Criterion Theatre

NE corner of Broadway & W. 44th Street,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 25 comments

DavidZornig on August 22, 2018 at 11:23 pm

1919 photo added credit New York Public Library Digital Collection.

William on July 28, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Hi Daisy you posted your comment on the Criterion Theatre that closed back in 1935. It was at the same location as the one you worked at.
Here is the right link for your theatre.


daziedag on July 28, 2010 at 8:47 pm

I, Daisy Gonzalez, worked at the Criterion Theatre for almost 10years as it’s manager. We had some of the best movies open there on Fridays, Terminator, which allowed me to meet Arnold. Lethal Weapon, I meet Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, plus Michael Mann. Die Head. I walked Andy Warhol into the theatre. Played Arthur for a year. Meet Roger Moore, had my picture taken with Sugar Ray Leonard and the list goes on.

It was the best 10 years of my life. I worked with a great staff, Mr. Simmons, Ms. Esther and Effie. I loved working on Broadway and watching 42nd street change. Now it’s gone and Broadway is not the same.

Dav1dJeffers on October 31, 2008 at 9:52 pm

Paul Wegener’s terrifying Expressionist masterpiece, “The Golem: How He Came Into the World,” made it’s US premier at the Criterion (New York Times, June 19, 1921 p. 67). Also featured in that program, the third chapter of Tony’s Sarg’s Almanac; “Wandering Tribes of the Sahara,” a Kineto review and “Scenes of Prague,” a Prizma scenic. At a time when the best feature films typically ran for one or two weeks, “The Golem” enjoyed a three and one-half month stay at the Criterion.

William on October 23, 2008 at 7:07 pm

Well those four links are no good. And Warren deletes pictures that were once in his photobucket from time to time.

spectrum on October 23, 2008 at 6:35 pm

Correction to links to Warren G. Harris’s from his 5/1/2006 post:

The original interior as the Lyric (1895):

The stage as re-built for the Vitagraph Theatre (1914). This permanent setting had a drop curtain in front of it that was raised just before a performance started:

A fuzzy image of the Vitagraph’s box seats adjoining the stage:

The Criterion in 1933, showcasing a German import released by Universal:

Basically, you want to remove “i18” from the domain name in the links. Looks like Photobucket reorganized their structure at one point.

kencmcintyre on April 20, 2008 at 1:54 am

The Criterion is on the right in this 1933 photo:

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 7, 2008 at 5:33 pm

Gents, both links work for me. The first just gives me the ad image. The second goes to Flicr.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on March 7, 2008 at 4:37 pm

I am at a public library computer. Before logging in to make this comment, I entered the CT site anonymously and clicked on the March 6th link of mine you were having trouble with. It worked!!!! How come I got it (without logging in under any user name) and you can’t get it? This I do not understand. It is possible that the problem you are encountering lies elsewhere, though I haven’t a clue where that might be. I think I shall continue to post my occasional photo contributions using the direct link to them on Flickr.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on March 7, 2008 at 3:29 pm

I used to use Photobucket and still have an account, but Flickr has been a much more versatile way to store and share all my photos of all types and create topical sets and have people comment on them and request them for inclusion in topical groups. CT usage has actually been only a small part of it. I really do like Flickr. If I decide to use Photobucket for CT purposes, I will certainly keep Flickr, where I now have well over 5,000 photos….family, travel, cinema, old postcards etc. I’ll just have to link to the page containing the photo, rather than to the photo itself. With regard to your own great photo-posts, I’ve noticed that the Photobucket links on some of the older ones no longer work.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on March 7, 2008 at 2:55 pm

Yes, Warren, I always hit “preview” first and the previews work. But from now on I will submit links to the whole scrapbook page rather than the actual photo’s URL as I have long been doing without problems resulting. There is something askew here, and I can’t figure it out yet, but I think Flickr is now denying certain kinds of direct links to the photos while allowing links to entire Flickr pages.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on March 6, 2008 at 10:22 pm

Warren, I can’t explain it. It works for me here now.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on March 6, 2008 at 5:51 pm

Ad for the 1915 Italian film Christus which played here in 1917.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on March 6, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Actually to keep things as accurate as possible a small edit to my October 31, 2006 post. The additions or alterations to the organ were substantial enough to change the organ to Opus 32.

