Lunt-Fontanne Theatre

205 West 46th Street,
New York, NY 10036

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Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 26, 2012 at 7:47 am

A February 1, 1998 NYT article on this theatre mentions that it opened with a feature unique to Broadway history. As a tribute to its namesake, the open-air Shakespeare Globe in London, this Globe had a sliding roof that could open up to the sky on hot weather days. They speculate that soot and litter may have limited the use as it was a problem for other nearby roof top operations.

The article also mentions that the theatre had “seats for fat men”.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on September 18, 2012 at 11:32 am

I was just reading a 1989 NYT article about the Nederlander organization looking for a movie multiplex operator to split it up because the theatre was too narrow and therefore awkward for live musical theatre. Here we are twenty three years later.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm

I like that you can see a little bit of Horn & Hardart there on the right.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on November 10, 2010 at 9:43 am

Re-posted from Vito’s post today on the Loew’s State page:

Nov. 10th: On this date in 1953 the second picture released in CinemaScope opened simultaneously at the Loew’s State and Brandt’s Globe.

I believe “How to Marry a Millionaire” was actually the first movie filmed in Scope but Zanuck in his wisdom decided to release “The Robe” first to introduce the miracle you see without glasses.

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jeffdonaldson on April 23, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Check out Stanley Kubrick’s “Killer’s Kiss” where one scene takes place at night in Times Square. The Globe is playing “How to Marry a Millionaire in 1953. The action goes indoors for a minute then is outside again and the Globe is now playing "Beachhead” with Tony Curtis, from 1954. Guess it didn’t take Kubrick two years to shoot the film, but apparently it did take a while.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 19, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Although the intro correctly states that the Globe became a full-time cinema in 1935, from 1927 to 1935 it spent more time each year as a motion picture theatre than as a live venue.

TLSLOEWS on November 4, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Porno at the Globe all right then.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on November 4, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Cool find, LM. It appears these facts were always there if you know where to look.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on November 4, 2009 at 2:03 pm

I just found a blurb in an old copy of MARQUEE (Volume 18, 1986) that mentions the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s theatre which was showing films in 1976. It states that the RFK was actually the Walter Kerr/Ritz at 219 West 46th Street and not this location.

woody on August 13, 2008 at 9:49 am

a night time shot of the Howard Johnson’s and Gaiety Burlesque buildings on 46th st shortly before demolition
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Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 4, 2008 at 8:51 pm

The Globe was showing movies between shows at least as early as 1915 when it premiered ‘The Whirl of Life".

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 9, 2008 at 11:06 am

Here is the text of the Times article about the old Globe facade and entrance: (sorry I couldn’t edit out the photo captions)

An Old Player for the Stage, Soon to Be Heard No More

Published: April 5, 2006

Every so often, Times Square, that most public of places, will give up a secret it has harbored for decades.
Skip to next paragraph
Keith Bedford for The New York Times

A piece of the Globe Theater on Broadway near 46th Street is visible above the present scaffolding.
Enlarge This Image
R. M. De Leeuw

The white facade of the theater entrance as it appeared in 1910, when it opened.

Now on view near the corner of 46th Street â€" but not for much longer â€" is a fragment of the Broadway facade of the 96-year-old Globe Theater, which was hidden for a half-century behind jumbo signs far taller than its four stories.

Demolition is under way on the Globe and an adjoining 111-year-old building, 1551 Broadway, the home until recently of a Howard Johnson’s restaurant and the Gaiety Male Burlesk theater. They are to be replaced by a two-story store that will have large signs and lights on top. “We look at it as a premier retail opportunity,” said Gerard T. Nocera, the chief operating officer of S. L. Green Realty Corporation.

The theatrical producer Charles B. Dillingham built the Globe in 1910 as an L-shaped structure with entrances both on Broadway and 46th Street. (The auditorium still exists, as does the 46th Street facade, which is a landmark.)

Today, a half-dozen windows and the trace of a cornice are all that remain of the Globe on Broadway. The pediments, garlands, cherubim, comic masks and tragic masks designed by Carrère & Hastings are nowhere to be seen. Yet this is unmistakably the “modest, jewellike front” described in 1910 by The New York Times.

It was at the Globe in 1916 that a young British-born actress named Lynn Fontanne made one of her first American appearances in “The Harp of Life,” giving a performance that The Times called “notably direct, eloquent and moving.” It was at the Globe that Fanny Brice sang “Second Hand Rose” in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1921.

And it was at the Globe in 1953, during its cinema phase, that New Yorkers first peered through polarized glasses at a full program of stereoscopic films. Bosley Crowther of The Times was underwhelmed and leery of the 3-D craze, asking readers to imagine Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis appearing to be “so real and close they could reach out and almost touch you!

“One-dimension is quite enough for them!”

The Broadway entrance was severed from the rest of the auditorium four years later when it was reclaimed as a legitimate playhouse. Miss Fontanne returned for the reopening in 1958, appearing with her husband Alfred Lunt in “The Visit.” The theater was renamed the Lunt-Fontanne and the Globe disappeared for the first time. But not the last.

AdoraKiaOra on May 9, 2008 at 11:02 am

A very unpleasant auditorium to sit in for a show!

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 23, 2008 at 1:25 am

I believe it was David Merrick who called this theater a bowling alley.

kencmcintyre on March 23, 2008 at 1:06 am

Here is a November 1953 ad from the NYT:

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 17, 2007 at 6:34 pm

Al… IBDB.COM (the Internet Broadway DataBase) shows the Lunt-Fontanne as being dark for two periods in 1976 – from the December 8th 1975, until April 25th of ‘76 and then again from June 6th until December 8th of '76. I would think that the theatre would have been busy during at least some of this down time prepping for the next legitimate show to open and I wouldn’t think that there’d have been a whole lot of time for a name change and film bookings. Surely by April 2, the show that opened on April 25th (a play called REX) would have been in rehearsals or in previews.

AdoraKiaOra on December 17, 2007 at 5:40 pm

Walked past the Lunt a few times in the last few days and they have really cleaned it up and its looks great. There is a great big empty void where HJs once stood.

William on December 5, 2007 at 9:15 am

Looks like the retail store American Eagle Outfitters has signed a 15 year lease for some of the property on this site. And Levis is opening a new store in the Paramount 1501 building soon.

William on October 1, 2007 at 4:08 pm

Well the corner demolition was restarted and now it has been razed to the ground floor.

ClintGuy on June 29, 2007 at 10:49 am

In The New York Times of 6/24/07, a story describing the current Lunt-Fontanne’s issue with the corner demolition on 46th St, mentions its past as the Globe. The problem seems to be a leftover piece of the Globe that is now in the way of the corner developers. The demolition is on hold for now…

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 14, 2006 at 5:27 pm

Here are three pages from the New York Daily News, May 1956.

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This ad gives away the ending of the movie:

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Here’s a dismissive, condescending review of the movie from Wanda Hale (at least she liked “2001” 12 years later). Notice the Movie Time Table. The first showing of “Forbidden Planet” at the Globe was at 9 AM. Last show: 1:20 AM! Movies sure ruled Times Square back then, didn’t they?

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RobertR on September 25, 2006 at 4:58 pm

1953 Cinemascope and Marilyn Monroe needed 2 Broadway houses
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Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 26, 2006 at 11:35 am

I believe Warren had posted the following image here some time ago… It seems Tarzan had a previous history at the Globe some 8 years earlier and in the person of actor Herman Brix (“World’s Greatest Athlete” in 1935):

New Adventures of Tarzan