Times Square Before Disney: Glamour, Sleaze, and Cinema

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Taught by Max Alvarez

Max is a film historian and writer on world cinema culture who has presented hundreds of lectures, seminars, study tours, and film screening events. A former Smithsonian Institution visiting scholar and Washington, D.C. film curator, Max has two university press books due out in 2013: The Crime Films of Anthony Mann (University Press of Mississippi) and Thornton Wilder: New Perspectives (Northwestern University Press). www.maxjalvarez.com

Photo credit: Ruth Berdah-Canet



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There was a time when 42nd Street theaters were destination points for drug dealers and prostitutes and late night hedonists flocked to live sex shows on Seventh and Eighth Avenues. But in typical New York fashion, these sordid elements of old Times Square coexisted with glamorous film and stage premieres throughout the 20th century, when movies dominated Broadway and future movie stars débuted in the area’s legitimate theaters.

Join film historian Max Alvarez as he brings the uncensored cinematic history of Times Square back to life through archival clips and rare images of the world’s show business epicenter before giant business interests “saved” it during the late 1990s. Whether hosting Manhattan premieres of Disney cartoons in the 1940s or triple-X attractions in the 1970s, there was nothing anywhere to rival the dangerous excitement of this 13-acre section of mid-Manhattan.

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