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) Theatre

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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) Theatre, which had its own entrance on W. 47th Street and became an adult movie theatre screening XXX movies. 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 379 comments)

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.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 9, 2022 at 9:57 am

On a question often asked on this site by bigjoe, a November 3, 1932, NYT obituary article on Moe Mark credits this location as the first purpose built non-nickelodeon motion picture theatre.

bigjoe59 on August 9, 2022 at 11:47 am


to Al A.-

you are correct about me trying to find the 1st purpose built movie theater in Manhattan. the Regent on 135 St. predates this the Strand by a year.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 9, 2022 at 12:46 pm

I think they give the Strand credit instead of the Regent because unlike the Regent, it was an immediate success. Anyway, I think the brothers Moe and Mitchel Mark deserve a mention in the intro.

vindanpar on August 9, 2022 at 6:23 pm

The film of Porgy and Bess was not shown for years because the Gershwin estate suppressed it. I guess they hated it. It was shown at the Ziegfeld for a one time showing. The musical/opera is done regularly and was done at the Met last year.

The Houston Grand Opera production done on Broadway many years ago(done first at the Uris and then at the Mark Hellinger) was one of the greatest things I’ve seen in my life. There is a recording of it on RCA but it was better than what is captured on the recording. Still it’s worth having to hear Clamma Dale and Donnie Ray Albert.

DavidZornig on January 26, 2023 at 9:10 am

Enlargeable 1948 photo via Alamy site.


grindhouse on January 30, 2023 at 10:06 am

Something went wacky in posting the ad for “Khartoum” pre-sale for the Roadshow Engagement. It won’t allow me to post in the comment section the ticket prices….

Eves Mon-Thurs 8:30PM Loge $3.50 Orch $3.00 Balc $2.50

Eves Fri, Sat, Sun & Hol.Eves 8:30PM Loge $4.25 Orch $3.75 Balc $3.00

Matinees Mon-Thurs 2:00PM Loge $3.00 Orch $2.50 Balc $2.00

Matinees Sat, Sun & Hols. 2:00PM Loge $3.50 Orch $3.00 Balc $2.50

Sat & Sun 5:00PM Loge $4.25 Orch $3.75 Balc $3.00

Cinerama on November 2, 2023 at 10:16 am

Click on link to see ads, articles, and pictures of the New York Warner theatre. Please do not copy to this site.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on November 2, 2023 at 11:26 am

Two images starting with Vitaphone ad for “Don Juan” are not for this theatre, but for what was originally the Piccadilly at Broadway and 52nd Street and re-named as a Warner showcase and other brandings until finally demolished as Republic.

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