Town Theatre

851 9th Avenue,
New York, NY 10019

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Brandt Theaters, Yost Theater Circuit

Architects: George W. Keister

Previous Names: Chaloner Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Town before and after

At 851 9th Avenue, northwest corner of W. 55th Street, the Chaloner Theatre was opened by 1926 when it was operated by the Yost Theater Circuit. It was converted by CBS into a television studio in the early-1950’s. TV production continued until the building was demolished in October 2002 to make way for the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre.

Contributed by Doug Douglass

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 25, 2009 at 9:51 pm

A mention is made in Boxoffice Magazine (December 18, 1961) that the Town was to be reconverted from a CBS TV studio back to a first-run movie location in May 1962 by Brandt after 12 years serving as a studio.

That move apparently never took place.

chris319 on January 13, 2013 at 9:45 am

The Little Theater housed the 1969 season of syndicated Beat the Clock (organist Dick Hyman played from the balcony) and was used by Westinghouse for David Frost when Merv went to CBS in 1969. I understand Dick Clark’s Saturday Night Beechnut Show and Johnny Carson’s Who Do You Trust? originated there when it was occupied by ABC.

Interesting story about the Elysee and Pyramid. After being cancelled by ABC, producer Bob Stewart struck a deal with Colgate Palmolive to tape a barter-syndicated version of Pyramid for 1981 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. On November 21, 1980 the MGM Grand suffered a major fire, causing Pyramid to return to its former home at the Elysee to tape that season. It was likely the last show there.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Although the Little Theatre (currently the Helen Hayes) is not listed on Cinema Treasures, it did show porn films briefly in 1973.

KGordonMurray on January 13, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Alas, our posts are wandering off topic (the Town Theatre) which CT’s guidelines request we not do. Therefore, one last OT mention from yours truly and any further discussion re: the Elysee/ABC Studio TV-15 will be posted at that that theatre’s listing.

Yes, I was aware of that MGM Grand fire story! Fascinating stuff. The Elysee (ABC Studio TV-15) was home to the last season of KIDS ARE PEOPLE TOO! which ended its run in Sept ‘82. I may have misspoken above re: THE $50,000 PYRAMID being the last occupier of the theatre. I worked for ABC at the time and have a ticket for one of the KAPT! tapings. I have to double-check the date as $50K ended its tapings in April '81.

jdicarlo on December 29, 2020 at 3:10 pm

Sesame Street filmed here from 1969-1982, when it moved to Reeves’ other Manhattan facility on 81st St. That site is now a CVS.

DennisDegan on January 30, 2021 at 12:23 am

jdicarlo, you got it backwards. Sesame Street shot from 1969 to 1983 at Reeves/Teletape’s 81st Street Studio. When the 81st Street Studio was sold to developers in 1983, R/T moved the production to this studio, CBS' former Studio 58. They called it Studio 55 because it was at the corner of 55th Street and Ninth Ave. Sesame Street subsequently moved to the Kaufman-Astoria Studios in 1988. I was employed at both studios (81st Street and 55th Street) at various times through the 80’s and 90’s when I worked for R/T and later Unitel Video. Unitel took over operation of Studio 55 in 1987 until they too went out of business in 1998.

DavidZornig on November 4, 2022 at 11:17 pm

The April 11, 2009 post above mentioned Brooks Atkinson Theatre, formerly CBS designated Studio 59/Mansfield Theatre at 256 W 47th, has been renamed The Lena Horne Theatre as of 11/02/22. Facebook post with photo below.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on November 5, 2022 at 1:43 pm

Why post here? This has no connection with the renaming of the former Brooks Atkinson Theatre as the Lena Horne Theatre. The Chaloner/Town was actually on the west side of Ninth Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen, beyond the boundaries of the “legit” industry in midtown.

DavidZornig on November 5, 2022 at 2:13 pm

I said why I posted it here in the first sentence. Because it was referred to in an above April 11, 2009 post, so it updates the content in that post, for those who like to read through all the posts. Also, subsequent posts mention multiple theatres that are not the Town Theatre. So some may find it of interest. The Admins will remove it and the others I assume, if it they deem them to be too far off topic.

Metropolite on December 19, 2023 at 3:41 pm

In 1948, CBS-TV created Studios 53-54-55 & 56 at Liederkranz Hall, 111 East 58th. Unable to use those numbers for new locations, theatre at 55th and Ninth became Studio 58. Theatre on 54th between Broadway and Eighth, Studio 52. In 1977, Studio 54 disco.

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