History, Legacy & Showmanship

Musical Matchmaker: Remembering “Hello, Dolly!” on its 50th Anniversary

December 30, 2019 - 3:54 pm   |   by
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Hello, Dolly! is a well-dressed dinosaur.” — Matthew Kennedy, author of Roadshow! The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the golden anniversary of the release of Hello, Dolly!, the Oscar-winning cinematic adaptation of the Broadway stage musical which starred Barbra Streisand (Funny Girl, Yentl) as singing matchmaker Dolly Levi.

Hello, Dolly! — directed by Gene Kelly (On the Town, Singin’ in the Rain) and which also starred Walter Matthau (The Odd Couple, The Bad News Bears) and Michael Crawford (Condorman, The Phantom of the Opera stage production) — opened 50 years ago this month. For the occasion, The Bits features an historical reference listing of the film’s major-market roadshow engagements and a Q&A with film historian Matthew Kennedy, who discusses the film’s virtues, shortcomings and legacy. [Read on here...]

Hello Dolly 70mm film frame

 

THE ROADSHOW ENGAGEMENTS

What follows, for historical record and nostalgia, is a chronological reference listing of the North American first run “hard ticket” roadshow engagements of Hello, Dolly! These were special long-running, showcase presentations in major cities prior to the film being exhibited as a general release, and they featured advanced admission pricing, reserved seating, an overture/intermission/entr’acte/exit music, and an average of only ten scheduled screenings per week. Souvenir program booklet were sold, as well.

Out of the hundreds of films released during 1969, Hello, Dolly! was among only seven given the deluxe roadshow treatment.

Many of the roadshow presentations of Hello, Dolly! were presented in 70-millimeter and offered a superior projection and sound experience. All of the film’s roadshow presentations are believed to have been presented with stereophonic sound (4-track for 35mm and 6-track for 70mm).

The film’s anniversary offers an opportunity to namedrop some famous and once-glorious cinemas, to provide some nostalgia for those who saw the film during this phase of its original release, and to reflect on how the film industry has evolved the manner in which event and prestige films are exhibited.

Hello Dolly newspaper ad

Premiere date YYYY-MM-DD … City — Cinema (duration in weeks)

  • 1969-12-16 … New York, NY — Rivoli (34)
  • 1969-12-17 … Atlanta, GA — Grand (18)
  • 1969-12-17 … Baltimore, MD — New (23)
  • 1969-12-17 … Buffalo, NY — Century (20)
  • 1969-12-17 … Calgary, AB — Chinook (20)
  • 1969-12-17 … Cincinnati, OH — International 70 (31)
  • 1969-12-17 … Cleveland (Cleveland Heights), OH — Severance (18)
  • 1969-12-17 … Cleveland (North Olmsted), OH — Great Northern (22)
  • 1969-12-17 … Columbus (Whitehall), OH — Cinema East (27)
  • 1969-12-17 … Dallas, TX — Cine 150 (19)
  • 1969-12-17 … Denver, CO — Continental (27)
  • 1969-12-17 … Detroit (Southfield), MI — Americana (27)
  • 1969-12-17 … Edmonton, AB — Westmount (20)
  • 1969-12-17 … Fort Lauderdale, FL — Gateway (27)
  • 1969-12-17 … Fort Worth, TX — 7th Street (15)
  • 1969-12-17 … Honolulu, HI — Cinerama (23)
  • 1969-12-17 … Houston, TX — Alabama (19)
  • 1969-12-17 … Indianapolis, IN — Circle (37)
  • 1969-12-17 … Kansas City (Overland Park, KS), MO — Glenwood II (43)
  • 1969-12-17 … Louisville, KY — United Artists (16)
  • 1969-12-17 … Memphis, TN — Paramount (20)
  • 1969-12-17 … Miami (Miami Beach), FL — Beach (29)
  • 1969-12-17 … Milwaukee, WI — Strand (28)
  • 1969-12-17 … Montreal, QC — Westmount (23)
  • 1969-12-17 … New Haven (Hamden), CT — Cinemart (35)
  • 1969-12-17 … New Orleans, LA — Saenger-Orleans (22)
  • 1969-12-17 … Oakland, CA — Century 21 (22)
  • 1969-12-17 … Oklahoma City, OK — Tower (22)
  • 1969-12-17 … Omaha, NE — Dundee (36)
  • 1969-12-17 … Orlando (Winter Park), FL — Park East (23)
  • 1969-12-17 … Pittsburgh, PA — Warner (28)
  • 1969-12-17 … Sacramento, CA — Century 22 (22)
  • 1969-12-17 … Saint Louis, MO — Ambassador (33)
  • 1969-12-17 … Saint Petersburg, FL — Crossroads (27)
  • 1969-12-17 … Salt Lake City (South Salt Lake), UT — Century 21 (20)
  • 1969-12-17 … San Antonio, TX — Broadway (15)
  • 1969-12-17 … San Francisco, CA — Cinema 21 (26)
  • 1969-12-17 … San Jose, CA — Century 24 (28)
  • 1969-12-17 … Syracuse (DeWitt), NY — Shoppingtown I (19)
  • 1969-12-17 … Toronto, ON — Eglinton (27)
  • 1969-12-17 … Tulsa, OK — Continental (12+)
  • 1969-12-17 … Vancouver, BC — Ridge (20)

