Fortway Theatre

6720 Fort Hamilton Parkway,
Brooklyn, NY 11219

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Showing 76 - 100 of 100 comments

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on March 10, 2005 at 6:35 am

Another article on the pending closure in the March 5, 2005 Home Reporter and Sunset News, The title reads: “It May Be ‘The Last Picture Show’ For Fortway if $4.5 Million Asking Price Attracts Developers”.

This is really a nice theatre that was chopped up into a multiplex in the 70’s and 80’s. Three auditoiums on the main floor and two more upstairs in the former balcony. It retains some of its original charm in the downstairs theatres. It’s a shame the upstairs theatres have ceiling panels hiding the original atmospheric elements. The Alpine on the other hand has none of its original elements left in any of the seven theatres, it must have been totaly gutted when the subdivision took place in a sad and ugly way.

The Fortway is also in a lot better shape than a lot of the other theatres to close recently in Southern Brooklyn, such as the Oriental, Kingsway & Marboro. The seats are in good condition, carpeting not ripped of stained, walls not crumbling away. This theatre may not have all the bells and whistles associated with newer theatres such as stadium seating, etc. it still was a pretty decent place to catch a flick on a Saturday night.

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on March 9, 2005 at 6:56 pm

A nice old theater that was multiplex like they did in the 70s. Not so pretty but the theater still has a sence of history..One by one there almost all gone in ny.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on March 9, 2005 at 6:33 pm

For twenty-five years of my young life, I lived within walking distance of the Fortway. But I never went to it. (Q.v. my post of last 7 August—I thought of it as the bunny energizer that never gives out.) It sounds like a great theater that deserves to survive.

RobertR
RobertR on March 9, 2005 at 6:00 pm

It’s amazing with the burned out abandoned parts of Brooklyn they have to close another theatre. Brooklyn has lost so many theatres the last couple of years.

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on March 9, 2005 at 3:31 pm

ANOTHER old timer saying goodbye………

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on February 28, 2005 at 4:17 pm

This will be good for the ALPINE

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on February 28, 2005 at 4:15 pm

Sorry to hear the news always liked this theater has hung on much longer than i would have thought……

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on February 28, 2005 at 4:11 pm

According to the February 28th Issue of the Bay Ridge Courier, The Fortway theatre may close soon. Apparently Massey Knakal Realty has been shopping the property since January 27th, It’s asking price is 4.5 million dollars. The 33 x 160 two story theatre will be delivered vacant. Interest in the property so far has ranged from the City of New York wanting to construct a public school, to major big box retailers wanting to branch out to Brooklyn. The property holder will not be renewing its lease with Loews Cineplex which manages the theatre. It looks like the final curtain is imminent for the Fortway as a theatre. I will try to get there before it closes.

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on October 5, 2004 at 7:51 am

Thanks for the info Organ-ized, I’ll try to see what I find out with some detective work next time I visit the Fortway to see a film there, hopefully I’ll be in the main auditorium!

MarkA
MarkA on September 30, 2004 at 9:51 am

Warren and Theatrefan:

Kilgen theatre organs, were often known as Kilgen Wonder Organs in their advertising. They were built by George Kilgen and Sons of Saint Louis, MO. Kilgens were indeed less expensive than Wurlitzers, Kimballs and M.P. Mollers due to their simpler pipe chest construction (and a pain to service). They were also known to purchase pipework from outside sources and did a few other things to cut corners. Kilgen built mostly Church and concert organs. The largest Kilgen organ ever built is up in New York City. It’s the organ in Saint Patrick Cathedral rebuilt by a New Jersey firm along with two stunning new consoles (much better than the Kilgen ones). Kilgen’s business last up until the 1950’s. Talk to most reputable organ servicemen and they will roll their eyes about Kilgen’s pipe chest actions and relays.

The largest Kilgen theater organ was in the Picadilly Theater in Chicago. It was a 4 manual, 24 rankers with a Baldwin Grand piano, playable from the console. I don’t know what happened to the organ, but the piano is happily with the “Might Mo” (Moller) organ at the Atlanta Fox theater.

I well remember seeing the Fortway picture in Ben Hall’s book. As far as anything remaining at the theater, you might become a detective and start looking for long-forgotten organ chambers. It did that once years ago and found two theaters in the NYC area with an intact organ (console and pipes) and another with just the pipes. The one just the pipes was really interesting … the theater was closed and without electricity. So climbing up to the organ chambers was an adventure, if not dangerous. BTW, this was 30 years ago. Sorry! Both of these organs was built by Midmer-Losh of Merrick, Long Island. Midmer built the largest organ in the world in the Atlantic City Convention Hall.

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on August 26, 2004 at 7:54 pm

This is one of the worst multiplex jobs i have seen ,auditorium ceilings painted in high gloss so you see the picture twice. there is something special still about this theater.

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on August 26, 2004 at 10:57 am

I wonder if anything is still left of the Kilgen Organ in the main auditorium of the Fortway. I often see employees going down into the orchestra area duirng the movies here. Perhaps something is still intact. Guess I will have to check it out the next time I see a movie in theatre one.

