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 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 311 comments)

vindanpar on December 31, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Had Camelot been a hit the Strand would have not been twinned as early as it had been. Probably the same for Dr Dolittle and Loew’s State.

Though where would 2001 have gone after the Capitol was torn down? Straight to showcase? And what about Ice Station Zebra, a waste of Cinerama if there ever was one. Where would that have opened?

Astyanax on December 31, 2017 at 4:34 pm

Funny coincidence that you mention Camelot tonight as I spent New Years Eve eons ago at the Strand.

StevenOtero on January 5, 2018 at 12:16 am

This is to hardbop question about a theater where the old Woolworth’s was on 50 St & 7 Ave. Yes there was a theater there from Aug 1931 until Dec 1934. I have found the NYC Certificate of Occupancy & sent them to Cinema Treasures .

RichHamel on January 5, 2018 at 6:37 am

stevenotero, It was the Earl Carroll Theatre. It was torn down in 1990.

dickneeds111 on January 5, 2018 at 8:45 am

To Vindanpar. I enjoyed Ice Station Zebra. It was a very good film and the 70mm Cinerama aspect was not a waste. But both Dr. Doolittle which I saw in 70mm at the 5th ave in seattle was a waste of time & money. Camelot was god awful. I saw ISZ at the Cinerama in Providence. I’m glad I never `paid to see Camelot in a theatre.

StevenOtero on January 5, 2018 at 2:29 pm

The Earl Carroll Theatre now has it’s own listing here.

DavidZornig on January 26, 2018 at 6:01 pm

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

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 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)

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.

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