RKO Jefferson Theatre

214 E. 14th Street,
New York, NY 10003

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Showing 1 - 25 of 92 comments

Evillage74
Evillage74 on June 23, 2014 at 5:17 pm

There must have been more than one “life-size bust” because the one that I have – here in my possession that I removed from the brick rubble back when it was demolished – is definitely not Thomas Jefferson. It might be Joseph Jefferson but it’s definitely not Thomas Jefferson. I’ll try to upload a pic today. Pretty fun conversation on this old theater! I miss the neighborhood.

Hamblin
Hamblin on June 23, 2014 at 9:47 am

An article in The New York Times of January 19, 1913, describes the Jefferson Theatre and Hamilton Theatre (http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/1353), which opened on the 23rd and 25th, respectively. Of the Jefferson, it reports: “A life-sized bust of Thomas Jefferson adorns the main entrance.…A large mural painting over the sounding board shows Thomas Jefferson addressing an assemblage of people of his time.”

“Two New Theatres,” col. 6, The New York Times, January 19, 1913. http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9E0DE1D6123BE633A2575AC1A9679C946296D6CF

hdtv267
hdtv267 on April 7, 2014 at 1:52 pm

A very nice little history of the “toughest house in NYC” is found as part of this Frankenstein based blog, which includes some photos as well

http://frankensteinia.blogspot.com/2014/04/frankenstein-in-new-york-frankenstein.html

robboehm
robboehm on September 4, 2013 at 1:54 am

Go to the comments section with a posting by Warren G. Harris on May 4, 2008 which has links to photos of a functioning RKO Jefferson. Also read Warren’s comments elsewhere about the Billy Rose Collection.

robertpetrick
robertpetrick on September 3, 2013 at 5:51 pm

I just uploaded a photo I shot of the Jefferson shortly before it was demolished. I may have a better shot and will look for it to post. I would love to see a photo of the marquis in full bloom if somebody has one.

bicyclereporter
bicyclereporter on May 11, 2013 at 10:04 pm

There was a brief mention of the theater in this week’s East Villager. Apartments are going up in its place and it said it was demolished 15 years ago.

RickB
RickB on April 30, 2013 at 12:16 am

I love how the apartments are in “North West East Village.” And that would be in the southern half of Manhattan…

DougD
DougD on April 28, 2013 at 10:32 pm

The vacant lot will soon be apartments.

http://thejefferson.com/site/home.php

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 30, 2012 at 5:50 am

George Burns mentions this theater many times — on his TV show, in his books, in his act. Apparently there was a real tough crowd in this house.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on July 29, 2012 at 4:20 pm

This was still showing movies in 1977.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on January 6, 2012 at 9:24 pm

On this night only in 1948, the RKO Jefferson presented five acts of vaudeville (no specific names listed) in addition to MGM’s B&W epic “Green Dolphin Street” and UA’s “Fabulous Joe” (a Hal Roach “streamliner” in Cinecolor). The films were second-run for the area, having played two weeks earlier at Loew’s Commodore.

Joe Solano
Joe Solano on January 5, 2012 at 3:26 am

But the ads mention that the they had vaudeville acts at a certain time and date, don’t they? This would just confirm how old I must have been when seeing them. The details would be helpful but I have the general vaudeville productions in my memory. I can see in my mind the pianist who served as the band director conducting the performers on stage and the musicians in the pit. It was a small band of some five to six pieces but they were excellent, enormously dynamic.

The NYT ad would be only an inspiring memento as I work on possible vaudeville productions on the Oregon Coast. I could make a poster collage of varied vaudeville ads.

Anyway, that’s kind of my imaginative game that I would really enjoy. I do produce many shows out here but vaudeville has been in the back of my mind for decades, all because of the wonderful experiences I had at the Jefferson Theater and occasionally at the Academy of Music a block further west on 14th St.

