RKO Warner Twin Theatre

1579 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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RKO Warner Twin Theatre

Located on Broadway at W. 47th Street, the Mark 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 Mark 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 “Strangers 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 31, 1968, the theatre was twinned becoming the Warner Strand Theatre. A third 450-seat theatre was built on the old Strand Theatre’s stagehouse, named Cine Orleans (Off Broadway), which had its own entrance on W. 47th Street. On June 3, 1971 following an over $5000,000. refurbishment it reopened as the RKO Warner Twin Theatre. With 1,100 seats occupied the main floor. The former balcony became the 1,200 seat Penthouse 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 331 comments)

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 13, 2019 at 5:37 pm

“HOLIDAY IN SPAIN” opened here as “SCENT OF MYSTERY” in Smell-o-Vision, but not in Cinerama. I don’t believe “THE GOLDEN HEAD” ever played Manhattan.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on October 13, 2019 at 8:00 pm

I don’t believe there is a movie called IAMMMMW

SethLewis
SethLewis on October 14, 2019 at 5:24 am

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

vindanpar
vindanpar on October 14, 2019 at 7:11 am

Mike knew that but he was being difficult.
What’s an anagram for Cinerama?

vindanpar
vindanpar on October 14, 2019 at 7:24 am

Alvarez you are fast.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on October 14, 2019 at 1:38 pm

Hello-

to Al A. as always thanks for the info. two additional
quick questions-

  1. I ask about whether it was presented “in Cinerama” since the Cinerama logo is used on the cover of the new Twilight Time restored/remastered Blu-ray disc.

  2. also was “Holiday in Spain” the exact same film as “scent of Mystery” except for the Smell-o-Vision part?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 14, 2019 at 1:58 pm

“SCENT” was the original in 70mm Smell-o-Vision. Since the film bombed and was somewhat of a travelogue mystery/comedy, it was re-edited and blown up for Cinerama release as “Holiday in Spain”. That also failed. The version shown on TCM was the Cinerama version but it seemed to have some 70mm scenes added in from the original.

vindanpar
vindanpar on October 14, 2019 at 4:51 pm

bigjoe do you have the original 2001 souvenir book? The long horizontal rectangular one with the original space exploration cover art? How many do you have and what condition are they in? It goes for quite a bit of money on ebay. I have mine in a closet somewhere. Haven’t looked at it since forever. Though I brought it with me to the play Doubles to get Dullea to sign it but chickened out at the last minute. Got it new by going to the National Publishers office itself where I got a slew of in new condition souvenir books. You see the address for it in many of the 60s roadshow films books. But I’m sure you know this.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on October 15, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Hello-

to vindanpar- yes I still have the long horizontal program from when I saw 2001 at the Capitol. its in mint condition. I looked at eBay and saw it goes for $125. damn.

also I myself went to the office for National Publishers which was in a large office building that was at the N.E. corner of Bway and 42 St.. this was toward the end of the roadshow era say 69/70. several of my programs had been damaged in an accident. the receptionist was kind enough to let me look thru the stock room. It was like being a kid in a candy store.

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