While waiting for Carl Luce, Holden goes to the movies at Radio City.
Holden has quite a bit of time to kill before Carl Luce is available to hang out with him. Holden had asked Carl out for dinner, but Carl said he couldn't make it for dinner and suggested meeting for a drink at the Wicker Bar at ten o'clock instead. Not knowing what to do with the time until then, Holden goes to Radio City. He says "it was probably the worst thing (he) could've done".
Before the actual movie begins, there is some live entertainment at the theater. First is a stage show featuring the Rockettes performing their high-kicking, precision dancing. This is followed by "a guy...in a tuxedo and roller skates", who skates "under a bunch of little tables, and tell(s) jokes while he (does) it". Finally, there is a Christmas performance, with "angels...coming out of boxes everywhere, guys carrying crucifixes and stuff all over the place, and the whole bunch of them...singing 'Come All Ye Faithful' like mad". The movie, when it finally begins, is a story about "this English guy...that was in the war and loses his memory in the hospital".
In his melancholy state, Holden watches the proceedings at Radio City with cynicism. To him, it all seems phony, and when it is over and he leaves for his meeting with Carl Luce, Holden is even more depressed than before (Chapter 18).