RKO National Twin

1500 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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National Twin Dec.6, 1989

The National Theatre opened on December 12, 1972 with the World Premiere of Gene Hackman in “The Poseidon Adventure”, presented in 70mm. It was the first theatre built in Times Square in over thirty years. The theatre originally housed 1,445 seats, with 932 on the main level and 513 seats in the loge and mezzanine. Its marquee was one of the largest in New York City. It was first operated by National General Theatres, followed by Mann Theatre and then Cinema 5.

The National Theatre was twinned on March 19, 1982 opening with Dan Monahan in “Porky’s” & Natja Brunckhorst in “Christiane F.”. Two distinct auditoriums seating 968 & 513 were created. Screen sizes were 20ft x 40ft & 17ft x 40ft. After several changes in operators, the RKO National Twin finally closed on January 22, 1998 with Tim Allen in “For Richer or Poorer” and Alex D. Linz in “Home Alone 3” as the final movies.

As part of the Disneyesque revitalization of 42nd Street and Times Square, the theatre was gutted and became the new street view studios of ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ program.

Contributed by Jamal Savage

Recent comments (view all 105 comments)

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 9, 2016 at 6:04 am

1980 photo added courtesy of Al Ponte’s Time Machine – New York Facebook page.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 20, 2020 at 8:03 pm

Newspaper ad added to photos

ridethectrain
ridethectrain on October 31, 2020 at 9:02 pm

Please update, became a twin on March 19, 1982, grand opening ad posted and article from Boxoffice to.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on November 1, 2020 at 1:01 pm

Hello-

I’m sure at one time or another all the 1st run theaters in the Times Square area showed what were known as exploitation films. but I never remembered this theater showing actual porn. in the photo section is an ad for Alice in Wonderland which was am actual porn film. or though it had an X rating was it a cleaned up version?

markp
markp on November 1, 2020 at 1:59 pm

bigjoe59 AIW was a soft core X.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on November 1, 2020 at 2:24 pm

Hello-

to markp- thanks for your reply. I could swear AIW was an actual porn film. I might be confusing it with a similar fairy tale based porn film.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on November 1, 2020 at 3:06 pm

It was actually a soft core musical with excellent production values even though Alice kept sitting on mushrooms. There was also a similar “CINDERELLA” production.

grindhouse
grindhouse on November 1, 2020 at 3:13 pm

“Alice In Wonderland” was shot as a hardcore feature but was released softcore. When the DVD was released the theatrical and restored hardcore version were featured. Here is a history of the production.

https://www.therialtoreport.com/2015/03/22/alice-in-wonderland-1976-what-really-happened/

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on November 1, 2020 at 3:21 pm

Hello-

to Al A.- thanks again for your font of knowledge. is it possible AIW was shot as an actual porn film and then edited to get an official X rating so it could play regular movie theaters? in the late 70s I distinctly remember there was a fairy tale based film that was shot as an actual porn
film but edited to get the official X rating. since you said AIW was shot as a soft-core film what film might I being thinking about?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on November 1, 2020 at 7:45 pm

“Alice in Wonderland” (1976) was NOT a hardcore release. Hardcore scenes by the stars in other films were later inserted for subrun play in porn houses.

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