Winter Garden Theatre

1634 Broadway,
New York, NY 10019

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Showing 1 - 25 of 66 comments

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on December 30, 2013 at 1:48 pm

As a kid, I always wanted to see “Cats” on broadway based on the memorable ads on tv with the yellow cats' eyes and the footage from the musical. When I saw it on tv, i thought it was silly.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 3, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Looks like someone already “corrected” the street view so it can’t be adjusted to the proper main entrance around the block on Broadway.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on May 4, 2011 at 9:13 am

Lots of great photos and history on this page.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 17, 2011 at 8:07 pm

I recall my grandfather telling me that “Hellzapoppin” was, without doubt, the funniest live performance of any kind he had ever attended. I don’t know if he saw it at the Winter Garden or the 46th Street Theater. “Hellzapoppin” moved over to the Majestic for its last month or so, presumably to clear the Winter Garden for rehearsals of “Sons O'Fun.” You have to wonder how O & J found time to film the cinematic version of “Hellzapoppin,” which was released in time for Christmas of 1941.

Just to complete the circle, “Sons of Fun” eventually moved out of the Winter Garden and transferred to the 46th Street Theatre to complete its very successful 21-month run.

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on April 17, 2011 at 6:53 am

This photograph and this photograph of the Winter Garden Theatre were taken in 1940 by George Mann of the comedy dance team, Barto and Mann.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on April 12, 2011 at 8:25 pm

“GRAND SLAM” was a one week run.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 12, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Going back to IBDB.COM, “The Greenwich Village Follies” closed at the Winter Garden on July 28, 1928 and was the last live stage presentation until the musical comedy “Hold Your Horses” opened here on September 25, 1933. Not sure how long the cinematic engagement of “Grand Slam” lasted, but seems like the theater stood vacant for quite a while before re-opening as a live venue in ‘33 (at the height of the Depression, no less).

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm

It’s nice to see a little action on a thread other than the usual suspects.

RobertR
RobertR on April 12, 2011 at 11:58 am

And the last film to ever play the Music Hall, “The Promise” was also a Universal release.

RobertEndres
RobertEndres on April 12, 2011 at 11:26 am

Re: RobertR’s comment about being surprised that Universal would four-wall a house. They apparently continued that practice from time to time. In 1970 they four-walled Radio City for the engagement of “Airport”, which led to 70mm equipment being installed to satisfy a request by Ross Hunter. (While they may not have actually four-walled the house after that, they came to the venue’s rescue on a couple of occasions. In order to give the theatre product, in 1977 they played a re-run of “The Sting”, “Smokey and the Bandit” and “MacArthur” back to back there. In addition, the last Christmas feature to play the Hall “Caravans” was picked up by Universal for distribution just so the Hall would have a Christmans film.)

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on April 12, 2011 at 10:46 am

Here they are, Ed. Please note that opening dates are not exact as I compiled the info by week.

9/23/1928 THE SINGING FOOL
3/17/1929 NOAH’S ARK
6/2/1929 ON WITH THE SHOW
9/1/1929 GOLD DIGGERS OF BROADWAY
11/24/1929 SHOW OF SHOWS
12/29/1929 SALLY
2/16/1930 THE GREEN GODDESS
4/13/1930 UNDER A TEXAS MOON
5/4/1930 SHOWGIRL IN HOLLYWOOD
5/25/1930 COURAGE
6/8/1930 NUMBERED MEN
7/13/1930 THE DAWN PATROL
9/14/1930 BIG BOY
9/28/1930 THE OFFICE WIFE
11/9/1930 LIFE OF THE PARTY
12/7/1930 MOTHER’S CRY
¼/1931 THE LASH
1/18/1931 ILLICIT
2/22/1931 SIT TIGHT
3/15/1931 MY PAST
3/29/1931 FIFTY MILLION FRENCHMEN
4/12/1931 THE MILLIONAIRE
5/17/1931 PARTY HUSBAND
5/31/1931 THE MALTESE FALCON
6/21/1931 SMART MONEY
8/9/1931 THE STAR WITNESS
9/13/1931 FIVE STAR FINAL
11/8/1931 THE RULING VOICE
11/29/1931 HER MAJESTY LOVE
12/27/1931 MANHATTAN PARADE
1/17/1932 UNION DEPOT
2/7/1932 THE HATCHET MAN
3/6/1932 ALIAS THE DOCTOR
3/27/1932 THE CROWD ROARS
4/24/1932 THE MOUTHPIECE
5/22/1932 TWO SECONDS
6/12/1932 THE DARK HORSE
7/3/1932 THE MYSTERY RANCH
7/10/1932 STRANGER IN TOWN
7/17/1932 RADIO PATROL
7/24/1932 CONGORILLA
8/14/1932 HOLLYWOOD SPEAKS
8/21/1932 THE CROONER
8/28/1932 A PASSPORT TO HELL
9/11/1932 BIG CITY BLUES
9/25/1932 TIGER SHARK
10/23/1932 THEY CALL IT SIN
11/6/1932 SCARLET DAWN
11/20/1932 YOU SAID A MOUTHFUL
12/11/1932 CENTRAL PARK
12/18/1932 AFRAID TO TALK
1/1/1933 LAUGHTER IN HELL
1/15/1933 HYPNOTIZED
1/22/1933 THE VAMPIRE BAT
1/29/1933 FRISCO JENNY
2/5/1933 FOLLOW THE LEADER
2/12/1933 THE KING’S VACATION
2/19/1933 ?
2/26/1933 GRAND SLAM
(Legit)

