Victoria Theatre

1547 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Victoria Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Gaiety Theatre was opened by Klaw and Erlanger in 1908 at Broadway and 46th Street, designed in Louis XV style, containing two balconies, boxes, and a large proscenium arch. Seating a little over 800, the Gaiety Theatre was designed by the firm of Herts & Tallant, the duo also behind the New Amsterdam, Liberty and Follies-Bergere Theatres (better known as the first Helen Hayes Theatre, and before that, the Fulton).

Home to numerous successful legitimate shows in its first nearly two decades of operation, such stars as Helen Hayes, John Barrymore and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. all appeared onstage during this time. The Gaiety eventually switched, like so many other Broadway houses, to movies in 1926 (except for a short-lived foray into musical stage shows in 1931-2). In the mid-30s, in addition to movies, the Gaiety began to present burlesque acts, and soon the Gaiety was the city’s premier burlesque house, even hosting the occasional big-name Hollywood act onstage, like Abbott and Costello.

In 1942, an attempt at reviving vaudeville at the Gaiety Theatre failed, and later the same year, the theater was renamed the Victoria Theatre, and returned to movies.

In the 1970’s, the Guild Theatres chain acquired the Victoria Theatre and renamed it the Embassy 5, being their fifth house in the Times Square area.

By the late-1970’s, however, it had closed. Despite the efforts of preservationists, the theater met the wrecking ball in 1982. During the demolition, however, a section of the 46th Street facade collapsed into the street, forcing its closure for more than two days.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 81 comments)

TLSLOEWS on September 3, 2010 at 12:54 am

Nice link Tinseltoes.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 16, 2010 at 1:27 am

A September 7, 1943 article in the New York Times explains how this location became an outlet for Russian films in 1943-1944.

Maurice Maurer, owner of the lease for several Times Square theatres including the Victoria, sold his lease to the Stanley, which had been an established outlet for Russian films since 1941. He then competed with the sucessful Stanley by programming first-run films from Russia (or about Russia) at the Victoria for almost a year.

Just prior to this it had been the Laffmovie and the often raided Gaiety Burlesque.

RobertR on June 19, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Love those crowds in the picture :)

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on August 28, 2012 at 5:29 am

Boxoffice “deplored” the type of ballyhoo used to sell this doc. Ha! If they could only see what lay down the road…

DavidZornig on October 21, 2012 at 10:32 am

FYI. Just uploaded a 1929 theatre program for John Ford’s “the Black Watch” to the Photos section. It includes a small floor plan diagram. Photo courtesy of Decaying Hollywood Mansions FB page.

Cimarron on March 27, 2014 at 3:24 am

Pic of 1948 Ad for World Premiere “Joan of Arc” added to Photo Section

DavidZornig on June 30, 2015 at 5:46 pm

1944 photo added courtesy of the IM STILL SO NYC Facebook page.

DavidZornig on November 7, 2015 at 5:06 am

1963 photo added courtesy of Richard Thurbin.

robboehm on November 7, 2015 at 3:53 pm

It’s indicated this was once the Laffmovie. Is that correct? I remember the Laffmovie as being on 42nd Street where the Empire 25 now is.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on November 7, 2015 at 4:45 pm

There were two in 1943, Robboehm.

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