Little Lenox Theatre

52 East 78th Street,
New York, NY 10021

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Starting Third Season of Week End Performances (1933)

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Little Lenox Theatre was primarily a live performance space but, through much of the 1930s, presented matinee movies for children on Fridays and Saturdays.

It was, at various times, also known as the Lenox Theatre (1917-1918), not to be confused with the uptown Lenox Theatre at Lenox Ave. and W. 111th, and the Lenox Hill Theatre (1923-1925), not to be confused with the later Lenox Hill Theatre at 331 East 70th Street. For a brief period, the performance space was known as the East 78th Street Playhouse (1963-1964).

I believe the theatre and the building in which it was situated were part of Finch College, which closed in the mid-1970s, and that the edifice still stands as a 40-unit cooperative apartment building.

More information (and inevitable argument about whether this theatre should be listed) would be welcome.

Contributed by Damien Farley

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 30, 2005 at 2:15 am

Listed in the Film Daily Yearbook;1930 edition as the Little Lenox Theatre with a seating capacity of 251.

AlAlvarez on May 1, 2006 at 6:07 am

This advertised in the NY Times in the early thirties as the LENOX LITTLE THEATRE.

AlAlvarez on August 10, 2007 at 6:35 am

There was a Lenox Theatre showing movies in 1968.

AlAlvarez on November 16, 2009 at 10:49 am

This listed in the 1937 Film Daily Yearbook as the Lenox House.

Tinseltoes on December 5, 2010 at 5:34 am

On Friday, December 6th, 1935, this theatre had a tiny ad as The Lenox at the very bottom of the movie page in The New York Times. Booked for that three-day weekend was the subsequent-run “Ginger,” with juvenile star Jane Withers, giving matinee performances only at 2:15 and 4:15pm. Address provided was 52 East 78th Street, with telephone number of BUtterfield 8-8454 (same exchange as used in the title of a movie that earned guess who an ‘Oscar’?).

Tinseltoes on October 4, 2013 at 6:08 am

The Lenox apparently didn’t start showing movies until the Depression era, when they were needed to help pay the theatre’s operating costs. The late-run movies were usually shown just on weekends, but for entire weeks during the Christmas and Easter holidays. During ordinary weeks, the theatre served other neighborhood needs by presenting stage plays, music and dance recitals, and educational lectures. The Lenox closed down entirely during the summer due to lack of air conditioning.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 4, 2013 at 7:08 am

The ad from October 7, 1933, recently posted by Tinseltoes would corroborate AlAlvarez’s post above, that the theater was advertised as the Lenox Little Theatre. Is there any confirmation as to whether or not the Little officially came before the Lenox in the theater’s appellation?

Tinseltoes on October 4, 2013 at 8:40 am

I’ve also seen reportage as the Lenox Picture House, which was used in December, 1934, when First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt announced her support of a women’s group that sponsored the matinee screenings of films for children…For a time in the 1920s, the theatre had been home to the avant-garde Lenox Hill Players, though the stage troupe was already known under that name.

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