Strand Theatre

1579 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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RKO Cinerama Theatre's Broadway Comes to Broadway Film Festival

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Located on Broadway at W. 47th Street, the Strand Theatre was opened on April 11, 1914 with the photoplay “The Spoilers” starring William Farnum. It was built for the Mitchel Mark Realty Company and was under the early direction of Samuel “Roxy” Rothapfel. It originally had a seating capacity of 2,989 located in orchestra and a single balcony.

The Strand Theatre began its life with stage shows in addition to movies and also had one of the largest stages in the city in 1914. After stage shows were dropped in 1929, seating was reduced to 2,750. In the late-1930’s stage shows (and vaudeville) were brought back.

After dropping stage shows on July 3, 1951, the Strand Theatre was renamed Warner Theatre, and opened with “Stangers on a Train”. During 1952 to 1953, the theatre closed, was renovated and renamed Warner Cinerama Theatre. Cinerama films moved here from the Broadway Theatre, starting with “This Is Cinerama” in 1953.

In 1963, the auditorium was equipped with a 81 foot wide, 30 feet tall screen to show “Its a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”. World Premiere’s of 70mm films included “Porgy and Bess”(June 24, 1959), “Exodus”(December 15, 1960), “The Greatest Story Ever Told”(February 15, 1965), “Grand Prix”(December 21, 1966 and “Camelot”(October 25, 1967).

On July 30, 1968, the theatre reopened as a triplex. The Warner Cinerama Theatre with 1,000 seats occupied the main floor. The former balcony became the 1,200 seat Penthouse Theatre. A third theatre built in the old Strand’s stagehouse was also opened, called the Cine Orleans, which had its own entrance on W. 47th Street. In the early-1980’s the Cinerama Theatre and Penthouse Theatre were remodeled and renamed the RKO Warner Twin Theatre.

Unfortunately, on February 8th 1987, after a long and eventful life, one of the greatest movie palaces of New York City closed and was demolished.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures, Warren, Orlando Lopes

Recent comments (view all 371 comments)

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 27, 2012 at 8:51 am

Birth of triplets described in this 1968 trade article: Boxoffice

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 27, 2012 at 8:54 am

Orleans facade pictured here: Boxoffice

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on August 13, 2012 at 8:15 am

Plans for the Strand’s grand opening described in this 1914 trade article: archive

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on August 23, 2012 at 7:54 am

Premiere of WB’s “G-Men” described in this 1935 trade article: Boxoffice

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on September 5, 2012 at 9:19 am

Auditorium pictured in this 1940 trade ad. By this time, the Strand had resumed stage shows, with an emphasis on big bands and “name” singers: Boxoffice

jakepeg
jakepeg on February 1, 2013 at 4:35 am

Tinseltoes: What are the chances of that? I’m English, and attached in the photo section is a photo I took on vacation in America in 1986, and just like the Tax Photo you’ve posted, the movie showing at the time was ALIENS (which incidentally I went into the cinema to watch):–) http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/2975/photos/65838

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on November 12, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Although the Photos Section now contains more than 120 images for this theatre, the one displayed on the entry page seems permanently fixed. Why is that? I thought that they were supposed to be automatically rotated…I could make the same complaint (and frequently have) about the listing for NYC’s Capitol Theatre.

robboehm
robboehm on November 12, 2013 at 5:48 pm

What happened to the concept of last name of usage rules? On another note. The Strand was at one point carved into three unique theatres, the Warner, Penthouse and Cine Orleans. At a later date the three became one (or, rather, two) as the Warner Twin. Should not the Penthouse and Cine Orleans have their own listings? Isn’t there a precedence with the Globe carved out of the, I think, Rialto. One theatre had a Broadway entrance, the other 42nd Street.

Hamblin
Hamblin on February 7, 2014 at 6:01 pm

I do not think it is correct that the theater opened with the name Mark Strand Theatre, which was the name of the realty company that owned it; the first evidence of that name I can find is an ad from September 1919, in The Evening World (NY) (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030193/1919-09-02/ed-1/seq-19.pdf); that was long after Rothapfel had left. Googling turns up nothing earlier, and “Cinema Treasures” by Melnick and Fuchs (p. 27f.) doesn’t mention it. So it seems the opening name was Strand Theatre.

Hamblin
Hamblin on February 10, 2014 at 7:17 pm

More on the name at Wikipedia: Strand Theatre (Manhattan) and its Talk page.

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