Roxy Theatre program

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Derek B.

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Roxy Theatre program

PostThu Apr 28, 2011 10:42 pm

Bruce has posted interesting small theater weekly programs/schedules here and here. I thought that for contrast people might be interested in how one of the key movie theaters, the Roxy Theatre in New York, set up their program for a typical week (in January 1928):

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Rodney

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PostFri Apr 29, 2011 8:02 am

I, for one, would love to see a live Bacchanale with Maria Gambarelli, Alex Toura, and the sixteen Roxyettes.
Rodney Sauer
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ymmv

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PostFri Apr 29, 2011 9:40 am

And all those people were out of a job when the talkies took over.
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Rodney

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PostFri Apr 29, 2011 10:23 am

ymmv wrote:And all those people were out of a job when the talkies took over.


Not quite all -- at a place like the Roxy, they probably had the orchestra or at least the organist for a while, maybe even decades; because the between-films entertainment was still a way to distinguish your theater from the others. The floor show between numbers may even have survived for a while in some places (though I'm sure the depression took as much of a toll as anything). There were certainly games and give-aways between films as a kind of entertainment.

I'm far from an expert on early talkie performance practice, but there are books on the transition that could answer this more conclusively.
Rodney Sauer
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Derek B.

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PostFri Apr 29, 2011 10:29 am

In addition to the regular program at this time, the Roxy also had Roxy Symphony Concerts, quoting from Roxy programs:
Every Sunday morning at 11:30 the Roxy Symphony Orchestra will give a symphony concert in the theatre. Internationally known artists from the concert world and promising young Americans will be featured as soloists. Regular Sunday prices of admission will prevail and those attending the concers may remain for the whole theatre program. The concerts will be under the direction of Erno Rapee.

The program for the Roxy's twenty-first concert, on March 25, 1928, reads:
Roxy Symphony Orchestra / 110 Musicians / Erno Rapee, Conducting
All-Wagner Program
1. Overture to "The Flying Dutchman."
2. Prelude to the First Act of "Lohengrin."
3. Wotan's Farewell and Magic Fire Music from "Die Walkure"
4. Traume.
5. "The Ride of the Valkyries" from "Die Walkure."
6. Siegfried's Idyll.
7. Overture to "Tannhauser."
Assisted by Josef Stopak, Violinist.

Later that year, in the Sept. 29, 1928 program, "Roxy" wrote
We are perhaps prouder of our orchestra than of any other feature of our huge organization. The largest theatre orchestra in the world, it is maintained at an expense of $705,000 a year. Many of its members have served apprenticeship in some of the country's leading symphony organizations and the first chairs are solo instrumentalists of merit and destinction.

From that program, the Roxy had a radio program that broadcast concerts by their orchestra Sunday afternoons.
- Derek B.
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silentfilm

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PostFri Apr 29, 2011 4:03 pm

I've actually got 26 posted on my website at http://www.silentfilmstillarchive.com/magazine_articles.htm. Scroll down to the theater programs. I just added the Aldine Theatre in Philadelphia, yesterday, which was showing Foolish Wives (1922) in February, 1922.

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Rodney is correct that the biggest theaters in each city kept their stage shows and orchestras, at least in the evenings, during the 1930s. I'm sure that the pay was greatly decreased, due to the orchestra not playing as long. And of course many smaller theaters kept their theater organ for music for quite a while.

I do have an early 1930s Capitol Theater program from New York City, but I have not had a chance to post it yet.
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Derek B.

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PostSat Apr 30, 2011 2:09 pm

I don't have information on the sound period. But if this article from a Sept 1928 program is to be believed, the Roxy had about 350 performers then (with an overall staff size of 584). I see the number of Roxyettes had doubled since the program above.
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silentfilm

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PostSat Apr 30, 2011 9:07 pm

I actually have a program from the Roxy for the week of July 11, 1930, which admittedly is not very deep into the sound era.

After an organ introduction, the Roxy Symphony played Tschaikowsky's Enchanted Lake. The Fox Movietone and Hearst Metrotone newsreels were next. There was a live prologue featuring two dancers, the Russian Cathedral Choir and the Roxy Male Chorus. Finally, the feature was The Rogue Song, a color feature starring opera star Lawrence Tibbett and a couple of comedians who had mostly starred in two-reel comedies...

