Ziegfeld Theatre

1341-47 6th Avenue,
New York, NY 10105

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Orlando on June 13, 2018 at 2:02 pm

The original Ziegfeld can be seen in “Sweet Smell Of Success” in a lenghty scene with Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis (who enters from the stage door), and Martin Milner (Adam-12) who comes in through the front door, lobby features seen as well as carpeting (great shots) and the auditorium showimg orchestra, balcony with three exit doors at different levels and a sidewall decorative grill. The stage was being used for a TV taping of a columnists' report Burt’s “J.J.” character. The scene lasts 15 minutes so you can’t miss it. I don’t know if this has been posted before.

DavidZornig on June 15, 2017 at 3:22 pm

1956 NBC-TV marquee with The Perry Como Show photo added. Bronx native Gloria Walker June 1956 Playboy Playmate, photo credit Herman Leonard.

Khnemu on May 28, 2017 at 10:38 am

I believe something similar about this fragment of the theater was posted some years back: http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-ziegfield-head

CConnolly1 on July 28, 2014 at 8:47 am

My father told me that it was difficult to demolish The Ziegfeld theater due to its solid construction. I don’t recall exactly what he said made it so difficult but it had to do with some kind of reinforced concrete (something more elaborate than the steel reinforcement that was/is used). My father worked for Burlington Industries in the 1960s and I believe the construction of its headquarters building was one of the reasons for the old Ziegfeld being demolished so it would make sense that he would know about this.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 3, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Not necessarily 1933, Mike, but throughout the early thirties as the live shows closed, the cheaper movie options were more attractive to audiences as well as less risky to put on.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 3, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Wasn’t 1933 the year a lot of the 42nd Street playhouses — including Ziegfeld’s Follies' home the New Amsterdam — converted to first-and-second run grindhouses?

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on June 1, 2012 at 6:22 am

Here’s a direct link to hdtv’s terrific site discovery.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 10, 2012 at 10:16 am

It seems you have to manually sign up for alerts now; simply posting a comment doe not automatically register you. (Signing up is easy, though — just click the link at the bottom of the page.)

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on June 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Let’s get some photos of this house posted, quick. That office building now showing is dreadful.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 3, 2010 at 1:25 pm

The last movies at the Ziegfeld were “Once Upon a Time” and “Shadows in the Night” in August 1944.

bazookadave on September 11, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Wowie Zowie, what a find! Thanks for the link!

CSWalczak on September 11, 2009 at 1:29 pm

A limestone head of a goddess, alleged to be from the facade of this theater, was recently spotted on E. 80th St. View link

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on December 13, 2008 at 1:00 pm

I could cry after looking at the historic photos of the Ziegfeld.

I always celebrate Mr. Ziegfeld’s birthday by screening the 1936 (Best Film) “The Great Ziegfeld.” The revolving stage scene with the magnificent waterfall curtain takes my breath away each and every time.
Perhaps, if I go to the “big theater in the sky”, I’ll have the honor of meeting Florenz… meanwhile, may those who greedily decided to destroy his wonderful palace rot in hell!

kencmcintyre on April 26, 2008 at 2:53 pm

Ziegfeld’s daughter died recently. There was an obit in today’s LA Times.

845frank on December 12, 2007 at 8:43 am

Thanks Howard,
Am familiar with the site and its great collection of snapshots.

HowardBHaas on December 11, 2007 at 6:21 am

For historic photos, click on the exterior photo for a gallery. Each photo can then be clicked to enlarge:

845frank on October 26, 2007 at 10:57 am

Warren’s 10/26 photo above is a dandy. I am trying to taylor it for my screen-saver. Another of my favorite houses is the Cosmopolitan, aka, Majestic,International and Columbus Circle. This was also another hard luck house that after its premier in 1903 with the Wizard of Oz its luck scooted precipitously downward until after being a TV studio in 1954 it met the wreckers ball. Even after Ziegfeld took over in 1925, until his own house was built, and a redesign by Joseph Urban the longest running show only managed a 300 performance run (Louis XIV). The Depression and its far northern district location kept the theatre lonely and dark.


845frank on October 26, 2007 at 7:55 am

Great Photo Warren! Was this from the Billy Rose Theatre Library collection? The Marquee addition I am talking about must have been after the retun to legit from the Television studion use. It probably existed from the engagements of Maurice Chevalier till closing in 1966. I will have to review the BR collection.

HowardBHaas on October 26, 2007 at 6:10 am

I found that online. If the mural finds a home, as it hopefully will, and there’s a news item about it that I see, I certainly will post it.

845frank on October 26, 2007 at 4:13 am

For HowardBHaas
Has anything happened with the disposition of the mural. I regret that I have missed seeing it this time around,unless it is for Feb 2008 display?. Please keep the site posted as to its disposition and thank you for the info. I had an opportunity to take a piece from the site but I was too young at the time to realize its artistic value for the future. I visite the site during demolition every weekend in hopes of being able to carry something away.

