Strand Theatre

1579 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Cinerama & Penthouse

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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 278 comments)

Hamblin on February 7, 2014 at 7:01 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) (; 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 on February 10, 2014 at 8:17 pm

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

bigjoe59 on June 15, 2014 at 6:24 pm


i recently bought the blu-ray disc of The Greatest Story Ever Told. the running time of the disc is 3 hrs. 19 mins.. which is where my question comes in. the liner
notes on the back cover say-“restored to its theatrical brilliance with Overture and Intermission”. now i saw TGSET twice during its Cinerama reserved seat engagement but can’t remember what the running time was. now i recently found out the original running time of the roadshow run print was 3 hrs. 45 mins. but did the Warner Cinerama ever play that print or did it only play the 3 hr. 19 min. print?

a case in point. there’s the scene towards the end where Jesus is talking at night time to a large crows at the Temple. you see Roman soldiers pushing in then it switches to another scene. the next time see Jesus he’s entering the house where the Last Supper takes place. but then there’s a quick cut back to the Temple we see are a few dead bodies scattered around including the young former cripple (Sal Mineo)lying across the altar steps. what happened to the scene of the Roman soldiers aggressively dispursing the crowd resulting in the dead bodies we see?

William on June 16, 2014 at 7:11 am

The film premiered at 238 minutes. Steven’s first cut version was 260 minutes but United Artists demanded it be reedited. After the premiere they demanded further cuts. Which made it 199 minutes for the Roadshow version. UA had a version that ran 141 minutes for theatrical exhibition. There was also a mutilated 35mm version that ran 127 minutes. As to a question you asked about the Warner’s screen. The Warner’s Cinerama 3-panel screen was 67' x 27' and the 70MM screen was 81' x 30'.

bigjoe59 on June 16, 2014 at 6:50 pm

to William-

thanks for the info. just to be sure another question or two. i assume Stevens longest cut at 4 hrs. 20 mins. like Mankiewicz’s 5 hr. 20 min. cut of Cleopatra was never theatrically shown . now was the 238 min. cut you refer to used just
for the World Premiere night screening or was it used for the entire roadshow run the Warner. in other words how long was the 238min. cut used at the Warner and at what point did they switch to the 3hr. 19 min. cut used on the blu-ray. i am wondering if the premiere 238min cut actually shows Sal Mineo’s being killed. to have him walking in the crowd at the Temple than the next time you see him he’s dead lying on the altar steps you just know something was cut.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on June 16, 2014 at 7:28 pm

And, exactly how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Thanks in advance…

patryan6019 on December 17, 2014 at 11:41 pm

bigjoe59…Do you still want to know the GS runtime history here?

Cinerama on December 28, 2014 at 6:50 am

TGSET preview ticket has running time of 4 hours including intermission –

This review has 221 minutes plus intermission –

on 4/16 it was reduced by 28 minutes –

patryan6019 on December 29, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Cinerama…That’s not the correct date — close, but not exact. Where is that article from because DEFG photos have been inaccessible on CT for years.

DavidZornig on September 16, 2015 at 9:00 pm

1956 marquee photo added. Promotional handouts for Cinerama’s “Seven Wonders Of The World”. Photo courtesy of Al Ponte’s Time Machine – New York Facebook page.

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