202 W. 58th Street,
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Architects: Harrison G. Wiseman
Styles: Spanish Moorish
Previous Names: John Golden Theatre, Cort's 58th Street Theatre, Filmarte Theatre, Fine Arts Theatre, Concert Theatre
Actor-turned-playwright John Golden was a former architecture student and designed the layout for his self-named theatre himself in 1926, although the main designs were by architect Harrison G. Wiseman. Built across the street from Jolson’s Theatre, on W. 58th Street, the Golden Theatre’s facade was almost severely plain-looking but inside, it was something out of Old Spain.
The 885-seat theatre included a balcony, a very narrow, unadorned lobby, a full orchestra, and a square-shaped proscenium. The general color theme of the auditorium was originally olive and gold, and contained wrought-iron chandeliers and the house curtain was decorated with an illustration of a Spanish galleon.
After nearly a decade of legitimate theatre, Golden was forced to sell off his theatre due to the Depression, and in 1935, it was taken over by John Cort, who renamed it Cort’s 58th Street Theatre, and featured mostly stage comedies.
However, within a year, Cort gave up the theatre, and it began to screen foreign movies, under the name of the Filmarte Theatre, and shortly thereafter, as the Fine Arts Theatre.
In 1942, it was renamed yet again, as the Concert Theatre, and presented its first live act in seven years, a comedy called “Of V We Sing”, which played very briefly. A year later, the theatre became a house of worship, as the Rock Church, and seating was increased to over 1,000.
However, by 1946, the church was gone, and it was named Cort’s 58th Street Theatre once again. However, rather than a return to legitimate theatre, as was planned, it was instead leased by the ABC network as a radio studio for a number of years, before again returning to foreign feature films in the late-1940’s, this time under the name the Elysee Theatre.
In 1955, ABC returned and used it as a television studio until it closed in 1985. It was demolished a few months later.
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