Strand Theatre

1579 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Cinerama & Penthouse

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 450-seat theatre built in the old Strand’s stagehouse was also opened, called the Cine Orleans(Off Broadway), 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 317 comments)

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on January 26, 2018 at 6:01 pm

1955 photo added via Al Ponte’s Time Machine-New York Facebook page.

StevenOtero
StevenOtero on May 4, 2018 at 2:09 pm

Does anyone have more info on the 1956 “Lady in Black ” Promotional handouts for Cinerama’s “Seven Wonders Of The World” Photo ?

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on May 19, 2018 at 6:03 pm

1961 photo added via Mark MacDougal‎. “Exodus” at the Warner Theatre. Note the additional Exodus neon lettering that was added over the Warner neon. Similar to when “Cleopatra” played the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo of Pantages sign below)

http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/292/photos/195710

vindanpar
vindanpar on June 12, 2018 at 2:21 pm

Maybe I need to resee Ice Station Zebra. I saw it as a boy when it came to the suburbs though remember seeing the billboard above the Strand/Warner at Christmas of ‘68. I remember it looking very fake on cheesy indoor sets that was supposed to be outdoors like some sort of 50s science fiction film. Maybe it was a better experience at the Strand. Who knows maybe Camelot was better there as well and I remember that being pretty awful. I didn’t even bother to see it at the '78 70mm festival. But My Fair Lady, South Pacific and Paint Your Wagon(yes really, though I wish it had been filmed in 70mm) were spectacular.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on August 3, 2018 at 3:44 pm

Hello-

I may have asked this question in the past if so please so kind as to reply with any additional thoughts on the matter. I like The Greatest Story Ever Told which i saw twice during its roadshow here. now at the time it was considered a financial dud for United Artists. this is where my question comes in. the film’s roadshow run at this theater ran 44 weeks which is a decent run for a roadshow film. so if it was such a $$$ dud for UA couldn’t the Warner have gotten out of showing it? i can’t believe they’d show the film for 44 weeks if it wasn’t at least breaking even each week.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on August 3, 2018 at 8:28 pm

Success on the Main Stem doesn’t always equal boffo b.o. in the nabes.

—abel.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 4, 2018 at 5:51 am

I looked up the ads and one of the reasons for the long run may have been that for much of it, the film ran a Broadway show schedule with matinees only on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday with three shows on Saturdays. So for much of the run, there was only one show per day.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 25, 2018 at 9:59 am

“Scent of Mystery” was on TCM recently in its Cinerama version. I can’t think of a film more deserving of this Mad Magazine spoof.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10156665651544886&set=gm.10157719732744832&type=3&theater&ifg=1

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on September 9, 2018 at 9:53 am

An ad from 1968 for the transfer of “2001” to the Cinerama from the doomed Loew’s Capitol can be viewed here

MSC77
MSC77 on October 9, 2018 at 1:40 pm

“Finian’s Rainbow” premiered here (Penthouse) 50 years ago today.

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