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I remember seeing this at nighttime at Christmas ‘68 with my family. It was a beautiful sight. Of course had I been older and knew it as a single screen theater it would have been depressing as hell.
On the day the box office opened for Fiddler I went that morning. School was closed that day due to a severe storm that made my school inaccessible. Went to a Sat matinee in Nov and it was a sold out performance so it was the only time I saw every seat in the theater filled. Maybe it was filled for action and exploitation films but I don’t know as I had no interest in seeing them which sadly kept me out of the major Times Square houses for long periods at a time. Had it been the 60s I would have been spending a lot of time in them exulting in the showmanship of their roadshow presentations. Just missed them.
Hal Prince had produced the original stage production of Fiddler so we had him to thank for the film at the Rivoli. A block north was his original production of Follies at the Winter Garden(one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen in my life and I have refused to see any production of it since) and then a couple of blocks north of that the original production of Fiddler was still playing at the Broadway Theater. It was as if Prince owned Broadway as a thoroughfare from 49th St to 53rd St. Though I never knew him and saw him only once I miss him enormously and his contributions to the theater. He was a giant on the cultural scene of which there are none today and despite dying in his early 90s I thought he would go on like his mentor George Abbott living to the age of 107. I couldn’t imagine NY without him. Taken from us far too soon.
And by the way he also produced the original production of West Side Story providing the Rivoli with another one of its longest running hits. Dear god the talent that existed.
I believe though not announced here she made a personal appearance as well in the evening. I went that Saturday morning and the publicity had filled at least the orchestra.
Interesting that it opened at 3 LA theaters and at only one in NY.
Cinetech you’ve given us much great information concerning DVDs and transfers which is greatly appreciated but we often discuss films that have opened first run at specific theaters and their afterlife and we often discuss films that have tangential relationships to those films which opened at other theaters entirely as recently was happening on the Rivoli thread. A kind of collective cinematreasures stream of consciousness.
Your contribution here is of great help to collectors. So called experts can too often be wrong.
I saw LH when it opened at Loew’s State 1. Watching The Things I will Not Miss on youtube is a guilty pleasure of mine a good song with what was he thinking staging by Hermes Pan. And then Question Me an Answer is another shocker. I saw Bobby Van in No No Nanette when it opened and again when he returned to it after filming the movie. It ain’t the same man I tell you. Watch him and Helen Gallagher dance to You Can Dance With Any Girl At All on youtube. I don’t believe he ever lived down tap dancing on grass. I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole James Shigeta’s elaborate take on the importance of family as the foundation of society. It has to be seen to be disbelieved. Checkout Living Together Growing Together on youtube as well. I like that they wear 70s mustaches in Shangri La.
Looks like a super panavision 70 screen to me. This was then what it looked like probably for MFL.I had always wondered. Thank you so much Lionel. So disappointing that on my first trip to London in ‘78 it was already a quad. By the way the London premiere in January '65 is on youtube both black and white with sound and color with no sound. Very nice display above marquee.
If only there were one theater like this in NY today.
TCM is showing Woodstock? Are they also showing Joe and Zabriskie Point?
So I reread my post. If Star had been a hit and Dolly opened at the Criterion where would Patton have opened?
I see it at the DeMille.
‘The only theater in NYC that will or can show Cinerama productions.’
Is that because the Warner no longer could show 3 strip? Did they remove the projection booths for only single strip fims?
Ok, so what’s the movie that I’m paying to see?
Huh?Does Google translate English to English?
The entire first mezz was always reserved seats for every performance of its move/stage show history. To say 2500 seats reserved, which itself is an exaggeration, it would have taken the entire first and second mezz.
