History, Legacy & Showmanship

Still Loverly: Remembering “My Fair Lady” on its 50th Anniversary

October 27, 2015 - 12:01 am   |   by
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[Editor’s Note: This article was originally scheduled to appear a year ago for the film’s 50th anniversary. The article was delayed so that it could be published to coincide with the delayed but now available Blu-ray Disc release.]

My Fair Lady is probably the greatest popular smart musical ever made. The melodies soar, the characters endear and engage, and the wit of so much pointed commentary on social class, gender, money, and surface appearances never lapses into self-conscious cleverness.” — film historian and author Matthew Kennedy  [Read on here...]

The Digital Bits is pleased to present this retrospective article commemorating the golden anniversary of the release of My Fair Lady, the acclaimed motion picture adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion and the Lerner & Loewe stage production, starring Audrey Hepburn (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sabrina) and Rex Harrison (Cleopatra, Doctor Dolittle) and directed by George Cukor (The Philadelphia Story, A Star is Born).

The Bits celebrates the popular and award-winning film with a detailed listing of its original, major-market roadshow engagements and an interview segment with a trio of film historians who discuss the film’s attributes and legacy.

My Fair Lady at the Criterion

PART 1: THE ROADSHOW ENGAGEMENTS

Presented here is a chronological listing of My Fair Lady’s principal “hard ticket” roadshow engagements in the United States and Canada. 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, an average of ten scheduled screenings per week, and a souvenir program booklet.

Out of hundreds of films released during 1964, My Fair Lady was among only six that were given this deluxe roadshow treatment. The duration of these engagements, measured in weeks, has been included for many of the entries to give a sense of how successful the film was in its first phase of release. Many of these presentations were screened in 70-millimeter with six-track stereophonic sound (including most of the bookings in the first eight months of its release); the rest were shown in 35mm reduction prints (many with four-track stereophonic sound). The classic film’s anniversary and recent Blu-ray release offers an opportunity to namedrop some once-glorious cinemas, to offer 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 treated.

  • My Fair Lady - Los Angeles newspaper ad1964-10-21 … New York, NY — Criterion (87 weeks)
  • 1964-10-23 … Chicago, IL — Palace (60)
  • 1964-10-28 … Boston, MA — Saxon (54)
  • 1964-10-28 … Calgary, AB — Uptown (14)
  • 1964-10-28 … Detroit, MI — United Artists (58)
  • 1964-10-28 … Edmonton, AB — Paramount (21)
  • 1964-10-28 … Los Angeles, CA — Egyptian (68)
  • 1964-10-28 … Montreal, QC — Alouette (56)
  • 1964-10-28 … Ottawa, ON — Nelson (35)
  • 1964-10-28 … Philadelphia, PA — Stanley (53)
  • 1964-10-28 … Toronto, ON — University (60)
  • 1964-10-28 … Vancouver, BC — Stanley (66)
  • 1964-10-28 … Winnipeg, MB — Metropolitan (21)
  • 1964-10-29 … San Francisco, CA — Coronet (50)
  • 1964-11-09 … Cincinnati, OH — Valley (33)
  • 1964-11-10 … Minneapolis, MN — Academy (58)
  • 1964-11-11 … Cleveland, OH — Colony (49)
  • 1964-11-11 … Dallas, TX — Tower (36)
  • 1964-11-11 … Denver, CO — Denham (47)
  • 1964-11-11 … Fort Worth, TX — Palace (28)
  • 1964-11-11 … Oklahoma City, OK — State (32)
  • 1964-11-11 … San Antonio, TX — Broadway (25)
  • 1964-11-12 … Houston, TX — Tower (42)
  • 1964-11-16 … Portland, OR — Paramount (46)
  • 1964-11-17 … Seattle, WA — Music Box (47)
  • 1964-11-18 … New Orleans, LA — Saenger-Orleans (47)
  • 1964-11-18 … Omaha, NE — Cooper 70 (47)
  • 1964-11-24 … Washington, DC — Warner (48)
  • 1964-11-25 … Baltimore, MD — Hippodrome (38)
  • 1964-11-25 … Miami (Miami Beach), FL — Lincoln (48)
  • 1964-11-25 … St. Petersburg, FL — Center (31)
  • 1964-12-20 … Albany, NY — Hellman (25)
  • 1964-12-20 … Kansas City, MO — Capri (52)
  • 1964-12-23 … Buffalo, NY — Granada (38)
  • 1964-12-23 … Des Moines, IA — Ingersoll (26)
  • 1964-12-23 … Milwaukee, WI — Towne (42)
  • 1964-12-23 … Pittsburgh, PA — Squirrel Hill (52)
  • 1964-12-23 … Rochester, NY — Riviera (33)
  • 1964-12-23 … Syracuse, NY — Eckel (33)
  • 1964-12-25 … Atlanta, GA — Roxy (40)
  • 1964-12-25 … Columbus, OH — Cinestage (49)
  • 1964-12-25 … Honolulu, HI — Cinerama (31)
  • 1964-12-25 … Indianapolis, IN — Circle (34)
  • 1964-12-25 … Memphis, TN — Crosstown (26)
  • 1964-12-25 … Providence, RI — Elmwood (32)
  • 1965-01-21 … St. Louis, MO — Ambassador (36)
  • 1965-01-28 … Charlotte, NC — Capri (15)
  • 1965-02-03 … Worcester, MA — Cinema 1 (16)
  • 1965-02-17 … Portland (Westbrook), ME — Cinema I (22)
  • 1965-02-19 … San Diego, CA — Capri (44)
  • 1965-02-24 … Dayton, OH — McCook (?)
  • 1965-02-24 … Louisville, KY — Penthouse (32)
  • 1965-02-24 … Salt Lake City, UT — Centre (33)
  • 1965-03-23 … Las Vegas, NV — Cinerama (18)

