Frisco Theater

732 Seventh Avenue,
New York, NY 10019

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Frisco Theater

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The New Mini Cinema was a small porn theater that opened in 1969 from converted commercial space on the west side of Seventh Avenue between 48th and 49th Streets. It was located up the block from the Avon 7, which was at 724 Seventh Avenue.

Later renamed Frisco Theater, its biggest claim to fame would undoubtedly be the double bill of the seminal (pun not intended) porn-chic flicks “Deep Throat” and “The Devil in Miss Jones”, which continuously ran here for about a decade. This pairing, which began around 1973 and lasted at least until 1982, made the Frisco Theatre something of a tourist destination — though I doubt it ever made the AIA Guide to New York City.

Contributed by Ed Solero

Recent comments (view all 44 comments)

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 19, 2011 at 12:50 pm

And there’s a photo of the Pussycat on Seventh and 49th that also shows that Fascination arcade sign I mentioned above. No idea where the Samson is or what it was. If only we could make out some of the other storefront signs or address numbers as a reference point.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 19, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Sorry didn’t mention the Fascination sign here, it was earlier today on the page for the Cine Lido.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 19, 2011 at 11:46 pm

From grindhousedatabase.com comes, at long last, this photo of the Mini Cinema from around 1969 or 70. “Love Camp 7” was a definite 1969 release, not sure if either of the films called “The Animal” at imdb.com are the same as the title featured on the Mini’s flat marquee.

Looks like this may have been soft porn on screen when it opened, plus the “burlesque” acts – all eleven of them! Can’t figure out if Marinka & Dawn performed their act 11 times? Or were there 11 acts? I’m thinking the former – otherwise the cast and crew may have outnumbered the audience for most performances!

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on April 20, 2011 at 1:01 am

Ed, I think there were probably two live shows and no number ‘2’s available to put up on the marquee.

I think this the film showing as it is the same distributor as “LOVE CAMP 7”.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061358/

GrindhouseGuy
GrindhouseGuy on August 20, 2013 at 1:20 pm

In September of 1970, Variety identified the Mini Cinema as the first venue in NYC to screen films (16mm) with explicit hardcore content (outside of the context of the 35mm “marriage manual” films were screening widely that same year). Maybe they should erect a plaque.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on August 20, 2013 at 4:40 pm

The color photo in the introduction is incorrect, and shows one of the West 42nd Street theatres, probably the New Amsterdam, though I can’t see enough of the marquee to be certain. If the tiny Frisco had any marquee at all, I doubt if it was that substantial. And did it ever run mainstream movies?

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on August 20, 2013 at 7:37 pm

The tiny Frisco flat marquee is on the far left. I think the movie is called “CULT BY PAIN”.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 21, 2013 at 7:36 am

Interesting photo. At first I thought it might have been a relocation of the original Frisco (fka Mini Cinema), from Seventh Ave down to W. 42nd, but this is definitely a different establishment (although, quite possibly with shared ownership). Ken’s caption on the photo calls it Frisco Gay Theater, which is what appears at the top of the marquee. And that is definitely the New Amsterdam marquee on the right. Based on the movie titles, I’d date this to 1978.

The space occupied by Keystone Books would later be home to an incarnation of the Roxy porn house, while video peep shows and adult books would continue to operate along the rest of those storefronts – including the location for the Frisco Gay Theater.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on August 21, 2013 at 3:33 pm

If so, Ed, this would have been the Tomcat and Ricky Nelson screening room after this at 210 West 42nd street.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 21, 2013 at 4:28 pm

I have created a page for the Frisco Gay Theatre/Tomcat/Rick Nelson Screening Room. Hopefully RobertR will move his photo across to that page. When that is done, I will remove the photo from this page and also the above relevant comments.

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