Drake Theatre

62-90 Woodhaven Boulevard,
Rego Park, NY 11374

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Showing 51 - 75 of 76 comments

RobertR on October 16, 2005 at 5:04 pm

Here is the ad for the 1970 matinee re-issue of the “Wizard of Oz”. I remember when I was working at the Drake the posters and lobby cards for this engagement were still there. They spared every expense for this ad, and the one sheet was not too much better either.
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Carlton on September 8, 2005 at 3:48 pm

Having worked at numerous neighborhood houses I was surprised when around 1965/66 when we went to the Drake to see The Iprcrss File it had no ticket taker, just a turnstile at the entrance. It was the only time I went to the Drake. When in New York and visiting the are we often go to “London Lenny’s” restaurant which is not far from the theatre.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 12, 2005 at 2:57 pm

Here’s a 1945 ad. The three nabes were independently owned, but used the booking-and-buying services of Brandt Theatres, hence the advertising link:

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 7, 2005 at 12:13 pm

Here is a 1986 image of the Drake. By this time, the Drake had a sidewalk boxoffice with turnstile. The original boxoffice was in the center of the right wall of the lobby. A ticket taker was stationed at the entrance doors to the auditorium:

cmaffia on June 13, 2005 at 12:46 pm

I lived right off 63rd Avenue and Woodhaven and remember that Led Zepplin riot. I remember the next day my mother walking me across the street to look at the damage. Glass was everywhere. I also remember seeing “Swiss Family Robinson” and also “American Warewolf in London” The last movie I recall in either 87 or 88 was “Do the Right Thing” I miss that theatre and “old” Rego Park as well. Very fond memories growing up there.

hardbop on April 4, 2005 at 5:39 pm

I went here once to see “City Slickers” on its first run, which must have been 1990. I remember it being a nice, clear neighborhood theatre and the owner/operator had a lot of equipment on display and left the projector open before/after screenings to you could see the projectors. It was clear to me that whoever ran this place the one time I went there took a lot of pride in its operation. I was sorry to learn that it closed.

gharris36 on March 3, 2005 at 6:17 pm

I left a comment yesterday on the Arion Theater (or was it Theatre?) and was delighted to read the entries on The Drake. I grew up (in the 60s and 70s) a few blocks from the Drake and actually went to many more movies there than at the Arion. Because I have not been back more than a few times since I left for college, the Drake, like the Arion, lives on, unchanged, in my memory. I saw my first movie at the Drake (it would have been Sound of Music or Mary Poppins) and can recall seeing both Godfather movies, Cabaret, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Sounder, Kelly’s Heroes, Harry and Tonto, Dog Day Afternoon, High Plains Drifter, and many others. I can recall that when I was a small child the Drake’s second floor “lounge” (which I believe included a Lady’s “powder room”) was to me the height of elegance. I also recall that like many theaters in Queens the Drake served some time as a porn house, and I have a memory (perhaps faulty) of them showing Deep Throat and other 70s XXX “hits”, but they later reverted back to conventional movies. I also have a memory of the Led Zeppelin riot of ‘78, and am quite sure that my brother was there and told me about it that night. Also, in addition to the Howard Stern movie (which had a sweeping pan shot of Woodhaven Boulevard, hilarious to anyone who lived around there) there was a low-budget romantic comedy in the 90s, which I saw on video but the name of which I cannot recall, about an immigrant from Taiwan who works at a Chinese restaurant in Queens and dates a non-Asian American woman — at one point they go out for dinner and a movie and there is a nighttime exterior shot of the Drake with the marquee blazing, although by that time I’m quite sure it was no longer in operation as a theater.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on October 25, 2004 at 7:13 pm

Charles Sandblom was the Drake’s architect.

PeterKoch on September 27, 2004 at 8:26 pm

Yes, please do. I’m looking forward to it already.

