Hollywood Theatre

237 W. 51st Street,
New York, NY 10019

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Showing 51 - 75 of 112 comments

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 20, 2007 at 6:43 pm

That’s right – although in my day the Globe Theater entrance had been long before relocated around the corner as the Lunt-Fontanne. The Automat building is still recognizable – albeit shorn of any original facade elements – and I believe houses a discount emporium of some sort. I wonder if any of the original H&H interior elements remain – such as the elaborate columns and ceiling work. I doubt it, but I’ll have to poke my head in there one of these days.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 19, 2007 at 7:27 pm

There was a theater just a door or two down from the Horn & Hardart off B'way & 47th… I believe it was the Forum 47th aka Movieland – also demolished and replaced by a high rise building (the W Hotel).

TommyC123 on April 11, 2007 at 4:12 am

Thanks Warren! What happened to the Strand? What is there now? Is there a link to photos?

TommyC123 on April 10, 2007 at 6:43 am

Was the Strand/Hollywood next to the Automat? If so I have a picture I would like to share, the photo is from the 1940’s I believe.“Rhapsody in Blue” was playing at the time.

Lostupstate on January 2, 2007 at 10:33 pm

I knew a Tommy lamb and Taresa lamb from 34st. in astoria any relation?

Bway on October 11, 2006 at 4:31 am

Wow, Ed, those photos are great!! It’s a real shame the theater isn’t being used as a theater anymore, but no one can complain, as it’s obviously in loving hands….

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 12, 2006 at 8:07 am

One day in the mid-1980s I noticed that the scene door at the Hellinger was open, so I stepped just inside it. The stage was full of lumber and plywood and a few carpenters were busy constructing set pieces. I looked up and was surprised to find that the theatre’s stage had fly space only over the forward half; the rear half of the stage had very little fly space above it. This is unusual in a Bway musical house. The dressing rooms for the theatre apparently are located along the rear stage wall.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 15, 2006 at 4:58 am

The series of photos I posted back in February are now located at this Hollywood Theater album, now that I’ve reorganized my photobucket account. The old links no longer work.

William on April 26, 2006 at 12:38 pm

The vintage poster cases have been converted to the back light style, that you see at your local multi-plex.

William on April 20, 2006 at 1:03 pm

During the last two days they have been finishing up on new marquee. Today they were installing the new underside lighting. But in doing this the lighting company removed and trashed the original Hollywood/Hellinger marquee light fixtures. That had been hidden for many years.

William on March 16, 2006 at 3:18 pm

Right now if you look at the under side of the marquee. You can see some of the original Hollywood/Hellinger marquee light fixtures. A few months ago when they took the old marquee panels down, some of the light bulbs still lite up.

Benjamin on March 16, 2006 at 3:06 pm

“Bravo” Ed and Davebazooka for taking and posting those terrific photos! It’s a shame that more “unlikely” photographs like yours haven’t been taken — or, if taken, are languishing in someone’s attic somewhere. To my mind, too many photos are taken of the obvious stuff and too few of what’s really interesting — at least, to me!

To answer a question about Lindy’s: Yes, the Lindy’s next to the Mark Hellinger is the second Lindy’s — the one next to the Mark Hellinger was the “big” Lindy’s. The original Lindy’s — this was the small Lindy’s — was just to the north of where the Rivoli Theater was. I believe it closed in the late 1950s, and the Lindy’s next to the Mark Hellinger was then the only Lindy’s. Big Lindy’s closed in the late 1960s or early 1970s and was replaced by a “Brew Berger.” For many, many years, though, they were too “cheap” to replace the windows and revolving doors of Lindy’s, so you could see bits of Lindy’s even when it was a Brew Berger. (The Lindy’s in the One Astor Place Building is not a “true” Lindy’s, but a restaurant that was opened by the Reese (?)Organization years after the original Lindy’s closed. I think they may have also opened one in Rockefeller Center opposite Radio City Music Hall.)