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 12, 2011 at 9:29 am

According to IBDB.COM, the last stage production prior to the U-I/UA movie bookings was a musical comedy called “Marinka” that ran from July 18th, 1945, until September 29, 1945, when it was transferred to the Ethyl Barrymore Theatre. That means it took little more than a week to strike the sets at the Winter Garden and install the movie screen. I wonder if the projectors were still in the booth from the last period when the Winter Garden was converted to a cinema from 1929 – 1933?

Al… do you have the movie bookings from that earlier period, as well?

Also, as per IBDB, the show that returned the Winter Garden to legitimate theater, was another musical comedy titles “As the Girls Go.” The opening date was November 13th, 1948, which doesn’t include previews which likely began in October. It is also noted that the show had a nine-week lay-off during the summer of 1948 due to the illness of its star, Bobby Clark. I wonder if this accounts for the lack of programming from August 1st through September 5th. Perhaps the reconversion back to live theater was scheduled to occur after “Man-Eater of Kumaon” finished its run, but had to be suspended after rehearsals due to Clark’s illness. That might make the engagement of the film “Larceny” a one-off booking by the Winter Garden to collect some revenue while the musical was pre-empted.

Just one more interesting throw-away fact about “As the Girls Go”… according to IBDB, the setting was 5 years in the future – January, 1953 in Washington, DC!

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on April 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm

From the bookings it looks like Universal used UA films as filler during this period of heavy product outflow.

10/7/1945 BLITHE SPIRIT United Artists
11/18/1945 JOHNNY IN THE CLOUDS United Artists
12/2/1945 THE MAN IN GREY Universal
12/16/1945 ADVENTURE FOR TWO Universal
12/30/1945 THE SEVENTH VEIL Universal
2/24/1946 TOMORROW IS FOREVER RKO
5/5/1946 SO GOES MY LOVE Universal
5/26/1946 MADONNA OF THE SEVEN MOONS Universal
6/9/1946 THE RUNAROUND Universal
6/23/1946 SHE WROTE THE BOOK Universal
6/30/1946 DEAD OF NIGHT Universal
7/28/1946 THEY WERE SISTERS Universal
9/1/1946 THE KILLERS Universal
11/17/1946 NOTORIOUS GENTLEMAN Universal
12/22/1946 THE WICKED LADY Universal
1/27/1947 SWELL GUY Universal
2/22/1947 I’LL BE YOURS Universal
3/15/1947 STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN (Popular prices) Universal
4/12/1947 BUCK PRIVATES COME HOME Universal
5/3/1947 CARNEGIE HALL (dated with Park Ave.) United Artists
6/21/1947 NEW ORLEANS United Artists
7/19/1947 SLAVE GIRL Universal
8/9/1947 GREEN FOR DANGER Eagle-Lion
8/30/1947 SOMETHING IN THE WIND Universal
9/20/1947 SINGAPORE Universal
10/11/1947 RIDE THE PINK HORSE Universal
11/8/1947 THE UPTURNED GLASS Universal
11/22/1947 THE LOST MOMENT Universal
12/6/1947 CAPTAIN BOYCOTT Universal
12/27/1947 THE EXILE Universal
1/18/1948 SECRET BEYOND THE DOOR… Universal
2/1/1948 A WOMAN’S VENGEANCE Universal
2/22/1948 JASSY Universal
3/7/1947 BLACK BART Universal
3/28/1948 MAN OF EVIL United Artists
4/18/1948 ARE YOU WITH IT? Universal
5/9/1948 DEAR MURDERER Universal
5/23/1948 RIVER LADY Universal
6/13/1948 BAD SISTER Universal
7/4/1948 MAN-EATER OF KUMAON Universal
8/1/1948 (No program)
8/8/1948 (No program)
9/5/1948 LARCENY Universal
10/3/1948 (Reconverted to legit)