Hello Dolly roadshow program

  • 1969-12-18 … Albany (Colonie), NY — Center (18)
  • 1969-12-18 … Des Moines, IA — Riviera (19)
  • 1969-12-18 … Washington, DC — Warner (23)
  • 1969-12-19 … Los Angeles, CA — Chinese (40)
  • 1969-12-19 … Minneapolis, MN — Academy (28)
  • 1969-12-20 … Rochester, NY — Monroe (26)
  • 1969-12-20 … San Diego, CA — College (23)
  • 1970-02-04 … Hamilton, ON — Century (12)
  • 1970-02-04 … Ottawa, ON — Nelson (14)
  • 1970-02-04 … Portland, OR — Fox (21)
  • 1970-02-11 … Las Vegas, NV — Parkway (15)
  • 1970-02-11 … Phoenix, AZ — Palms (23)
  • 1970-02-11 … Seattle, WA — 5th Avenue (20)
  • 1970-02-11 … Tucson, AZ — Showcase (15)
  • 1970-02-18 … Dayton, OH — Dayton Mall (14)
  • 1970-02-18 … Newark (Wayne), NJ — Willowbrook (23)
  • 1970-02-26 … London, ON — Park (11)
  • 1970-03-04 … Winnipeg, MB — Northstar I (6)
  • 1970-03-06 … Birmingham, AL — Ritz (8+)
  • 1970-03-06 … Knoxville, TN — Park (15)
  • 1970-03-10 … Boston, MA — Saxon (15)
  • 1970-03-10 … Hartford (West Hartford), CT — Elm (20)
  • 1970-03-11 … Akron (Fairlawn), OH — Village (26)
  • 1970-03-11 … Providence (East Providence), RI — Four Seasons I (8+)
  • 1970-03-11 … Worcester (Shrewsbury), MA — White City (8+)

Hello Dolly roadshow tickets

  • 1970-03-12 … Charlotte, NC — Carolina (16)
  • 1970-03-13 … Jacksonville, FL — Florida (8+)
  • 1970-03-25 … Philadelphia, PA — Randolph (28)
  • 1970-03-26 … Woodbury, NY — Cinema 150 (21)
  • 1970-04-17 … Winnipeg, MB — Northstar II (m/o from Northstar I, 5 [11])
  • 1970-04-22 … Atlanta, GA — Tara (m/o from Grand, 9 [27])
  • 1970-04-29 … Des Moines, IA — River Hills (m/o from Riviera, 5 [24])
  • 1970-05-13 … Reno, NV — Century 21 (5)
  • 1970-05-20 … Norfolk, VA — Riverview (8+)
  • 1970-05-27 … Fort Wayne, IN — Jefferson (8+)
  • 1970-05-27 … Orange, CA — Cinedome 21 (20)
  • 1970-05-27 … Portland (Westbrook), ME — Cinema I (8+)
  • 1970-05-27 … Richmond, VA — Westhampton (11)
  • 1970-05-27 … Springfield (West Springfield), MA — Paris (9)
  • 1970-05-27 … Washington, DC — Uptown (m/o from Warner, 17 [40])
  • 1970-07-03 … Montreal, QC — Imperial (23) [Version Francaise]

The engagements cited here represent only a fraction of the thousands of total bookings throughout the many cycles of distribution over the course of the film’s release. As well, this work does not include any general, international or re-release engagements.

Hello Dolly opening titles

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