Saturday, November 26, 2011

Felt Forum, Madison Square Garden, 8th Avenue, between 31st and 33rd Sts., New York, NY

When the current Garden opened in 1968, the Theater was known as the Felt Forum, in honor of then president Irving Felt.

February, 1964 The Fight Of The Century-Joe Frazier and Cassius Clay.

December 27, 1967 Judy Garland performed here.

Oct 18, 1969 - The original "Rock & Roll Revival" show on October 18, 1969, produced at Madison Square Garden's Felt Forum, became one of the most talked about concerts of the decade.

In 1970,  the New York Knickerbocker Jr. Drum and Bugle Corps made history as the first drum & bugle corps ever to play a concert performance at Madison Sguare Garden's Felt Forum. Drum-Majors Jack Lennon & Bob Lopez. Bob conducting the song " The Good , The Bad , The Ugly.

In 1970, The Association performed at the Felt Forum.

When Frank Sinatra played Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, the marquee occasionally read "Guess Who." This finally evolved to a simple "He's Here." Nothing else needed to be said. The now-retired Frank Sinatra requested Johnny Carson serve as master of ceremonies at the November 20, 1971 fund raiser for the Italian-American Civil Rights League, held at the Felt Forum. The Italian-American Civil Rights League had been organized to help dispel the notion that most Italians belonged to the Mafia. Unfortunately, it had been organized by Joseph Columbo, who ran a Mafia crime family. " I really didn't know what it was about. Frank Sinatra asked me to be there and that was all I needed to know. I flew in from California on the red-eye the night before. I will never forget my opening line that night: "Good evening my fellow Italians."(3) Sinatra sang twelve songs.


November 18, 1973.  Rangers game? No– Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis packs the Felt Forum and delivers what might be considered the first mass Jewish revival meeting ever.  This concert album features an impassioned, at times crying and screaming delivery on the need for Jews to return to Judaism, not intermarry, nor become secular hippies, lest they cause a “spiritual holocaust.” Jungreis, a survivor of the actual Holocaust, went on to become a leader in the Ba’al Teshuva (return to Orthodox Judaism) movement in the U.S., and worldwide. The show is interspersed with rousing renditions of “Shema Yisrael,” “Ani Maamin,” and other prayer and folk songs.

 On October 31, 1976 Frank Zappa performed here.
Felt Forum October 31, 1976

In the early 1990s, at the bequest of Garden owner Paramount Communications, the theater was renamed the Paramount after the Paramount Theatre in Times Square had been converted to an office tower. The theater received its next name of The Theater at Madison Square Garden in the mid-90s, after Viacom bought Paramount, and sold the MSG properties to a group consisting of ITT and Cablevision, which each owned 50% of the Garden. In 1997, ITT sold their share to Cablevision, giving the cable company full control of the venue.

On May 17, 2007, the theater was renamed the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden, due to a naming rights deal with Washington Mutual. Since Washington Mutual is no longer a bank after being seized by the Office of Thrift Supervision and FDIC and sold to JP Morgan Chase, the WaMu name was dropped in 2009, reverting to The Theater at Madison Square Garden.[2]
No seat is more than 177 feet (54 m) from the 30' × 64' stage. The theatre has a relatively low 20-foot (6.1 m) ceiling at stage level[1] and all of its seating except for boxes on the two side walls is on one level slanted back from the stage. There is an 8,000-square-foot (740 m2) lobby at the theater.

Madison Square Garden was the "nest" for the carnivorous Godzilla babies and was later destroyed by F/A-18s in the Americanized version of Godzilla (1998).

Jerry performed here on
12/4/71 Grateful Dead
12/5/71 Grateful Dead
12/6/71 Grateful Dead
12/7/71 Grateful Dead
11/11/82 Early and late shows Jerry Garcia Band
3/18/73 New Riders Of The Purple Sage

1. ^ Wintuk created exclusively for Wamu Theater at Madison Square Garden - Press Release - - November 7, 2007
2. ^ WaMu Theaters name likely to change due to financial crisis
3. ^ For laughing out loud: my life and good times, By Ed McMahon, David Fisher, Johnny Carson


  1. The June 12, 1971, concert was at the Forum in California, not NY.

  2. ScarletNumber, Thank you for the correction.