Concerning grindhouse’s series of STAR! ads Saul Chaplin writes in his auto bio that when the first ad was placed 17 months before the opening and in the midst of production they received thousands of responses. When in ‘68 these same people received mail order forms the responses were in the hundreds. People lost interest overnight in Julie Andrews roadshow musicals. You could say that in a year the world had changed which was true but a month before the STAR opening the old-fashioned Funny Girl was a big hit at the Criterion. And then Oliver opening in Dec was another big hit. The sad bitter truth is that STAR! was a terrible film. Even I who am a lover of 60s reserved seat film when I finally saw it in a roadshow cut at the Regency thought wow this really is a bomb. I got the dvd to find out if I was wrong but when I turned it off at intermission I had no desire to turn it on again. I really wanted to love it. I remember seeing the spectacular block long sign in Times Square and then the 7th Av Rivoli billboard. Both very impressive. Got the cutout LP and loved it. And ordered the souvenir book from National Publishers which was a beaut.
But then there was the film itself which was expected to have a run of at least a year and a half rivaling that of SOM. And nobody went. Gone by February. Though I wonder if it had been the hit they were expecting where would Sweet Charity and Hello Dolly had opened? The other prestigious houses were taken though I guess Sweet Charity could have opened at Loew’s State 2(what if CCBB been a hit?) and Hello Dolly could have opened at Loew’s State 1.
I don’t see either of them opening at the Demille, Palace(this might have had George M when Charity opened), or Cinerama or Penthouse. Maybe Dolly could have pushed out Funny Girl at the Criterion.
I’ve always wanted to see this movie simply because it closed the Roxy. did the people in the audience know it was the last night of the Roxy or did it close without being announced? I wonder how many people were there.
I assume that was the lay out of the auditorium until ‘70? I wonder if the proscenium was widened for 70mm or if it was projected within it for films like MFL and Camelot.
I just noticed the ad for The Devils. This and Song of the South are the only 2 films I know of as banned.
Are there any pictures of the interior when it was Warner’s premiere house in London in the 60s? I only see the one of the band right at the lip of the proscenium but nothing of the auditorium itself. Above picture looks like after the twinning in ‘70.
That’s one of the shortest shows I’ve seen at the Hall. Movie must have been about 75 minutes when you think there was The March of Time.
As per CC’s ad Harry and Walter Go to New York was the first non exclusive NY area film for the Music Hall. When I mentioned this to a woman in the box office when I worked there before the film had opened she said to me ‘that’s it, it’s over.’
George Roy Hill was an odd choice to make this eagerly awaited epic(his previous film was the quirky Henry Orient popular with critics though not so much with audiences. It did so poorly as the usually enormously popular Music Hall Easter film that he declared he would never have one of his films play there again.) and it turned out to be a poor one.
Movie was playing drive ins by the summer of ‘67. Probably made it even that long as a roadshow because of the immense popularity of the book.
Eventually one of his films did play at the Music Hall, The Sting, though second run. It honestly would have been a suburb choice to open there. But Hollywood no longer wanted the theater. Films opening there were from hunger. It was an excellent presentation. Beautiful print with Joplin’s wonderful music very impressive through the Hall’s excellent sound system. Enjoyed it so much more there than I had than when the film first opened.
Considering The Sand Pebbles had its world premiere at the Rivoli Dec 20,‘66 this is probably '67.
A friend who has worked for years as an usher in Broadway theaters is saying it could be March.
Yes but the Music Hall has about 6,000 seats. If 2 mezzanines are used that brings you down to more like 4,000.
When selling first mezzanine seats in advance for a holiday show for example the Music Hall would always say 5,000 general admission seats available for every performance. Here they are saying the exact same thing but reserved seats are in two mezzanines.
It’s pure hype.
When I worked there as a doorman they would sometimes create outside lines when the performance was far from sold out or even well attended.
I think Times Square theaters did the same thing.
I read Mike Todd sometimes had the sold out sign put up at the Rivoli for 80 Days even if the performance wasn’t.
Now on youtube I’ve been hearing that Disney has been known to buy out performances of ‘tentpole’ movies to inflate grosses and increase demand for tickets. The old showmanship is not completely dead.
If that is the case how did they come up with 5,000 general admission seats available?
And how did this movie get a G rating?