Today’s lost theatre is one of the great early theaters of Times Square, the Rivoli at 49th and Broadway.  It was designed by architect Thomas Lamb in the style of the Parthenon in Athens Greece, complete with Greek central columns and a triangular pediment with bas relief scenes copied from the Parthenon itself.  It opened in 1917 for Paramount Pictures and was the grandest theatre in New York City until the opening of the Capitol in 1919.

After the opening of the Paramount Theatre in 1926, the Rivoli was sold to United Artists, whom made it their flagship.  For the next few decades, it hosted roadshows, wide-screen presentations and boasted the biggest screen in New York City.  It was later twinned, turning the balcony into an upstairs theater in the early-80’s.  It’s name changed several times from the Rivoli to the Rivoli Twin and finally to the UA (United Artists) Twin.  The theatre closed in 1987 and its owners at the time purposefully vandalized the exterior, encasing the Greek pillars in concrete and damaging several of them in order to prevent the classical facade from being protected under historic preservation laws so the theatre could be demolished.  Caroline’s Comedy Club sits on its spot today.

Below are historic views of the theatre as well as one showing preparation of the Rivoli’s demolition. (Photos from the Cinema Treasures website)$_57-4

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