It's one of America's most famous auditoriums, and has graced New York's cultural landscape for more than three-quarters of a century. Perhaps now it's best known as the home of the Rockettes, those high-kicking precision dancers (did you know that Teri Garr's mother, Phyllis, was one of the original troupe?). It's hosted all sorts of things over the years -- concerts (I saw Ray Charles perform there in September 1979), awards shows, even sports. (When Madison Square Garden was used for the 2004 Republican convention, Garden officials moved part of the WNBA's New York Liberty schedule to the Music Hall, a facility now owned by the Garden. The court was placed on the stage.)
But for its first several decdes, the Music Hall was used not expressly for music but for movies. In 1932, Rockefeller Center officials, noting the Depression, decided to at least temporarily make the Sixth Avenue facility a movie house, competing with the Roxy and other midtown palaces. Films, combined with the Rockettes' stage shows, made Radio City a smash, a prestige venue for new films. To have a film play at Radio City was the East Coast equivalent of premiering at Grauman's Chinese in Hollywood. (I saw "Airport" at Radio City in May 1970.) And with the sumptuous interior, Radio City made its patrons feel positively palatial:
I'm not sure how many Carole Lombard films played Radio City, but I know that several did...and we have an artifact from one of them.
It's from the week of Dec. 9, 1937, when theatregoers at Radio City could see Carole, colossal and in color, in the acerbic comedy "Nothing Sacred." As many moviehouses did in those days, a program was made available to customers, and one from that week is now being auctioned at eBay.
Ah, New York in the 1930s.
The program measures 9" x 6 3/4"; I'm not sure of its overall condition, but from the three pages I saw, it looked okay. And the price is a surprisingly low 99 cents as of this writing, since no bids have been placed. Bidding will close at 6:25 a.m. (Eastern) on Sunday, so before you go to bed Saturday night, it might be worth your while o check this item out. It's at http://cgi.ebay.com/1937-Radio-City-Music-Hall-Program-w-Carole-Lombard-NR_W0QQitemZ190366525233QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item2c52baa731 A great souvenir of a great Lombard movie at a great venue.