Rogers Theatre

835 Broadway,
Brooklyn, NY 11206

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Showing 1 - 25 of 99 comments

Astyanax
Astyanax on July 9, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Good insights from John D. Sub-sub run nabes had a smaller operating “nut” than the larger palaces so from an economic perspective, it was not unusual for the Rogers, like the nearby Grand & Graham survived the much grander Republic and the Alba.

Bway
Bway on December 25, 2009 at 8:24 am

Thanks John for all your great research on this!

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on December 17, 2009 at 11:58 am

In reviewing the last few posts and consulting the City’s Dept. of Building on-line file, I came up with a few facts and observations that I would now like to share. Here goes:

  1. While the one story tax-payer now occupying this site was only constructed in 1987, it appears that the old home of the Rogers was not rased until at least 1985, though it, at that time, had probably been little more than an abandoned shell of its former self for a considerable number of years. That was when the “current structure” was designated as an “unsafe building”; it was probably demolished soon thereafter. (The same fate also occurred with just about all of the buildings previously situated on this block-front at around this time.)

  2. A review of the certificate of occupany underlines just how little space was available for theatrical use. Specifically, the Rogers was situated in what was essentially the first floor of two, three story, adjacent residential structures. As the records clearly indicate, the two upper floors were occupied by either offices (on the second floor) or residences (on the third). This basically left the Rogers with only the first floor to use – and probably ruled out the existence of any balcony. (This provides further proof that the 1935 article referenced above did not concern this theater.)

  3. Given these facts, it is surprising that the capacity of the Rogers was as large at it was. But capacity was actually set at approximately 590 persons in the late 1930’s and only reduced to 520 in the following decade – and the 488 capacity noted at the top of this page was only designated somewhat later.

  4. In sum, the Rogers was probably, as Joe Vogal notes above, a real survivor of cinema’s “nickelodeon days”. If it had not been situated along one of Brooklyn’s main comercial drags, it would probably have closed upon the onset of the talking movie. but that did not occur – and the Rogers survived for many more years thereafter.

jflundy
jflundy on December 14, 2009 at 11:57 am

It is possible that Sandblom was the architect of the Rogers in Crown Heights but that Hohauser was the decorative designer for the interior. The article in Boxoffice does stress design detail.

It think it almost impossible that Sandblom was architect for the Broadway Rogers given its age, and the styling and condition at closing.

A thanks to Joe Vogel for bringing up this interesting question.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 14, 2009 at 1:45 am

Well, so far that’s three to zero against the Boxoffice photos being of this Rogers Theatre. If they depict the Rogers Avenue Rogers, though, then the attribution of the design of that theater to Charles Sandblom must be wrong. Boxoffice often got some details wrong (that’s why I discounted their reported seating capacity of 600 in that article), but I don’t think they’d make a mistake about who sent them photos for publication, and the text of that article is quite clear that the photos were supplied by architect William Hohauser.

I wonder if maybe the Rogers on Broadway was an early Sandblom design, and that’s where the confusion came from? He was working independently (after leaving Thomas Lamb’s office) as early as 1921. On the other hand, from the descriptions above it doesn’t sound as though this Rogers Theatre had any architecture to speak of, and that makes it less likely to have been a Sandblom design. In fact the descriptions (wooden seats, sawdust on the floor) sound like it might have been a survivor from the nickelodeon days.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on December 13, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Let me add my two cents here in support of JF and Hector’s position.

First, the 1936 article sets the theater’s capacity at 600, which fits the Crown Heights Rogers to a t, but not the Broadway theater’s considerably smaller 488 seat capacity.

Second, and more importantly, as many of the previous comments suggest, the Williamsburg Rogers – with sawdust on the floors, cats in the aisles and an oater driven repertoire – would have been one of the last places to be featured as the subject of a classy upgrade. It was a fine and much beloved local movie house – nothing more and nothing less. It is also a prime example – as noted by my colleague Bway elsewhere on this site – of a modest building with an awning attached to it, that typiified a number of the modest early movie houses.

TPH
TPH on December 13, 2009 at 3:04 pm

I agree with Lundy. Never having been to the “other Rogers”, my recollection of the Broadway house in the “50’s is of a very simple/plain setting with wooden seats, no similarity to the house discussed in the 1936 article of Boxoffice. Similarly, the communities served by each theatre would reflect the differences. The B'way location on the edge of Williamsburg & Bushwick, under the el served a poor & working class community. The Roges Ave. address was located near Flatbush & Crown Heights, two upwardly mobile middle class neighborhoods, more accustomed to luxury and comforts.

jflundy
jflundy on December 13, 2009 at 9:14 am

Hello Joe..
I can’t say for sure, but it looks a lot alike the other Rogers Theater, the one on Rogers Avenue in Crown Heights. I was only there once, back in July 1951, but the shot towards the front of the house looks a very much as I remember it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 13, 2009 at 1:21 am

Perhaps someone who was in the Rogers Theatre at some time could look at the two top photos on the right-hand page of this scan of Boxoffice from November 11, 1936. I know the place might have been redecorated by the time anyone posting here saw it, but maybe somebody can confirm the location anyway.