I too think it would be great if someone built an “absolutely perfect” house of worship and traded it with the church for the Mark Hellinger. By the way, Donald Trump did something similar once. The New York Foundling Hospital (run by nuns) had a big, modern (1940s or 1950s) building that was too big and outdated for its needs in the late 1980s. (The mission of the hospital had changed dramatically.) The location of the hospital was perfect, though, for a large luxury apartment house. So Donald Trump built the nuns a brand new, state of the art foundling hospital at a nice, but cheaper, location just north of Greenwich Village, got the site of the Foundling Hospital in return and built a very large luxury apartment house on the site (Trump Plaza?). Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that converting the Hellinger back to theatrical / cinematic uses would be able to generate the same kind of money in order to make such a trade practical, though.

I believe the marquee that was up just before the Hellinger was converted to a church was basically the same marquee that was there when “My Fair Lady” (and later, “the Sound of Music”) was in residence. A number of Broadway marquees were re-done in the late 1950s (e.g., the original Helen Hayes, the Lunt-Fontanne) and the early 1960s, but I got the impression that the Hellinger marquee was original from, at least, the time the main entrance was moved to the side street. (But this is only a guess.)

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 16, 2006 at 10:56 am

William. When it’s completed, I’d be interested in seeing a photo posted here, if you can oblige.

William on March 16, 2006 at 10:38 am

They installed the three new panels for the new marquee this morning at the theatre. The new panels give the marquee that new moderized look, but it’s a work still in progress.

Patsy on February 20, 2006 at 3:34 pm

It would be nice if the church would choose to let that “H” be visible to the congregation as that is the theatre’s rightful heritage and namesake.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 20, 2006 at 11:30 am

Patsy… I compared the photos and see what you mean. Looks like some extra material was added to the point at the top center where the drapery is pulled up into the crown of the proscenium design. That material seems to cover the spot where the stylish “H” was embroidered.

Patsy on February 20, 2006 at 9:20 am

Page 61 in the book, Cinema Treasures by Ross Melnick and Andreas Fuchs.

Patsy on February 20, 2006 at 9:19 am

Ed: I just looked at a b/w photo of the Hollywood proscenium on page 61 and see the famous H above the curtain, but see in your posted photo that the H has either been removed or covered up?

View link

HowardBHaas on February 16, 2006 at 1:21 pm

From the New York Times:
Philadelphia Speak at Ceremonies in the Hollywood. NEW FILM IS COLORFUL
Based on Musical Comedy of Same Name—Old and New Pictures Show
Screen Progress.

Published: April 23, 1930

With brief addresses from Mayor Walker of this city and Mayor Mackey
of Philadelphia, the Warner Brothers' ornamental and wonderfully
comfortable new Hollywood Theatre, at Broadway and Fifty-first
Street, was opened last night.

There were a number of notables in the orchestra seats and they
received an opportunity to study the great strides made in the motion
picture business since the film “The Kiss” was produced some thirty
years ago and also flashes of other old-time films, such as “The
Great Train Robbery.” It was tremendously interesting to observe the
steady improvement in these shadow offerings, particularly when
Giovanni Martinelli appeared eventually on the screen with other
singers rendering in an inspiring fashion an aria from “Aida.”

The feature of the evening was the audible pictorial version of “Hold
Everything,” which aroused many a wave of laughter. The principals in
this ludicrous turns of events are the ever-amusing Joe E. Brown,
whose willingness to take punishment helped in affording no little
merriment; Winnie Lightner, who did so well in the picture “Gold
Diggers of Broadway”; Sally O'Neil; Bert Roach, who does not get
quite the opportunity he deserves; the fair Dorothy Revier, and
Georges Carpentier, who, after seeing Maurice Chevalier, appears to
have been fortunate in making the screen his second vocation, for as
a performer he is at his best when he is in the prize ring and not
when he is discussing sweet nothings with pretty girls.

