Trans-Lux Modern Theatre

625 Madison Avenue,
New York, NY 10020

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Trans-Lux Modern Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This was the very first Trans-Lux cinema and opened on March 14th, 1931, in space that was originally a corner store on the NE corner of Madison Avenue and W. 58th Street. The theatre had a frontage of 26 feet, a depth of 72 feet, and a ceiling height in the auditorium of 11 feet 3 inches. Interior decor was modern, with no frills. The rear-projection system created a glow bright enough for patrons to read by, and eliminated the need for ushers.

The 45-minute programs of newsreels and short subjects changed twice weekly. Entrance was through a turnstile. If you didn’t have a quarter to insert in the slot, you could get change from the boxoffice attendant. The Trans-Lux proved so popular that it was replaced two years later by a much larger theatre on Madison Avenue between 59th and 60th Streets. This one closed and reverted back to retail use.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 23 comments)

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on May 5, 2006 at 6:14 pm

Was this ever anything other than a newsreel theatre?

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on May 5, 2006 at 6:32 pm

Was it ever anythiong but a newsreel theatre?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 5, 2006 at 6:52 pm

No! It lasted only two years, and was then converted into retail space. The office building that housed it has since been demolished and replaced by another office building.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 20, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Here are new links to previously posted images. The one posted above by “ken mc” shows a 58th Street wall of the entrance, which was on Madison Avenue.
View link
View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 22, 2009 at 10:27 am

A view of a Trans-Lux Modern Theatre was featured in an ad for Carrier air conditioners in Boxoffice Magazine, March 7, 1936. I think it’s the same theater seen in the two exterior photos linked in ken mc and Warren’s comments. If this theater closed in 1933, Carrier must have been using an old photo of it. It’s possible that the ad had already been in use for a few years and Carrier was just too cheap to have a new one created.

TPH
TPH on November 22, 2009 at 11:25 am

By the 1970’s the Schraffts gave way to L'Orangerie a belle-epoque style restaurant that tried to capitalize on the tremendous popularity of Warner LeRoy’s Maxwell’s Plum, further east. What was the name of the Trans-Lux house that succeeded the Modern?

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on November 23, 2009 at 5:00 pm

This theatre is listed as open in the 1937 Film Daily Year Book.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 7, 2013 at 7:22 am

Linkrot repair: The Trans-Lux Modern Theatre illustrating an ad for Carrier air conditioners in the March 7, 1936, issue of Boxoffice.

rivest266
rivest266 on September 25, 2013 at 11:56 pm

March 14th, 1931 grand opening ad uploaded here.

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