Radio City Music Hall

1260 Avenue of the Americas,
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 2,999 comments)

GeorgeStrum
GeorgeStrum on April 17, 2015 at 3:37 pm

I wish they would return to the movie/show policy. for perhaps one special day or week

rcdt55b
rcdt55b on April 17, 2015 at 4:02 pm

We actually did just install a brand new house picture sheet this past Monday.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 17, 2015 at 7:33 pm

I love that term “picture sheet.” Thanks for using it…!

GeorgeStrum
GeorgeStrum on May 21, 2015 at 7:13 pm

Experience an evening at the Music Hall on the night of June 6, 1939. Find the following videos on Youtube: Radio City Music Hall March Loews Wonder Morton Organ. Goofy and Wilbur 1939. Tchaikovsky Symp. 6 movements 2 & 3. Corp de Ballet (1936) 1930s Rockettes at Radio City, Jan Pierce 1939 Vesti la giubba. Frank Sinatra Wishing 1939. The Sun Never Sets 1939 (1 min clip), Not all clips are from 39 and many are condensed but you’ll get a little feel of what you may have seen and heard at the Music Hall on 6/6/39.

GeorgeStrum
GeorgeStrum on May 21, 2015 at 8:19 pm

Disappointed organs weren’t used in the Spring Special. Shame!

Little_Billy_At_The_Movies
Little_Billy_At_The_Movies on May 31, 2015 at 11:51 am

In 1978 New York’s “Showplace of the Nation,” Radio City Music Hall, was threatened with closure and possible demolition. There have been many accounts of the efforts to save the building, some more accurate than others, but you can see a brief history of what really happened at the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYTejmeyOP0

Rosemary Novellino, the captain of the Radio City Music Hall ballet company at the time, led the fight to save the iconic Art Deco masterpiece from destruction. She has documented the struggle in a new book “Saving Radio City Music Hall – A Dancer’s True Story” which is available from amazon.com, barnesandnobel.com and turningpointpressllc.com.

vindanpar
vindanpar on June 6, 2015 at 12:35 pm

That seems curious as the Music Hall disbanded its' ballet company 4 years earlier and it was not in existence when the Music Hall ended its' film/stage show format.

This was especially unfortunate as the ballet company was the ensemble on which the Music Halls spectacles were built such as Rhapsody in Blue, Bolero and the Undersea Ballet.

I remember many years ago seeing color photos of Music Hall stage shows from the 50s and they really were something. I wish somebody would find them and post them.

By the 70s when I was going and especially after the ballet company was dismissed the stage shows were incredibly amateurish, cheap looking and embarrassing. The curtain opening kept getting smaller and smaller doing little to disguise the fact that the sets were puny and there were few people on stage. Even the Rockettes were reduced to 30!

Even when films still had limited engagements the Music Hall got the leftovers which were from hunger. Why didn’t the Hall get films like The Way We Were, Murder on the Orient Express or That’s Entertainment? Because the studios no longer wanted their films to open there. Seeing stuff on the great screen like The Girl from Petrovka and Hennesy was mortifying.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on June 6, 2015 at 1:32 pm

Vindanpar, welcome to CinemaTreasures… Please continue to post your thoughts and memories of the great (and not so great) cinema treasures of years past. And add some photos, too, if you have any to share.

wolfgirl500
wolfgirl500 on June 6, 2015 at 1:46 pm

Does anyone have any photos of the Andre Rieu concert at the Radio City Music Hall?

vindanpar
vindanpar on June 6, 2015 at 5:14 pm

Mike I only wish I had the photos I saw in a family encyclopedia I had as a boy which were under the heading of ballet. I believe you bought them volume by volume from the A and P.

Also the company Impact Photos I believe it was called had photos in one of the outside vetrines of the Music Hall of past stage shows(by the 70s this was far in the past)which were pretty impressive.

The most spectacular stage show I saw was the ‘69 Christmas show which started with The Nativity(very Catholic Renaissance unlike today’s more reformed Christian take)and ended with I kid you not the launch of Apollo 11 and its’ landing on the moon with a guy as Neil Armstrong coming out of the spacecraft and planting the American flag on the lunar surface. How they managed to tie this into a grand Christmas finale was ingenious. Such was the theatrical showmanship of the old days.

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