AMC Fantasy 5

18 N. Park Avenue,
Rockville Centre, NY 11570

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fantasysucks on August 17, 2007 at 7:35 pm

fantasy theater in rockville centre ny is garbage…do not go there unless you don’t have a functioning car to get you to another theater…the manager is a filthy hillbilly and his henchmen are impaired degenerates who constantly hunt people that look “suspicious” These grimy ass m'fers don’t deserve your money because they do not respect their customers

Bloop on July 5, 2007 at 12:38 pm

Like many other theaters on Long Island, this one turned into a teen hangout that will test your patience until you snap!*

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 6, 2006 at 11:21 am

Warren… I think I owe you an apology. My first paragraph comments above reflect a misreading of your last comment – which I thought was directed sarcastically at some members here on CT who have commented on other theater pages about current exterior renovation projects. I beg pardon.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 6, 2006 at 11:18 am

In all fairness, the desecration had taken place a number of years prior to the creation of Cinema Treasures, let alone the posting of my photos on May 9th, Warren. The desecration at, say, the Elmwood Theater in Queens is actually happening in the present tense and reasonably evokes response in this forum.

Still… I wonder where the good citzenry of RVC were when this ugly modernization of the Fantasy was taking place. It seems that more than just being concealed behind a new facade, the old ornamentation was completely demolished, including the balustraded parapet wall above the storefronts, the window fenestration on the upper facade and that beautiful church-like vault over the marquee and theater entrance. Despite having attended some films here many years ago when it was still a single screen, I cannot recall if the original facade was more or less intact at the time (we’re talking about the very early 1980’s) nor do I recollect much about the interior – although I do recall that this was one of the nicest theaters I used to frequent at the time.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 9, 2006 at 11:26 am

Those photo links I posted February 12th no longer work. Here’s a new link where they may be found.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 12, 2006 at 11:02 am

Here are some photos I took just last week showing the modern day “modernized” facade of the Fantasy Theater.

Long shot from corner of Merrick & N. Park
Facade view 1
Facade view 2
Rear view (from parking lot)
Rear profile from across Sunrise Hwy

Comparing these to the vintage shot on the website that BG0007 posted on February 4th, it appears that the old structure immediately above the entrance was demolished and replaced by a streamlined “art deco” looking blade sign built out against the auditorium structure that is set back off the street. Additionally, the lobby seems to have been expanded into the adjacent retail space on either side of the original entrance. I recall from my most recent visit in 2004 that the escalator and stairs leading to the upstairs theaters are all the way flush against the left wall of the building.

The last photo of the side/rear of the building from across Sunrise Hwy shows the size of the auditorium.

rcdt55b on February 5, 2006 at 6:04 pm

I was a relief projectionist in the mid 90’s. The only reminder of the old theater is in one of the booths. If you lift out the ceiling tiles, there is half a starcase that leads to nowhere. Probably to the old balcony. Still has carpet on it.

Vito on February 5, 2006 at 5:41 am

Thanks BG0007 for those wonderful old photos,and a wonderful trip down memory lane.
I was a relief projectionist at the Fantasy during the 60s,the head projectionist, I think his name was John, had a reputation for keeping the cleanest and best maintained projection booth on Long Island. At the time, the Fantasy had two 35/70mm Norelco projectors
which John kept in perfect running order and you had better clean them every shift, otherwise you heard about it from John, he was a fantastic old showman, a true professional in every sense of the word
I loved the Fantasy booth because it was rather large and had windows looking out on the street, which made it less confining on some of those long double shifts.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 5, 2006 at 5:12 am

Century Fantasy

Cineplex Odeon Fantasy

Loews Cineplex Fantasy

AMC Fantasy

Did I miss any?

And I’m a little worried…AMC has said they want to concentrate on their newer, more comfortable theaters. I wonder what the future holds for this site.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 4, 2006 at 9:34 pm

That’s the Fantasy, BG0007… at least as it used to be. Remember that the theater that stands today has been completely remodeled inside and out. You can make out the shell of the auditorium in that photo starting behind the lobby area that fronts N. Park Ave.

