Roxy Theatre

153 W. 50th Street,
New York, NY 10020

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Showing 1 - 25 of 1,165 comments

vindanpar on September 17, 2018 at 10:53 am

Was The Robe CinemaScope screen wide enough to stretch beyond the sides of the proscenium or was it the same screen to be used for the CinemaScope films that played along with a stage show and had to be raised into the flies above?

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on September 17, 2018 at 9:42 am

Prior to the 1953 debut of “The Robe,” the Roxy’s final stage-and-screen offering was Clifton Webb’s B&W “Mr. Scoutmaster” and an ice-skating revue with a dude ranch theme. After the last performances on Sunday, September 6th, dismantling of the “Ice Colorama” equipment began, but “Mr. Scoutmaster” remained as the bottom half of a double-bill. Taking top position was a “preview” of 20th-Fox’s soon-to-be released “Vicki,” a B&W suspenser starring Jeanne Crain and Jean Peters. This combination continued until the Roxy closed for several days to complete refurbishments for the “Robe” premiere.

MSC77 on September 16, 2018 at 8:53 pm

“The Robe,” the first film in CinemaScope, premiered here sixty-five years ago today.

moviebuff82 on September 12, 2018 at 4:19 pm

Didn’t Roxy Music name themselves after this venue?

bigjoe59 on July 19, 2018 at 1:47 pm


thank you to Simon S. for your reply. the reason I asked is simple. I’ve always considered souvenir programs an integral part of a roadshow engagement. this is especially true in the prime Sept. 1952 to Dec. 1972 period. to which I wonder how many films the studio involved thought highly enough of that they had a souvenir program as well even though they were being released on as regular continuous performance basis to use an old term.

Simon L. Saltzman
Simon L. Saltzman on July 19, 2018 at 6:51 am

The Roxy always had a free (at least) two page sepia-toned program. Patrons could pick up program on a table near the entrance of the rotunda. The only paid program might have been for Windjammer which played on a reserved seat basis.

bigjoe59 on July 18, 2018 at 1:19 pm


I’m guessing like the Music Hall the Roxy handed out a two page leaflet with each film playing there. to which my question. did many of the films that played the Roxy sell souvenir programs?

Simon L. Saltzman
Simon L. Saltzman on June 29, 2018 at 9:42 am

I could be wrong but as I remember the Vista Vision screen at the Paramount it was not only curved from the horizontal perspective but also appeared to be curved forward slightly at the top which gave additional illusion of depth. I hope it isn’t my imagination, but the feeling of depth was also increased by being in the Paramount which was a more intimate theater (about 3600 seats)than the Music Hall (5900 seats). The Paramount also had greatly superior sound than RCMH.

vindanpar on June 28, 2018 at 7:11 pm

And the Paramount and the Roxy screens had to be flown when there were stage shows so I’m sure that kept the stage hands busy. Interesting that the Music Hall kept it flat. I guess the extra 6 ft was too unwieldy or they were worried about sightlines.

The Paramount Vistavision must have been really impressive.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on June 28, 2018 at 6:59 pm

As per the NY Times article, Thursday April 21, 1955. The Roxy screen was 64 ½ x 26 ½ and curved. The Paramount VistaVision was 64 x 35 and curved.

The Warner Cinerama was 67 and 24 ½ and seriously curved.

MarkDHite on June 28, 2018 at 6:40 pm

Check out photo 131 on p7. Its plenty big and slightly curved and just fits inside the proscenium. Of course I was never in the Roxy, but if you search for the photo that shows the Roxy’s pre-CinemaScope standard screen you can see why it must have thrilled audiences. And, for what it’s worth, the Roxy was already gone 2 years when the Capitol installed its 90 foot Cinerama screen.

vindanpar on June 28, 2018 at 5:40 pm

MarkD you say on the Capitol page the Roxy CinemaScope screen was 68ft wide. Did this have any curvature as one sees in the ads? This also had to be inside the proscenium if it was to be ‘flown’ and therefore did not have the immersive effect the ads would like you to believe?

