Little Carnegie Playhouse

146 W. 57th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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marcystarnes
marcystarnes on December 8, 2014 at 5:34 am

I worked there for many years, one of my favorite jobs. It was an exciting place where I got to meet and speak to my favorite movie stars; Jodie Foster, Anthony Perkins, etc. Those were the days, with blockbuster movies that sold out in an hour and a half! Management staff was steady with a mature manager staff. John Crisman was the nicest manager we had. It was during this time the home company was the Walter Reade Organization, a name that confused customers as they associated it with the hospital. It was run strictly as a business for them. Walter Reade Organization which owned roughly eight theaters within the theater circuit, never once closed early for Christmas or even Thanksgiving. After they closed their doors, I worked at nearby location. Over the years, I worked within the circuit at The New Yorker, the Ziegfield, the Waverly and the Festival. I was offered two jobs after they closed. What I enjoyed most about the job was the wonderful friendships I made that endured for years, that made it a great job.

nyer13
nyer13 on October 7, 2013 at 7:32 pm

In the ‘70s we usually sold out @ approx. 480 seats. We also day dated with either the Baronet or Coronet depending on the movie.

The most disappointed audiences I saw were for “La Grande Bouffe.”

nyer13
nyer13 on October 7, 2013 at 7:18 pm

I worked at the Little Carnegie from ‘71 to '77 (usher/doorman). Among other notables – We played new Woody Allen films & his agents/producers had offices further east on the block. We did a screening for WNEW-FM of “Catch My Soul” – a rock Othello with Iago played by the actor who later played the colonel chasing “The A Team.” We also did screenings for Richard Brown’s film appreciation course which was then associated with The New School. As an unofficial perk I got to attend the course & met Peter Yates of “Robbery” “Bullitt” chase fame, a very nice fellow whose UK movie history is interesting as there are a few precursors to both Robbery & Bullitt in his earlier & often non-directorial work.

& John & Yoko did come in one time when I was working. John Wolgamot was the long-term mgr when I was at the theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 31, 2012 at 12:06 pm

There are probably few people who remember the original 1928 look of the Little Carnegie Playhouse. It was a strikingly modern design, most likely inspired, at least in part, by the work of the German Bauhaus. Here are two photos from the December 1, 1928, issue of Motion Picture News showing the auditorium and lounge.

I don’t know how much of the original design was lost in the early 1940s remodeling by Thomas Lamb’s office, but whatever might have remained after that was wiped out in the gut renovation designed by John McNamara that was undertaken in 1952. So far I’ve been unable to discover who the theater’s original architect was.

marcystarnes
marcystarnes on October 13, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Most of the films that Played at The Little Carnegie Theater in the seventies and eighties, were a big sucess: Annie Hall, Tess, Tommy, The French Lieutenant’s Woman. I would like to see a photo.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 1, 2011 at 10:01 am

“The Talented Mr Ripley” is actually a very fine movie.

robboehm
robboehm on August 31, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Loved Purple Noon. Didn’t see the English remake. They never hold up.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on August 31, 2011 at 11:10 am

“Plein Soleil” was later successfully remade in English as “The Talented Mr. Ripley”.

miclup
miclup on August 30, 2011 at 12:34 am

I was very fortunate to work at the Little Carnegie as a teenager in the late 70s/early 80s. What a magnificent place! Like a smaller version of the Beekman but even better. The doors to the theater were amazingly deco. Seeing the photo of the interior posted in one of the comments was shocking. In my mind, this place was huge. It was actually quite teanie. But what programming! Because they were a premiere platform theater, everything opened here to huge crowds, celebrities, and very long runs. I worked there for several years during high school and the only 2 films I remember are PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK and MANHATTAN. They were hugely successful and played for months.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 31, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Here is a fresh link to the picture of the Little Carnegie on the cover of Boxoffice, October 4, 1952.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on July 6, 2010 at 10:13 am

World’s Wonder News theatre:

View link

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on March 3, 2010 at 10:05 am

The Little Carnegie closed in April 1982 after an extended run-in with Susan Sarandon’s aforementioned lemony breasts.

