RKO 23rd Street Theatre

265 8th Avenue,
New York, NY 10011

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Showing 1 - 25 of 47 comments

42ndStreetMemories on March 3, 2019 at 8:01 am

I just uploaded a 1938 group photo from inside the RKO 23rd St. Does anyone recognize these folks. Gent on the right side looks like Douglas Fairbanks.

42ndStreetMemories on November 22, 2015 at 10:24 am

JwPhillips – the image following “the box office street shot” shows “We’re in the Money” on the RKO 23rd Street marquee. Notice the Grand Opera House designation. I believe the double feature was a re-release.

JwPhillips on November 17, 2015 at 10:16 am

Sorry, typo – that’s “Hugh"Herbert. Short (under 90 minute) comedy features were quite the thing for double feature in the 30s. My old man worked for RKO short features as an advance man during this time – before moving back to Paramount.

JwPhillips on November 17, 2015 at 10:12 am

Thought you all might be interested to know that the box-office street shot provided with this address is actually from the earlier location for this 23rdSt. Proctor’s RKO between 6th & 7th on the west side of 23rd in the middle of that block. I can tell from the buildings being reflected in the glass case displaying the poster for “In the Money.”

Also, “In The Money” was a 1935, mid-August, release. It starred Joan Blondell, Hug Herbert, Glenda Farrell, and it does have a funny bit by Lionel Stander in his usual gravel-voiced character bit: as ‘Butch’ Gonzola. The Grand Opera was still looking for a buyer in 1935 and RKO didn’t convert it until 1938.

42ndStreetMemories on June 18, 2012 at 9:36 am

Oldtimer, I grew up around the corner from the old RKO, my dad was an usher there in the 40s. It truly was beautiful. I remember The Chelsea from the outside but don’t remember going inside. We also went to The Terrace on 23rd Street. When did you attend the old RKO?

The ad shown here should really be under the newer RKO 23rd Street that opened in the 60s.

oldtimer on June 18, 2012 at 9:23 am

I grew up in the Chelsea area of NYC. There was the RKO on the corner of 23ST. &8th Ave. There was also the Chelsea between 8th & 9th Ave. on 23rd St. I saw MEn of the Fighting Lady at the Chelsea. The RTko was beautiful. To me as a child it was liking going to a palace.

42ndStreetMemories on September 22, 2010 at 12:54 pm

I am doing some research on the theater from the Grand Opera House days to the RKO 23rd St. If you’d like to share some information or memories please post or email me. Thanks. Jerry

42ndStreetMemories on June 18, 2010 at 8:46 am

A belated thank you. Great pix. Funny how I remembered the color of the carpeting. The place meant a lot to us. Jerry

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 8, 2010 at 5:33 am

Jerry: The scan is a bit blurry, but Boxoffice Magazine of October 15, 1938, ran an article about the conversion of the Grand Opera House into the RKO 23rd Street, and it has a pair of before-and-after photos showing the foyer and the auditorium.

kencmcintyre on August 6, 2009 at 8:49 pm

Here is another 1937 photo by Berenice Abbott:

EMarkisch on July 28, 2009 at 11:12 am

According to the front of the Grand Opera House marquee, the double feature playing on September 3, 1937, the date the photo was taken, was displayed as…


Both were released in mid June of 1937.

kencmcintyre on July 28, 2009 at 10:14 am

Here is a 1937 photo by Berenice Abott. I bought the book of her photos the other day, “Changing New York 1935-1938”, and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys seeing NYC in the 1930s.

Bway on May 28, 2009 at 11:30 am

beautiful photo. Thank you.

42ndStreetMemories on January 5, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Easy Mr. Harris. I probably did copy some of yours and I know that you will find many there that you do not “own”.

Imagine me having the nerve to copy a posted image of my childhood theater. I’m disgraced.

Lighten up, we are all in this for one thing, to relive memories. Or so I thought.

42ndStreetMemories on January 5, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Sorry for the confusion. Lost Memory’s link will do it for you.

Hope to hear from folks with memories of the old RKO.

Bway on January 5, 2009 at 11:42 am

I think that’s because when you copy a link from your own photobucket account thumbnails pages, or certain pages, the link is set to be loggedin, so it will log into your “my photobucket”, which of course is different for everyone. The same thing happened to me, but it has something to do with the cookies on your computer, and the particular “my photobucket” page he linked to.
I think he has to use a different link that is publically accessible, which certain ones in each of our accounts aren’t, so the cookie on your computer sends it to you own logged in page.

42ndStreetMemories on January 5, 2009 at 8:53 am

Here is a link to my photobucket album of RKO 23rd St images that I’ve accumulated.

View link

Bway on January 5, 2009 at 8:35 am

July 8, 2005
Jul 14, 2005
Oct 26, 2005

Bway on January 5, 2009 at 7:24 am

A lot of the links to the historic images of this theater don’t work. Any current links available?

42ndStreetMemories on December 26, 2008 at 9:17 am

Heartbreaking photo of the fire in 1960. I was a young lad standing with my dad watching from this angle. The theater had already been shut down, tragic enough without this happening. Note the OPERA sign in the window.

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jflundy on December 20, 2008 at 11:32 am

Jim Fisk was a Wall Street shark and took control of the Erie Railroad along with Jay Gould. The Erie Railroad general Offices were in the Grand Opera House building which was owned by Fisk in the 1870’s. In 1945, one outer door remained with the initials ER still marked on it on 28th Street, long after the Railroad had moved out.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 20, 2008 at 12:50 pm

As the Grand Opera House this was showing films at least as early as January 1923 when it ran TESS OF THE STORM COUNTRY.

42ndStreetMemories on February 26, 2008 at 9:28 am

Excerpt from 1870 NY Illustrated article in two parts:

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42ndStreetMemories on January 16, 2008 at 8:09 am

8 years shy of its 100th birthday. Sad day indeed. I remember, as a10 year old, standing on the south side of 23rd Street watching the fire and the firemen.

I vividly remember standees from AT WAR WITH THE ARMY and TONKA being thrown out on the street.

The theater had closed on June 15 to make way for the ILGWU Co-Op development. The site became a bank, a Chicken Delight and other “necessities”.

I still miss this place and I hope someday to find images of the long foyer, the staircase and the concession area. Jerry

42ndStreetMemories on January 1, 2008 at 6:10 am

1925 Closed For Repairs images

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Happy New Year. Jerry