Fortway Theatre

6720 Fort Hamilton Parkway,
Brooklyn, NY 11219

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Showing 76 - 100 of 113 comments

TomCoca on June 14, 2005 at 3:28 pm

Lots of talk here about the organ. There was also a baby grand piano on the right side, in front of the screen. In the early years silent films were shown here. My grandfather was hired to play piano along with the films. When I went as a kid it was 50 cents to get in…cartoons and double feature. The balcony was usually closed. Purple tiles and a scale to weigh yourself for a penny in the men’s room. I wonder if the purple tiles are still there. Saw Sinbad, Psycho, The Graduate, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and the Ali-Forman fight live here, as well as countless other movies. Fortway Bowling next door and downstairs in the fifties and early sixties. Last time I passed in the nineties it was a gun club.

jbels on April 25, 2005 at 8:22 pm

The last time I was there the floors were a complete mess. I remember seeing the revival of House of Wax in 3-D when I was a kid and being blown away by the paddle-ball scene. Used to go up there every week in the summer too when they had their Disney double features. Other memories include Dog Day Afternoon and Monty Python and The Holy Grail.

Theaterat on April 21, 2005 at 6:52 pm

The Fortway was a fairly nice theater in the mid to late 60s. It featured Roman style columns against the side walls and a domed celing withstars on a blue background. There was also some tile work in the lobby and a fountain-not a drinking one, but a display one. I never saw it work. I remember seeing the Sunshine Boys here in 1976 with a full house, bur I went back several years later when it was “plexed”. I went to see ET The Extraterrestial. I know I am going to take a lot of heat for my comment, but I actually HATED this film.I found it to be a pretentious and very saccharine little movie, obviously aimed at a juvenile audience.Never understood all the hype over it. Anyway, I went several times more to see films like Sophies Choice, The Return of the Jedi,Ghostbusters,Die Hard,and others. This plexjob was absolutely awful and now ranks with the Alpine as one of the worst theaters I have ever been to.The theater is onlyn open at nights now, bur they open in the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday.I understand it has been sold to a developer, and new housing or a medical center will be built.The unofficial nickname of this theater is the “Fartway”.

Theatrefan on March 27, 2005 at 3:44 pm

Theatre 3 is currently closed off from showing movies, one of the theatre employees had told me the roof over that auditorium had sprung some leaks and the ceiling tiles had started to fall down on the patrons. I also noticed scaffolding going up against the back wall of the theatre, so perhaps they are doing emergency roof repairs. My guess is they will not be able to find a buyer for this building if the roof is still leaky, they must shore up the leaks if they want to get the 4.5 million asking price.

Theatrefan on March 16, 2005 at 9:17 pm

It wasn’t until March of 2004 that the Fortway finally switched over from the old Pacer-Cats system to the much newer Radiant touch screen terminals, they even kept issuing the old Cineplex Odeon tickets for years after the merger with Loews in May of 98. When Loews Cineplex still had their contract with Moviefone, you were not able to pick up your moviefone tickets at the Fortway’s Box Office, but you could at the Alpine.

RobertR on March 10, 2005 at 9:48 pm

Theres a few more Im sure that will close soon also. Anybody driven by the Marboro? That too will wind up just another plex.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 10, 2005 at 9:46 pm

Brooklyn seems headed towards becoming another cinematic wasteland like the Bronx. Unless there are some places that never advertise, the Bronx currently has only four movie “destinations” (I hesitate to call them theatres since they’re all multiplexes). With the closing of the Fortway, Brooklyn will have only ten or so.

Theatrefan on March 10, 2005 at 2:35 pm

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 on March 10, 2005 at 2:56 am

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 on March 10, 2005 at 2:33 am

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 on March 10, 2005 at 2:00 am

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 on March 9, 2005 at 11:31 pm

ANOTHER old timer saying goodbye………

longislandmovies on March 1, 2005 at 12:17 am

This will be good for the ALPINE

longislandmovies on March 1, 2005 at 12:15 am

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

Theatrefan on March 1, 2005 at 12:11 am

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 on October 5, 2004 at 3:51 pm

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 on September 30, 2004 at 5:51 pm

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 on August 27, 2004 at 3:54 am

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 on August 26, 2004 at 6:57 pm

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 on August 13, 2004 at 4:03 pm

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!

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 13, 2004 at 3:27 pm

Kilgen was a manufacturer of organs, which were less expensive than those of some of its competitors. Probably the reason why one landed at the Fortway, whose “indie” owners didn’t have money to throw around.

Theatrefan on August 12, 2004 at 10:39 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?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 12, 2004 at 9:06 pm

The fault is in the book’s index. The compiler did not list the Fortway Theatre. However, he (or she) did list George Montalba under “O” in the section headed “Organists.” Montalba has only one entry, so it will take you straight to the photograph snapped in the Fortway. The theatre’s original auditorium was quite striking, but it was a no-frills atmospheric. The “indie” owner probably couldn’t afford the exotica usually found in similar theatres by Eberson and Lamb.

Theatrefan on August 12, 2004 at 7:05 pm

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.