RKO Albee Theatre

1 DeKalb Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11201

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Showing 76 - 100 of 106 comments

RobertR on July 1, 2005 at 7:05 pm

Here is another Bardot flick at the Albee under “Adam and Eve”. Bardot was hot in the late 50’s after “And God Created Woman”. I wonder if this film was made before that one and released to cash in on her fame?
View link

42ndStreetMemories on June 10, 2005 at 12:19 pm

Thanks, Warren. Speaking of the “two-day bills”, I’m looking at an ad from 1959 where the RKO’s (except Albee, Palace)all played a new double feature (of revivals) for 1 day only!


Unfortunately my RKO 23 got Brigitte Bardot (bad news for a 9 year old) paired with Pork Chop Hill. Now that I think about it, I guess the two films did go together. j

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 10, 2005 at 11:21 am

The “split” in downtown Brooklyn was usually 20th-Fox, RKO and some Universal releases at the Albee; MGM, UA and some Universal at Loew’s Metropolitan; WB and Columbia at the Fox, and Paramount at the Paramount. For about 10-15 years, the Fox and Paramount were both run by Fabian, so sometimes a WB film would open at the Paramount and a Paramount release at the Fox. The second features at these four theatres tended to be from the same distributors as the main features. A second feature at the Albee, for example, had to be from Fox, RKO, or Universal. When the main features went on the circuit, RKO could choose from more studios, so it didn’t have to use the same combination as at the Albee, though sometimes it did…I’m not an expert on the Bowery Boys, but their films were always scorned by the NYC critics and usually didn’t play either the Loew’s or RKO circuits unless there was a product shortage. They usually opened at the Rialto or New York, and then went straight on to the lesser “nabes” in the boroughs. And sometimes they were part of double features of programmers that ran for two days early in the week at Loew’s and RKO nabes. Some of those theatres could not sustain a full week of the same program, so they would run it for five days (Thursday through Monday) and then show the “B” movies for two (Tuesday & Wednesday).

42ndStreetMemories on June 10, 2005 at 10:35 am


How exactly did the “product split” work in Brooklyn? I noticed in the ads from the 50s, the Albee usually played the same “A” film that hit my RKO 23rd St immediately afterwards but that the Albee frequently had a different “B” picture. I also noticed the the Allied Artist Bowery Boys series always played Brooklyn but never my Manhattan RKO/Loew’s theaters.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 10, 2005 at 9:36 am

Until saturation release took hold in the 1960s, the Albee always played ahead of the rest of the RKO theatres in Brooklyn. However, due to the product “split” in downtown Brooklyn with the Paramount, Fox, and Loew’s Metropolitan, the Albee did not show all of the movies that landed on the RKO circuit, and was limited to 20th-Fox, RKO and some Universal releases. “Can-Can,” of course, was a Fox release. While I was on my first trip to Los Angeles in 1959, I was lucky enough to visit the set and meet Frank Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine. This was only a few days prior to the more celebrated visit by the Soviet premier, Nikita Khrushcev, and Mrs. K.

RobertR on June 10, 2005 at 8:25 am

Christmas of 1960 The RKO Albee and RKO Palace were both presenting “Can Can”. The ad said 1st time at popular prices and continuous performances.

sasheegm on April 30, 2005 at 11:04 pm

Went to all of the downtown theaters Rob…….We took the old Myrtle Ave El to get there…..and Namms was a big Dept Store….I think Mays took them over……I moved to Long Island in 1959…great memories…..Joe From Florida…sasheegm

BklynRob on April 30, 2005 at 9:28 pm

I remember the RKO ALbee very well. It was a beautiful theatre. I loved going to downtown Brooklyn as a kid with my family. We kids would see a movie at THe Albee or Fox,while my mom & grandmother shopped at A&S,Martins and Mays department stores.Later,we would go eat at Juniors. I recall seeing the old Beach Party movies there.

sasheegm on April 26, 2005 at 12:15 pm

I remember going to the RKO-Albee in Brooklyn after a film had its NYC Mid-town debut……after playing the Albee, the titles would then go to the neiborhood RKO theaters, such as the Madison & Bushwick in my old neighborhoods………I remember in the mid-1950s, when TV was really putting a hurt on movie-attendance, the Albee ran a double bill featuring two Italian language films with English subtitles…..“The Iron Crown”-1941, which was re-issued in Italy and Europe and cut down to 88 minutes from its original 125 minutes in 1946/48——the co-feature was “The She Wolf”-1951……..Advertising for the double bill, it said “No One under 18 years of age admitted……I was about 14 or 15, but was tall for my age, and got in with no problem…….The Albee was plush inside, with carpeting throughout, as many of the RKO chains were………Joe From Florida—-sasheegm

uncleal923 on February 8, 2005 at 2:52 am

Apparently I was wrong. I thought there was a forth theater by Erasmus. Apparently there were only the Albemarle, the Rialto, and the Kings.

Did the Albee ever play THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE in the 1960s? I think I may have saw it there.

42ndStreetMemories on February 5, 2005 at 3:00 pm

Interesting, Warren. Looking at my ads, they seem to have substituted some Allied Artists releases as well. Bowery Boys features, for instance, that never made it to my RKO.


Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 5, 2005 at 2:00 pm

The Kings and Albee were both in Brooklyn, but not near each other. The Albee was in downtown Brooklyn, while the Kings is several miles from there in the Flatbush district…The second features at the Albee were sometimes different from the RKO circuit run only because the Albee was restricted to playing RKO, 20th-Fox and some Universal releases. Albee did not have access to the Warner Brothers releases, which usually played the Fox, Strand and sometimes Paramount. So if the RKO circuit had an upcoming double of a Fox and WB movie, the Albee would have to show a replacement for the WB. It had nothing to do with movies suddenly being publled because of poor audience reactions.

42ndStreetMemories on February 5, 2005 at 12:44 pm

I would lived in Manhattan as a kid in the 50s, but closely followed
the bookings at the Albee since they would inevitably end up at my RKO 23rd St within a couple of weeks.

Frequently, the 2nd feature would be changed. I guess if audiences were walking out on it at the Albee, they’d try something different when it hit the rest of the circuit.

I have some copies of old NYT ads from the RKO circuit, if anyone is interested in a small list of some of the bookings for the Albee, email me.

Jerry 42nd Street Memories

uncleal923 on February 5, 2005 at 2:50 am

I know the Albee was near the Kings. There is again buzz about reopening the Kings on their section of the site (1360). I see some of you were to that page, but maybe the others would like to look.

michaelhealy on December 31, 2004 at 1:25 am

I’m very interested in the comments about the screen. The Cinephone theater in Birmingham England had one which must have been installed in the mid 1950’s as it was in the CinemaScopE aspect ratio. It gave one the impression that it was floating in space!

New Year’s Greetings for 2005 from Melbourne, Australia.

Michael Healy

BoxOfficeBill on September 15, 2004 at 11:17 am

For the RCA Synchro Ray screen, there’s a pictorial spread about it in Theatre Catalogue (1950-51) with full explanation and photos of its installation in the RKO 58 Street as the first of its kind. I remember the Albee advertising its installation in conjunction with its showing of “All About Eve” in late Fall ‘50. My aunt saw it there, and I quizzed her about it. It did not seem at all special. When I finally saw it for Disney’s “Robin Hood,” the thrill had worn off. The screen showed up at other theaters beyond the RKO chain. In upstate NY, for example, an Ithaca Journal from summer 1952 advertises it as the house special at the art-deco Ithaca Theater in an ad for “Where’s Charley.”

jflundy on September 15, 2004 at 3:08 am

I saw the first day of the re-issue run of “King Kong” (1933) at the Albee along with “Island of the Dead” (1945 release). This was also the first day of this new type screen. I have a very negative impression of this screen. Image was lacking in contrast and as I recall I got a headache. I would not go back to see another movie on this type screen.

RobertR on September 15, 2004 at 12:17 am

In an issue of The Journal American the ad for Tuesday Dec 2, 1958 announces the last day for Robert Wagner and Jeffrey Hunter in “Love and War” paired with Anne Bancroft in “The Restless Breed” starting on Wed was the first NY showing of “The Spider” along with “Terror From The Year 5000”. I think these were Fox films, even though they sound like AIP.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 5, 2004 at 5:11 pm

This theatre only memorialized the name of Albee. He was already dead for eleven years by the time it opened, so he hardly could have built it as suggested in the introduction above.

EMarkisch on September 5, 2004 at 2:16 pm

Thanks Warren, as usual, you are indeed a source of a wealth of information about all these things. I guess these screens were a kind of synergy of the times if RCA still had an interest in RKO.
However, they were a disappointment to both of us and just did not live up to their hype. Thanks again.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 5, 2004 at 12:13 pm

Erwin, it was called the RCA Synchro-Screen. According to a write-up in the 1952 Film Daily Year Book, the screen had side wings and a top panel which picked up and reflected diffused light from the picture, imparting a new sense of realism by making the action on the screen appear to occupy a larger portion of the patron’s field of vision. It was invented by theatre architect Ben Schlanger and his associate, William Hoffberg, and marketed by RCA. The snowwhite screen fabric was made from heavyweight Firestone “Velon” plastic…If I recall correctly, some of the top RKO theatres had them. The circuit might have had an exclusive for the Greater New York area. I recall going to the RKO Keith’s in Flushing to see one and left disappointed. I was expecting more of a 3-D effect from publicity that I’d read. I believe that they were all scrapped by 1953 because they were incompatible with the new wide screen projection systems.

EMarkisch on September 4, 2004 at 9:10 pm

Need a projectionist who worked at the Albee in 1952 to give me an answer….My father took me to the Albee, when I was 11 years old for my first encounter with “King Kong”, which was reissued some time in 1952. The ads in the Daily News at that time advertised that it would be shown on some kind of new type of screen, which I believed was designed by RCA. As I also recall, when we saw the film, it was projected onto the rear section of what appeared to be a shadowbox of some sort. My question is what was the purpose and what was this type of screen supposed to do to increase the King Kong experience.
Hopefully, there is someone out there who can answer this inquiry as well as the one I posed on the Savoy (Jamaica, Queens, NY) website.

DougDouglass on June 6, 2004 at 8:31 pm

The Albee was demolished in 1976.

Orlando on May 6, 2004 at 10:08 pm

I still remember all the neon and marquees lit up during the Christmas holiday season shopping trips to all the major shopping stores. This would have been between 1959 and 1972. I also remember the Fox being torn down and the Nevins Street entrance to train under scaffolding for some time. I was to young (thank God!) to feel the impact older generations might have had. The Albee’s marquee was the best since I can’t remember the Paramount’s.