Seventy-seven years ago today, on December 4, in 1931, Frankenstein premiered in New York at the Mayfair Theater. Pictured above is the original newspaper ad that ran on this day in The New York Daily News. The Monster’s image is based on the alternate, unused makeup with curious, stapled folds in the forehead.
The Mayfair originally opened as the Columbia, a Burlesque house, in 1910. The famous theater architect Thomas W. Lamb gave it an Art Deco makeover in 1930, when it became the RKO Mayfair, showing movies. In its heyday, sitting at Broadway and 47th, the building often carried a giant billboard poster, several stories high, that wrapped all the way around the corner.
It was called the DeMille in the Sixties, playing super-large screen 70MM and Todd-A-O blockbusters, its last hurrah before being chopped up and repurposed as the Embassy, a multiplex.
Abandoned and boarded up since 1998, the theater was demolished in 2007. It was the last of the old Times Square movie palaces to go.