Trans-Lux 52nd Street Theatre

586 Lexington Avenue,
New York, NY 10154

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Trans-Lux Movies Corp.

Architects: Thomas White Lamb

Styles: Streamline Moderne

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Trans-Lux 52nd Street Theatre

Locacated on the East Side at Lexington Avenue and E. 52nd Street. Opened by December 1938 as a newsreel theatre. It later turned art house, and is where the Fellini film “La Strada” premiered in 1956. The Trans-Lux 52nd Street Theatre was closed in 1965 with Lee Marvin & Jane Fonda in “Cat Ballou”

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 2, 2010 at 9:16 pm

This theatre was already operating as a newsreel site in December 1938.

The 1953 release of “Lili” ran for almost two years.

It closed in 1965 after a run of “cat Ballou”.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 12, 2010 at 4:46 am

A picture of the exterior from 1952 appears in Boxoffice Magazine, April 19, 1952. Go to page 26.

unowen on May 27, 2012 at 10:02 am

I live on 1st and 51st. The Trans-Lux was the theatre that Marilyn Monroe walked over the subway grate in front, which blew her skirt up.

The night they filmed it, there were huge crowds, and a (very) angry Joe DiMaggio.

bonacker2 on October 15, 2016 at 9:23 am

My memory of the Trans Lux 52nd St.

On a Sunday evening in ‘53 or '54, my mother, aunt, myself and my sister, then seven or eight years old, went to the Trans Lux 52nd St. to see “Lili” with Leslie Caron. The movie was extremely popular and famously ran at the Trans Lux 52nd. for a record-breaking run. (Someone posted here that the run lasted two years.) The movie was a sweet — Pauline Kael called it sickeningly sweet —– innocent film to which parents enjoyed taking their younger children.

About half way through the movie, there was a commotion in the seats next to me, and my family suddenly got up and moved to the lobby. My sister had whispered to my mom that a man sitting next to her was touching her leg. My mother and aunt reported this to the management and for about fifteen minutes or more there was a lot of activity in the lobby with an alarmed management. I remember my sister crying, and my mother and aunt being extremely angry and upset. It was never explained to my sister or me exactly what this was all about — we were seven and ten — only that this man was a “pervert.” We were never given any explanation of what a pervert was. We never returned to our seats to the see the rest of the movie.

Sorry, but that’s my only memory (but still quite vivid) of this theatre. In later years, I’ve often dwelled on the irony of this happening during a family outing to see “Lili.”

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 15, 2016 at 7:22 pm

Welcome to Cinema Treasures, bonebacker2. By all means feel free to share your memories here. Most of us are more than willing to hear your accounts, and not judge them. I was a manager at theatres for over 43 years from the 70’s to the turn of the century. Most sexual acts against children in theatres occurred in suburban theatres during Disney films during that time. They never happened during more adult films. I thought your “LILI” report was enlightening and hope your share more from your growing up with cinema in NYC during the magical fifties era.

DavidZornig on April 6, 2018 at 12:56 pm

Blizzard of 1956 photo added via of Neil Marsolekā€Ž.

DavidZornig on August 12, 2019 at 7:11 pm

Photo & description added courtesy Captain Bijou Facebook page.

“Filming Tom Ewell and Marilyn Monroe exiting a theatre playing THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954) for the comedy classic SEVEN YEAR ITCH (1955), directed by Billy Wilder.”

Per IMDB: “The New York movie theater that’s supposedly showing Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) was really showing the Leslie Caron movie LILI (1953) at the time; the side of the theater visible to viewers had the "Creature” title on the marquee (along with a standee of monster and maiden on top of it), but the front of the theater marque (not visible) was still listing “Lili”. A photo of the theater with all “conflicting” marquees visible was tacked up in the Fox photo department for decades."

“That movie house was the Trans-Lux 52nd Street Theatre, located at 586 Lexington Avenue. It closed in 1965 and has since been demolished.”

davidcoppock on April 30, 2021 at 8:36 am

The shot of Marilyn Monroe been filmed outside this theater, for the movie, “The seven year itch,, was the first take of the scene(the second take was filmed at the movie studio). Both takes are in the movie.

davidcoppock on April 30, 2021 at 8:44 am

Is that subway grate still there?

DavidZornig on April 30, 2021 at 8:48 am

Google street view of the above address shows that it is.

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