“Atlantic City” was not a bad way out for this classy venue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 28, 2010 at 4:11 am

A photo of the auditorium of the Little Carnegie as remodeled by John McNamara was featured on the cover of Boxoffice, October 4, 1952. Two giant salamanders, cleverly disguising themselves as Art Moderne ornamentation, waited on either side of the screen to pounce upon and devour arriving audience members.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 2, 2009 at 9:55 pm

“I am a Camera” was playing at the Little Carnegie in October 1955. Click on the ad for an expanded view.
http://tinyurl.com/m8paqx

Astyanax
Astyanax on February 7, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Saw Louis Malle’s “Murmurs of the Heart” there. Enjoyed the movie, but hated having to leave the plush and comfortable lounge area.

worldpeople3
worldpeople3 on February 7, 2009 at 4:10 am

I found this website after doing a search for information about the little Carnegie and the Thalia. I lived in New York for a year in 1980 and attended the Little Carnegie only once, to see the Woody Allen film Manhattan. What a wonderful experience, to see that film on the big screen with a New York audience. At the end the film got a standing ovation from the audience. This Seattle boy was impressed.

Henry Smith

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 4, 2009 at 9:55 pm

This is from Boxoffice magazine in May 1943:

NEW YORK-Martin J. Lewis and Erwin Lesser, operators of a chain of art houses here, and Goldberg Brothers, operators of the Studio Theater, Philadelphia, have jointly purchased the Little Carnegie Theater, West 57th St., from Jack Davis, former British theater operator. The new management will take possession at once and will operate it as a first-run art theater.

Robert C. Spodick has resigned as manager of the Ascot, first-run foreign film house in the Bronx, to become manager of the Little Carnegie. Spodick has been manager of the Yorktown and publicity man and assistant at various Loew houses.

edblank
edblank on May 7, 2008 at 3:19 pm

Great illustrations, Warren. Just to see the interior brings back vivid memories. On a 1973 visit to Little Carnegie, I caught a small film called “I Love You, Rosa” at a crowded weekend performance and sitting close to the right front exit gawking at wall ornament looming over the exit. At the time I saw “Faces” there, I remember reading a John Cassavetes interview in which he said he wanted to book his pride and joy there because he had worked in Little Carnegie many years earlier. – Ed Blank

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 13, 2008 at 1:38 pm

The program booklet for the American premiere of Antonioni’s Eclipse in December 1962 at the Little Carnegie.

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on January 13, 2008 at 12:41 pm

THIS CLOSED MID TO LATE 80s……….

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on January 13, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Was this a WALTER READE THEATER?

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 13, 2008 at 11:40 am

The Italian film of Rossini’s comic opera Cenerentola (Cinderella) played here in 1953.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on October 17, 2007 at 9:36 am

“Salute to Italian Films Week,” October 1952.
PRINTED PROGRAM FLYER

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 15, 2006 at 7:36 pm

Found an article on the NY Times' online archive, dated June 12, 1941, about the planned conversion of the Little Carnegie Playhouse into “an intimage-type newsreel and television house.” The article mentions that the theater had just ended its “thirteenth season as an art cinema specializing in foreign films when it closed on June 1” and that it had been leased by Carnegie Hall, Inc. for a period of ten years to Jack Davis. Davis is described as “the managing director of the British newsreel theatre chain known as the Monseigners, operators of twelve houses in London and Scotland.” The renovation plans were being drawn up by the esteemed Thomas Lamb and plans were to have it open around Labor Day.

Davis revealed plans to not only provide American newsreels but hoped to negotiate an arrangement with the British Minister of Information to import English newsreels. With WWII raging across Europe by this time (and with the U.S. not yet an active participant), Davis was quick to add that a “conscientious effort would be made to avoid propaganda films.” Tickets would sell for 25 cents.

I wonder if those plans ever came to fruition, if even for just a short period of time. I see Warren had posted a 1942 ad back on March 29th, but the image is no longer available.