“I thought I made a mistake once, and then I found out I was wrong!”

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on March 1, 2008 at 6:12 am

Another Mighty Wurlitzer Theater Pipe Organ, Opus 293, a 2 Manual/6 Rank was shipped to this theater on March 19, 1920. It was reposessed and went to the Capital now Cox Capital Theater in Macon, Georgia in December of 1925. It then went to a private person in Tucker, Georiga and was “OK” as of November 7, 1975.
If you know anything else about any of the Old Criterion Theater’s organs, please email us!

“Gee Dad, they "WHERE” WurliTzers!"

lshadoff on February 15, 2008 at 4:51 am

The shorpy Blog has a photo of the Hotel Astor and Times Square taken in 1916. It shows the Criterion Theatre which was presenting “Civilization” by Thomas H Ince.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 13, 2007 at 3:14 pm

Justin. The Criterion you’re thinking of was built on the same site that had been occupied by the old Criterion and New York Theaters, but there is no other relationship – aside from the shared name. See the last paragraph of Warren’s introductory remarks.

As for being similar in appearances, the older theaters were ornate Victorian era play houses, while the newer Criterion was a more streamlined deco-era cinema.

moviebuff82 on February 12, 2007 at 6:23 pm

Is the old Criterion similar to the one in times square that was once a multiplex straight from where MTV is located?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 11, 2007 at 12:42 am

Here’s a scan of the cover to a 1988 edition of the Sunday Daily News Magazine’s issue devoted to the past, present and future of Times Square. The image is a bit fuzzy from the scan (I removed the sepia tint to try and get as clear a copy as possible) but the old Criterion marquee is clear on the right playing the silent Great War aerial epic “Wings”, which dates the photo to 1927. If memory serves, “Wings” has the distinction of being the film awarded the “Best Picture” award at the very first Oscar ceremonies.

Adjacent to the Criterion, one can make out the Loew’s New York (part of the original Olympia complex) with its huge billboard signage advertising its rooftop theatre.

kencmcintyre on October 31, 2006 at 8:51 pm

Here is an ad from a 1922 Ohio newspaper which mentions the Criterion. Hopefully the scenes of love between the boy and mom were not too graphic:

Direct from its sensational run at the famous Criterion Theater, Times Square, New York, comes the picture beautiful, the picture extraordinary, the picture you’ll never forget-“WHERE IS MY WANDER- ING BOY TONIGHT”-the picture that tells in graphic scenes of a mother’s love for her boy and a boy’s love for his mother. The picture packed with thrills, adventure, romance, tenderest sentiment. The picture of Main Street and Broadway, of soda fountains and swell cabarets, of dance halls and a little church of a mother and her wayward boy, of a country lass and a chorus girl – the picture of smiles, tears, pathos, laughter.

The Picture that packed the famous CRITERION THEATRE, Times Square, N.Y. to capacity for two solid weeks at its world premiere

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on October 31, 2006 at 11:02 am

WurliTzer Theatre Pipe Organ, Opus 20. a 2 manual/8 rank was shipped to this theatre on May 10, 1913. As best as I can tell additions or alterations were made on February 2, 1914. The organ was repossessed by thr Wurlitzer Company (usually for financial reasons). On October 7, 1916 it was then shipped to the Hamilton Theatre in New York, New York and became Opus 103 a 2 manual/6 rank (2 ranks must have got lost?). On October 29, 1935 it was shipped to Detroit and rebuilt as a style RB 13. The last that was heard it still exisits in Grand Rapids and is still playable!

VincentParisi on May 30, 2006 at 12:15 pm

What in the world could anybody see in the fourth and the fifth tiers of boxes of the Lyric from Warren’s picture of May 1 except the ceiling?
Though the theater itself seems to have been one of the loveliest to have ever existed in New York.

BoxOfficeBill on May 22, 2006 at 6:47 pm

On October ’29, just days before Black Friday, no fewer than five B’way theaters were running two-a-day reserved-seat all-sound film shows at elevated prices:

at the old Criterion: Helen Morgan in “Applause”
at the Astor: “Hollywood Revue”
at the Embassy: King Vidor’s “Hallelujah”
at the Warner Bros. (52 Street): George Arliss in “Disraeli”
at the Winter Garden: “Golddiggers of Broadway” (entirely in Technicolor).