MarkDHite on April 16, 2018 at 3:51 pm

Just don’t read the terrible comments.

vindanpar on April 16, 2018 at 3:00 pm

And watch the 11 minute film after which is the New York of one’s dreams.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on April 16, 2018 at 8:58 am

Brief color film of the Roxy Theatre and surrounding midtown area in 1946 can be viewed here

hanksykes on February 27, 2018 at 2:14 pm

In the Picture of Miss Swanson standing on the rubble are the set of doors behind her to the auditorium or the street?

vindanpar on February 27, 2018 at 12:45 pm

I’ve probably written this before.

Stephen Sondheim’s favorite movie theater was the Roxy and he went often. He even wrote an entire musical based on the very famous Life photo of Swanson the Roxy’s first movie star standing in the rubble as it was torn down.

Comfortably Cool posted the ad of Hangover Square the attendance of which Sondheim claimed was a seminal moment in his life because of the Herrmann score.

So the Roxy’s history still reverberates in our cultural life today.

StanMalone on December 18, 2017 at 8:22 am

Somewhere in the hundreds of previous comments on this page someone pointed out that the opening overhead sequence of West Side Story passes over the site of the Roxy. If you are quick with the pause button you can see the site as a big, open pit, dirt hole.

vindanpar on November 1, 2017 at 11:31 am

When the Capitol was torn down I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the auditorium was intact. It looked like they just built a smaller capacity Cinerama theater within it. Same with the Strand.

Like what happened with the El Capitan when it was modernized. Sad to think those great original auditoriums were unseen for so many years and then demolished before anyone could see them again. Who knows what treasures the demolitionists found and then destroyed.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 23, 2017 at 6:09 pm

The Rivoli was twinned in 1981.

MarkDHite on October 23, 2017 at 5:14 pm

What vindanpar says is true. Even if somehow the Roxy had survived and continued as a first-run theatre, it would soon have been divided into two and later 3 or more screens/theaters. The only midtown movie palace to avoid this fate was Radio City and that was because of its special status as the centerpiece of Rockefeller Center. Well, the much smaller Rivoli also remained a single screen venue, showing mostly long-run roadshow attractions.

MarkDHite on October 23, 2017 at 4:26 pm

You can find this on Wikipedia or many other sources, but just quickly: A so-called A movie was one with a large budget, major stars and directors, top original story or book adaptation. It was released to the top theatres owned by the studios across the country, then it went to the small towns and finally the second-run neighborhood theatres and drive-ins before winding up their- run.

An A movie could be anything from a routine programmer on a tight budget but still with excellent acting and production to an all-out massive epic.

The B movie usually had a small budget, limited production values, very good but lesser known actors and directors. They were made quickly and cheaply to fill out the programs at theatres. They would most often be released as the second feature on a double bill along with an A movie at major chain theatres but also might be the main attraction at second-run and rural theatres.

That’s just the major and minor films made by the major studios. Over time the B movie on the lower half of a double feature replaced most (but not all) of the short subjects that had been popular earlier in the studio era. Newsreels and cartoons were the exceptions and continued into the early 60s.

MarkDHite on October 23, 2017 at 4:02 pm

We actually had this exact discussion before. Scroll up to the comments from November 2014. (Geez I thought it was a few months ago.) The Wind Cannot Read which was the last movie at the Roxy was a relatively obscure British film, but not a B movie. The last few weeks, once the Roxy was officially slated to close, it showed a revival double bill and this British film. Prior to that it showed strictly first-run major studio releases, as Simon explained. Cheers.

vindanpar on October 23, 2017 at 3:52 pm

Even an A house occasionally would have to play a B picture. Also didn’t the Roxy shortly before this play a double bill of Waterfront and another perhaps Brando film? Normally at this time what you’d find on 42nd Street.

An ignominious end to a glorious theater but they pretty much all ended that way. Especially if they made it to the 70s. They became mausoleums for exploitation films.

bigjoe59 on October 23, 2017 at 3:25 pm


I thank Simon S. for his reply. but it prompts another question. exactly how was an A movie differentiated from a B movie? for instance I had never heard of “The Wind Can Not Read” until I went thru the photo pages for this theater. so since I had never heard of it I assumed it was B movie.