Thanks for any mementos I might receive. Thanks to anyone who can provide newspaper clippings or posters of Jefferson Theater vaudeville.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on January 5, 2012 at 2:46 am

Joe, the ads are New York Times RKO directories and do not include any details about the Vaudeville acts themselves. I am not sure this will help you much.

Joe Solano
Joe Solano on January 5, 2012 at 2:09 am

Wow! I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if I was there. How do you get this information and is there anyway you could send me a digital photo these ads?

It’s a significant part of my early life and it’s leading me to try and produce some vaudeville shows as I remember them.

Thanks for any help you can offer in this.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on January 5, 2012 at 12:53 am

Joe, I found some more. The last mention is Sunday, February 25, 1951. The show included the features “The Glass Menagerie” and “Grounds for Marriage” plus ‘Vaudeville All Day’.

Joe Solano
Joe Solano on January 5, 2012 at 12:00 am

Do you have an actual date for the ad?

Thanks.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on January 4, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Sorry, I don’t have a link. I have the ads themselves.

Joe Solano
Joe Solano on January 4, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Thanks AlAlvarez. Do you have a link for that?

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on January 4, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Joe, RKO stopped advertising Vaudeville in the NYT here in early 1950.

Joe Solano
Joe Solano on January 4, 2012 at 9:41 pm

I live in Oregon now but I spent a lot of my youth in that theater, even seeing numerous vaudeville shows which I enormously enjoyed, sitting right by the orchestra pit. I’d be fascinated to know what was the year the last vaudeville show was performed as I might have been right there. I know it was just on weekends.

Tinseltoes, you mentioned they were still doing vaudeville into the 1950’s. Maybe someone can come up with an actual last year.

Thanks.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on January 4, 2012 at 8:46 pm

The theatre’s name honored Joe (Joseph) Jefferson, one of the greatest and most beloved American stage stars of the 19th-early 20th centuries: en.wikipedia

Evillage74
Evillage74 on January 4, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Hey Guys! Interesting stuff here. I used to live at 212 East 14th Street, on the top floor, which you can see in many pictures. I moved there right out of college (I guess 1997-2003). I loved NYC, loved my apartment, the neighborhood, all of it.I miss it greatly and still consider myself a “city person”.I actually saw the theatre get taken down by hand, brick by brick. Spring of 1999 I’d say. At the time I didn’t know (or I guess even care) about the history. And it was a total eye sore and figured it housed rats, etc so I didnt mind seeing it go. Now, I have several old pictures of the theater, along with other East Village pics in my house (in SC). I have two questions and am hoping someone that perhaps visited this theater might be able to answer:

1) why was it named “Jefferson” 2) were there any pictures of anyone perhaps named “jefferson” inside the theater, a bust, etc?

Thanks and Happy, Healthy New Year to all of you!

Evillage74
Evillage74 on January 4, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Hey Guys! Interesting stuff here. I used to live at 212 East 14th Street, on the top floor, which you can see in many pictures. I moved there right out of college (I guess 1997-2003). I loved NYC, loved my apartment, the neighborhood, all of it.I miss it greatly and still consider myself a “city person”.I actually saw the theatre get taken down by hand, brick by brick. Spring of 1999 I’d say. At the time I didn’t know (or I guess even care) about the history. And it was a total eye sore and figured it housed rats, etc so I didnt mind seeing it go. Now, I have several old pictures of the theater, along with other East Village pics in my house (in SC). I have two questions and am hoping someone that perhaps visited this theater might be able to answer:

1) why was it named “Jefferson” 2) were there any pictures of anyone perhaps named “jefferson” inside the theater, a bust, etc?

Thanks and Happy, Healthy New Year to all of you!

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 29, 2011 at 2:01 am

I’ve been watching The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show currently running on Antenna TV, and he mentions this theater many times.

Willburg145
Willburg145 on June 14, 2011 at 4:32 pm

there is a building next to 54 West 14th Street Manhattan that looks very much like a former theater. I cannot find any info. it is on sixth avenue. i cannot link to the picture.