RKO 23rd Street Theatre

265 Eighth Avenue,
New York, NY 10011

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Showing 1 - 25 of 43 comments

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on June 18, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Oldtimer, I grew up around the corner from the old RKO, my dad was an usher there in the 40s. It truly was beautiful. I remember The Chelsea from the outside but don’t remember going inside. We also went to The Terrace on 23rd Street. When did you attend the old RKO?

The ad shown here should really be under the newer RKO 23rd Street that opened in the 60s.

oldtimer
oldtimer on June 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I grew up in the Chelsea area of NYC. There was the RKO on the corner of 23ST. &8th Ave. There was also the Chelsea between 8th & 9th Ave. on 23rd St. I saw MEn of the Fighting Lady at the Chelsea. The RTko was beautiful. To me as a child it was liking going to a palace.

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on September 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm

I am doing some research on the theater from the Grand Opera House days to the RKO 23rd St. If you’d like to share some information or memories please post or email me. Thanks. Jerry

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on June 18, 2010 at 11:46 am

Joe:
A belated thank you. Great pix. Funny how I remembered the color of the carpeting. The place meant a lot to us. Jerry

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 8, 2010 at 8:33 am

Jerry: The scan is a bit blurry, but Boxoffice Magazine of October 15, 1938, ran an article about the conversion of the Grand Opera House into the RKO 23rd Street, and it has a pair of before-and-after photos showing the foyer and the auditorium.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 6, 2009 at 11:49 pm

Here is another 1937 photo by Berenice Abbott:
http://tinyurl.com/mexc7m

EMarkisch
EMarkisch on July 28, 2009 at 2:12 pm

According to the front of the Grand Opera House marquee, the double feature playing on September 3, 1937, the date the photo was taken, was displayed as…

MARRIED BEFORE BREAKFAST with
ROBT YOUNG & FLORENCE RICE
BANK ALARM with CONRAD NAGEL

Both were released in mid June of 1937.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 28, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Here is a 1937 photo by Berenice Abott. I bought the book of her photos the other day, “Changing New York 1935-1938”, and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys seeing NYC in the 1930s.
http://tinyurl.com/kw3eks

Bway
Bway on May 28, 2009 at 2:30 pm

beautiful photo. Thank you.

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on January 5, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Easy Mr. Harris. I probably did copy some of yours and I know that you will find many there that you do not “own”.

Imagine me having the nerve to copy a posted image of my childhood theater. I’m disgraced.

Lighten up, we are all in this for one thing, to relive memories. Or so I thought.

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on January 5, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Sorry for the confusion. Lost Memory’s link will do it for you.

Hope to hear from folks with memories of the old RKO.

Bway
Bway on January 5, 2009 at 2:42 pm

I think that’s because when you copy a link from your own photobucket account thumbnails pages, or certain pages, the link is set to be loggedin, so it will log into your “my photobucket”, which of course is different for everyone. The same thing happened to me, but it has something to do with the cookies on your computer, and the particular “my photobucket” page he linked to.
I think he has to use a different link that is publically accessible, which certain ones in each of our accounts aren’t, so the cookie on your computer sends it to you own logged in page.

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on January 5, 2009 at 11:53 am

Here is a link to my photobucket album of RKO 23rd St images that I’ve accumulated.

View link

Bway
Bway on January 5, 2009 at 11:35 am

Thanks!
July 8, 2005
Jul 14, 2005
Oct 26, 2005

Bway
Bway on January 5, 2009 at 10:24 am

A lot of the links to the historic images of this theater don’t work. Any current links available?

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on December 26, 2008 at 12:17 pm

Heartbreaking photo of the fire in 1960. I was a young lad standing with my dad watching from this angle. The theater had already been shut down, tragic enough without this happening. Note the OPERA sign in the window.

View link

jflundy
jflundy on December 20, 2008 at 2:32 pm

Jim Fisk was a Wall Street shark and took control of the Erie Railroad along with Jay Gould. The Erie Railroad general Offices were in the Grand Opera House building which was owned by Fisk in the 1870’s. In 1945, one outer door remained with the initials ER still marked on it on 28th Street, long after the Railroad had moved out.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on May 20, 2008 at 3:50 pm

As the Grand Opera House this was showing films at least as early as January 1923 when it ran TESS OF THE STORM COUNTRY.

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on February 26, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Excerpt from 1870 NY Illustrated article in two parts:

View link

View link

Jerry

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on January 16, 2008 at 11:09 am

8 years shy of its 100th birthday. Sad day indeed. I remember, as a10 year old, standing on the south side of 23rd Street watching the fire and the firemen.

I vividly remember standees from AT WAR WITH THE ARMY and TONKA being thrown out on the street.

The theater had closed on June 15 to make way for the ILGWU Co-Op development. The site became a bank, a Chicken Delight and other “necessities”.

I still miss this place and I hope someday to find images of the long foyer, the staircase and the concession area. Jerry

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on January 1, 2008 at 9:10 am

1925 Closed For Repairs images

View link

View link

Happy New Year. Jerry

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on April 8, 2007 at 4:00 am

An RKO promo in 1958, April 19 to May 31. Flyer with discount admissions to SAturday morning Kid Shows ($.20 instead of $.30). 7 consecutive weeks of a “surprise” film with the regular double feature. And a “star stamp collection”. Great times.

View link

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on December 24, 2006 at 8:13 am

3D at the RKO….1953. Note the “short”…Nat King Cole in 3D!

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Happy Holidays, CTers.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 28, 2006 at 10:43 am

The 1897-98 edition of Julius Cahn’s Official Theatrical Guide says of the Grand Opera House: “…we find on the northwest corner (of Eighth Ave and 23rd St) the Grand Opera House, erected by Samuel Pike, and afterward purchased by Jay Gould, and managed by the redoubtable Col. Jim Fisk. This theatre has been recently remodeled, and is now one of the city’s most popular playhouses for combinations. It is still owned by the Gould estate and is managed by Augustus Pitou”. The admission prices ranged from 25 cents to $1.50. There were 2,149 seats and 500 standing room places. The proscenium opening was 36 feet wide x 32 feet high, and the stage was 63 feet deep. The theatre was on the ground floor and there were 11 members of the house orchestra.

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on November 5, 2006 at 11:47 am

In the latest issue of FILMS OF THE GOLDEN AGE magazine, they published an edited version of an article I did on the old RKO 23rd Street.

On the home page, you can request a free sample. I do not know if you’ll receive this issue, but hey, it’s free.

Keeping the memory alive!

http://www.filmsofthegoldenage.com/