:50 am

As per the discussion of the ‘73 Cinerama screen. Though the presentation of this Is Cinerama was very poor and in 70mm the screen should have been kept. The theater finally had a screen worthy of it’s size. Like the Cinerama screen that was kept at the Warner and I assume at the Capitol different film ratios could have been presented on it with proper masking and the use of curtains. Films like the epics that were to play there in the future and the restored films done by Harris would have been so much more impressive.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on March 25, 2018 at 2:36 pm

At least they left the marquee up. Small consolation, I know.

CF100 on March 25, 2018 at 2:16 pm

You, too, can hire it out for a disco night!

YouTube video of the Ziegfeld Ballroom.

(IMO… tacky in all respects…)

BobbyS on March 12, 2018 at 10:30 pm

Too bad disco is dead……Would make a great new “Studio 54” with those panels changing LED colors!!!