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 3,129 comments)

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 2, 2017 at 4:53 pm

“Original Poster”. He was commenting on the ad in the photo section for “FLYING DOWN TO RIO” being a Christmas booking while condemned by the Legion of Decency.

edblank
edblank on January 2, 2017 at 5:14 pm

Al, “Flying Down to Rio” was rated A-3 several years ago. It was never rated before. Indeed, it was released three years before the Legion of Decency came into existence (1936).

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 2, 2017 at 6:03 pm

According to Catholic.org the ratings started in 1933 but were only available to Catholics who enquired at the time. According to the New York Times, the public postings of film ratings by the Catholic Legion of Decency started on December 16, 1934. (NYT, Dec 7, 1934). So, although it was not common knowledge, the film was already “Condemned” by the Legion when it showed at RCMH that Christmas, as it made their first “Condemned” listing in 1933.

vindanpar
vindanpar on January 4, 2017 at 1:59 am

Concerning EdBlanks comment it was why I said I found it on Wikipedia because I know of their unreliability. But just because it is on there it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong either.

I also know that somebody like AlAlvarez knows how to find fairly arcane information concerning film distribution and can put the record straight.

I just hope the guy who booked a condemned rated film for a Christmas show wasn’t sacked. But then he was probably the same guy who booked the equally licentious and morally corrupting The Odd Couple 35 years later.

rcdt55b
rcdt55b on February 22, 2017 at 5:24 pm

Before I forget, here are the upcoming movies coming to Radio City…..

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in Concert March 31st or April 1st

Tribeca Film Festival April 19th and April 29th

vindanpar
vindanpar on February 22, 2017 at 10:54 pm

The new ad of Odd Couple made me think of when I was a doorman there in ‘76 an usher supervisor who was working at the Roxy before he moved to the Music Hall when it opened told me there were as many patrons on the last day as there had been on the first 14 weeks before.

A ticket seller told me that it was the last film where the work was unrelenting. When I was there it seemed there were only a few hundred people there a performance and this was the Easter show. And a drearier Easter film the Music Hall never had had. And what was really sad was That’s Entertainment Part II was playing a few blocks north at the Ziegfeld when it would have been beautiful in widescreen and Technicolor on the large Music Hall screen and a real colorful holiday film.

Somebody brilliant at the Hall thought a dreary brown, green and gray revisionist telling of the Robin Hood story of Robin and Marian in sad tired middle age would appeal to the Music Hall audience looking for holiday entertainment. At long Last Love was a masterpiece in comparison. At least the photography was splendid. The best looking first run film I saw there in the 70s.

And the spring stage show after the Glory of Easter was in black and white! They were clearly intentionally driving the Hall into the ground.

vindanpar
vindanpar on March 4, 2017 at 6:26 am

NYer posts See No Evil from Sept 1 ‘71.

The Music Hall descends desperately into showing slasher/horror exploitation 42nd St fare.

Don’t let the pedigree fool you.

And this for a fall show. Though no time was right for it. Saw it in the burbs with Night of the Living Dead. A more suitable companion than It’s In Your Stars on the Great Stage.

vindanpar
vindanpar on March 18, 2017 at 6:27 am

The stage show with The Cowboys the ad of which was just posted certainly would not fly today. The Rockettes as squaws?

Certainly wish I had gone to see it because it sounds like fun but especially with Totem Tom Tom from Rose Marie as the finale.

I just didn’t want to see a movie about a bunch of boys being taught profanity, violence and whoring being past off as family entertainment. At least that’s what it came off as in the reviews.

StanMalone
StanMalone on March 23, 2017 at 4:25 pm

https://www.caboosebooks.net/node/94

This is a link to an article on the career of Bob Endres, the long time lead projectionist at RCMH and contributor to this page. Lots of interesting stories for projectionists as well as Music Hall buffs. Well worth taking a few minutes to read. Thanks Bob.

PS: I have been to the Lake Theater.

NYer
NYer on March 23, 2017 at 6:44 pm

Congrats on a great article Bob, and for an even greater career. Thank you for sharing your memories of “The Music Hall”, and thank you for helping me make memories of my own from front row balcony to center orchestra. I’m sure you were up there on my many visits. Sounds like you have a cool book in you.

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