Rivoli Theatre

1620 Broadway, New York, NY 10019

A “sister” to the nearby Rialto Theatre, this 2092-seat lost theatre was once
one of the grandest theatres on the east coast. The Rivoli Theatre opened on
December 28, 1917 with Douglas Fairbanks in “A Modern Musketeer”.

- in the 1960s -

In its middle years, the Rivoli Theatre was one of New York City’s finest
‘roadshow’ theatres and was converted to 70mm Todd-AO with a deeply curved
screen by Michael Todd for his feature, “Oklahoma!” The World Premiere was
held here on October 13, 1955 and ran continually for 51 weeks.

Other World Premieres of 70mm films included “Around the World in 80 Days”
(October 17, 1956 and was showcased for 103 weeks), “The Big Fisherman”
(August 4, 1959), “West Side Story” (October 18, 1961 and was screened
for 77 weeks), “Cleopatra” (June 12, 1963 and was shown for 64 weeks),
“The Sound of Music” (March 2, 1965 and was screened for 93 weeks),
“The Sand Pebbles” (December 20, 1966), “Hello Dolly” (December 16, 1969),
“Fiddler on the Roof” (November 3, 1971) and “Man of La Mancha” (December 11, 1972).

The 1950’s deeply curved screen was enormous and generated the illusion of peripheral vision.
The Rivoli Theatre, along with the nearby Capitol Theatre, showed event films and both movie
houses showed “2001” on their giant screens. Patrons also recall that the sound quality of the
six track stereo was as impressive as it’s visuals.

After it was twinned in December 1981, and the curved screen was removed. It became the
United Artists Twin from October 26, 1984. One of the last features to play there was
Richard Haines' low budget movie, “The Class of Nuke ‘Em High”. It was closed as the
United Artists Twin in June 1987.

Where urban blight had at once shuttered, but saved the Rivoli Theatre from development,
a turn around in the city’s fortune made the site too tempting for developers.
The Rivoli Theatre, one of the greatest of all New York City theatres, was
demolished after closing in June 1987. It has been replaced by a black glass skyscraper.

Programs available from this theatre:

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