Trans-Lux 49th Street Theatre

1607 Broadway,
New York, NY 10019

Unfavorite 5 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 79 comments

Tinseltoes on August 5, 2012 at 8:37 am

This 1977 trade ad provides no specific address: Boxoffice

AlAlvarez on August 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm

This theatre was listed as Bryanston in Variety but advertised as Bryan West in 1975.

It opened “Frankenstein” as the Trans-Lux West.

fred1 on August 24, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Was this theater was known as th the Byransten west during the booking of Andy Warhol’s Frankenstien

RickB on April 16, 2011 at 8:50 am

Here is a screen capture from the TV series Taxi showing this theater’s marquee (as the Embassy 49) at far left. It’s from a first-season episode titled, appropriately enough, Hollywood Calling.

William on June 15, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Gerald, your last image post is under the wrong theatre. It should be under the Trans-Lux Modern Theatre, the one with two screens. Which was in the Brill Building at 1619 Broadway. This theatre opened in 1937.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 15, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Image of the Trans-Lux during a run of La Cucaracha, Boxoffice, January 12, 1935:

Tinseltoes on April 30, 2010 at 7:47 am

In August, 1953, the Trans-Lux 49th Street was being marketed as “The First Wide Screen Newsreel Theatre in the World,” using a newly patented rear projection system developed by the parent company (by now known as Trans-Lux Stewart). In addition to its usual program of newsreels and short subjects, the cinema also gave the wide screen treatment to the NYC premiere engagement of Walt Disney’s live-action Technicolor short. “The Olympic Elk,” one of the producer’s last releases through RKO Radio Pictures.

AlAlvarez on February 23, 2010 at 8:51 am

This was the Embassy 49 for only one year in 1976. By 1977 it was the Pussycat.

William on November 9, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Well the Trans-Lux Theatre in the Brill Building was ripped out in 1938. Warren had an opening date for this theatre as Dec. 28th. 1937.

AlAlvarez on November 9, 2009 at 7:10 am

Interesting find, Joe.

The Trans-Lux West name did not start until 1967, not 1963 as the intro states. The New York Times claims the original opening year was 1936.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 9, 2009 at 12:58 am

I’ve got more confusion for everyone.

There’s a December 19, 1965, Boxoffice item that contradicts some of the introduction above- saying that the Trans-Lux West was to open around Easter, 1967, that it was the Trans-Lux Broadway that was being remodeled (with plans by Drew Eberson, who had designed the Trans-Lux East) and that the Trans-Lux Broadway had opened in 1933.

Article here.

Then the April 24, 1967, issue of Boxoffice says that reconstruction had begun on the Trans-Lux Broadway, which was to reopen as the Trans-Lux West on May 22. (This Boxoffice item contradicts the earlier one by saying that the Trans-Lux Broadway had been in operation for 36 years, which would give an opening of 1931 instead of 1933. Did Boxoffice also confuse this house with the earlier one in the Brill Building?)

Article here.

I do find Boxoffice referring to this house as the Trans-Lux 49th Street in issues from 1956 and 1957, but before and after that the magazine always calls it the Trans-Lux Broadway.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 17, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Why not post photo links for Embassy 49 at its own listing, rather than this one? That theatre was previously the World, and originally the Punch and Judy.

RobertR on April 17, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Another shot of Embassy 49
View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 13, 2009 at 8:43 am

Photo with “Sleeping Beauty” on marquee shows the former World Theatre on West 49th, which had been cleaned up and re-named Embassy 49.

AlAlvarez on April 13, 2009 at 8:22 am

Is this the World or this theatre?

View link

kencmcintyre on November 27, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Here is a 1986 photo from Life Magazine:

iggy on November 26, 2007 at 9:26 am

This theatre was featured in Taxi Driver (1976), where Scorsese shoots a low angle shot of the bumper of Travis Brickle’s cab as it rolls down Broadway. For about two seconds you can see the marquee and it clearly reads “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” with “Return of the Dragon”. Just above the marquee is a neon sign that reads “West”. This all makes sense now (thanks to Warren’s February 2nd, 2007 post). Taxi Driver was filmed in 1975 just when this theatre would have been named either Bryan West or The West and showing these films which were both distributed (and I think owned) by Bryanston Pictures. Thanks so much Warren—I spent days trying to figure out where that marquee was.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 7, 2007 at 8:29 pm

Just a P.S. on this thread… Jack Dempsey’s Restaurant was originally located across from the old Madison Square Garden on Eighth Avenue. I believe the location in the Brill Bldg on 49th and B'way was a more informal Bar and Cocktail Lounge annex to the original restaurant and – I believe – survived the original Eighth Avenue location by a number of years. Dempsey’s place closed for good in 1974 and shortly thereafter Colony moved in, relocating from another location in the City. Colony has been in business since 1948.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 7, 2007 at 8:18 pm

Hey Irv… We’ve all had our moments of confusion with these two theaters here on CT, but the theater described on this page was NOT in the Brill Building but on the block to the south between 49th and 48th and on the same side of Broadway as the Brill. The other Trans Lux – known as the Trans Lux Modern Theater – was located within the Brill building, but NOT where the Colony Records store is now situated. The theater was located in the northern end of the Brill Bldg, closer to 50th Street, while Colony records occupies the southern corner of B'way and 49th. Prior to Colony Records, the site had been the location of Jack Dempsey’s restaurant as well as the Paradise Cabaret, but never – as far as I know – a theater of any kind.

Hope that clarifies things a bit.

evmovieguy on September 6, 2007 at 7:23 pm

I’m confused, the Trans Lux was in the Brill Buiding and there was a theater where Colony Records is? I was under the impression that Colony Records had been there since the 50s or 60s.

decoteau on July 17, 2007 at 3:05 pm

Interesting article on the PUSSYCAT……

View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 6, 2007 at 7:03 am

This theatre was built in 1937 by B.S. Moss, who intended it to be a showcase for reserved seat, “two-a-day” presentations of major releases. But Moss couldn’t win support for the idea from distributors and sold the operating lease to Trans-Lux for a newsreel house. According to a story in the NY Post of 4/29/37, Moss spent $250,000 on the construction of the cinema, retaining some of the exterior walls of the site’s previous occupant, Churchill’s Restaurant, which had been world-famous in the era of “Diamond Jim” Brady and Lillian Russell. Since this was built as a conventional cinema with a projection booth, Trans-Lux probably used that instead of going to the expense of installing one of its own rear-projection systems, but that’s only a guess. I think that even Trans-Lux would have admitted that standard 35mm projection delivered a larger, clearer, and brighter image.

AlAlvarez on March 23, 2007 at 9:03 am

The Bryanston West name was used by Variety, for some reason, when it reported the theatre’s weekly grosses. The “family” allegedly established Bryanston Pictures and the Pusssycat with DEEP THROAT profits.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 2, 2007 at 5:39 am

One of the alternate names in the introduction is incorrect. In 1975, Bryanston Pictures took over the Trans-Lux West as a showcase for its product and changed the name to Bryan West (not Bryanston West). The Bryan West first opened on August 20th, 1975, with the world premiere of Bryanston’s “Coonskin,” which was followed on September 26th by a revival of “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.” During that period, Bryanston Pictures became one of the major targets in a criminal investigation into the “adult” film industry, and soon ended its connection with the Bryan West, which operated briefly as just the West before a takeover by the Pussycat group. Here is an opening ad for “Coonskin” at the Bryan West: