Kenmore Theatre

2101 Church Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11226

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Showing 51 - 75 of 88 comments

jays
jays on July 8, 2005 at 9:02 pm

Thanks Warren for that photo in my lifetime i’ve never experienced this theatre as a single screen.

jays
jays on July 8, 2005 at 9:02 pm

Thanks Warren for that photo in my lifetime i’ve never experienced this theatre as a single screen.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 7, 2005 at 12:21 pm

Here is an image of the Kenmore’s original auditorium and some of its famous side wall murals:
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/c02024b1.jpg

uncleal923
uncleal923 on June 21, 2005 at 1:50 am

That was a nice theater, I recall sitting in the balcony with kids from my school and watching ‘Finian’s Rainbow’. I guess I should be thankful I left Brooklyn in the middle 70s insofar as movie houses. I would not want to see those things multiplexed.

Theaterat
Theaterat on June 18, 2005 at 4:18 pm

Gustavelifting… The Kenmore was a very nice theater until the mid 70s. I only went there a half dozen times and remember it somewhat well. Glad I never went there after it was `plexed. I did not need to risk my life to see a movie!

uncleal923
uncleal923 on June 17, 2005 at 12:36 am

It was a single screen theater at first, which was great. It was multiplexed, which I am glad I did not see. Then finally, the worst, it became a Modells Sporting Goods Store. The Kenmore was great.

Theaterat
Theaterat on June 16, 2005 at 4:22 pm

Its a shame that so-called humans can wreak so much terror in a place that is supposed to be “fun” to go to.I really can`t believe the razor and barbed wire at the concession stand and lobby, but I have to believe it really was there. If the Kings ever reopens(And I hope it does} I pray the same events will not take place there.We have come a long way from the innocence of laughing at the matron and throwing Milk Duds to outright murder and shootings, and it is a pathetic state of affairs.

bigdanelitebilliards
bigdanelitebilliards on June 16, 2005 at 3:25 pm

Worked there as an usher during the summers while I was a student at Erasmus, around 1960-61. No one has commented on the mezzanine… don’t know about the ladies room but the men’s room was huge and lavish with dozens (at least) of full-length ivory colored porcelain urinals (sorry, some memories stick).

During that time there were two live appearances I recall… using the stage facilities which still existed from vaudeville days… one was a joint appearance by Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff for some end-of-career grade b stuff (Peter Lorre shook my outstretched hand). The other appearance was by George Raft and I recall was a more elaborate production. He also was a true gentleman and treated everyone with kindness.

Nobody’s mentioned the Loge section… at the very front of the balcony, a separate railed off section, they charged extra for it, as an usher I had to constantly check that people sitting there had actually purchased the more expensive tickets…

I remember the security was a short wiry tough guy named Frank, he wore an authentic looking NYPD uniform but without the insignia… there was a hooker who used to frequent the place and perform her services there… an aged brassy redhead who wore a fake leopard jacket… and Frank, instead of kicking her out would call us over to witness the goings on… Years later when I saw a movie at the theater she was still working the place… we called her “Miss Kenmore”.

We were the first graduating class of Ditmas JHS and our graduation ceremonies were held at the Kenmore. I think they had some musicians in the orchestra pit (in front of the stage/screen).

Also fondly recall Garfield’s Cafeteria across the street… am searching for old photos showing interior or exterior of Garfields, anyone know of any please post a link.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on June 5, 2005 at 12:17 am

The Kenmore was in a war zone neighborhood that had shootings daily. The lobby was full of bullet holes and audiences talked right through the movie. The acoustics in the upper cinemas were appaling and the images had such severe keystoning that all ending credits looked like the beginning of STAR WARS. The staff could not stop the locals from jumping the candy counter and taking what they wanted so the mention of razor wire in the post above is not an unreasonable move. The exit corridor had barbed wire yet I personally saw a mother with a baby trying to sneak in by climbing over the wire.

In spite of its glorious past, beautiful chandelier, staircase and coal furnace (in the 90s!)the Kenmore’s more recent history involved two employees being shot, riots every time a “Chucky” film opened and a not surprising revolving door of employees. The theatres often sold out at half capacity as customers refused to sit next to strangers.

One 1980’s incident involved a naked hooker on crack running through a crowded screen, a guest of the Local 306 projectionist. This place was a bigger than life nightmare and Loews rightfully shut it down as soon as they took over Cineplex Odeon.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 23, 2005 at 7:17 pm

The following is from a 2003 Newsday article:

B’klyn Theater Site Becoming A Modell’s

“NEW YORK, N.Y. – One of Brooklyn’s grand movie palaces, the long-closed RKO Kenmore Theater, will soon be showcasing sneakers. The theater at Flatbush and Church Avenues, once one of Brooklyn’s best-known showcases, is being redeveloped by landlord Solomon Cohen, who owns the Brooklyn-based M&S Bargain Hunter variety store chain. Modell’s Sporting Goods is expected to be the major tenant.

The Kenmore, opened in 1928, was once the property of the Tilyou family, which also owned the Tilyou Theater and Steeplechase Park in Coney Island. It was converted to a four-screen cinema by Cineplex Odeon, now Loews Cineplex Entertainment, in 1988, and shuttered in 1999 after a man was killed and two were injured in a shooting. Loews’ lease on the site expired in December, 1999, and Cohen bought it two years ago.

