RKO Albee Theatre

1 DeKalb Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11201

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Showing 26 - 50 of 83 comments

dave-bronx™ on December 29, 2006 at 9:25 am

Warren, that interior shot of the Albee auditorium looks very similar to the auditorium of the RKO Palace in Cleveland. Check out the Palace and see what you think.
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Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on December 29, 2006 at 7:37 am

“Closed for alterations”. They weren’t kidding.

1, 2

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 30, 2006 at 4:25 pm

Furthermore… the introduction above should be corrected. Edward F. Albee did not die in 1914. Nor was he born in 1867. It was Benjamin Franklin Keith, Mr. Albee’s partner, who died in 1914 (having been born 1846. Mr. Albee, born in 1857, survived until 1930, long enough to see the company he co-founded with Mr. Keith merge with Martin Beck’s Orpheum Circuit to form Keith-Albee-Orpheum which would quickly lead to partnership with RCA with the formation of RKO (Radio-Keith-Orpheum) in 1928.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 30, 2006 at 4:11 pm

By the way, great photo from Lost Memory back on November 11, 2005, that seemed to escape comment from anyone. Lost comments that the shot is from the 1960’s, but the place is already shuttered with the marquee referring passersby to the RKO Kenmore and displaying a sign for the Albee Square Mall that would replace the building. We know the theater was open as late as 1974, thanks to RobertR’s posting of the ad for Pam Grier’s “Coffee” on July 4, 2005, so the photo must be from the mid-‘70’s. Does anyone know exactly when the theater closed and when it was demolished?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 30, 2006 at 4:05 pm

I found a small item in the NY Times' online archives dated October 1st, 1922, concerning the plans for this theater. As William posted back on June 13th, the theater was to be called the Orpheum, even though it was intended “as a memorial to the late B.F. Keith, founder of the Keith Vaudeville Circuit.” It seems that Keith Circiut President Edward F. Albee had announced that the plans for the new theater and ten-story office building were complete and that the project would cost some $3 million tp construct. Ironic that the theater would come to be named after Mr. Albee in the end, despite the planned Orpheum moniker and intention that the house would memorialize Mr. Keith!

Just to give some historical perspective on the subject of conservation, the article also mentions how difficult it was to assemble the site for the project. “There were sixteen old buildings on the plot, all of them Brooklyn landmarks.”

steveg1 on September 15, 2006 at 4:34 pm

My parents met and were married while working at the Albee in the early 1930’s. The ushers all wore uniforms (dark blazers, white pants). My father was head usher and inspected his “troops”, military style, each day. Every week during the depression there was a sizable raffle, which filled the 3,200 seats of the Albee as well as the other RKO theaters in town. There was an impressive bit of theatrics with telephones ringing from the other RKO theaters and my father would announce the winning ticket number from the stage.

When advertising a new movie they sometimes had a convoy of cars down the avenue. One car had loud speakers promoting the film. And, in at least one case a pretty woman (my mother) was the cheesecake interest.

irajoel on July 23, 2006 at 9:41 am

I am putting up pictures of souvenir programs and other nice movie material that relates to theatres especially in new york city.

Most of the items are for sale and you can see these and more than 5,000 other items for sale at my website
please feel free to email me at
this is a great site, I can get lost on it.
I have many fond memories of the Albee Theatre as I went there when I was a kid. It was always there when my mom took us shopping downtown Brooklyn, and some of the films seen were invasion of the body snatchers, bernadette, blue denim and others that I can’t recall at the moment.

BrooklynJim on June 21, 2006 at 9:03 am

The real Orpheum Theater was located nearby at 578 Fulton St.

William on June 13, 2006 at 8:08 am

During the planning stages (July 1920) for the theatre it was to have been called the Orpheum Theatre. The theatre closed on Sept. 21, 1978 and was razed in Nov. of 1978.

BrooklynJim on June 13, 2006 at 7:36 am

Y'know, on my next trip back, hopefully later in the year, mebbe some of the guys like you, PKoch, robbie, JoeB, Bway, ‘Tonino, etc. could get together at Junior’s or some good eatery over in Ridgewood. (There goes my bella figura!) Let’s give it some thought, movie fans…

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 12, 2006 at 4:40 pm

I’ll take a slice of cheese cake at Junior’s, BklynJim.

BrooklynJim on June 12, 2006 at 4:08 pm

Neat-o! I learned something today, courtesy of JoeB & EdSolero, who will each split the 64 cent prize when I get back to NYC later this year. (Well, at least a cuppa coffee…)

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 12, 2006 at 3:10 pm

That’s what my grandfather told me, BrooklynJim… but this is something of an urban myth. The first paragraph in the following archived 1961 article from Time Magazine spells out the origins of the discount store’s name quite nicely:

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The article also reveals that the very first Korvettes opened in Manhattan in 1949… before there was even a SINGLE Korean Veteran (Jewish or otherwise).

Goodheart on June 12, 2006 at 3:04 pm

BrooklynJim, you might find this interesting:

E.J. Korvette was founded in 1948 (two years before the Korean War) by a Jewish World War II veteran named Eugene Ferkauf. Ferkauf explains the nomenclature thusly:
“I had a name picked out for the store, E.J. Korvette. ‘E’ is for Eugene, my first name, and ‘J’ stands for Joe Swillenberg, my associate and my pal. As for ‘Korvette,’ it was originally meant to be spelled with a ‘C’ after the Canadian marine sub-destroyer, simply because I thought the name had a euphonious ring. When it came time to register the name, we found it was illegal to use a naval class identity, so we had to change the spelling to ‘K.’”

So there you have it. E.J. Korvettes does not stand for Eight Jewish Korean Veterans, not does it stand for Eleven Jewish Korean Veterans.


BrooklynJim on June 12, 2006 at 2:00 pm

P.S. to LTOT: E.J. Korvette’s showed up somewhere between ‘55-'56 or so. Used to buy my hardcover (w/ dust jacket) Hardy Boys books there for a whoppin’ 88 cents! And LPs were sold at a decent price in the early ‘60s, like $2.94 each. Not too shabby fo’ us po' folk…

Now, here’s the big 64-cent question of the day: Did that above-named store’s name stand for “Eight Jewish Korean Veterans?”

BrooklynJim on June 12, 2006 at 1:54 pm

Aha, so Brian is now out here in La La Land, eh? Looks like I’ll hafta smack him around on THIS coast, klass.. Ha!

And to lovetheoldtheaters, I forgot Mays. Dang. I shouldn’t have, but I did. I knew there was at least one missing. Tough to get old.

Hey, if you like “dumps,” you would’ve enshrined the Peerless on your all-time Top Ten Dive list. But like you, I’m rather fond of it myself. It was my Roots de Cinema. So call up that movie house on your PC and check out some of my comments there. Wished you’d have gotten off the el at Washington or Vanderbilt just once way back then. I mean, I used to get off at Tompkins. Worked for the summer of ‘70 at a poor Spanish mission on Tompkins & Vernon, probably a block in the other direction from you.

KathyLass on June 11, 2006 at 6:20 am

ps to BrooklynJim-I very well remember Brian Hyland, since we grew up on the same street (78th Street in Woodhaven) His house was directly across the street from P.S. 65 where I went to school in fourth grade. Brian was a bit older than me but his brother Bruce was the same age as me and we were in the same grade. I also recall him having another brother Barry. (I think all the kids were named after the letter “B”.) I remember meeting Brian at the home of my friend who’s brother and he were good friends. He gave me his autograph. Once Brian became famous, the family moved to Long Island. Last I heard, Brian was living in California.

Goodheart on June 10, 2006 at 7:28 am

I enjoyed reading your recollections of Fulton St., BrooklynJim. I remember the stores that you mentioned including May’s although E.J. Korvette was my favorite. It was affordable.
I lived on Stockton St., off Tompkins Ave. and the Myrtle Ave. El was around the corner from me. I recall passing the Peerless Theate on my way to Fulton St. but never went in there. It looked like a ‘dump’ although I am a ‘dump’ fan. Frequented many in my day.
However, the RKO Albee was the cream of the crop and I’ll always remember those enjoyable days I spent there.