It is a gusty affair, this “Hold Everything,” with a funny pugilistic
encounter in which Mr. Brown is one of the fighters. The Technicolor
effects in these scenes are especially good, most of them being in focus.

Mr. Brown figures as Gink Schiner, who does not object to being
mistaken for a champion pugilist. He is, however, wary enough to
avoid imbibing the drugged drink!

Mr. Brown as Gink Schiner has his periods of pain, which, of course,
afford pleasure to those in the plush seats. At one juncture he finds
himself in a reducing cabinet and apparently is in great distress
when the lever of the cabinet is jammed. Schiner seems at first to be
trying to expire cheerfully, but subsequently the heat of the cabinet
is too much for him and he becomes exhausted and is unable to keep
his head above the aperture.

Gink’s mouth is likened to a cavern and one is constrained to believe
that this is an apt description. This capacious mouth gives him an
opportunity to express his mirth, his fear and his confidence in the
ring. M. Carpentier may be the real fighter of this production, but
Mr. Brown keeps the fun going to such extent that one would perhaps
sooner see him trying to make the best of a bad bargain in a
pugilistic encounter than gaze upon M. Carpentier’s more serious
fistic prowess.

The Frenchman has to take on the champion, Bob Morgan, who is
credited with dismissing his opponents in one or two rounds,
according to his wont. Georges Carpentier, to afford suspense, has to
permit Morgan to have the best of the fight for a few minutes, but
finally Carpentier turns the tables on his adversary and rains blows
upon him until the erstwhile champion is groggy.

Dorothy Revier acts the placid and graceful Norine Lloyd, who is in
love with Georges La Verne (M. Carpentier). She wants to give Georges
a present, and as he happens to be the Beau Brummel of prizefighters,
she can’t think of anything more appropriate than a beautiful
bathrobe. Norine does not know that Georges is much interested in the
brunette, Sue Burke, whom he has known since he was a little boy.
Miss Burke is played by Sally O'Neill.

So long as Mr. Brown occupies the screen this picture is funny, but
when it delves into romance the interest wanes. There are some
pleasing songs and Miss Lightner does her share in her own way to
enliven the episodes in which she appears.

HOLD EVERYTHING, with Joe E. Brown, Winnie Lightner, Sally O'Neil,
Dorothy Revier, Georges Carpentier, Bert Roach, Edmund Breese, Jack
Curtis, Tony Stabenau, Lew Harvey and Jimmie Quinn, based on the
musical comedy of the same name, directed by Roy Del Ruth, with music
and lyrics by Ray Henderson and Lew Brown. At the Hollywood Theatre.

Patsy on February 13, 2006 at 4:36 pm

William: Thanks for the Hellinger information…checked out the imdb site which I’m familiar with having looked up many celebrity names.

William on February 13, 2006 at 2:45 pm

Mark Hellinger the person the theatre was later named after lived from March 21, 1903 to December 21, 1947.


Patsy on February 13, 2006 at 2:25 pm

Having said that I have since read that the church has completed many restoration aspects of the former theatre which includes work in the auditorium and lobby areas (re-lamping the chandelier) in 2004. In addition to this theatre being known as the Mark Hellinger Theatre it was also known as the 51st Street Theatre and the Warner Theatre. Is this Mark Hellinger still living?

Patsy on February 13, 2006 at 2:08 pm

ERD: “The key word is service. As entertaining as it may be, that is not the main goal-obviously. It still is a church. It would be nice someday to see the place return as a fully functional theatre as it was intended to be.” I have to say I agree with these comments after viewing the photos.

Patsy on February 13, 2006 at 2:02 pm


This is the official site for the church which shows a color photo of the auditorium with balcony during a service and a full house of worshipers.

Patsy on February 13, 2006 at 1:50 pm

Ed: Your 1/10/06 post with interior photos was wonderful to see and I thank you.