RKO Keith's Theatre

135-35 Northern Boulevard,
Flushing, NY 11354

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Showing 351 - 375 of 1,248 comments

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 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 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 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.

Jeffrey1955 on March 6, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Hey, patients have to rinse and spit somewhere!

WilliamMcQuade on March 6, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Amazing how the lobby was landmarked but the auditorium, done in the same style, was not. Makes one wonder. Manes was virulently anti preservationist. What might have been if someone else had been borough president at the time.

SWCphotography on March 6, 2011 at 7:20 pm

The above figure is a detail from the East side of the proscenium and one of the many surviving artifacts from the de-landmarked auditorium.

WilliamMcQuade on March 6, 2011 at 4:41 am

The above photo looks like the logo from the original Follies musical.

BobbyS on March 6, 2011 at 2:55 am

Thanks tinseltoes for the great link on the Tribune. This must have been some great theater in its day. The dentist should return the fountain without any questions asked how it got it don’t you think?

SWCphotography on March 6, 2011 at 2:46 am

Thanks Ed I’ll uncredit you, although I’m sure if you could’ve you would’ve – perhaps they are from “evilcamera” who last posted Flickr stuff here in 2007, all gone now (who knows maybe I did take it – but there are no more).
I wouldn’t want the Phantom of the RKO on my conscience

Jeffrey1955 on March 6, 2011 at 1:12 am

I don’t remember ever seeing that photo before! Where did you find it, and are there more?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 5, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Can’t take credit for those photos, SWC. I never made it inside the theater with my camera, alas.

SWCphotography on March 5, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Yes welcome back Ed, I think you posted this photo here about 5 years ago (I am humbly hosting with your credit), it’s an important photo because the crates are numbered up to 43 in this view alone. I suspect that many of the hacked off details from the auditorium are in these crates. I saw a large makeshift enclosure where the fountain was – I assume these crates are inside.

Jeffrey1955 on March 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Ed, back from the dead… hey, that rhymes!

bazookadave on March 5, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Welcome back, Ed!

WilliamMcQuade on March 5, 2011 at 5:22 am

This theater, the old Loews Triboro & the U S Pavillion building at the 1964 Worlds Fair were all demolished because of Donald Manes. The city helped especially with the Keiths in turning a blind eye & letting the NY State Pavillion in Flushing Meadows fall into total disrepair. Only in the US (& NY especially) do we treat our architectural history with such utter disdain.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 5, 2011 at 5:08 am

Note to bazookadave and Jeffrey1955… stories of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. Just haven’t had the sort of time to tool around and comment on CT like I used to! Anyway, using this to turn my notifications back on for this theater. I tried to keep on top of goings on here as often as I could, but seems like I missed a whole lot of activity recently. Also wanted to tip my hat to the outstanding work here by SWCphotography!!! So… this nonsensical concept for an undulating panel of glass to display the restored Keith’s lobby (whilst destroying the entire southern wall of the lobby) is still on the table? What a farce!

Jeffrey1955 on March 4, 2011 at 9:54 pm

Hate to be a broken record, but “what a load of crap” that story is. I could tell as soon as I read the line in the 4th paragraph complaining that restoration of the lobby is potentially years away because the road there is “rife with red tape.” Yeah, that makes perfect sense: if only the developers weren’t hamstrung by red tape, they would be able to do right by the theater and the community so much faster. And if you believe that, I have a big theater auditorium awaiting demolition in Flushing I’d like to sell you!

BobbyS on March 4, 2011 at 5:53 am

Absolutely true about theaters built for live shows that were turned into movie houses. Many on Broadway during the heyday of the motion picture. I just saw tonite a wonderful prelude disc on the “How the West Was Won” on Cinerama. The history of it begining in 1952 on Broadway and absolutely taking NY by storm. Playing to sell-out crowds for years at a time. It gave movie palaces a second-life as TV tried to kill them. Every city had one and the people couldn’t stay away. It is only a matter of time before 3-D today begins to fade also. Thank goodness for the centers for the performing arts that have been the saviour of the motion picture palace.

SWCphotography on March 4, 2011 at 3:44 am

Remember that the RKO was designed and built for live performances something that can be quite successful – witness the RKO Pantages:

If it ever was subdivided again note that the Thomas Lamb designed Metro Big Theatre, in Mumbai India, now a hexiplex, renovated in 2006 for state of the art digital cinema, is expected to receive 20 million visitors:

However I do wonder about how successful 357 “market rate” units will be on Flushing’s most congested intersection.

BobbyS on March 3, 2011 at 6:31 pm

A wonderful thought. However the way people get they entertainment today is different even from 1970. Movies are no longer screened in a special theater with stars twinkling etc. They are just put into the largest screen when they first open and on to smaller screens as the weeks go on and then “out the door”. The Cineplex is here to stay. Unfortunately!

metro156 on March 2, 2011 at 4:17 pm

I saw many a movie at this theater; just a short bus ride from Bayside.

This was the definition of a “Theater Experience”.

I remember arriving late to see “The Twelve Chairs” in 1970, only to be treated to a live performance by Dom DeLuise after the movie.

This theater should be restored to its original glory at all costs.

BobbyS on February 17, 2011 at 5:50 am

When did Keith-Albee go their own way? I remeber going to B.F. Keith’s in Washington D.C. in the 70’s. I also saw the last days of the RKO ALBEE in Cinn. just before they locked it up and started demo along with the Gibson hotel next door. It was some block!

Jeffrey1955 on February 13, 2011 at 7:46 pm

In other words, they have left the place unprotected, so more and more of the interior is being defaced and/or carted off? Some of you guys in the area should install NEW locks, so you’re the only ones who can get in. Document the open door. Then you could make a case that they have actually abandoned the property, and you’ve taken possession. Isn’t possession nine-tenths of the law?

I’m only half kidding.