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Back in the late 70’s, just as RCMH had narrowly escaped demolition, Patricia Roberts provided us with great access: we were allowed into the Hall to tape introductions and segues for a “Super Sunday at the Music Hall” for WNEW-TV, channel 5. We had one day in which to produce all of the segments we would need to surround our Super Sunday showings of “Mister Roberts,” “Mrs. Miniver” and “The Adventures of Robin Hood.” Among our presenters were Ginger Rogers, Hermione Gingold and Peter Gennaro. (This was 20 years before AMC began to use RCMH in its openings for the AMC channel.) We allowed Ginger to perch on the railing of the First Mezzanine, and she was more than terrific in every way. After the crew lunch break, I returned early and was the only one in the Hall. I stepped onto the stage and sang “O Holy Night” to an empty house. And I remembered all the words! Of course, there’s no one who can corroborate that story, but, believe me, it happened.
Will this RCHM/MSG show be shown outside of New York metro area?
This theater was mentioned on last night’s TV special about “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz by his long-ago girlfriend, who remembers young “Sparky” taking her to neck….the air-conditioning was so cold it encouraged him!
Thanks for the speedy and complete response!
Sorry, typo. It was October 1970, not 1960.
Ken or Bryan,
Can either of you give info on a cinema I visited in Newquay, Cornwall, in October 1960? It was then called the Camelot. I went to a matinee of “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice,” and there were 3 people in the nicely maintained little theater. The big shocker was the great projection. A 70mm short (on a greatly expanded screen), standard news, CinemaScope trailer, and wide screen feature, all with two projectors and deluxe (curtains & lights) presentation baetween all elements throughout. It looked like the cinema was being operated by a hobbyist as well as a perfectionist.
I saw “Star Wars” at the May 24th press screening at the Loew’s Astor Plaza. One memento I have from that night: a “May The Force Be With You” T-shirt, which is a little tight thirty years later! What a screening. Enough to require a repeat visit that weekend but at the Loew’s Orpheum uptown where we sensibly got our tickets a few hours before showtime. A few days later, I met Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford, who appeared on a local TV show I was producing in New York. So I can truly say I was a fan very early on!
This theater had a one-size fits-all screen. CinemaScope films were shown unsqueezed rather than cropped. I remember seeing Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole at their most emaciated in “How To Steal A Million.”
I guess the next time Kitty Carlisle appeared at the Capitol was on film in the 1935 Marx Bros. “A Night At The Opera” premiering December 6, 1935 (my day of birth, too!).
This is the Embassy 2/¾, better known by its previously known names DeMille and Mayfair.
New York Times of April 3, 2007, presented a story about the changes taking place in Miami Beach, with photo and references to “The Mansion,” the concert venue which is the former Cinema Theater.
The bust of Lincoln in the lobby wore a blindfold when the Lincoln Art presented hard-core porn.
Getting back to “The Greatest Show On Earth”….
I recall that the Hall’s usual interval between the stage show and feature was eliminated by a “seamless” transition. The opening Paramount logo for the movie appeared on a giant white balloon stage right as the live show concluded, the regular theater screen was revealed with the rest of the credits for the feature, and the cast and scenery were removed on the stage elevators.
Sorry, Warren, “Fear Strikes Out” was a black-and-white VistaVision movie, filmed in 1.85/1 aspect ratio.
Layout and seating count resemble those of other Prudential theaters designed by Maurice Sornick. Could he have been the architect?
The 34th Street East was two blocks east of the Murray Hill Theater.
I recall in the early 40’s that the Triboro and the Valencia had far smaller screens than the type described in the article above. Was there a shortage of carbon during WW2 and did that have any effect on screen size? The screens had rounded corners.
The Paramount presents a first-Thursday-of-the-month showing of a movie in the portion of the building which is now a church. Last Thursday, “Gold Diggers of 1933.”
Reporter Jamie Blaine of WPTV reported on it. Here are some excerpts from the news report.
“It was 1927 when the Paramount opened. Dubbed the millionaires movie theater, it was nothing short of a single screen cinematic palace.
“It was a cavernous one thousand, two-hundred thirty-six seat theater, with an orchestra, stage, and screen,” says Reverend Dwight Stevens.
Stevens is the head of the Paramount Church. He’s also curator of the Paramount Theatre.
And he’s poured his heart into resurrecting a piece of Hollywood, gone but not forgotten.
“People were more dignified then. There were morals, a sense of right and wrong. And the films depicted that.”
The Paramount brought in heavy hitters. The likes of Arthur Hammerstein, Flo Ziegfield and Irving Berlin all lured top acts for fund-raisers.
“Agnes Moorehead, Burgess Meredith, Danny Kaye, Sophie Tucker, Victor Borge, Lucille Ball, it just goes on and on.”
Bob Hope was a regular, and he brought with him top performers. In one photo of Hope in the theatre, there’s even a young, out of focus singer, who was not yet center stage.
“Julie Stein brought this young girl up from the audience and introduced her as the star of his upcoming Funny Girl. And that was Barbara Streisand, age 21.”
But it wasn’t just who was on stage at the Paramount, it was who was in the audience. Here you rubbed elbows with royalty.
“The Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The Kennedys were here. Babe Ruth was here. Charleton Heston. Grace Kelly, Prince Rainier, Gary Cooper.”
But the golden age ended in 1980. The Paramount closed, a single screen dinosaur in the age of the mammoth multi-plex. But on the first Thursday of every month, the Paramount once again flickers to life.
Reverend Stevens, in a tuxedo, welcomes those who remember the glory days of tinsel town."
Remember Eddie’s Sweet Shop for great ice cream a few steps from the Cinemart!
The Metropolitan was a Spanish-language theater in 1953. Our high school class went for a visit to see a comedy with Tin-Tan, a Mexican comedian, and a Donald Duck cartoon. I didn’t know that Clarence “Ducky” Nash could do duck-talk in Spanish!
Management shifted to Skouras two years after the Midway opened (late September 1944), to RKO two years later (September 1946), and back to Skouras again on September 1948, the final transfer. I saw “The Dolly Sisters” at noon at the Midway on Christmas Day, but walked out on “The Caribbean Mystery” so I wouldn’t miss the start of an early holiday dinner.
There are scenes from “Strangers On A Train” shot in Forest Hills.
I dropped by on Monday, July 17, and learned that the theater had been closed at the “end of the 2005 season.” It is, however, under reconstruction, and local folks tell me that theater will be reopened and that upstairs spaces are being converted into condos. I recall seeing one movie there in 1962, my previous visit to Nantucket Island, and I think it was the Disney film “Bon Voyage.” The only theater now showing films in the town of Nantucket is the 87-seat Starlite, which is a theater-restaurant just down the block from the Dreamland. The Starlite has 35mm projection and is currently showing “Superman Returns”, “An Inconvenient Truth,” etc. I was told there is another small cinema in the town of Siasconset, about 9 miles away.
Proctor’s 23rd Street theater is mentioned in the Clifford Odets play “Awake and Sing!” Grandpa wistfully recalls seeing Nora Bayes perform there. (Nora Bayes is the vaudeville performer later portrayed by Ann Sheridan in WB’s musical “Shine On Harvest Moon.”)
The Franklin is mentioned in the 1935 Clifford Odets play, set in the Bronx, “Awake and Sing!” The family is on its way to see vaudeville at the Franklin when the daughter takes sick on Prospect Avenue, and they return home and realize she is pregnant.