RKO Warner Twin Theatre

1579 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Marks Brothers, Mark-Strand Theater Corp., RKO, Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

Architects: Thomas White Lamb

Styles: Adam

Previous Names: Mark Strand Theatre, Strand Theatre, Warner Theatre, Cinerama I & II Theatre, RKO Cinerama Theatre, Penthouse Theatre, Cine Orleans (Off Broadway)

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News About This Theater

RKO Warner Twin Theatre

Located on Broadway at W. 47th Street, the Mark Strand Theatre was opened on April 11, 1914 with the photoplay “The Spoilers” starring William Farnum. It was built for the Mitchel Mark Realty Company and was under the early direction of Samuel L. “Roxy” Rothapfel. It originally had a seating capacity of 2,989 located in orchestra and a single balcony. It was equipped with an Austin 3 manual organ with 49 registers.

The Mark Strand Theatre began its life with stage shows in addition to movies and also had one of the largest stages in the city in 1914. After stage shows were dropped in 1929, seating was reduced to 2,750. In the late-1930’s stage shows (and vaudeville) were brought back.

After dropping stage shows on July 3, 1951, the Strand Theatre was renamed Warner Theatre, and opened with “Strangers on a Train”. During 1952 to 1953, the theatre closed, was renovated and renamed Warner Cinerama Theatre. Cinerama films moved here from the Broadway Theatre, starting with “This Is Cinerama” in 1953.

In 1963, the auditorium was equipped with a 81 foot wide, 30 feet tall screen to show “Its a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”. World Premiere’s of 70mm films included “Porgy and Bess”(June 24, 1959), “Exodus”(December 15, 1960), “The Greatest Story Ever Told”(February 15, 1965), “Grand Prix”(December 21, 1966 and “Camelot”(October 25, 1967).

On June 30, 1968, the theatre was twinned becoming the Warner Strand Theatre. A third 450-seat theatre was built on the old Strand Theatre’s stage-house, named Cine Orleans (Off Broadway), which had its own entrance on W. 47th Street. On June 3, 1971 following an over $5000,000. refurbishment it reopened as the RKO Warner Twin Theatre. With 1,100 seats occupied the main floor. The former balcony became the 1,200 seat Penthouse Theatre.

Unfortunately, on February 8th 1987, after a long and eventful life, one of the greatest movie palaces of New York City closed and was demolished.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures, Warren, Orlando Lopes

Recent comments (view all 371 comments)

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on January 19, 2022 at 3:32 pm

Hello-

to MSC77- thanks for the new link. it worked perfectly. a few comments/questions.

*after reading the article I’m assuming the reason the Todd-AO 70MM print of the original roadshow cut used in the festival wasn’t used for the blu-ray is it was too faded?

*also during this theater’s 70M festival in the late 70s what print was used for South Pacific the original Todd-AO roadshow cut or the general release print?

*The Agony and the Ecstasy is one of my favorite historical epics. it would have been amazing to see the original Todd-AO roadshow cut in 70MM on the large curved screen.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on April 26, 2022 at 1:01 pm

Hello-

recently I was thinking about all the roadshow engagements this theater hosted in the 1952-1972 period. many of the films won Oscars. then I realized all the films have been released on home video except Porgy and Bess. I then looked at the film’s Wikipedia page to find out a reason why. it states no good quality print of the film is known to exist. is that possible?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 26, 2022 at 1:27 pm

I saw “PORGY” at the Ziegfeld in 2007 and the print was fine. https://www.theatermania.com/new-york-city-theater/news/porgy-and-bess-film-to-be-screened-at-nycs-ziegfel_11640.html

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on April 26, 2022 at 3:10 pm

Hello-

to Al A.-

as always I thank you for your quick reply. as you said the print you saw was fine which prompts a question- why has it never been issued om home video?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 26, 2022 at 3:22 pm

A PAL version from Spain is available but perhaps US rights are not. I know that in some cases the music and the film rights are owned by different companies who can’t agree on terms.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on April 26, 2022 at 3:54 pm

Hello-

to Al A.- your replies are lways welcome. a question- you don’t think Porgy and Bess never having been released on home video has anything to do with being to use a current term “a problematic film”?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 26, 2022 at 4:55 pm

Could be. Or could be the original elements aren’t in good shape. Or a combination of the two. Porgy and Bess was revived on Broadway as recently as 2012.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 26, 2022 at 5:00 pm

Although there are some ‘race’ issues in “PORGY”, they are no worse than many other older films such as “SOUTH PACIFIC”, “GONE WITH THE WIND” and “BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S”.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 26, 2022 at 5:56 pm

Agreed, Al. How about Birth of a Nation? And there’s scads of dialogue in so many classic films that would make folks wince today (referring to Sam as a “boy” in Casablanca, Groucho referencing the song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” in Duck Soup). I think we need to view these movies in the context of their times. But I also say it could be a factor in why the film has not received a restoration, and why you don’t see it on TV all that often anymore.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 26, 2022 at 7:42 pm

These random conversations are always a good opportunity to check out the recent photo additions.

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