RKO Alden Theatre

165-16 Jamaica Avenue,
Jamaica, NY 11432

Unfavorite 12 people favorited this theater

Showing 51 - 75 of 126 comments

youngnyer1 on January 18, 2007 at 9:25 am

This photo was taken in 1941 and shows that “Sergeant York,” was playing, which starred Gary Cooper and Joan Leslie.

The large black dot in the lower right corner is a hole in the negative. Many of the negatives in the collection have began to decompose from age.

This photo is from the NYC Municipal Archives. Between 1939 and 1941, the City of New York, for tax purposes, took photos of all standing buildings in the five boroughs.

View link
Check my other comments to see more photos from this collection.

PKoch on September 18, 2006 at 10:56 am

You’re welcome, LuisV. Thank YOU ! I’d never been to the Valencia or the Alden, only heard about them, and seen pictures of them. Yes, the RKO Madison was a beautiful show-house in its day, and the Elmwood was a sight to see, too.

LuisV on September 18, 2006 at 10:50 am

Thanks for the info! Now I remember that I was just out of college when I saw Creepshow. I know The Alden was already divided. I think I remember being in one of the upstairs theaters because it felt like a balcony. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the appreciation for old theaters then that I do now and so I don’t remember very much about the actual theater and what kind of ornamentation was still visible. Has it been determined if the theater is still there behind the dropped ceilings and retail walls?

Way back when, the only theaters I was passionate about were The Valenica and Radio City Music Hall. I can’t believe how many other incredible theaters were around back then that I never got to see like The Madison (from what I’ve read), Loew’s Pitkin, The Midway (Before the plexing), The Triboro, and it goes on and on and on. I’m even sorry about the theaters I only got to see only once like RKO Keith’s in Flushing and the Elmwood.

Nonetheless, for all that we’ve lost I am also grateful for what has been saved though it will never be enough.

PKoch on September 18, 2006 at 6:07 am

“Creepshow” was released in 1982. It was playing at the Ridgewood Theater on Tuesday, September 23rd, 1982, and I saw an ad for it at the Midway the first Friday of November 1982. On that day, “An Officer And A Gentleman” was playing at the Trylon. That’s the film my friend and I should have seen that evening, rather than “National Lampoon’s Class Reunion” at the Midway. Would have gotten me to the Trylon two years earlier than I actually did.

Here’s the link to “Creepshow” on the IMDb.


Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 14, 2006 at 9:41 am

Just to close out a “burning” question from the posts of July 18th regarding BrooklynJim’s excellent transit shots of the Alden’s marquee… The co-feature that played with the 3-D martial arts epic “Dynasty” was indeed Andy Warhol’s 3-D “Flesh for Frankenstien” on an eye-popping double bill that played at nabes and grinders all over town in the fall of ‘77, based on some research I did on the NY Times website.

If anyone is interested, you can do a search for “Weekend Movie Clock” on the Times' website and it will return pages and pages of pdf files covering many (not all) of the weekends from as early as 1976. My search was limited to pre-1981. I’m sure many more years of movie clocks may be found if one selectes 1981-Present in search criteria.

LuisV… “Creepshow” was released in 1981, by which time the Alden was already split (was it a twin for a while before a quad?). Anyway, for most if not all of the ‘70’s, the Alden remained a single screen theater.

LuisV on September 14, 2006 at 8:51 am

I think I saw Creep Show here in the early 70’s when it was already a divided theater. Has anyone been able to determine if any of the detail is still left behind the drop ceilings, store walls etc. Is this theater a diamond in the rough?

PKoch on July 18, 2006 at 6:30 am

Thanks, BklynJim ! John Denver, eh ?

“Sunshine on my shoulder makes me sweaty…”

To which I can only add :


Bway on July 18, 2006 at 5:18 am

September 11th, 1977 was the last day of service for the Jamaica El, east of Queens Blvd. At that point service was truncated at the Queens Blvd station, 4 stations west. The el was demolished soon after. The Valencia operating as a theater never operated without the el obliterating it’s facade. The Valencia opened in 1928, the el opened in I believe 1918, so the Valencia was built 10 years after the el was already there. And going by the photo that Warren pointed out, the last day of service for the old Jamaica El saw the Valencia already the Tabernacle of Prayer.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on July 18, 2006 at 4:51 am

Both photos show the Alden featuring the popular 3-D martial arts extravaganza “Dynasty” on a bill with a Frankenstein film that is either this European import, which was released in the U.S. in ‘77 or might possibly be Andy Warhol’s X-rated version of the tale which was also shot in 3-D. The former is probably the more likely scenario.

