Strand Theatre

1579 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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July 22nd 1986

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 297 comments)

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 26, 2016 at 1:24 pm

deleted user [Deleted] on July 24, 2004 at 1:20 pm

William, thank you for mentioning “Porgy and Bess” and “Camelot”. I attended the World Premiere of “The Greatest Story Ever Told” at the Warner on Monday, 15 February 1965 and the Los Angeles premiere at Pacific’s Cinerama Theatre on Wednesday, 17 February 1965. The film was an extraordinary cinematic work of art when seen in the curved screen 70mm Ultra Panavision process for Cinerama. My notes at the time clocked the film in at 221 minutes and a 15 minute intermission The running time was the same for the UA pre-screenings at the Warner even with the Alfred Newman (composer) music deletions and Handel and Verdi substitutes. The first edit-down was requested by UA in April 1965 (197 minutes) and UA made a final “bastardized” version March 1967 (141 minutes).

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 26, 2016 at 1:46 pm

I guess you would choose the version you’d want to see based on how long a nap you needed…

bigjoe59 on September 18, 2016 at 2:08 pm


i saw The Greatest Story Ever Told twice during
its 42 week roadshow engagement “in Cinerama” at
this theater. now while I enjoyed the film I
have no recollection of what cut i saw. so was
the only cut this theater ever used the 3hr. 19min. one used for the blu-ray disc? or was the longer
3hr. 45min? cut ever shown during the 42 run?

patryan6019 on September 18, 2016 at 7:17 pm

bigjoe59…If you saw it Palm Sunday or before it was the uncut version.

robboehm on September 18, 2016 at 7:49 pm

Why is this listed as the Strand. I thought policy was the last name used.

bigjoe59 on September 19, 2016 at 1:49 pm


to patryan6019 thanks for the info. as i said i saw TGSET twice during its 42 week roadshow run at this theater but have no idea when. i might have seen the 3hr. 19min. cut. both times. so if i understand your info correctly the original 3hr. 45min. cut was used for a short period of time.

which prompts another question. the film was still going to be on a 2 performance a day roadshow run so what was the point of tweaking it? i wonder what was in the approx. 26 mins. that was cut. the cut of Cleopatra that opened at the Rivoli June of 1963 was 4hrs. 5 mins. it was tweaked while still in its roadshow run. but at least Fox kept the trims from the premiere 4hr. 5min. cut which looks !WOW! on blu-ray disc. i don’t suppose United Artists kept the approx. 26 mins. of trims from TGSET.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on September 19, 2016 at 3:55 pm

You may be on to something, bigjoe. By mid-April 1965 they added a third showing at 9:30am daily for Easter week.

patryan6019 on September 19, 2016 at 10:43 pm

Al Alvarez…I acknowledge your earlier info, but bigjoe apparently wanted more than the month, which I had. With our info it’s now known here that the original length played for 8 weeks.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on September 20, 2016 at 6:14 am

The 9:30am shows ran from April 16 to 24. The shorter running time may have started even before then as it would allow out of town church and school groups to get back home at more reasonable hours and Roadshows always counted heavily on group sales.

patryan6019 on September 20, 2016 at 8:25 am

No…it did start at that point, referenced by Cue magazine and newspaper ads.

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