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 11, 2011 at 10:24 am

Tinseltoes, according to the Schubert Organization’s website, the Winter Garden’s run as a cinema during 1945-1948 was with United Artists (while the previous run from 1928-1933 was under lease with Warner Brothers). Do you know if that is a factual error by the Schuberts or did Universal sub-lease from United Artists – or perhaps take over the lease after UA?

RobertR
RobertR on April 11, 2011 at 8:31 am

Interesting about Univeral four walling to show their product, thats the first I have heard of that.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 29, 2010 at 10:39 am

The old photo which Panzer65 linked to was taken some time in 1919. At the top center is an ad for “Monte Cristo Jr.” at the Winter Garden. It opened in Feb. 1919 and ran for 254 performances, a “hit” in those days. At the Knickerbocker, on the right side of the photo, “Listen Lester” was playing. It opened in Dec. 1918 and ran into the Fall of 1919. Source: “American Musical Theatre” by Gerald Bordman. Both were musicals. The Knickerbocker and the Casino were both located across Broadway from the old Metropolitan Opera House which was in use prior to the opening of the present Met at Lincoln Center.

Panzer65
Panzer65 on May 28, 2010 at 11:16 am

Thank you Mr. Salters.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 28, 2010 at 10:52 am

Nice old photo, Panzer65. The Knickerbocker and Casino theates were both legit houses specializing in musicals. Maxine Elliot’s was also legit, with mostly regular plays. They were not Vaude houses, and apparently never showed movies, so that’s why they are not listed here in CT.

Panzer65
Panzer65 on May 28, 2010 at 10:42 am

Sorry, here’s the link:
View link

Panzer65
Panzer65 on May 28, 2010 at 10:41 am

With the exception of the Winter Garden, none of the other venues that appear are mentioned here at CT. The Knickerbocker, the Casino, and the Maxine Harris, from right to left. My best guess is that these venues are perhaps Vaudeville Houses. It was during this era that these theatres were combining silent films with live stage shows.Later when the talkies arrived, these venues would convert to the more lucrative motion picture on a full time basis. The Casino Theatre intrigues me the most, it has a most unusual facade. And the first generation marquees are also a clue that these indeed are Vaudeville Houses.

tinlizzie
tinlizzie on July 21, 2009 at 12:05 pm

I saw “Cats” at the Winter Garden Theater in 1984 when I visited New York – I’m from Canada – it was one of my favorite memories of my visit! My mom and I got the last two tickets available for that performance so we couldn’t sit together but I will never forget sitting in the balcony with the “cats” on the ledge of the balcony looking at us and all the magic of the lights, the junk yard scenes, well, it was magical! I even liked going to the washroom where attendants were handing out towels like they did years ago:) What a grand theater! By the way, if anyone finds a silver belt shaped like a snake – the mouth of the snake attaches to the body like a chain belt, anyway, I lost it in the theater somewhere that night – could you let me know? Okay, just kidding, it was 1984, but I have wondered about it since:) Anyway, I’m a new member on Cinema Treasures and I’m very happy to be here! Such interesting things people have been saying about different theaters!

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 26, 2009 at 9:23 am

According to the intro above, movies played from 1928 to 1933 and from 1945 to 1948.

Bway
Bway on May 26, 2009 at 9:03 am

How long did movies play in here?