I'll try to scan it and post it here in the next few days.
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PostSun May 01, 2011 6:21 pm

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Last edited by silentfilm on Fri May 06, 2011 11:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Jim Reid

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PostSun May 01, 2011 7:07 pm

The boys got pretty good billing there!
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PostTue Jun 28, 2011 10:34 pm

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Here's a program that I just acquired from the (Mark) Strand in New York City. Besides the Warner Brothers program, there's a still a stage show lead by Big Band leader Horace Heidt. And the Al Donahue Orchestra is the next week.
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PostThu Jul 07, 2011 4:19 pm

I like the way the Roxy programme shows up the perception that 20s theatregoers, at least in the big cities, spent their time salivating over the latest Lilian Gish or King Vidor. The initial entertainment would put most modern concert houses to shame and the film, a mediocre programmer if ever I saw one, seems almost to have been added on as an afterthought.
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Jack Theakston

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PostThu Jul 07, 2011 5:49 pm

That's in New York, however, where audiences tended to be a bit more on the affluent side.
J. Theakston
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Mary Miles Minter

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PostMon Jul 11, 2011 6:19 pm

ymmv wrote:And all those people were out of a job when the talkies took over.


It is just like today's technology they keep eliminating somebody's job.It then becomes a thing of the past.
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PostMon Jul 11, 2011 6:27 pm

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Re: Roxy Theatre program

PostSat May 12, 2018 5:37 am

I've just been re-visiting the story of the Roxy Theatre New York (1927-1960) and this thread popped up amongst my meanderings. I was wondering whether (a) any film of the cinema has survived (b) whether there is any audio material of the Roxy Symphony orchestra - by way of gramophone records or radio transcriptions (c) whether any audio material exists of the Kimble 3 consoled organ?
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she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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Re: Roxy Theatre program

PostSat May 12, 2018 5:52 am

I want to see "A Palm Beach Frolic!"
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Ken Viewer

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Re: Roxy Theatre program

PostFri May 18, 2018 6:25 pm

Donald Binks wrote:I've just been re-visiting the story of the Roxy Theatre New York (1927-1960) and this thread popped up amongst my meanderings. I was wondering whether (a) any film of the cinema has survived (b) whether there is any audio material of the Roxy Symphony orchestra - by way of gramophone records or radio transcriptions (c) whether any audio material exists of the Kimble 3 consoled organ?


As for film of the completed theater itself (both it's auditorium and its exterior building), yes, footage exists but it's behind an Internet wall and I can't link to it. I attended films at the Roxy (the larger one, on Seventh Avenue and 50th Street), which I think you're referring to, and been in the smaller, second Roxy -- which still exists and is currently used as a live-attraction concert hall.

I don't have a clue as to whether audio material exists.

Here's some footage of the larger Roxy being constructed; filmed silent, these are out-takes filmed by Fox newsreels in 1925 and showing Roxy himself (Samuel Rothafel) in the overcoat, apparently chewing something, perhaps sinister (kidding), and wearing an overcoat while holding onto a crowbar. The online footage is courtesy of the kindness of the University of South Carolina and they assert copyright, so I will not embed the images and ask that no one else do so -- for anything I post -- until Federal law deals adequately with never-previously-released/seen and thus not copyrighted-at-the-time-of-filming material:

https://mirc.sc.edu/islandora/object/usc%3A16708

Ken
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Donald Binks

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Re: Roxy Theatre program

PostFri May 18, 2018 6:46 pm

Ken Viewer wrote:
As for film of the completed theater itself (both it's auditorium and its exterior building), yes, footage exists ...

Here's some footage of the larger Roxy being constructed; filmed silent, these are out-takes filmed by Fox newsreels in 1925 and showing Roxy himself (Samuel Rothafel) in the overcoat, apparently chewing something, perhaps sinister (kidding), and wearing an overcoat while holding onto a crowbar. The online footage is courtesy of the kindness of the University of South Carolina and they assert copyright, so I will not embed the images and ask that no one else do so -- for anything I post -- until Federal law deals adequately with never-previously-released/seen and thus not copyrighted-at-the-time-of-filming material:

https://mirc.sc.edu/islandora/object/usc%3A16708" target="_blank

Ken


Thanks for the footage. Interesting to see "Roxy" himself. Also good to know that there exists some other footage of the completed theatre.
Regards from
Donald Binks

"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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Re: Roxy Theatre program

PostSat May 19, 2018 3:07 pm

I believe some time ago I posted a link to an image of the interior of the Roxy Theatre. As for the exterior, the Roxy had several different marquees over the decades. There is moving picture film of the original Manhattan Roxy on Youtube and other places. Here is a still-photo of the image I saw the first time I went to that theater to see "The Robe" in CinemaScope in 1953. Click on the photo and it will expand.

Photo copyright proclaimed by Getty Images, and therefore, please, no embedding:

https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news ... -id2707288

Ken

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