BrooklynJim on June 10, 2006 at 7:16 am

P.S. to klass, who graduated from Franklin K. Lane HS in ‘69: You were a few years behind me, so you may not remember a pop singer who also attended Lane, Brian Hyland (“Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” “Sealed With a Kiss”). A lot of guys used to smack him around after school c. 1962 or so. No respect. Last month, I was at a buffet an Indian gaming casino in San Diego when I met a Lane graduate and his wife from that era. Asked him about Hyland. His reply? “We used to beat him up about once a week.” LMAO!

BrooklynJim on June 10, 2006 at 7:09 am

The Albee was one plush Brooklyn theater, reeking of class and the fragrance of fresh popcorn. As a very young kid, I was always familiar with it because my first dentist, a wizzened old gent by the name of Bruder, had his office in the Albee Building. (He always stocked his office with super Dick Tracy comics, probably worth a small fortune at today’s inflated prices!) The Dime Savings Bank Building was directly across the street, and Browning & King, an upscale clothing store for boys and young men, was also close by.

Brooklyn’s downtown area of the late ‘40s and early '50s was accessible by many city streetcar lines (the DeKalb Ave. trolley stopped right in front of the Albee), elevated lines (Myrtle Ave. el), buses and autos, though parking was always poor. My mom would drag me around all day to Abraham & Strauss (A&S) Department Store, Namms, and McCrory’s (a 5&10-cent store when nickels and dimes had a semblance of value for kids), but it never occurred to her to drop me off at the Albee, the Fox or the Brooklyn Paramount.

By the summer of ‘57, the lure of real and C-O-O-L air-conditioning (the Peerless on Myrtle Ave. only had a couple of cheap fans!) seduced me to part with a dime and ride the el two stops to the end of the line at that time, the Bridge-Jay St. station, and then take a fairly long walk over to the Albee. Some films I saw were on double bills such as “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” and “Invasion of the Saucer Men,” and “The Delicate Delinquent” with Jerry Lewis, but I cannot remember what it was paired with. I didn’t attend many movies there, as my family moved to another part of Brooklyn in '58, but I was always fond of this theater.

KathyLass on June 1, 2006 at 3:54 am

I graduated in 1969 from Franklin K. Lane High School in Brooklyn and our graduation ceremony was held at the RKO Albee, such a majestic theatre! Needless to say, we all got a bit of stage fright when we had to walk up to that stage and pick up our diplomas!

noelea on May 1, 2006 at 10:04 am

EJ Korvetts was across the street from BONDS Clothes and the Metropolitan Theater Block. Anniegirl.
posted by noeleanniegirl on May 1 2006

noelea on May 1, 2006 at 10:03 am

Yeh I do but i forgot the name my Aunt had her Wedding Shower and Baby Shower there I will ask my Aunt if she remembers the name. It was on the same side as Mays Department Store EJ Korvetts was the old Oppenheimer and Collins Store. MY Aunt’s used to get their hair permanants done at Oppenheimer and Collins. The store was located west of Martin’s department store Anniegirl.
posted by noeleanniegirl on May 1 2006

Goodheart on April 30, 2006 at 10:33 am

Annirgirl, it was always a nice experience when we went to the RKO Albee in downtown Brooklyn.
I also remember Juniors (it’s still there and in business) and was across from the Paramount Theatre. That had yummy cheese cake.
Do you recall a Chinese Restaurant that was located above the some stores on Fulton St.? It was on the same side of the street as EJ Korvettes. We use to dine up there and the vegetable soup was terrific. We use to take home a quart.
Those were the days.

noelea on April 29, 2006 at 4:43 pm

Dear lovetheoldtheaters
I saw Pillow Talk with Doris Day and The Rock at the Albee. What a wonderful movie theater. And the Big Sign all light up at night, called ALBEE in lights was great.Then on to Juniors Resturant for a bite. Great memories. Anniegirl
posted by noeleanniegirl on Apr. 29 2006