National Twin

1500 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 1 - 25 of 102 comments

larrygoldsmith
larrygoldsmith on February 24, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Built and operated by National General Theatres approx. 1972.

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on September 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm

If you look very closely, you can spot the marquee in the 1996 film “Joe’s Apartment”. I couldn’t make out either title on the marquee but one side was red and the other was black and blue (it could have been Bad Boys and Casper, but I don’t know).

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on August 7, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Introduction claims twinning took place in 1988, but theatre was already split by the time of the 1982 article cited above this post.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on August 7, 2012 at 7:49 am

Described as the RKO National Twin in this 1982 trade article: Boxoffice

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 24, 2012 at 8:03 pm

You re-new a link by “subscribing” at the bottom of this page, not by merely posting a comment. Good luck.

JoelWeide
JoelWeide on May 24, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Re-new link. Thank you!

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 24, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Say what you will about him, but Cineplex Odeon founder and theater-builder Garth Drabinsky was an old-school showman and kept his houses (for the most part) in tip-top shape.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on May 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm

to AL A.–

thanks for your reply. granted no one ever said the National either as a single or twin theater wasn’t successful. if you have a minute read the two previous posts i alluded to in my post of 5/22/12. doesn’t the sentiments expressed in these two posts make it seem certainly to some one you had never been to the National that the theater had gotten as seedy, run down, ill kept etc… as the general area itself? i just wanted to make the point to people who had never been to the National that in all the times i went there in its 26? year history regardless of the quality of the films the theater itself was always well run, well maintained etc….

this is of course the direct opposite of the Embassy 1,2,3. i admit i went to the tri-plexed former Demille a number of times simply because it was convenient. in fact the last film i saw there which was shortly before it closed up shop was “Living Out Loud” with Holly Hunter and Queen Latifah. my point being in the year or two before it closed both the main auditorium and the two upstairs were in run down condition. in fact the men’s room for the main auidtorium downstairs and the men’s room and the two upstairs were in decidedly un-mantained condition. i wonder how the theater was never closed for health code or building violations. the city closes eateries at the drop of a hat for the same reasons.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm

You’re probably right, saps. The National, as I remember it, didn’t have much of a deep vestibule either, but the kiosks (I think there may have been 2 of them here) were under the broad marquee and I seem to recall them set back as far as possible, so as to be out of the way of pedestrian traffic. I would imagine that theaters would have been compelled to keep those kiosks similarly out of the way so as not to risk injury or a log-jam on the sidewalk.

I remember Times Square was always pretty thick with pedestrians – even in the bad ole days – but just this past weekend, I tried to walk down 42nd Street with my daughter, and the area from the New Amsterdam going west to the mid-block crosswalk was just about impassible! Between the lines for Madame Toussaud’s, patrons existing the theater, tourists stoping for photos in front of Ripley’s Odditorium, and the crowds under the McDonald’s canopy, we could barely stay together, let alone make any headway!

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 24, 2012 at 12:38 pm

I seem to recall that sometimes the boxes were right on the sidewalk and not necessarily in the vestibule. I loved watching the trailer loops on each of them — often the “red band” restricted ones with the most action.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm

NYer… If it wasn’t the New Amsterdam itself, then it had to be either the Harris or the Liberty. Neither the Cine 42 nor the Empire had an outside vestibule and the Anco’s was rather shallow – not to mention at the end of the block and pretty shabby and not likely to have spared the cost for the kiosk. Thanks for trying to nail it down for me.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on May 24, 2012 at 11:11 am

Bigjoe, no one has implied otherwise but the National was always successful. The landlord just wanted the theatre out, hence the closing.

The ethnic make-up of Times Square audiences was a huge box office bonus for all the theatres, especially on Sunday nights when many other midtown theatres were dead and it does need to be mentioned. Without such audiences many of the smaller sites would have failed.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on May 24, 2012 at 10:56 am

Hello To My Fellow Posters-

i wish to comment on the replies to my post of 5/22/12. i don’t see why the ethnic or demographic composition of the audience needs be mentioned. all i was commenting on was the fact that even during Time Square’s most “colorful” period the denizens of the area that produced said “colorfulness” never seemed to frequent the National(either as a single screen or twin) as they did the grind houses on 42 St. aside from the quality of the movies being shown i never remember this theater ever being run down, seedy, a shadow of its former self etc… terms which i’m sure could have been applied to the grind houses on 42 St.