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on August 13, 2004 at 8:03 am

Thanks Warren!
Once again you continue to be the authoritative source on all things related to movie theatres! Please keep all those informative posts coming!

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on August 12, 2004 at 2:39 pm

Movie Place NYC,
There is absolutely no difference in the Fortway photograph in the two editions of the book that I own. I was supprised the Fortway was not listed in the index as well Warren, but I’m glad the book at least has the photo.
Maybe someone out there knows what the “kilgen” in the caption refers to?

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on August 12, 2004 at 11:05 am

Movie Place NYC,
I went back and checked two editions of Ben Hall’s “The Best Remaining Seats” for the photo. In the original hardcover version, the actual photo is on page 191 with the caption on the page before. It reads as follows: George Mantalba at Fortway, Brooklyn, Kilgen (with pilots license?) in the softcover the same photo is on page 187.

You can clearly see the organ console on its lift above the orchestra, right below are chimes and a drum. In the backround is one of the Female figures mentioned in a previous post. You can also see a beautiful curtain with vines on it that must have been for the stage. The Fortway must have been quite a nice showplace in its heyday, glad it’s still showing movies.

Movieplace
Movieplace on August 12, 2004 at 10:59 am

I have the paperback version from the late 70’s / early 80’s. Warren is correct in that there is no listing in the index for the Fortway which as a kid I was surprised at. I have only been to this theater once, in the mid 80’s. I do not remember it all that well but I knew that this was the Fortway from the Ben M Hall book.
Are there differences in terms of the photos between editions?

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on August 12, 2004 at 9:11 am

Thanks Movie Place NYC!
I do have a copy of this book as any theatrefan should, do you know which edition is it that has the photo? I have the original hardcover version. I believe there were three versions published.

Movieplace
Movieplace on August 12, 2004 at 8:03 am

The 2 female figures that you speak of can clearly be seen (one of them anyway) in a photo in the chapter about organs and their players in Ben M Hall’s “Best Remaing Seats”. The Organ is up on it’s lift with a player seated at the console. The lift has it up higher than the orchestra. A tympani and a rack of chimes are visible to the console’s left on the orchestra platform.

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on August 8, 2004 at 4:07 pm

The ceiling may still be painted blue, but unfortunately because of the drop ceilings in auditoriums number 3 & 4 you can’t tell. I believe the Fortway was part of the Golden Theatre chain along with the Alpine in the 1980’s before Cineplex Odeon took it over.

This theatre still has many remnants of its former single auditorium days, especially the side walls in auditoriums 2&3, and in the main theatre # 1, the proscenium is still visible along with two female figures on both sides of it. The Forway is the last of a dying breed of once glorious theatres chopped up to show movies in the era of the multimegaplex.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on August 8, 2004 at 7:58 am

I wonder if the ceilings in the upstairs theaters are still painted dark blue.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on August 7, 2004 at 7:12 pm

As I recall, the Fortway had an Independent ownership. In the ‘40s and '50s, it was close to the bottom of the food chain because it got run offs from the Loew’s Alpine and RKO Dyker that had funneled through Loew’s Bay Ridge and RKO Shore Road before hitting Interboro’s Harbor, and then the Fortway (or simultaneously the Stanley westwards on 5th Avenue). To the east, the Marlboro in Boro Park and the College in Flatbush received hand-me-downs at roughly the same time. Before VCR and DVD, they were great places to catch films before they disappeared from the circuit. With the closing of most of the above-named, the Forway survives as a first-run house today. Though I could walk to it as a kid, I had never entered it. Gotta do that before it’s too late (for me, not for the Fortway: it’s like the bunny energizer that necveer gives out.)

Movieplace
Movieplace on July 20, 2004 at 11:28 am

Sorry, I forgot I posted a comment here. There is a chapter on theatre organs and their players. It is on a page with quite a few shots of players at the console. The caption reads something to the effect of so and so (I forget the name of the musician) “at the Fortway in Brooklyn. With a pilot’s License?”. The organ is on it’s lift and it appears to be higher up than the orchestra. I will look it up tonight and post it soon

Movieplace
Movieplace on June 28, 2004 at 9:00 am

The Fortway did have originally have an organ. There is a great picture of it in Ben Hall’s “The Best Remaining Seats: The Golden Age of the Movie Palace”

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on June 25, 2004 at 6:18 am

Here is some information on the seating capacity for each of the Fortway’s auditoriums. Theatre 1: 468 seats, Theatre 2: 390 seats, Theatre 3: 388 seats, Theatre 4: 210 seats, Theatre 5: 210 seats.

HomegaMan
HomegaMan on June 22, 2004 at 8:20 am

The Fortway Theater was also a two feature house throughout the 70’s until 1988 when they also became a multiplex. I remember getting driven there every Sunday in the 70’s by my father so my Mom and my sisters would all go see the newest feature. “Jaws 2”, “Animal House”, “The Shining” and other classics played there to packed houses. After the multiplex came the theater started togo downhill and the seats and decor have almost all gone and fade away. I still go there cause they have some of the films the Alpine can’t get.