My Fair Lady souvenir booklet

  • 1965-04-06 … San Jose, CA — Century 21 (33)
  • 1965-04-06 … Toledo, OH — Pantheon (26)
  • 1965-04-07 … Erie, PA — Strand (?)
  • 1965-04-07 … Fresno, CA — Warner (16)
  • 1965-04-07 … Hartford (Wethersfield), CT — Cine Webb (29)
  • 1965-04-07 … New Haven, CT — Whalley (29)
  • 1965-04-07 … Springfield (West Springfield), MA — Showcase 1 (18)
  • 1965-04-09 … Birmingham, AL — Ritz (20)
  • 1965-04-14 … Asbury Park, NJ — St. James (29)
  • 1965-04-14 … Atlantic City, NJ — Center (?)
  • 1965-04-14 … Orlando (Winter Park), FL — Park East (19)
  • 1965-04-14 … Wichita, KS — Sunset (26)
  • 1965-04-21 … Akron (Cuyahoga Falls), OH — Falls (26)
  • 1965-04-21 … Sacramento, CA — Alhambra (24)
  • 1965-06-02 … Shreveport, LA — Saenger (15)
  • 1965-06-03 … Jacksonville, FL — Cedar Hills (16)
  • 1965-06-03 … Nashville, TN — Green Hills (19)
  • 1965-06-18 … Youngstown, OH — Paramount (16)
  • 1965-06-22 … Davenport, IA — Orpheum (?)
  • 1965-06-22 … Madison, WI — Majestic (14)
  • 1965-06-23 … Fort Wayne, IN — Jefferson (?)
  • 1965-06-23 … Utica, NY — Avon (14)
  • 1965-06-24 … Colorado Springs, CO — Cinema 70 (17)
  • 1965-06-30 … Phoenix, AZ — Palms (25)
  • 1965-07-21 … Albuquerque, NM — Lobo (12)
  • 1965-07-28 … Allentown, PA — Colonial (?)
  • 1965-07-28 … Hamilton, ON — Century (12)
  • 1965-07-28 … Harrisburg, PA — Uptown (12)
  • 1965-08-04 … Binghamton, NY — Capri (13)
  • 1965-08-06 … Grand Rapids, MI — Majestic (?)
  • 1965-08-11 … Reading, PA — Fox (11)
  • 1965-08-11 … Victoria, BC — Odeon (11)
  • 1965-08-18 … Halifax, NS — Paramount (7)
  • 1965-08-25 … Cedar Rapids, IA — Iowa (14)
  • 1965-09-02 … Austin, TX — Varsity (10)
  • 1965-09-11 … Lexington, KY — Strand (10)
  • 1965-09-16 … Regina, SK — Capitol (6)
  • 1965-09-17 … Quebec City (Sainte-Foy), QC — Cinema Ste-Foy Salle Alouette (9)
  • 1965-09-30 … Lubbock, TX — Village (12)
  • 1965-10-13 … Norfolk, VA — Rosna (16)
  • 1965-11-17 … Richmond, VA — Westhampton (17)
  • 1965-12-22 … Corpus Christi, TX — Tower (7)
  • 1965-12-22 … Oyster Bay (Hicksville), NY — Plainview (25)
  • 1965-12-25 … Toronto, ON — Nortown (moveover from University, 7 [67])
  • 1965-12-29 … Bridgeport (Trumbull), CT — United Artists (15)
  • 1966-01-14 … Durham, NC — Center (6)
  • 1966-01-25 … Newark (Montclair), NJ — Clairidge (22)

My Fair Lady - ticket stubs

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