Radio City Music Hall

1260 6th Avenue,
New York, NY 10020

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Related Websites

Radio City Entertainment (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: RKO

Architects: Donald Deskey, Edward Durell Stone

Functions: Concerts, Special Events, Stage Shows

Styles: Art Deco

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 212.247.4777

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News About This Theater

Radio City Music Hall

One of the greatest Art Deco style structures ever built, Radio City Music Hall is one of the most well known landmarks of New York City. Opened on December 27, 1932, with a variety show, it screened its first film Barbara Stanwyck in “The Bitter Tea of General Yen” on January 11, 1933. The proscenium is 100 feet wide, the stage 66 feet deep. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer organ, which has twin 4 manual consoles and 58 ranks. The organ was opened by organists Dick Leibert and Dr. C.A.J. Parmentier.

Showing a mixture of movies and stage shows in the program for 45 years, the format was ended on April 25, 1979 with Kathleen Quinlan in “The Promise”. Thereafter the programming changed to concerts, stage shows and special events.

Reborn after a $70 million renovation in 1999, Radio City has been restored to all of its original opulence.

Recent comments (view all 3,329 comments)

Marcy Starnes
Marcy Starnes on January 15, 2022 at 1:59 pm

rcdt55b in what capacity do you work for Radio City Music Hall?

rcdt55b on January 16, 2022 at 8:16 am

I’m a projectionist there. I’ve been there since 2005. The department head has been there since 2000.

Marcy Starnes
Marcy Starnes on January 19, 2022 at 1:35 pm

rcdt55b Did you work there while projection systems changed from platter systems to digital, or was it the latter when you started?

rcdt55b on January 19, 2022 at 2:44 pm

Radio City was always reel to reel. Sometimes they would bring in a platter for special screenings. When the change to digital started, our film premieres went down drastically. The last 35MM we premiered was Kevin Smith’s “Red State” in 2011. Since then, everything has been shown in digital. The only film we still run is 70MM 3D for the Christmas show.

Marcy Starnes
Marcy Starnes on February 5, 2022 at 3:40 pm

rcd55b, thank you for your response.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on November 18, 2022 at 8:42 am

The “Christmas Spectacular” starring the Rockettes returns today, November 18th. Details, which include those for a new production number, can be viewed here

DaveM on December 14, 2022 at 8:25 am

vindanpar – I had a question about one of your old posts:

“The following year’s Billy Wilder disaster Sherlock Holmes which was considered the Thanksgiving film had to be pulled so Scrooge and the Nativity entered a couple of weeks early and precipitated the entire early/mid November Christmas cultural change.”

It’s an interesting idea. I poked around on, and really can’t find any reports of when the New York stores put up their Christmas windows, so it’s hard to verify. The Rockefeller Center tree lighting has happened the first week in December from the early 30s until today.

I wonder, though, about the underlying premise of the post. Did you get the idea from the 2010 book Some Like It Wilder: “The movie had been booked at the Music Hall in late October as its Thanksgiving attraction, but it was withdrawn before Thanksgiving in the wake of lukewarm public reception.” The author of the book gives no citation.

The numbers from Variety didn’t look all that awful, although I don’t have a ton of comparisions. For instance, I know A Boy Named Charlie Brown, which did close to capacity business, did $290k its second week in 1969. Sherlock Holmes did $150,000 week one, $145,000 week two and $100,000 week three, which sound pretty respectable. Would this have been considered a disaster for a non-holiday booking? These would likely be a sizable piece of the total grosses of the picture.

What I’m guessing is UA knew they had a bomb, but Wilder was likely to do well in NY with sophisticated crowds (perhaps the way Woody Allen duds produced respectable numbers in NY.)

Scrooge got a wide release (outside metro NY) the same day as the Music Hall opening, which suggests the change in programs was planned in advance. The Christmas show requires a lot of logistics, so I doubt that could be moved easily.

Lastly, the only happy part of Walter Mirisch’s description of the Sherlock Holmes debacle in his memoir was the fact that it played at the Music Hall. He was still smarting about the mistakes made 40 years earlier, so I suspect he’d remember getting his show pulled early and not raise that as a positive.

BTW, in my opinion The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is a pretty good picture!

vindanpar on January 1, 2023 at 2:22 pm

Yes 100k in ‘70 was pretty disastrous for such a large operation as the Hall’s. 145k was a very poor opening week. And as the Christmas show was already in rehearsal at the end of Oct and it used sets from previous shows especially The Nativity(what a loss that is! The Leonidoff pageant was a beauty) it would not have been difficult to get it in place in three weeks of rehearsal. Just from the first week’s poor showing the Music Hall audience had no interest in the film. If only the Music Hall had chosen one of Mel Brooks’ very best films The Twelve Chairs. A family friendly film perfect for the Music Hall audiences. Scrooge was a big success opening week and as previously the Christmas season didn’t start until early December it was shortly after that I noticed the season started earlier and earlier. Now it was acceptable to start making money off of Christmas mid Nov when before it would have been considered absurdly early. Manhattan merchants would have noticed this. And from there…

TNYT OCT 30 ‘70 Vincent Canby The real subject of the film, however, is one much closer to Mr. Wilder’s other movie fantasies (“Some Like It Hot,” “Kiss Me Stupid”). That is, sex. To put it bluntly, and profanely, were Holmes and Dr. Watson—Holmes’s biographer, his most earnest admirer and the sharer of his secrets and of his flat— lovers? I suspect that only Billy Wilder would have the nerve to raise such a question, and then to dispatch it in a movie that is gentle enough to become the Thanksgiving holiday attraction at the Music Hall.

TNYT NOV 20 ‘70 Vincent Canby “Scrooge” opened yesterday at the Radio City Music Hall as the Christmas attraction, approximately five weeks early. The last “A Christmas Carol” to play the Hall, a version produced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz in 1938, was unveiled three days before Christmas. When the next version opens—I estimate in 2001—it may be on the Fourth of July.

davidcoppock on November 11, 2023 at 8:54 am

Screened the World premiere of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on December 4, 2023 at 7:37 am

The current Rockettes include two sets of identical twins. Newspaper article and photos can be found here

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