RobertR on September 27, 2004 at 7:29 pm

I was the assistant manager of the Haven, when the riot happened at the Drake. (the same owner had both along with the Cinemart. If I recall the print was mag optical and they could not get the sound loud enough on the old mono sound system. They actually tore the radiators out of the wall, besides smashing up the candy stand and kicking holes in the walls. The theatre was back up and running in less then 2 weeks. At that point the midnight shows were stopped. I have all the records for what played at these theatres from 1977 on. I can post some of it when I have a chance.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 27, 2004 at 7:01 pm

The address listed in the introduction is archaic. In “modern” numbers, it is 62-90 Woodhaven Boulevard.

Bway on August 18, 2004 at 8:51 pm

Very interesting Warren. I also had no idea about that occurance at the Drake, although have heard of similar occurances elsewhere. It also reminds me of some concerts I have been in in the city, manytimes done in old theaters (although not a “riot-like” situation though). It reminds me of places like the Hammerstien Ballroom (I think it was an Opera house but not sure) which is used as a concert hall now. I saw a few concerts there, and I almost get as much of a thrill out of looking up at the ceiling and all the old features of the building before the concert as the actual concert itself! There are no seats in there anymore, and when the crowd begins the slam dancing and wave dancing, it can get a littl “hairy” in there, but never out of control.
I think what they use as Roseland concert hall near Times Square was also some kind of theater at one time, but there are even less features of the old theater there yet if it was.
I don’t think either of those “theaters” ever showed any kind of cinema, thus they are not listed on this site.
And Peter, yes the pot smoke fills the theaters at those two places too. I can just picture it in the drug store that is now in the Meserole in a time warp (maybe only for medical purposes though now – hahaha).

PeterKoch on August 18, 2004 at 6:21 pm

Warren, thanks for posting that anecdote, however sad and regrettable that incident was. I had no idea that had happened inside the Drake. Not the best way to complain about the sound system : damaging and destroying the imaging system, not to mention the seats, candy counter and doors. It also doesn’t say much for Led Zeppelin and their fans.

The crowd at a late night screening of “Ladies and Gentlemen The Rolling Stones” at the Meserole in Greenpoint, Bklyn I attended with three friends in June 1975 was much better behaved, as I recall, although the pot smoke was almost as thick as at an actual concert. You could almost get high just sitting there breathing second-hand pot smoke.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 18, 2004 at 5:47 pm

In December, 1978, the Drake’s interior was heavily damaged during a midnight screening of a Led Zeppelin concert movie. According to newspaper reports, the near-capacity crowd of 500 (mostly teenagers) started complaining about the sound system by throwing beer and liquor bottles at the screen and tearing holes in it. Some took fire extinguishers from the walls and used them to smash whole rows of seats and the theatre’s candy counter. As they exited, they broke all the glass in the entrance doors. Police blamed the behavior on alcohol and drugs smuggled into the theatre. One person was arrested for beating up an usher.

Mark1 on August 5, 2004 at 11:43 pm

RobertR – I didn’t mean to that the theatres I mentioned were all IN Rego Park, but were extremely convenient to it, by walking, a short subway ride, etc. And there were others besides the ones I mentioned, of course. I considered it all “metropolitan Rego Park” from my point of view. It was a great area for movies.

RobertR on August 5, 2004 at 8:38 pm

Although the Trylons location was debateable as to its location being in Rego Park or Forest Hills the Elmwood was Elmhurst. The Midway and Continental were definately Forest Hills. I grew up going to all of these places but miss the beautiful Forest Hills Theatre the most. Although never fancy it had elegance and class. My neighborhoos has changed alot over the years. Besides the US Open playing 3 blocks from my house, the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium once played incredible concerts. The summer of 64 must have had the most star studded lineup ever. Sinatra played with Count Basie. There was Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand, Louis Armstrong, Peggy Lee and Chet Baker to name a few. And lets not forget the Beatles who caused so much mania they landed in a helicopter on the courts of the West Side Tennis club. My folks took home movies of the mobs packing Burns Street all the way to Continental Avenue. The other great thing was you could hear the shows from the Street if you could not get tickets. I miss those days.