It’s a very busy commercial street,” said Cohen, who gutted the interior, leveled the floor and constructed a second level. “We saw tremendous potential". Modell’s recently leased half the building’s 40,000 square feet, most of it on the new second floor. The store expected to open in the fall with the Modell’s name on the theater’s marquee. M&S is also negotiating with a drug store chain, Cohen said.

The one-time theater, a block from Erasmus Hall High School, is an attractive retail location. “It’s a densely populated area,” said Barry Fishbach, executive vice president of the Manhattan-based retail space brokerage, Robert K. Futterman & Associates, who along with Futterman colleague David Rosenberg negotiated the Modell’s lease. He said other national retailers, among them Old Navy, Staples, and Bally Total Fitness, have opened nearby".

celluloid
celluloid on April 15, 2005 at 10:17 am

Last time I ever set foot in the Kenmore was in spring of ‘85 and it was a total piece of shit. This place was so scary to be in I’m surprised it was open for another 14 years. I’m not surprised however about how the NYPD closed this place. When you’ve got a theatre in a “ghetto” neighborhood with animals that don’t know how to behave themselves shooting each other over seats, then it makes total sense to shut the place down for good.

jays
jays on January 17, 2005 at 8:17 am

Wow it was that bad it’s a wonder how it out lived the Metropolitan, Rugby, and Duffield that had the same element patronizing them as well and partially led to there demise.

AndyT
AndyT on January 11, 2005 at 1:31 pm

There’s a good corporate choice —– razor wire instead of employee presence —– nothing like a cheap roll of razor wire that sets such a great atmosphere —– hmmmm …

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on January 11, 2005 at 12:06 pm

I was told by people who worked there that in the end days of the Kenmore, when the concession stand was closed up for the night they had to put razor-wire on it to prevent it from being looted by the patrons exiting from the last show of the evening.

jays
jays on January 11, 2005 at 6:12 am

I appreciate it Kenroe I will e-mail you in about 4 weeks

KenRoe
KenRoe on January 10, 2005 at 11:52 am

savage;
I will be away for 4 weeks, so e-mail me mid February (e-mail address on my profile) and I will scan the photo for you. That’s if you haven’t already purchased it from THS.

jays
jays on January 10, 2005 at 12:09 am

Kenroe is there any way that I can see those photos.I mean i’m gonna still contact T.H.s for photos but do you have any that you can share.

KenRoe
KenRoe on December 29, 2004 at 6:13 pm

The opening date of the Keith’s Theater was 17th September 1928, built as a vaudelville theatre for the B.F. Keith Circuit. It went over to a films only policy in 1932.

On the side walls each side of the proscenium arch were a series of three boxes set within a tall arched opening which was draped similar to the proscenium.

The large painted murals by Willy Pogany were set in tall recesses on the side walls from the front to rear of the balcony, possibly four on each sidewall. On a photo I have, it shows two panels, one in the front balcony section which has an elephant ridden by an Indian Raja, the details on the second one, at cross aisle level unfortunately can’t be made out.

MarcoAcevedo
MarcoAcevedo on September 13, 2004 at 7:34 pm

Orlando, re. corporations “celebrating” 100 years is such a cynical joke, amen to that. And I can’t believe this theatre had murals by Will Pogany…. up till now, I only knew his work from a single book I own which he illustrated, Padraic Colum’s “The Children of Odin” which is a retelling of Norse myths for “kids”, a book I’ve treasured since my own childhood. The thought that he had murals in a city theatre, in my old borough, and that they are gone makes me nauseous. Oh well… I came upon this page while cross-referencing for theaters designed by Eugene DeRosa, because I’ve just visited his Lafayette Theater in Suffern, NY for a wonderful Sci-Fi Festival. At least that one is cherished by its current owners. It’s still there, and it looks and feels like dream, which takes only some of the sting out of learning of the loss of this one.

Keith’s/Kenmore, R.I.P.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 9, 2004 at 2:15 pm

Theatre Historical Society of America has interior photos of the Kenmore when it had a single auditorium. You can contact them at www.historictheatres.org
I don’t know of any that are actually displayed on the Internet. You would have to purchase prints or slides from THS.

jays
jays on September 9, 2004 at 4:47 am

Hey Warren do you have any photos of this theatre especially of it when it was a live venue as well as a movie house or can you tell me where I can find them.

JamesCoyle
JamesCoyle on September 1, 2004 at 6:48 pm

In answer to lopes on Aug 15 the theater on Church near Nostrand was the Granada.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 20, 2004 at 8:56 pm

Because it was somewhat smaller than the Kings, the Kenmore was much better suited to vaudeville. It lasted several years at the Kenmore, while it was only a matter of months at the Kings. The Kenmore had a balcony that came down close to the stage and gave better views of the performers than at the Kings, which had most of its seats on the ground floor, with a shallow mezzanine at the back and along part of the side walls.

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on August 20, 2004 at 8:07 pm

THIS WAS A GREAT OLD TIME MOVIE HOUSE ALWAYS OVERSHADOWED BY THE LOEWS KINGS.Even as a quad still nice and cineplex odeon renovation of this theater was great.

lopes
lopes on August 15, 2004 at 5:52 pm

Does anyone remember the name of the movie theater that was located on Church ave near Nostrand? They used to play blaxplotation films..