BrooklynJim on July 17, 2006 at 12:43 pm

Una otra fotografia, lo mismo tiempo (‘77):


BrooklynJim on July 17, 2006 at 12:34 pm

Again, Peter hits the mark – not only his sharp eye for the WHN John Denver ad (“Sunshine on my shoulder makes me sweaty…”), but also for the link below:


Now Bway can go nutz trynna figure out which Frankenstein flix in what year. Ha! Hint: the old BMT standards were part of the Transit Authority’s Nostalgia Specials to Coney Island and elsewhere in the late 1970s. [i was still a F/T resident in ‘77 and had snapped a shot of my own personal fave at the time, good ol’ Olivia…]

PKoch on July 17, 2006 at 12:11 pm

I think there’s at least a hint in the nycsubway.org images of 168th Street that are similar to this one.

Bway on July 17, 2006 at 12:06 pm

I wonder what the “Two Action Hits” were.

PKoch on July 17, 2006 at 11:22 am

That’s a good picture, BklynJim. Thanks ! It’s like images I’ve seen on nycsubway.org, one of many images of “els showing the cinemas” that either are no longer there, or are no longer cinemas. In this case, the el isn’t there any more, either !

The WHN 1050 John Denver poster is familiar, and dates it to about September 1977 :

“Thank you for being part of our country !”

Also The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Crystal Gale, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Olivia Newton-John, etc.

I joked with a friend, that WNEW 102.7 FM should have had a poster of the Rolling Stones, captioned, “Thank you for being busted !”

BrooklynJim on July 17, 2006 at 9:51 am

Here’s another link for the RKO Alden. Pic was snapped when the J train terminated in the Jamaica shopping district at the 168th Street station. The top of the Alden’s marquee can be seen clearly at lower right:


BrooklynJim on June 15, 2006 at 10:43 am

I used a buddy’s addy to log on to this wonderful site. The poor guy just found some 20 CT messages telling him that someone had responded to my posts. After I stopped laughing, I told him it was A-OK to delete ‘em wholesale.

I’ll have access to a relative’s e-addy when I return to Brooklyn later this year. We’ll make contact then. Thx!!!

PKoch on June 15, 2006 at 8:48 am

BrooklynJim, you mean, you don’t have an e-mail address, or, you don’t have mine ? You’re most welcome to the invite.

BrooklynJim on June 15, 2006 at 8:09 am

Would love to, Peter, and I thanks ya for the invite. Unfortunately, I don’t currently have access to an e-addy. In time, perhaps…

PKoch on June 14, 2006 at 9:58 am

BrooklynJim, I invite you to e-mail me privately, should you wish to continue our dialogue about films.

Great photo, Ed Solero. Thanks !

BrooklynJim on June 14, 2006 at 9:54 am

You da man, EdSolero! Can’t believe ya got it so fast! Impressive!

I know what you mean about telephoto lenses. The 165th St. marquee was probably 5-6 doorways down toward Archer and the LIRR.

PKoch on June 14, 2006 at 6:59 am

I think my dad and I ate in that Chock Full O' Nuts, near the left edge of the image, in spring 1968.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 14, 2006 at 6:06 am

Thanks B'klynJim… I found the photo on the website and snagged it for my photobucket collection. The film on the marquee is “The Beguiled” from 1971 with Clint Eastwood:

Alden 165th Street marquee

The marquee looks a bit closer to Jamaica Avenue in the photo than the spot I would have assumed it existed based on my drive down the block the other morning, but then… those telephoto lenses tend to mess with the field of depth. I remember that for a few years after the elevated J line was dismantled, the concrete bases of those support stanchions were still embedded along the edge of the sidewalk. I seem to recall that the steel girders were actually cut just above the concrete base rather than being completely torn out.

Anyway, you’re right… A great photo.

PKoch on June 14, 2006 at 4:58 am

BklynJim, I remember Zacherle hosting Chiller Theater in the spring of 1970, mocking films like “Killers From Space”, that really mocked themselves, by inserting a shot of a page with “2 + 2 = 5” scrawled on it, in the scene where the bug-eyed alien zombies are showing the Peter Graves character some physics equations.

Sort of a pre “Mystery Science Theatre 3000”.

BrooklynJim on June 13, 2006 at 1:20 pm

EdSolero, I found the website I’d told you about:


Will need to solicit your assistance, however, as I don’t have e-mail capability. The guy who runs the site occasionally removes the archive files. There are some 17 transit archives (where the 165th pic is on) and 11 bus archives. Oddly, he still has the 3 rail archive sites accessible. His e-addy is Perhaps you could drop him a quick line to ask where he may have posted them now. And maybe if you describe the photo, he’ll e-mail an attachment to you. It doesn’t hurt to ask, right? Thx!

BrooklynJim on June 13, 2006 at 12:19 pm

With you guys jumpin' on some TV talk, wish some of you might have remembered Zacherle (and Gasport!) on Channel 7’s “Shock Theatre.” It was so bad that it was great!!!