Radio City Music Hall

1260 6th Avenue,
New York, NY 10020

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Radio City Music Hall

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One of the greatest Art Deco style structures ever built, Radio City Music Hall is one of the most well known landmarks of New York City. Opened on December 27, 1932, with a variety show, it screened its first film Barbara Stanwyck in “The Bitter Tea of General Yen” on January 11, 1933. The proscenium is 100 feet wide, the stage 66 feet deep. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer organ, which has twin 4 manual consoles and 58 ranks. The organ was opened by organists Dick Leibert and Dr. C.A.J. Parmentier.

Showing a mixture of movies and stage shows in the program for 45 years, the format was ended on April 25, 1979 with Kathleen Quinlan in “The Promise”. Thereafter the programming changed to concerts, stage shows and special events.

Reborn after a $70 million renovation in 1999, Radio City has been restored to all of its original opulence.

Recent comments (view all 3,150 comments)

vindanpar
vindanpar on April 15, 2017 at 3:30 pm

In the footage that I mentioned above of the Flower Drum Song premiere Youngman is seen entering as an audience member.

In an ad for another film which was probably posted by Comfortably Cool the stage show includes Gary Morton though I can’t imagine he even achieved minor fame until he married Lucille Ball. Could a comedian in the midst of a Music Hall stage spectacular make any kind of impression?

Maybe Martin and Lewis could have but it seems they played everywhere in NY but the Metropolitan Opera(you could have stuck them in the third act of Fledermaus as joint jailors. I saw Dom Deluise do Frosch there and he was hilarious)and the Music Hall.

vindanpar
vindanpar on April 15, 2017 at 3:47 pm

And since Comfortably Cool posted two ads for the 60th anniversary of the ‘57 Easter show I’d like to say that I saw a beautiful print of Funny Face at the Music Hall in what might have been '79. Better than Napoleon!

Those Richard Avedon(Dick Avery) designed sequences on the large Music Hall screen were stunning to look at.

vindanpar
vindanpar on April 15, 2017 at 4:01 pm

And Robert Endres probably was behind the projector for both Funny Face and Flower Drum Song when I saw them there!

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on April 17, 2017 at 11:10 am

I like the ads on this theater page. Shows you how showmanship was during the time that the Hall played new movies.

RobertEndres
RobertEndres on April 21, 2017 at 1:20 pm

Alas I didn’t do “Flower Drum Song” or “Funny Face” at the Hall. “Funny Face” was one of the first VistaVision films from Paramount and the very first VistVision picture “White Christmas” did play the Hall with true horizontal VistaVision projectors, one of the few places that did. They were so new (and rare) that I found hand drawn threading diagrams in the booth files. By the time “Funny Face” played it was in a standard reduction print from the VistaVision negative but it must have looked great on that screen.

In my post above I was trying to think of a young girl who played the Hall before becoming more famous. I think now it was Leslie Uggams, and while I can’t find a direct reference to the Hall she was working as a teen ager around the city at that time.

RobertEndres
RobertEndres on April 25, 2017 at 11:35 am

After commenting on vindanpar’s entries above I got to thinking about his date of 1979. I then remembered that there was a special series at the Hall called “Musical Memory Lane” that ran in the mornings after the movie/stage show policy was eliminated. Bob Jani had just taken over the operation and his first show was a “Summer Spectacular”, but he wanted to continue the link to the Hall’s movie heritage. I checked my files and, sure enough, both “Flower Drum Song” and “Funny Face” ran during that series which screened at 11 A.M. Monday’s through Friday’s most weeks. I also realized that I had indeed been behind the projector when vindanpar saw them. Since they were not first run films, the union gave the Hall permission to have only one man in the booth. My “assistant” who was the only man retained from the previous crew didn’t want to do the series so I ran all of the films.

I was surprised that the series ran from 6/18/79 to 11/12/79 and featured 22 titles. I did remember “The Jolson Story” which was in 70mm and “Cabaret” which was the first “R rated” movie to play the Hall.

Among the other statistics were that from the time the house first showed film “The Bitter Tea of General Yen” until the last, “The Promise” in 1979 there were 674 features. In 1985 we did 10 weeks of movie/stage show presentations with “The Black Cauldron” and “Return To Oz” sharing the same Disney stage show. If you count “The Lion King” and “Barney’s Great Adventure” which had runs of at least four days the total number of shows with stage presentations was 677.

The only features that I didn’t count were in the “Art Deco” film festival in 1974 which also featured an art deco antiques show in the lobby. Each of those titles only ran one time. We also did a four feature silent series with Kevin Brownlow in which each feature only ran once, and “Napoleon” also silent with orchestra which ran multiple times over a couple of years.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 25, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Cabaret: USA:PG (MPAA rating: certificate #23094)

RobertEndres
RobertEndres on April 26, 2017 at 7:46 am

Thanks Mike. I took the man in charge of house operations word and didn’t check on my own.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 26, 2017 at 8:44 am

The R rated “ALL THAT JAZZ” opened in late 1979 and may have screened at RCMH.

Flix70
Flix70 on April 27, 2017 at 4:32 pm

Fans of classic cinema will be excited to learn that this Saturday’s 45th-anniversary “Godfather” reunion panel at Radio City Music Hall will stream live on the Tribeca Film Festival’s Facebook page starting at 8:10 PM EST.

The landmark reunion will be moderated by Taylor Hackford and feature director Francis Ford Coppola along with stars Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, James Caan, Diane Keaton and Talia Shire. Fans attending the event will be treated to a screening of both “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II” beforehand.

Talk about an offer you can’t refuse.

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