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To call this Loew’s Ziegfeld is an insult to its builder-namesake, the legendary Broadway producer Florenz Ziegfeld, and its architect, Joseph Urban (Thomas Lamb was only a consultant). Though Loew’s did run the Ziegfeld Theatre as a sub-run movie house for about ten years, it was only because the owners (Ziegfeld had died by then) couldn’t find any other tenant in those Depression times. I would rather remember the Ziegfeld as the theatre where “Show Boat,” one of the greatest of all American stage musicals, debuted on December 27th, 1927. I wish that I could have been in the audience that night!
This was never a “legit” theatre, so I doubt that Joan Blondell ever appeared there except on the movie screen. More likely, she worked at Keith’s 81st Street, which alternated between vaudeville and plays…Loew’s built the 83rd Street and first opened it on September 26, 1921, with a policy of vaudeville and a feature movie. The auditorium was similar to Lamb’s design for Loew’s State, which was built at the same time and opened on August 9th of that year. The State had a larger and more elaborate lobby due to its prime location on Broadway in the heart of the Times Square area.
The Trylon’s address is 98-81 Queens Boulevard, which may help to decide whether it’s in Rego Park or Forest Hills. As I recall, it was always advertised as being in Forest Hills.
Does anyone remember another Bayside theatre called the Victory, which had 1,274 seats and was located at 199-03 32nd Avenue (near Francis Lewis Boulevard)? Like the Bayside, it was operated by Skouras Theatres, but ran the movies after they’d played the Bayside. It closed around 1950, one of the first victims of home TV. Someone told me that the Victory is still standing and used as a flea market, but I haven’t been able to check it out.
I visited the interior in 2002 during the annual convention of Theatre Historical Society of America. At that time, the management of the nearby Apollo had taken over the Victoria and was supposed to restore it into a single auditorium. Hoever, that project has since been tabled for financial reasons. Despite the multiplexing, much of the Victoria’s original decor remains, and the partitioning looks like it could be removed without too many problems…The auditorium is quite similar to the one that Lamb designed for Loew’s Gates in Brooklyn.
No, Robert,I’m not going to post on those three theatres because I know nothing about them except that they were all 500 seats or under and played late-run double features. Someone who lives in that area might be able to tell us if any are still standing.
I finally found the address for the Ace Theatre: 95-06 101st Avenue. The 1949 Film Daily Year Book claims 850 seats, which I think may be an exaggeration because the Ace looked much smaller than that. It might have been a conversion from original retail space…The Ace’s Ozone Park rivals at the time included the Crossbay (still operating as a multiplex); the Farrell, 118-12 Rockaway Boulevard; the New Ozone, 135-01 Rockaway Boulevard; and the State, 106-05 Rockaway Boulevard.
I neglected to mention that the Merrick’s address is 163-06 Jamaica Avenue. The now demolished Fox (later Skouras) Jamaica was further west on the same side of Jamaica Avenue at 159th Street.
The Merrick first opened in the early 1920s and was built by A.H. Schwartz before he started using the corporate name of Century Circuit. Schwartz used his usual architect-designer team of R. Thomas Short & William Rau. The auditorium was in plain Adam style, and stage facilities were kept to a minimum for the movies-only policy. There was, however, an orchestra pit for the musicians that played accompaniment to the movies and during intermissions. Until the opening of Loew’s Valencia in early 1929, the Merrick and nearby Fox Jamaica were considered the top movie theatres in Jamaica’s shopping hub, but that soon changed. The Century Circuit was unconnected to any of the major Hollywood studios and could no longer get enough first-run bookings for the Jamaica area. Complicating matters, more competition arrived when the legit Shubert Jamaica Theatre became the RKO Alden, which made the Merrick’s product situation even worse. Finally, because Century owned so many theatres in Brooklyn and Queens, Schwartz was able to work out a deal in 1939 with RKO whereby the Merrick and Alden would be “pooled” and divide up the movies that normally played the RKO circuit. To do so, Schwartz had to agree to transfer management of the Merrick to the Skouras circuit, which had financial ties to RKO Theatres and was also partially owned by 20th-Century Fox Film Corporation. Schwartz retained ownership of the Merrick and would receive 50% of any profits, with RKO and Skouras dividing the other 50%. Before becoming the Skouras Merrick, the theatre’s interior was completely re-modeled by the architectural firm run by John Eberson and his son, Drew. The new decor was ultra-modern (for 1939!) and included two large side-wall murals in the auditorium that glowed in the dark from flourescent paint. Due to the product split with the RKO Alden, the Merrick’s programs usually changed every two weeks, rather than every week as at the Valencia. The latter’s programs were also exclusive first-run for the entire borough of Queens, while the Merrick and Alden played day-and-date with theatres in other communities. I lost track of the Merrick after the advent of saturation releases in the 1960s, but I think that it finally reverted to Century management before becoming a victim of the decline in the Jamaica shopping area.
This was originally called the Main Street Playhouse, although the actual address is 141-50 72nd Drive. It’s quite a distance from Flushing’s shopping hub. I believe that the current management is the same as that of the Center Theatre in Sunnyside, which is another small theatre that has probably been sub-divided too many times for patron comfort.
The Fortway’s architect was Charles Sandblom. It had about 2,300 seats and was the second “atmospheric” theatre in Brooklyn, opening a few weeks after the Universal (later Loew’s 46th Street)in 1927. The Fortway was independently owned, but soon taken over by William Fox during his buying spree. After Fox’s bankruptcy, the Fortway landed with the Interboro Circuit, which operated it for several decades before closing down and selling its theatres to other companies.