NYer
NYer on May 24, 2012 at 10:37 am

Don’t remember what theater it was, but it was on the New Amsterdam side and I believe in the middle of the block. I remember because “It’s Alive” had that great teaser trailer with the baby carriage and I stood there and watch it a few times and it was soooo cool for a kid.

This was the trailer…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8xe8p6zECQ

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 24, 2012 at 10:21 am

No doubt, I recall the kiosks at the big houses along Broadway. My memory falters at recalling which of the 42nd Street theaters employed the kiosks. I don’t think of them as being on the Duece, but now that I am going back to this discussion throughout the day, I’m starting to think that perhaps I do recall them at one or two of the larger theaters on that block. Particularly as those garish billboard-style advertisements that used to trim the theater entrances started to vanish. When I think back on those days, I mostly remember perusing the poster art, display cards and publicity stills that were hung around the outer vestibules as a guide to which particular program of flicks my buddies and I would commit to on any given day. Whereas, on Broadway and Seventh Avenue, you could actually watch the trailers from the sidewalk. Again, those memories are rather hazy, and my attention at the time lacked a certain amount of focus. I happily defer to your recollections.

SethLewis
SethLewis on May 24, 2012 at 9:30 am

Trailer kiosks were visible from the mid 70s onwards in my memory on Broadway and the Deuce…concur with NYer about the ones at the Warner/Penthouse/Cinerama, DeMille, Criterion, Forum, Movieland and National…they were cheap and cheerful

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 24, 2012 at 9:24 am

I don’t remember them on 42nd St at all. Hmmm… perhaps one of the houses with a larger open-air vestibule, like the New Amsterdam, Harris, Lyric or Selwyn? Maybe the Liberty. The others I recall as having very shallow outer vestibules – if having one at all. The initial release of “It’s Alive” was a few years before my time on the Duece, so, perhaps the kiosk concept was ditched afterwards?

NYer
NYer on May 24, 2012 at 7:09 am

Yes, The National had a trailer kiosk. Lots of theaters in Times Sq. had them. I remember even one on 42nd St. that was playing the trailer for Larry Cohen’s “It’s Alive”. Others I remember were the Warner/Penthouse/Cinerama, The Demille, Criterion & Movieland.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 24, 2012 at 5:47 am

Was this one of the theaters that used to play trailers for current and coming attractions on video kiosks under the canopy to attract passersby? I know at least one theater along Broadway did this, probably several of them. Perhaps the State and/or Criterion? My memories are a bit foggy.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 23, 2012 at 9:28 pm

I seem to recall some really wretched bookings in the last years of its life. And the marquee usually had mere plastic letters to announce the titles, rather than the specially made displays the Broadway houses often had.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on May 23, 2012 at 8:41 am

I was there a few times. I saw a re release of American Graffiti and Chapter One in the late 70’s before it was twinned than saw one movie in the upstairs theater but can’t rememebr what it was.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on May 23, 2012 at 8:11 am

This is a case of “nobody went there because it was too crowded.” The large National was often sold out on both screens during weekends with lines down the block and around the corner. The ethnic audience from the boroughs provided bonus Sunday night sell-outs. Even the midnight shows often sold out.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 23, 2012 at 6:31 am

I never went to the National, but I must not have been in my right mind when I was visiting the Loew’s State, the Rivoli or any of the 42nd Street grind houses, as I frequently did in the 1980’s. Things were definitely colorful back in those days, but I came out of all my local moviegoing experiences relatively unscathed.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on May 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Yes, my one experience would lead to me to conclude that bigjoe59 is correct. Also, thanks to Al & King Biscuits for corrections above. The Intro will be amended within a day or two.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on May 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Hello-

i have to respond to the comments made by rivoli157 and GaryCohen. while the surrounding area may have gotten “colorful” at one point the theater itself never went down hill or got seedy however you wish to phrase it. it fact “The Towering Inferno” opened on an exclusive Manhattan run Dec. 1974 that lasted till the end of May 1975. in terms of –“then the twinning and
the real decline of Times Square-no one in their right mind went to a movie theater on Broadway”. that is of course simply not true. from the day the it opened as a single screen theater Dec. 1972 thru its closure as a twin in 1996 the theater was a well run operation and always ran 1st run engagements. whether or not the films were any good was a matter of opinion. during the theater’s 24 year existence i went there many times and no matter how “colorful” the area may have gotten at one point the theater(s)were always well run and the patrons were regular well dressed well behaved folk and not the “colorful” denizens of the area as has been implied in the comments.