Circus Cinema

1604 Broadway,
New York, NY 10019

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Showing 1 - 25 of 32 comments

rivest266 on October 8, 2020 at 12:43 am

The Circus adult cinema opened on March 2nd, 1971. Grand opening ad posted.

DavidZornig on March 14, 2020 at 8:48 pm

1976 photo in below link.

robboehm on January 9, 2020 at 7:19 am

Mike, I concur. Always thought it was more than one of the storefronts that popped up. There is a CT contributor who often posts tax photos of a location. Maybe they could find an early one of this location.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on January 8, 2020 at 7:14 pm

I just noticed that there were 652 seats in this theater, which is unusual for a storefront conversion common to many of the porno spots in the area. I wonder if this was this a former theater or nightclub before becoming the Circus Cinema?

DavidZornig on March 15, 2018 at 8:02 pm

1971 screen grab from “The French Connection” added.
Circus Cinema on the left.

DavidZornig on October 21, 2016 at 5:52 pm

Summer 1984 photo as the World added, photo credit Jacob R Clark.

DavidZornig on September 4, 2015 at 3:08 pm

1984 photo added, photo credit Ghislian Bonneau.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on January 5, 2014 at 2:52 pm

I remember being on a high school class trip to the city. We were coming down Broadway and were walking under some scaffolding as we approached this corner. As we emerged into the daylight, what did greet our tender eyes than the marquee of the Circus Cinema, proudly announcing its current attraction: ANAL INTRUDERS.

After our jaws dropped we all starting laughing, and needless to say our catchphrase for the rest of the day, and for some time afterwards, was “Anal Intruders,” which is also to this day my go-to name when I need to make up a porno title.

patrickgenna on May 30, 2013 at 10:25 am

The 1984 movie MOSCOW ON THE HUDSON with Robin Williams has a scene showing this theatre. It seems that 12 years later, the theatre closes?

rivoli157 on November 17, 2011 at 10:16 am

The Spotlight Live club is now closed. A few years back an underage party goer was found dead on the roof of the club. She had been murdered by a club employee. Other incidents of violence had occured at the club prior to that. Signage for the club is still up at the now empty site

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 19, 2011 at 11:40 am

A sort of karaoke-cabaret establishment called Spotlight Live opened at the former Circus Cinema in 2007. The concept was a restaurant and nightclub where patrons were encouraged to take the stage and enjoy their “15 minutes of fame,” while cameras would broadcast their performances to passersby via a jumbo-tron screen positioned over the street entrance on Broadway. Interesting idea, but didn’t appear to have sufficient appeal, and the club has since closed its doors.

Here’s a link that offers a good description and interior photos of the place.

Evidently, there was a “private penthouse” for parties of up to 175, which may have been in the former Big Top Theatre space. Judging from some of the event photos on the site, the spirit of exhibitionism certainly carried over from the old days!

RickB on April 16, 2011 at 8:53 am

Here is a screen capture from the TV series Taxi showing this theater’s marquee at right. It’s from a first-season episode titled Hollywood Calling.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on December 29, 2008 at 11:46 am

Ed, here is a story about David Copperfield, the magician, shutting down teh Circus and Pink. This may be the current site of the Playwright Tavern.

View link

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 29, 2008 at 6:22 am

And seen on the left side of the photo is the marquee for the alternate World Theatre I referenced in my posting of 9/11/2007 just above. The original World Theatre (nee Punch and Judy) was located a block to the east and on the other side of the street. Anyone remember anything about this place? Almost certainly a storefront or office space conversion – but did it open as the World upon the ouster of the original World Theatre management by Rockefeler Centre? Or had it been opened under another name?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 11, 2007 at 9:21 pm

Calling AlAlvarez!!! A member of CT (Hollywood90038) sent me some video he shot back around 1990/91 that shows a small porn theater around the corner from the Circus Cinema that was named “World Theater” per the marquee signage. This would have been on the south side of 49th Street just east of Broadway – adjacent to the RKO Video that was on that corner. I’ll have a screen-shot showing the small triangular marquee to post here tomorrow.

I’ve always been confused about the location of the more famous World 49th Street – thinking it was on the short block between 7th and B'way and on the south side of the street. Of course, that theater (the former Punch and Judy) was between 6th and 7th on the north side of 49th. Now I guess I know why – I must have had this marquee in my mind’s eye! I suppose once the original World theater was forced out by its landlords (Rockefeller Center) in favor of a mainstream house run by Embassy, perhaps the World management might have opened this small converted space as replacement? Any recollections out there?

missmelbatoast on November 26, 2006 at 11:32 am

You and me both, Seymour. We could have had so much fun cruising the Big Apple together.
Actually, I just wish I could get to know you. You’re an incredibly gorgeous man!

seymourcox on November 26, 2006 at 11:20 am

During the early 1980’s I regularly made trips to NYC, and on my busy itinerary always set aside a date to go see a gay movie at the Circus Big Top. Seems every time I went inside that porn emporium I always fell in love five or six times!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 6, 2006 at 9:23 am

I believe this is a close view of the Circus marquee.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 12, 2006 at 10:49 am

March 9th, 1982… “Indecent Exposure” day-and-dates at the Circus Cinema and Eastworld while “Oil Rig #99” World premieres upstairs at the Big Top:

Circus/Big Top – NY Post

By the following day the Big Top feature had already turned over:

Yellow Hanky Left – Post 3/10/82

December 11th, 1980:

Circus Cinema – NY Post
Big Top – NY Post

bamtino on September 11, 2005 at 2:57 pm

The address of this theatre was 1604 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 18, 2005 at 11:30 am

Great shot Robert. You can also see the lower part of the Big Top Theatre vertical blade sign ‘Adults Only’-One Flight Up' with an arrow pointing down towards the entrance at the side of the main Circus Cinema entrance.

RobertR on July 18, 2005 at 10:58 am

Here is the Circus, note the films were Dolby Stereo. Porno had gotten sophisticated before video killed it all.
View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 18, 2005 at 1:31 am

A copy of Topman gay guide magazine I have dated August 1982 has an advert for the Big Top Theatre, 1604 Broadway/49th St. (open 24 hours). The Premier presentation of Christopher Rage’s “Sleaze” – It ain’t no Love Story! starring Casey O'Donovan is the main movie playing.