On this day in music history: October 17, 1919 - RCA (the Radio Corporation of America) is founded in New York City. The company is the incorporation of several different organizations including the Marconi Wireless Company Of America, General Electric, the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, United Fruit Company and American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T). RCA’s first general manager is David Sarnoff plays an instrumental role in the success and growth of the corporation. Among Sarnoff’s achievements are the establishment of the first major radio and television network, the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), the film production company RKO (Radio-Keith-Orpheum), and in 1929, RCA acquires the Victor Talking Machine Company (later known as RCA Victor). RCA makes a massive impact on the communications and entertainment industries over the next sixty years, playing a vital role in the expansion of commercial radio and in the development of the television and music industries. Sarnoff works for RCA until retiring from the company in 1970, one year before his death in 1971. RCA is eventually taken over by GE in 1986 with the music division being sold to Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) (later consolidated into Sony Music Entertainment), and its electronics division is sold to the French based Thomson Consumer Electronics. General Electric maintains ownership of NBC until 2011, when it is purchased by Comcast (NBC Universal) who purchases the remaining interest of the company in 2013.
Found some rare pictures online this morning. The Arion theater in Middle Village, Queens was the biggest inspiration for The Odyssey Theater in Penn Zero. Actually… more Iike the memory of it, as it was hard to find pics in 2011 when we were developing the show. My Dad was projectionist there and I spent a lot of time watching movies, hanging out in the booth, eating popcorn and drinking too much free soda. I saw Raiders of The Lost Ark 4 times in a row one day, from inside the booth. The Lobby was similar to the Odyssey and the place had a similar, if less ornate Art Deco style. We looked at other early 1900s-mid century movie houses too, and the RKO Keith in Flushing, Queens was also an inspiration. But the memory of this place (which closed in the 80s) was my biggest inspiration.
Also I think that’s my Dad’s brown dodge illegally parked out front in the top picture, circa 1976.
85 years ago yesterday, the “Showplace of the Nation” opened its doors for the first time, as originally the RKO Building - also the first building completed of the stupendous, Rockefeller Center. Radio City Music Hall is the shining emblem and greatest attraction of Rockefeller’s Radio City. But what is indisputably the greatest movie theater and one of the most profound Art Deco attractions in the world, Radio City Music Hall did not open as the great thrilling success. Spearheaded by one of the great names in show business, Samuel Rothafel - best known by his moniker, Roxy - critics bashed it and the public was left largely unimpressed. The theater did manage to open for another 700 movies including King Kong and Sound of Music and a renovation in 1999, restored its glory. The RKO (Radio Keith Orpheum) Building was later renamed simply by its address, 1270 Avenue of the Americas. Of course, it’s also home of the famous Rockettes or Roxyettes, originally.