845frank on October 25, 2007 at 4:00 am

Its an item on my list of things to do. I have not been there in 30 years. I have collected the entire volume of Theatre Worlds from 1944 on up to be able to view what may be the only photos of the productions that played the Ziegfeld. Additionally, I have a program from each and every show that played the house from Rio Rita on till the end. The professional photo I recently purchased was from the NYC Dept of Buildings which has microfiche of all NYC buildings from 1940 survey but as you know this is when it was still a movie theatre. How many times had you been in the Ziegfeld?

Thank you,

845frank on October 24, 2007 at 9:58 am

You are correct but that covers its initial Ziegfeld ownership. When Billy Rose took over in 1944 through 1965 there was a regular theatre sign board on each side of the glass and bronze overhand. If you examine Nathan Silversteins “Lost New York” the Ziegfeld is listed as in danger with a foot note stating it is to be torn down. In this photo from sometime after 1959 ,as a 59 cadillac is pictured making a turn on 6th ave in front of the theatre, you can see the bronze/brass and glass overhang or entrance canopy. I remember the marquee for ANYA in red lit up on the evening I saw it, but have never seen a photo of the theatre when “Foxy” or “Kismet” played there. There must be some vintage newsreel that captures one of the impportant shows that were tenants at the Ziegfeld.
Your comments are appreciated.

845frank on October 24, 2007 at 5:10 am

Thanks very much to all for the information. I remember the Mural as well as the theatre. I was fortunate enough to be a guest of the theatre manager, Ross Stewart for the 1st Saturday evening performance of “ANYA”. I was only 16 and was awestruck by the powerful and beautiful image I saw. The mural was like some musical fantasy in Golds and rich earth tones. Does anyone remember the 2 large Comedy and Tragedy masks that were suspended from the proscenium over the curtain? The were large and very beautiful. I wonder if they survived? I remember reading in Variety at the time that the house curtain and maybe the seats went to the Playhouse in Kennibunkport, Me.

Does anyone out there have a shot of the Ziegfeld actually with a show playing on the marquee??? A real show, not movie. This theatre housed many big hits after 1944, Brigadoon, Showboat revival, The Cleopatra’s, Porgy and Bess revival as well as Kismet. I have never come across a shot of the theatre with the marquee lit with a show and would love to have one.
Many thanks again for the sharing of all this great information.

HowardBHaas on July 27, 2007 at 7:47 pm

View link (2 photos at this link)

Other than a few architectural fragments, nothing of the Art-Deco landmark “Ziegfeld Theater” was believed to have been saved from it’s tragic demolition in 1966. That was until recently, when an immense mural called “The Joy of Life”, designed by the architect Joseph Urban for the theater, was discovered by New York City antiques dealer John Bermingham.

New York, NY (PRWEB) January 24, 2007 — In 1927, the Broadway impresario Florenz Ziegfeld opened the Ziegfeld Theater on 6th Avenue and 54th Street and changed the face of theater for decades after. Home of the famed “Ziegfeld Follies”, the theater was an Art-Deco masterpiece created by Joseph Urban, an architect known for his fanciful and imaginative design and décor. Situated well out of the theater district and featuring a unique “egg-shaped” auditorium, the Ziegfeld Theater was a landmark unto itself.

Despite public outcry at the time, the Ziegfeld Theater was demolished in 1966 to make way for an office tower that now occupies the spot. It was believed that other than a few architectural fragments, nothing remained of this lost landmark. That is, until now.

It’s a part of New York City history, theater history and design history, and it deserves to be seen and appreciated.
A rare piece of this lost American treasure has recently re-surfaced in the form of an immense section of the original painted mural “The Joy of Life” which somehow escaped the wrecking ball all those years back. The mural was painted in 1926 by Lillian Gaertner under the direction of Joseph Urban, who provided the original sketches and personally oversaw the work. Madame Gaertner had studied under the renowned Bauhaus designer Joseph Hoffman and worked with Urban on many of his theatrical projects. The recently re-discovered canvas, which originally graced the walls and ceiling of the main auditorium, measures 24 feet wide by 14 feet high and features fanciful and brightly colored depictions of characters from literature, history and mythology.

The mural is currently owned by Manhattan antiques dealer John Bermingham who located it in November 2006. Bermingham states that his interest in the work stemmed from his love for New York City history and the theater in particular. “It is a tragedy that a landmark such as the Ziegfeld Theater was allowed to be destroyed back then, before the awareness of the value of historical architecture and design. Today, thankfully, such a thing would never happen”. Bermingham added, “It is remarkable, however, that such a unique and important artifact as this mural has managed to survive and we should at least be grateful for that”. The outcry over the demolition of the Ziegfeld Theater and the original Penn Station are credited with prompting the landmark preservation movement championed by Jacqueline Onassis.

The mural will be on display at the New York Design Fair at the Park Avenue Armory at 67th Street from February 8th through the 10th. “The biggest challenge we will face will be finding it an appropriate home, considering its size,” says Bermingham. “It would be great if it could remain intact, perhaps as part of a museum collection, or featured on the wall of some fantastic New York restaurant like the Picasso mural on display at the Four Seasons.” Bermingham adds, “It’s a part of New York City history, theater history and design history, and it deserves to be seen and appreciated.”


TommyC123 on April 16, 2007 at 3:50 am

What stands where the Ziegfeld once was?