Victoria Theatre

1547 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Victoria Theatre exterior and the nearby Astor 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 109 comments)

Tinseltoes on June 18, 2012 at 10:40 am

Minor-league Tiffany Productions made it to Broadway at the Gaiety Theatre with this “daringly different” melodrama: boxofficemagazine

RobertR on June 19, 2012 at 11:57 am

Love those crowds in the picture :)

Tinseltoes on July 29, 2012 at 7:33 am

Sinking into the muck by 1970: Boxoffice

Tinseltoes on August 8, 2012 at 7:21 am

Here’s a trade article on the introduction of Fox’s wide-screen Grandeur process at the Gaiety Theatre in 1929: archive

Tinseltoes on August 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Half-nudist virgins ran rampant at the Gaiety in 1938: Boxoffice

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on August 27, 2012 at 9:29 pm

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

Tinseltoes on August 28, 2012 at 7:53 am

The “Wajan” booking was mentioned in this editorial, which is mainly directed at the Criterion for indecent lobby displays: Boxoffice

DavidZornig on October 21, 2012 at 2:32 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 26, 2014 at 8:24 pm

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

hdtv267 on June 22, 2014 at 6:14 am

Nice shot of the marquee of this theatre in “Hell up in Harlem” at around the 45 minute mark. you’ll other shots in this Blaxplotation classic as well.

the film showing at the Victoria , “Across 110th Street'

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