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Radio City Prices... Without the Glamour

Radio%20City.jpg On the night of its grand opening, Dec. 27, 1932, Radio City Music Hall was filled with 6,200 of New York’s most prestigious citizens. People like the Rockefellers, Chryslers, and Hearsts were entertained for four hours by an elaborate 500-performer stage show involving orchestras, choirs, opera singers, ballet dancers, and showman Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel’s “Roxyettes” (now known as the Rockettes).

Yet two weeks after its grand opening, Radio City switched to movies. The Great Depression was taking its toll on ticket sales for live performances, so the art deco theater assembled "the world’s largest movie screen," measuring 70 ft by 40 ft. The first screening, on Jan. 11, 1933, was of Frank Capra’s The Bitter Tea of General Yen.

At that time, a prime time ticket (Mon-Fri, 6:00-10:30) cost .75, which would roughly equal $11.50 today. A recent Gallup Poll found that 36% of Americans think movies are too expensive today, and I have to agree. We pay the same price and hardly get Radio City...

Radio City stopped showing movies in 1979, but for those interested in seeing movies (both new and old) in classic theaters, Cinema Treasures has a great list of more than 4,000 theaters with user-submitted profiles.

Americans' Biggest Gripe About Going to the Movies: Cost (Gallup)
Classic movie theaters which currently function as first run theaters (Cinema Treasures)

Photo from Mister V ’s flickr stream (CC)


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