Presumably, you mean the rear wall of the auditorium. Many theatres were built with half walls so that standees could watch the show when all seats were occupied. The curtains were supposed to be closed when seats were available.
This theatre’s name is spelled incorrectly. It’s Bellerose, not Bellrose. The Bellerose had about 950 seats and was named for the Queens community in which it stands. The address given above is also incorrect. It’s 245-18 Jamaica Avenue. Jericho Turnpike begins in Nassau County. Due to these errors, the map for this theatre shows a section of Bellrose, Oregon!
This was originally the Roosevelt Theatre and had about 1,750 seats. Built in the early 1920s, it was the first “deluxe” theatre in the Flushing area, but located too far from the shopping hub. When the downtown Prospect and Keith-Albee Flushing opened, the Roosevelt was reduced to playing the movies several weeks after them. For most of that time, it was operated by Skouras Theatres, a subsidiary of United Artists Theatre Circuit…The UA Quad first opened on July 14th, 1971. According to a newspaper report at the time, the multiplexing cost $750,000.
As of February 24th, 2004, this theatre is still closed and advertised for lease on the marquee.
If this was a movie theatre, it must have operated under another name because it’s not listed in any of the Film Daily Year Books published between 1922 and 1970.
The theatre was jointly built by Loew’s Theatres and United Artists Theatre Circuit and was known as Loew’s United Artists. Loew’s State was another theatre entirely, a much smaller one with only 900 seats.
The Plaza first opened in 1929 and replaced another and larger Plaza Theatre on Madison Avenue & 59th Street that was demolished for an office building. Both Plazas catered to the affluent residents of neighboring Fifth and Park Avenues, and restricted their movie programs to the cream of the crop, though several weeks after they’d finished their circuit runs. Both Plazas were a departure for pioneer exhibitor Leo Brecher, who owned other theatres but all in Harlem, including the 125th Street Apollo. Brecher’s success with the second Plaza encouraged him to build two more small theatres in Manhattan’s 60s, the 68th Street Playhouse on Third Avenue and the Studio on Broadway near what’s now Lincoln Center. When Leo Brecher died, the Plaza was sold to Rugoff Theatres, but his other theatres landed elsewhere…The decor of the second Plaza Theatre was English Tudor. The auditorium had a beamed ceiling, with dark wood side walls. The latter were eventually covered with pleated draperies to provide a more “modern” look.
This theatre is already listed and described under Loew’s Willard.
The spelling “Williard” is incorrect.
The Republic was one of the later names for the Piccadilly Theatre, which was taken over by Warner Bros. and re-named the Warner Theatre for the 1926 premiere of “Don Juan,” its first feature with recorded sound effects and music. All of the first Warner “talkies” opened there until WB built the larger and more luxurious Hollywood on the opposite side of Broadway. WB used the Warner as a sub-run for a few years, then sold it to the Brandt circuit, which re-named it the Republic. Though there was a theatre on West 42nd Street called the Republic, it was then operating as Minsky’s Burlesque. When Minsky’s left, the 42nd Street Republic was re-named the Victory…As Brandt’s Republic, the 1662 Broadway theatre showed mostly re-issues with an occasional first-run movie when the more important houses had a surplus of product. I think it had at least one more name before being demolished to make way for the City Squire Hotel.
The Plaza was at 42 East 58th Street, between Madison & Park Avenues. It was a “classy” late-run movie house until the 1950s, when switched to first-run foreign films and eventually American mainstream releases. The auditorium was in the stadium style, with a raised section of seats starting about halfway back from the screen. The first row of that raised section had the best seats in the house because of the unobstructed view.
Fred, if you look at my posting under “Prospect Theater, Flushing NY,” you’ll find that it was taken over by Loew’s in 1928 and returned to Century management in the early 1950s. So it was known as Loew’s Prospect for somewhere in the vicinity of 20-25 years.
I saw the interior about five years ago and was quite amazed by its condition. It was mostly intact and fairly well-preserved by the church that runs it. Unlike most churches, the services are on Saturday, when visitors are welcome. The architect was probably Thomas Lamb or his disciple, Eugene DeRosa. It was a typical medium-sized movie palace of the early 1920s, with a domed ceiling in the auditorium. If I recall correctly, it had a raised section of seats at the rear, rather than an overhanging balcony. The theatre was a Loew’s acquisition and not built by them. It originally had an outdoor roof theatre as well, which was used until the advent of talkies.
The only Loew’s Prospect that I know of was in Flushing, Queens.
A descriptive article published in Motion Picture Herald at the time of the Triboro’s 1931 opening claims that the exterior facade was in Aztec style, not Mayan (as reported in later generations). The interior, including the atmospheric auditorium, was Italian Renaissance. The cost of the land site, construction and furnishing amounted to around $2 million. Thanks to favorable weather conditions, the building was completed three months ahead of schedule…An unusual feature was two elevators, each capable of taking as many as 55 patrons at a time from the ground floor to the mezzanine and balcony levels. Their use must have been discontinued fairly early because I don’t remember them from Triboro visits in the 1940s…The Triboro had a Transvox Enlarging Screen, which was Loew’s own version of the Magnascope. Using a special lens plus adjustable masking around the screen, the projected image could be enlarged and shortened at will.