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 339 comments)

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.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on January 30, 2020 at 1:59 pm

Opening day ad for CHMEFMHAFTH posted in photos (lol)

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on January 30, 2020 at 3:49 pm

Hello-

based on the intro at top this theater which opened as the Strand in 1914 retained its original interior décor till it was converted to Cinerama in 1953?

vindanpar
vindanpar on February 6, 2020 at 5:45 pm

Kino Lorber is releasing Song of Norway on bluray. No information except that it is a new 2K master. From a 70mm negative? No specifics. Normally I would have run to a roadshow film like this but after the reviews I stayed clear. Still haven’t seen it except for a bit where Florence Henderson is rolling around in the grass. I thought no wonder the great Strand/Cinerama theater did a 180 from a prestigious first run roadshow theater straight to 42nd street grind house.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on February 6, 2020 at 6:13 pm

I bought a DVD of “NORWAY” back in London that was probably a bootleg. The DVD had no ending but the film was dreadful anyway.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 6, 2020 at 7:32 pm

“Hey vindanpar, we resent that remark…!”

—-the late, lamented 42nd Street grindhouses

vindanpar
vindanpar on February 7, 2020 at 12:09 pm

yeah Mike(saps) I miss them too. And I never thought I’d say that.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on February 7, 2020 at 2:07 pm

Hello-

being a lifelong film buff I am still a tad confused as to what the term “grindhouse” means. if I am not mistaken this theater played several studio releases after TSON ran here. for instance Apocalypse Now played here after its run at the Ziegfeld.

vindanpar
vindanpar on February 7, 2020 at 2:41 pm

I did see Superman II here. But it did in the very early 70s start showing a lot of exploitation fare unlike the Ziegfeld which for the most part played Hollywood A films. The Ziegfeld was never an exploitation house which all the great Times Square houses were at some point if not all the time. The one that remained for the most part a class act until the end was Loew’s State. I don’t know why exactly.

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