Mark1 on July 29, 2004 at 12:50 pm

Warren, it is indeed a long walk from Queens Blvd to the Drake. I remember making that walk once in 1963 or'64. It was also a very dull and depressing walk, once you got past Alderton Street. And when I got there, on a Saturday afternoon, the theatre was crawling with kids. The movie was something with Tony Curtis and Christine Kaufmann. During this time period, Rego Park was a great place for movies. There was the Trylon, and very close by the Elmwood, the Midway, the Continental, the Jackson, etc. With all that available, I never went back to the Drake.

PeterKoch on July 20, 2004 at 7:45 pm

Thanks, DavidH, that’s a great story ! The date of that “first blackout” was Tuesday, November 9, 1965 !

I wonder how many theaters in the NYC area were showing “The Tingler” and “Wait Until Dark” during the blackouts of November 9, 1965, July 13, 1977 and, most recently, August 14, 2003, and so gave their audiences more than they had bargained for ! The screen is supposed to go black near the end of both films.

DavidHurlbutt on July 20, 2004 at 6:53 pm

The Drake was a wonderful, comfortable theater. Plain but clean. My favorite memory of the Drake was on the night of the first blackout in the 60s, the ticket seller sat guard with one lit candle in the box office. She waved to everybody stating the Drake would be open again once the lights went on.

Bway on July 20, 2004 at 6:04 pm

Yes, the Drake was used in Howard Stern’s movie “Private Parts”. In addition, the Drake is currently used as the catering hall portion of Joe Abbracamento’s Restaurant. The lobby seems to have been redone sort of fancy in “catering hall” style.
The one and only time I was there was when I saw “Annie” there in the early or mid 80’s. I only vaguely remember the interior, but don’t remember it being anything “that” special.

PeterKoch on April 14, 2004 at 8:35 pm

The one and only film I saw at the Drake was a re-release of “Return Of The Jedi” on Sunday May 5 1985. Prior to that, I almost saw “Star Trek III” there summer of 1984, and remember “City Heat” with Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds playing there December 1984. I recall a grand re-opening, with searchlights sweeping the sky, in November 1987, featuring the film “Nuts”, starring Barbra Streisand, Karl Malden, and Leslie Nielsen. I do not know the last film it showed. I think the restaurant it is now part of is, or at least was, Abbraciamento’s. I last passed by there late July 1997 but did not get a good look at it.

fred1 on February 24, 2004 at 6:47 pm

howard stern’s privite parts was used fo a scene

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 14, 2004 at 4:19 pm

The Drake first opened in 1938. Although located in Rego Park, its site on Woodhaven Boulevard is quite a long walk from the shopping hub at Queens Boulevard & 63rd Drive. Its nearest competition was the Trylon, on the QB border with Forest Hills, and the Arion in Middle Village. Even nearer was the Queensboro Theatre, but that was closed for about 99% of the time from 1938 until 1946, when it re-opened as the Elmwood. Prior to the era of saturation release, the Drake was always a late-run situation, playing the same double bills as the dominant Loew’s and RKO chains, but several weeks after they completed their circuit runs. The Drake usually changed programs twice a week, playing the Loew’s originated double bills from Wednesday through Saturday, and the RKO’s from Sunday through Tuesday. Sometimes, on a Wednesday, they would break that pattern with a one-day booking of re-issues. Several that I recall are “Jesse James” & “The Return of Frank James”; “Tarzan Finds A Son & "Tarzan’s Secret Treasure”; and “The Last Days of Pompeii” & “She.”

William on November 15, 2003 at 1:25 am

The Drake Theatre is located at 589 Woodhaven Blvd..

zoetmb on November 6, 2003 at 3:08 am

This theater is now part of a restaurant.