Circus Cinema

1604 Broadway,
New York, NY 10019

Unfavorite 3 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 26 comments

NYer
NYer on January 6, 2014 at 2:05 am

Used to pass this theater all time going into Video Shack, the premiere place to get VHS at the time. I was always curious, being a theater lover, what kind of theater it was. Was it upstairs? Carved out of an office building? I know it was always an adult theater but was it actually presentable? Sloped floor? All questions I ’m sure their clientele wasn’t interested in. There doesn’t seem to be any pictures of the interior.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on January 5, 2014 at 10:52 pm

I remember being on a high school class trip to the city. We were coming down Broadway and were walking under some scaffolding as we approached this corner. As we emerged into the daylight, what did greet our tender eyes than the marquee of the Circus Cinema, proudly announcing its current attraction: ANAL INTRUDERS.

After our jaws dropped we all starting laughing, and needless to say our catchphrase for the rest of the day, and for some time afterwards, was “Anal Intruders,” which is also to this day my go-to name when I need to make up a porno title.

patrickgenna
patrickgenna on May 30, 2013 at 6:25 pm

The 1984 movie MOSCOW ON THE HUDSON with Robin Williams has a scene showing this theatre. It seems that 12 years later, the theatre closes?

rivoli157
rivoli157 on November 17, 2011 at 6:16 pm

The Spotlight Live club is now closed. A few years back an underage party goer was found dead on the roof of the club. She had been murdered by a club employee. Other incidents of violence had occured at the club prior to that. Signage for the club is still up at the now empty site

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 19, 2011 at 7:40 pm

A sort of karaoke-cabaret establishment called Spotlight Live opened at the former Circus Cinema in 2007. The concept was a restaurant and nightclub where patrons were encouraged to take the stage and enjoy their “15 minutes of fame,” while cameras would broadcast their performances to passersby via a jumbo-tron screen positioned over the street entrance on Broadway. Interesting idea, but didn’t appear to have sufficient appeal, and the club has since closed its doors.

Here’s a link that offers a good description and interior photos of the place.

Evidently, there was a “private penthouse” for parties of up to 175, which may have been in the former Big Top Theatre space. Judging from some of the event photos on the site, the spirit of exhibitionism certainly carried over from the old days!

RickB
RickB on April 16, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Here is a screen capture from the TV series Taxi showing this theater’s marquee at right. It’s from a first-season episode titled Hollywood Calling.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on December 29, 2008 at 7:46 pm

Ed, here is a story about David Copperfield, the magician, shutting down teh Circus and Pink. This may be the current site of the Playwright Tavern.

View link

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 29, 2008 at 2:22 pm

And seen on the left side of the photo is the marquee for the alternate World Theatre I referenced in my posting of 9/11/2007 just above. The original World Theatre (nee Punch and Judy) was located a block to the east and on the other side of the street. Anyone remember anything about this place? Almost certainly a storefront or office space conversion – but did it open as the World upon the ouster of the original World Theatre management by Rockefeler Centre? Or had it been opened under another name?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 12, 2007 at 5:21 am

Calling AlAlvarez!!! A member of CT (Hollywood90038) sent me some video he shot back around 1990/91 that shows a small porn theater around the corner from the Circus Cinema that was named “World Theater” per the marquee signage. This would have been on the south side of 49th Street just east of Broadway – adjacent to the RKO Video that was on that corner. I’ll have a screen-shot showing the small triangular marquee to post here tomorrow.

I’ve always been confused about the location of the more famous World 49th Street – thinking it was on the short block between 7th and B'way and on the south side of the street. Of course, that theater (the former Punch and Judy) was between 6th and 7th on the north side of 49th. Now I guess I know why – I must have had this marquee in my mind’s eye! I suppose once the original World theater was forced out by its landlords (Rockefeller Center) in favor of a mainstream house run by Embassy, perhaps the World management might have opened this small converted space as replacement? Any recollections out there?

missmelbatoast
missmelbatoast on November 26, 2006 at 7:32 pm

You and me both, Seymour. We could have had so much fun cruising the Big Apple together.
Actually, I just wish I could get to know you. You’re an incredibly gorgeous man!

seymourcox
seymourcox on November 26, 2006 at 7:20 pm

During the early 1980’s I regularly made trips to NYC, and on my busy itinerary always set aside a date to go see a gay movie at the Circus Big Top. Seems every time I went inside that porn emporium I always fell in love five or six times!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 6, 2006 at 5:23 pm

I believe this is a close view of the Circus marquee.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 12, 2006 at 6:49 pm

March 9th, 1982… “Indecent Exposure” day-and-dates at the Circus Cinema and Eastworld while “Oil Rig #99” World premieres upstairs at the Big Top:

Circus/Big Top – NY Post

By the following day the Big Top feature had already turned over:

Yellow Hanky Left – Post 3/10/82

December 11th, 1980:

Circus Cinema – NY Post
Big Top – NY Post

bamtino
bamtino on September 11, 2005 at 10:57 pm

The address of this theatre was 1604 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 18, 2005 at 7:30 pm

Great shot Robert. You can also see the lower part of the Big Top Theatre vertical blade sign ‘Adults Only’-One Flight Up' with an arrow pointing down towards the entrance at the side of the main Circus Cinema entrance.

RobertR
RobertR on July 18, 2005 at 6:58 pm

Here is the Circus, note the films were Dolby Stereo. Porno had gotten sophisticated before video killed it all.
View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 18, 2005 at 9:31 am

A copy of Topman gay guide magazine I have dated August 1982 has an advert for the Big Top Theatre, 1604 Broadway/49th St. (open 24 hours). The Premier presentation of Christopher Rage’s “Sleaze” – It ain’t no Love Story! starring Casey O'Donovan is the main movie playing.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 12, 2005 at 8:51 pm

RobertR; That ad brings the opening operating year of the Circus Cinema forward to at least 1972. Thanks

RobertR
RobertR on July 11, 2005 at 11:58 pm

There is an ad for the Circus here.
View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 11, 2005 at 3:45 pm

Thanks RobertR, I have a view of these on an old postcard c.1985 the Rivoli Theatre is playing “Lifeforce”, the RKO Warner Twin Theatre is playing ?? title un-readable and “Mad Max 3-Beyond Thunderdome”, the Circus Cinema has a tag line on the marquee ‘Get Into the Hottest Indoor Spot of All" ?? title un-readable.

RobertR
RobertR on July 11, 2005 at 3:28 pm

That should be Cinerama 1 & 2

RobertR
RobertR on July 11, 2005 at 3:28 pm

Ken
The Warner was still the Cineram 1 & 2 until the last renovation in the 80’s.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 11, 2005 at 3:24 pm

The neon name on the marquee was Circus Cinema.