As there were two theaters called the Rogers in Brooklyn, I’m not sure which of them these photos depict, though their accompanying text in Boxoffice says that the house depicted was designed by architect William I. Hohauser, and Cinema Treasures says that the other Rogers Theatre was designed by Charles Sandblom, so the Broadway location is more likely the one in the photos.

So, if the pictures do depict the Rogers Theater on Broadway, the architect for the remodeling in 1936 was William Hohauser.

Bway
Bway on April 30, 2009 at 10:34 am

When was the Rogers Demolished?

josephzizzo
josephzizzo on April 13, 2009 at 3:16 pm

hello everyone i remember the Rogers as a boy I went there with a bunch of kids from or block every Saturday we all took or lunch and spent the whole day there.from 1946 till we moved in 1954 I lived at stockton street and Lewis ave went to P.S 24 and 148 the price then was 14 cents.My kids and grand children find it hard believe.My mom who is 96 went there with her sisters when she was a little girl when they had silent movies.I also remember the wood chairs and the sticky floor.And the owner wood sell candy and take tickets.And everyone new everyone.Great times.Thanks for the memories .joe zizzo

tobaccocard
tobaccocard on June 17, 2008 at 2:06 pm

Cougar

Were you class of 59 at JHS 50?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 13, 2008 at 10:56 am

The February 25, 1932 issue of Box Office Magazine reports the Broadway Park as closed, and gives an address of 837 Broadway.

JoeS
JoeS on December 9, 2007 at 6:17 pm

Hi Tonino, I will have to look for them in my computer.
I do have the Ridgewood and the Madison. I don’t have the other's
but they should be online. I’ll have to check it out.
It may take a short time.

AntonyRoma
AntonyRoma on December 9, 2007 at 2:33 pm

JoeS, .. Great pic of the Rogers. Do you have any other vintage pics of the Acme, Belvedere, Glenwood, Oasis, Keiths, Madison, or Ridgewood?

sasheegm
sasheegm on December 9, 2007 at 12:25 pm

JoeB & Tonino: Yes…..the B&W photo shows the Rogers in the mid-1930s with a tenant living on the third floor———The films that were showing were “Murders Of The Rue Morgue”—1932 with Bela Lugosi & “The Man Who Reclaimed His Head”—1934 with Claude Rains———Joe From Florida

Goodheart
Goodheart on December 9, 2007 at 11:50 am

Tonino, the color picture I sent Joe S to post on here was taken in 1965/1966 at the time my brother was in Viet Nam. Since he also went to the Rogers I sent him a copy to show it was closed.
I believe the black and white picture was taken in the 1930s.

Joe B.

AntonyRoma
AntonyRoma on December 9, 2007 at 11:24 am

Joe S…..thanks for your picture of the Rogers.

Do you know when it was taken?

sasheegm
sasheegm on December 8, 2007 at 7:08 am

Hi Joe: It was Bickfords Cafeteria at the time as I had lunch there a few times from 1959 to 1961————and now I remember the Aster being closed————-I only went to the Williamsburg a few times since it required me taking the El to get there(early to mid 50s)———-I lived on Willoughby Ave between Central & Evergreen Aves——-My Mother grew up on Marcy Ave in the 1920s & early 1930s and she went to the Marcy Theater with her older Brothers————We had plenty of Movie Theaters to chose from in our old neck of the woods————and Joe, why don’t you join Bushwick Buddies———many folks just join to read the articles & posts, and to see the Hundreds of photos from the old neighborhood—-You don’t have to post anything—You will love the website——JoeR

Goodheart
Goodheart on December 8, 2007 at 6:44 am

Joe from Florida, the Aster (see picture) was down from the Williamsburg on the opposite side of the street. I recall going to the Aster only a few times since it closed up in the ‘50s. There was a caferteria next to the Aster (Bickfords?).
After the Williamsburg was the Marcy on the right, and then the Commodore on the left.
Joe S. the Williamsburg was indeed known as the Playhouse at one time.

Joe B.

sasheegm
sasheegm on December 8, 2007 at 5:42 am

JoeB: If I recall the Aster was diaganaly across from the Williamburg next to Bickfords where the tracks from the El turned to go over the Bridge———-I worked at Domino Sugar from 1959 to 1961, but I think the Aster was closed at that time———-JoeR

JoeS
JoeS on December 7, 2007 at 7:38 pm

I won’t tell a tale Joe but I don’t remember it. I do remember the
Marcy.It is on the same side, am I correct?
The Commodore and the Williamsburg but I think the name back then
was the Playhouse. It was on the same dide as the Commodore and
diagonal to the Marcy.I was young then and my parents never went to
the Aster.They did go to these other theaters with me.

Goodheart
Goodheart on December 7, 2007 at 7:24 pm

Joe S., the Aster Theater was right under the beginning of the El on Broadway. There is a terrific picture of the theater right here on Cinema Treasures. Hit the Aster in Brooklyn and go to the very first comment and hit the photo of the 1940s. You’ll love it.

Joe B.