The history of Bow Tie Cinemas begins back in the year 1900, in the era of the Nickelodeon, when B.S. Moss began his long and illustrious career providing popular entertainment to the public.
The business of operating street front Nickelodeons quickly gave way to Vaudeville, which was the heart of B.S. Moss Theaters until the 1930s when B.S. Moss sold his last Vaudeville theater and dedicated himself fully to building and operating motion picture theaters.
B.S. Moss’ Theaters were the springboard of many famous vaudevillians. The former Colony Theater on Broadway was home to premieres and exclusive engagements of early Walt Disney films. The cartoon that launched Mickey Mouse to the world, Steamboat Willie, had its first showing here. The Colony also premiered Disney’s Fantasia, followed by an exclusive run of that film for more than a year in “Fantasound” a revolutionary sound process for the time.
In 1936, B.S. Moss opened the Criterion Theater, known then as The Theater of Tomorrow, on Broadway in the ‘bow tie’ of Times Square. The Criterion was the first motion picture theater built exclusively for the exhibition of talking motion pictures. It operated continuously for 63 years and was the home of several major New York film premiers including Sleeping Beauty, My Fair Lady, Funny Girl, Lawrence of Arabia and Alien.
Throughout the 20th Century, B.S. Moss Theaters provided entertainment to many, becoming what was then the largest independently-owned theater circuit in the New York Metropolitan Area.