202 West 58th Street,
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Actor-turned-playwright John Golden was a former architecture student and designed the layout for his self-named theater himself in 1926, although the main designs were by architect Harrison G. Wisemean. Built across the street from Jolson’s Theatre, on 58th Street, the Golden’s facade was almost severely plain-looking but inside, it was something out of Old Spain.
The 885-seat theater 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 theater, Golden was forced to sell off his theater 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 theater, and it began to screen foreign movies, under the name of the Filmarte, and shortly thereafter, as the Fine Arts.
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 theater 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 once again. However, rather than a return to legitimate theater, 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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