Radio City Music Hall October 21 2014
When Radio City Music Hall opened in 1932 as part of New York's futuristic Rockefeller Center complex, it was the largest indoor theater in the world. And today it still is. Everything about Radio City Music Hall is outsized - from it's sixty-foot-high foyer to its two-ton chandeliers, the largest in the world, to its Wurlitzer organ (the mightiest on earth, with fifty-six separate sets of pipes).
Not only has it played a role as an important site for the New York premieres of more than six hundred films like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), An American in Paris (1951), and Singin' in the Rain (1952), the hall also wounded up being featured in a number of films including The Godfather (1972), Annie (1982) and Alfred Hitchcock's Saboteur (1942).
Radio City's glory days ended in the 1960s. For one thing, the studios had started mass-rleasing films by then, making it next to impossible for Radio City still to boast first-runs. Also, America's tastes had changed. Family films were out of fashion in the 1960's and 1970's.
By 1978, Radio City was losing millions of dollars a year, and the Rockefeller Group, its parent company, decided to close it down. A white elephant, the grand Art Deco entertainment palace was earmarked for demolition. Happily, a citizen group managed to get the interior of the Music Hall declared a historic landmark and management set about finding new uses for the mega-auditorium.
And so, these days, Radio City Music Hall hosts everyone and everything from rock and pop stars and groups (Madonna, Rolling Stones, Justin Bieber....) to trade and award shows (The Tony Awards, America's Got Talent, MTV Music Awards) and its own classic Christmas and Easter extravaganzas.