I remember mostly going to the RKO Twin around the corner but I did attend the Fantasy on a couple of occasions in the very early 1980’s. I can’t say for certain that the marquee depicted in the photo was still there, but it looks familar. I think I came here for a late evening showing of Carl Reiner’s “Where’s Poppa” that I think might have also included a 2nd feature – either “Harold & Maude” or “The Groove Tube.” The Ruth Gordon connection makes “Harold” the obvious choice, but I might be thinking about a double feature sometime later at Manhattan’s Hollywood Twin that featured those two films. And “Groove” was usually paired with John Landis' “Kentucky Fried Movie.”

I also seem to remember seeing an obscure horror spoof from France here called “Dracula and Son” which starred Chirstopher Lee reprising his famous role, this time for laughs. I sat in the balcony for that one and recall admiring the theater’s impressive, albeit fading, atmosphere. Did the Fantasy always have this sort of creative booking policy around this time? I’m thinking 1979 – 1982 or so. I might have also seen (for the very first time) Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” here at a midnight showing – but I’m not positive this was the theater.

In 2004, I went back to the Fantasy for the first time in 20 or more years to see the Renny Harlin version of “The Exorcist: The Beginning” in one of the upstairs theaters. I knew the location, but didn’t recognize the exterior or the interior of the place at all. It reminded me a bit of the way the Century Meadows theater in Queens had been gutted to its outer walls and completely reconfigured into a multiplex. At least the Fresh Meadows (as it is now called) still looks like the old place from the outside. The renovations of both theaters suffer from being completed before the much more comfortable stadium-style auditoriums came into vogue – making it even more annoying that all traces of the original decor have been lost to the ages.

bpg007 on February 4, 2006 at 8:23 pm

I think I may have found a picture of the old theatre before they renovated it. It says ‘FANTASY’ on the marquee, but it seems kinda small, so I’m not sure. Here’s the link for the website, sroll down about a ¼ of the page to see it:

RobertR on July 18, 2005 at 5:29 pm

If you look at the bottom of the big Loew’s ad for “Butterfield 8” you will see it also played here for Christmas of 1960.

View link

RobertR on July 10, 2005 at 1:37 pm

1952 “King Kong” came back to the Fantasy
View link

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 9, 2005 at 5:46 pm

Sounds lovely, with the recessed dome and Austrian curtain…Barry Lyndon and Amadeus must have looked smashing. The theater is so different now, but at least they haven’t changed the lousy plumbing in the restrooms!

chconnol on February 9, 2005 at 9:13 am

TJKelly: yep, that’s the one my Fantasy had. If I remember it correctly, it was a golden hue when I went there. And for some reason, I seem to remember the theater had a golden hue as well. One of my most distinct memories was seeing “Barry Lyndon” there in 1975. The theater seemed to glow from that curtain. The place looked spectacular.

TomJKelly on February 8, 2005 at 11:22 pm

The curtain was an AUSTRIAN / BRAIL CURTAIN
Best known as an Austrian curtain. You will see a drawing of it here… View link

chconnol on February 8, 2005 at 12:12 pm

I went to The Fantasy throughout the 70’s and I remember it very well. Not sure when exactly you worked there but who ever did, they did a fantastic job. The place was a wonder. The curtain I remember rose from the bottom up and seemed golden or something. It was the only theater I knew where the curtain rose up, not parted from the middle out. Because of that, I always thought The Fantasy was better than any others.

Sadly, the last time I saw something there was in 1984 for “2010”. I was shocked at home run down it had become. The paint on the inside of the auditorium was peeling all over. Obviously they were not doing maintenance knowing that it was soon to be multiplexed.

I read people here saying how nice the theaters are in the “new” Fantasy. But they probably have no idea what the “old” Fantasy was like.

Thanks so much for your memories and please, if you can, give more.

TomJKelly on February 8, 2005 at 11:02 am

Red Carpet was the type of run of film. Red Capet was a first run theater and would get the shows first. There were at somtime in the theaters history live shows there as going through the dressing rooms I found advertizing materials from several shows. I was (am though now retired) an old fashion theater manager and would always show schedule a cartoon with a movie even with Fanny Hill which we did show at the Fantasy.

