RKO Keith's Theatre

135-35 Northern Boulevard,
Flushing, NY 11354

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Showing 326 - 350 of 1,379 comments

BobbyS
BobbyS on March 15, 2011 at 3:09 am

Wow, I had no idea of the damage in the auditorium. I think you are right. It has reached “the point of no return” What a shame!!!!!!
It looks like a bomb went off inside……

WilliamMcQuade
WilliamMcQuade on March 15, 2011 at 1:54 am

The theater itself is shot. I thought it might be salvageable until I saw picture of it. It is beyond hope. I have been in enough theaters over the years all over the country & can tell you it is too late for the Keiths. We can thank Manes, Schulman & all the democrats on the than city counsel for what happened.

If they can salvage the lobby good luck.

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on March 15, 2011 at 1:18 am

It was my observation that much of the damage fits into two categories: incurred during the dismantling of the triplex subdivision; or by design: the specific removal of architectural details and fixtures crated and stored in the theater. I have assembled a youtube presentation at:
[url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=117fo2tVDvg[/url]
The RKO is a community cultural asset that should not be compromised for a scheme that proposes to save a portion at the expense of the whole; the theater and lobby are integrally tied together.

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on March 12, 2011 at 7:34 pm

I was looking through my shots of the auditorium organ screen:

when I discovered this interesting “Beauty and the Beast” Character:

BobbyS
BobbyS on March 10, 2011 at 4:48 am

Thanks so much….You cleared alot of questions.

Jeffrey1955
Jeffrey1955 on March 9, 2011 at 6:47 pm

“The presence of mildew in the local papers” is evidenced by their continuing use of unchallenged press releases from developers, architects and politicians.

BTW, that RKO.com website is understandably self-aggrandizing, as they make it sound like the current RKO has some connection to intellectual property rights for classic RKO films — which they do not. About all they have are rights to the RKO trademarks. Anyway, as noted, the RKO theater chain was completely divested in 1950 and subsequently became part of RKO-Stanley Warner Theaters, later purchased by Cinerama Corp. Its origins as the B.F. Keith’s and Orpheum chains, let alone its connection to the RKO studio, are but a distant memory.

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on March 9, 2011 at 4:50 pm

BTW only the 5,000 gallon water tank remains, not sure when the 10,000 gallon tank went, but you can see it in this 1973 photo. The September 2010 tornado knocked off parts of the remaining tank putting a hole through the roof mentioned before. Demolition by neglect proceeds, now you can read about dampness and perhaps even the presence of mildew in the local papers.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on March 9, 2011 at 3:33 pm

The Arnazes purchased only the RKO studio lot, not the RKO Corporation or RKO Theatres (which by that time had been “split” from the parent). The studio, on Gower Street in central Hollywood adjacent to Paramount’s, was re-named Desilu. The studio was later combined with Paramount’s when Paramount purchased the entire Desilu empire to strengthen its position in TV production.

BobbyS
BobbyS on March 9, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Thanks all. I thought I heard the RKO name involved in something. I knew the studio was sold to Lucille Ball & Desi in the 50"s but the theaters remained. Like I mentioned before, I toured the Albee Theater in Cinn and it had all that wonderful zig zag white bulb chasers on the marquee as well as the large vertical. It was something to see at night! And that was 1980.

Jeffrey1955
Jeffrey1955 on March 9, 2011 at 5:47 am

That’s a loaded question, BobbyS! For an unusually through and complete history of RKO Pictures and the theater chain, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RKO_Pictures I had assumed RKO went completely under years ago, when General Tire finally relinquished RKO General, but apparently the name was kept alive as RKO Pictures LLC, founded by Ted Hartley and Dina Merrill in 1989, with offices in LA and NY. However, they have no connection with either the theaters or the rights to RKO films.

BobbyS
BobbyS on March 9, 2011 at 4:11 am

On my next flight over Flushing, which will be very soon, I will look out the window for the water tower of the Keith’s. Is there still an RKO company? And where are they located?

BobbyS
BobbyS on March 8, 2011 at 5:22 pm

I went to the Dec 19th photo. I think the theater I see is not the Keith’s arriving at LGA. Is there another theater building around there? We pass right over it as we land. I know for years there was a rather large marquee and a vertical that has been since stripped. I can’t imagine there are two remaing large empty theaters in one area. Maybe I am thinking of the roof sign on the Keith’s. I would love to attend Loews Paradise in the Bronx, but nothing on the menu interests me.

Jeffrey1955
Jeffrey1955 on March 8, 2011 at 5:11 pm

BobbyS, not sure what sign you are thinking of. There was once a small RKO sign perpendicular to the upper facade; there was also a larger RKO Keith’s scaffolding-type sign above the left-hand side of the storefronts. Both can be seen in the 70s-era shots posted by SWC on December 19. They’ve been gone for some time.

BobbyS
BobbyS on March 8, 2011 at 3:48 pm

I have to agree with Jeffery1955. I still get a “chill” when I come to NY and we fly over NYC on a clear day. When I fly to LGA, the plane always passes over the Keith’s. I have been doing this for 40 years. When did they take down the signage? Wasn’t there a large vertical or perhaps I am thnking of a roof sign. This building is easy to spot in Flushing for a theater lover!

Jeffrey1955
Jeffrey1955 on March 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I’m the last one to be a party pooper, SWC, but images like that still make me squirm 9 ½ years later, and I’m sure many others as well. Point made, but not a great way to do it. (Not attacking you, just saying…bad idea.)

SWCphotography
SWCphotography on March 8, 2011 at 7:33 am

Hey that was kinda close! Good thing they got that variance – close enough to make a glass wall undulate:

BobbyS
BobbyS on March 8, 2011 at 5:30 am

You guys are hilarious!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bazookadave
bazookadave on March 7, 2011 at 6:38 pm

LOL Dang ya got me! :)

Jeffrey1955
Jeffrey1955 on March 7, 2011 at 6:10 pm

The dentist’s hygienist undoubtedly removed the plaque.
Sorry, you left yourself open for that one. Open wide, in fact.

bazookadave
bazookadave on March 7, 2011 at 5:55 pm

I would hope the dentist would have originally included a plaque with information about the fountain and its glorious origins, but since it might involve a criminal offense, any such plaque, if it ever existed, would no doubt have been removed by now!

BobbyS
BobbyS on March 7, 2011 at 2:58 am

I guess it would be a conversational piece in the dentist office. I agree with Jeffrey1955, patients have to rinse and spit somewhere. Why not the fountain of the Keith’s? Better than what they would do in it if it was still in the theater!

bazookadave
bazookadave on March 7, 2011 at 1:44 am

I think the missing fountain referred to as being in a dentist’s office is not the large one from the center of the foyer which disappeared during the triplexing, but one of the smaller fountains from the wall, on the west side of the faux facade. A few posts back I pointed out the blank spot on the wall where a fountain was removed. Its colorful counterpart is still there, pictured in that Tribune link. Or it was still there recently.

WilliamMcQuade
WilliamMcQuade on March 6, 2011 at 10:46 pm

I doubt the dentist would just return it free of charge. He will want a return on his investment.I wonder if it was reinstalled would they actually reconnect the pipes so the fountain would work? In addition, would the upper part of the lobby be restored with the restrooms? This reminds me of the Minnesota Theater in Minneapolis. The lobby was retained but the auditorium was demolished. No idea if the lobby still exists today however.