Kenmore Theatre

2101 Church Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11226

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Showing 51 - 75 of 81 comments

Theaterat on June 16, 2005 at 8:22 am

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 on June 16, 2005 at 7:25 am

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 on June 4, 2005 at 4:17 pm

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.

celluloid on April 15, 2005 at 2:17 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 on January 17, 2005 at 12:17 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 on January 11, 2005 at 5:31 am

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™ on January 11, 2005 at 4:06 am

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 on January 10, 2005 at 10:12 pm

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

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 10, 2005 at 3:52 am

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 on January 9, 2005 at 4:09 pm

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.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 29, 2004 at 10:13 am

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 on September 13, 2004 at 11:34 am

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 6:15 am

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

jays on September 8, 2004 at 8:47 pm

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 on September 1, 2004 at 10:48 am

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 12:56 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 on August 20, 2004 at 12:07 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 on August 15, 2004 at 9:52 am

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

br91975 on July 8, 2004 at 8:35 pm

The shooting noted in John and Jamal’s initial description occurred when a member from one gang sat in a seat previously occupied by a member from a rival gang and was shot to death for doing so prior to a 10 pm, opening night screening of ‘Life’. According to an ABC-7 Eyewitness News report the next day, Loews decided to immediately walk away from the property instead of, as originally planned, holding on until their lease ran out at the end of the year.

v12f on July 6, 2004 at 9:45 pm

They used to run rock music films at midnight in the mid to late 1970’s like
“Rainbow Bridge”(Jimi Hendrix)and “The Song Remains The Same”(Led Zeppelin), I think it was on Friday nights.The last movie I saw there was “History of The World” part 1(Mel Brooks).Afterwords it was Chinese food at Joy King across the street.

Theatrefan on June 25, 2004 at 6:19 am

Here is some information on the seating capacity for each of the Kenmore’s auditoriums. Theatre 1: 668 seats, Theatre 2: 660 seats, Theatre 3: 550 seats, Theatre 4: 551 seats.

HomegaMan on June 22, 2004 at 9:13 am

I remeber going there with my Mom to see a movie in the early 80’s but for the life of me I can’t remeber what it was. I do remember here buying me a pack of “Star Wars” trading cards afterword while I read my Fangoria magazine on the bus ride home.

Orlando on April 27, 2004 at 1:21 pm

The Will Pogany murals were either painted over during the Cineplex Odeon redo in between ‘89-'91 or after the RKO “quadding” in 1977. They were there in 1973. If they were attached to the walls (fabric-mural) then they were removed for their value again by either of the above. The balcony walls were painted in blue when I saw the theatre over ten years ago. Usually only the main floor of an unused theatre property is gutted for retail with the balcony unseen under false ceilings. This is not the case with the Kenmore. The restored lobby was’t even spared as I saw the area hollowed out last May 2003.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 27, 2004 at 12:56 pm

What happened to the Willy Pogany murals on the side walls of the balcony? I hope that they weren’t destroyed. They were priceless!

Orlando on April 27, 2004 at 12:49 pm

The last operating Flatbush Avenue movie palace is now gutted for retail, a Modell’s, how sad! I saw “Bullitt”, “Bonnie And Clyde”, “Take The Money And Run”, “Custer Of The West”, “Whatever Happened To Aunt Alice?‘, "The Odd Couple”, Jerry Lewis in “Which Way To The Front?”. The last thing I saw there was a double feature of “Ben” and “Tales From The Crypt” in 1972/3. The trailer for “Lady Sings The Blues” the next attraction was shown. I took a tour of thr theatre after the Cineplex-Odeon redo in the late '80’s or early '90’s. C/O did a nine or ten month renovation with the theatre closed all the way through the nine months. They did a great job of the lobby. (I won’t talk about the auditorium). Backstage was a storage ares that consisted of old popcorn warmers, hot dog machines and other concession equipment from the RKO days. (They never threw anything out) I’ll bet all the relics backstage ended up in a dumpster once “Onex” sold the building for retail. They made sure it would be gutted and never used as a theatre. They should be boycotted. Big “theatre owner” companys don’t care about their history, they only know how to celebrate being 100 years old with no regard for their historical past.