I often wonder what became of the staff ushers cashiers projectionists etc. Richard Papazian the head usher at the time outside controling the lines with an Armanian accent. The head quarters of Century Theaters had a teak staircase that no one was to use for fear of it getting damaged.

chconnol on February 8, 2005 at 10:38 am

TJKelly: fascinating. This is one of my favorite theaters from my childhood and teenage years. I was so upset when the multiplexed it. It was one of the last and I thought that maybe they weren’t going to do it.

With dressing rooms in the back, can I assume that they once had vaudeville or some other kinds of stage shows?

Also, what do you mean by running Funny Girl “Red Carpet”?

Can you give me (us) some other memories of the place? As I remember it, The Fantasy was large but it was not enourmous. I think, and correct me if I’m wrong, the Lynbrook was bigger?

Please give me some other stories! This was one of my favorite theaters growing up.


TomJKelly on February 8, 2005 at 10:03 am

Hello all I was the Manager at the Fantasy when with lines down the street we ran Funny Girl “Red Carpet” The head usher Richard P. the Cashier Bertha H. who lived in an apartment accross the street.

This theater did have dressing rooms in the back and a beautiful terrazo floor in the lobby. I managed many theaters in my career this was the most beautiful of them all. This theater had a personality

chconnol on February 1, 2005 at 1:26 pm

Finally, someone has some great memories of The Fantasy prior to it’s multiplexing. Thanks john24fps!

Your memory of this place is well before mine but it’s great. Yes, I remember the recessed dome and it was still there until it’s closing. And the curtain I remember did open vertically in a crescent shape but the whole curtain was gold, not burgundy.

john24fps on January 25, 2005 at 6:01 pm

I found this site after seeing “Song of Bernadette” (1943, Jennifer Jones [Oscar]) on cable the other night and was reminded of my childhood. In the late 1950’s I attended St. Agnes Elementary School in Rockville Centre and every year we would be marched in 2 columns down the sidewalk from the school to the Fantasy Theater to watch “Song of Bernadette.” Naturally, as a kid living in Rockville Centre, I was at the theater on many, many Saturdays. There were weekly chapter-released action shorts before the noon feature. Westerns were still very popular. I remember they had a “chaparone” sitting in the balcony’s 1st row to prevent kids from throwing popcorn down into the orchestra! The ceiling was magnificent – high with a recess for the large light. The burgundy velvet-like curtain had gold braiding on it & opened vertically from the center first in a crescent shape. My main memory of this theatre was walking outside (always still daylight!) and not being able to see and having to cover your eyes! Too bad it wasn’t restored & saved.

cinemaniac on January 7, 2005 at 5:30 pm

In my entire young life, I have only been inside this theatre twice, both times to see Disney movies. In 1991, my entire family saw “Beauty and the Beast” here, and I remember a huge theatre with various steps to the auditorium. I was three going on four back then. I went again when I was 10 in 1998, to go see the remake of “The Parent Trap” with my Grandma. The theatre was, of course, smaller and easier to tame, but those steps were still there. I’m not sure if I’ll ever go back there, as I live an hour away from Rockville Centre, but I just have admire those step to the theatre, That’s just creative.

chconnol on December 28, 2004 at 7:15 am

Of course this place is better than Lynbrook or Malverne. They’re both former single screeners that got that hacked up multiplexing “thing” that a lot of theaters got back in the early 80’s. The Fantasy was completely torn apart from the inside and rebuilt.

I remember in 1988 or so when the gutted the insides. My friend and I late on a Saturday night parked in the lot behind the theater and were able to walk right into the old auditorium. They were about ¾ done with the demolition and you could still see the old “dome” that was in the auditorium and there were old seats scattered around. The balcony was gone but you could see where it once was.

As nice a job as they did with the renovation, it was sad to see this done because The Fantasy was one of the last large single screeners in the area and I thought that it might never be multiplexed. It was still a single screener in 1987.

taketheatrai on December 21, 2004 at 10:42 pm

This is a very good place to see movies. All screens have DTS Digital sound. Loews plans to put new seats in Theatre 1 and 3 and in 2005 and 2, 4 and 5 in 2006.

This theatre is a much better place to see a movie over Lynbrook or Malverne.