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According to the Smithtown Messenger “Johnnie Brennan’s” theatre opened October 1, 1929. At a reported cost of $ 25,000 the 30 x 90 stucco building was intended as a venue for vaudeville and films. At opening it was called The Little Playhouse at St. James and under a five year lease to Henry Kost who operated theatres in Sayville and Patchogue.
The recovery in Long Beach has been slow.
I believe the Manhattan Biltmore was only showing movies for a short time so there is no history.
Try contacting CT. Maybe they can still access them.
Don’t know why it was built in the first place. There have been so many theaters in the general vicinity which have not survived: Ronkonkoma, Lakeside Cinema, College Plaza Twins, Patchogue Multiplex.
Just went back to CT and keyed in “Biltmore”. The legit theatre in Manhattan is now called the Samuel J. Friedman and is on West 47th Street. Please upload your pictures to that site. I don’t know if it’s possible for you to delete a photo (the way you can with a comment).
David, the pictures you have posted are of the “legitimate” Biltmore in Manhattan, not the one in Brooklyn. Compare with the existing photos. Obviously not in the same neighborhood. The Biltmore in Manhattan was vacant for many years. Then someone set a fire. It was then acquired by the Manhattan Theatre Club. It’s in the upper west 40’s between Eighth Avenue and Broadway on the north side of the street. The name Biltmore on the theatre’s facade faces Broadway.
But where is the overview. If nothing else, because of it’s location, there must be quite a history.
This theater, too, shall pass, leaving only one in the Bronx.
The metal detector was installed after an incident several years ago.
Free speech, first amendment rights, civil liberties.
The decibels are so loud you can hear and feel the thump in the adjacent auditoriums!
Garth – Isn’t it really about product rather than seating? There are two small single screen theaters on Long Island which do quite well exhibiting several different films each day for several days rotating the times shown.
I agree. Many of them are a hoot. The ones for the Rialto/Savoy were right up there, too, as you will recall. And what I find interesting about the ads we see is that the little neighborhood theaters often have bigger ones than some of the Loew’s. As for addresses and locations so many communities and streets, particularly in Queens, have been renamed leaving theaters with totally improbable names such as Polk or Willard and actual locations by today’s designations questionable (such as our recent Arverne discussions).
LM, Ed Solero was right in the comment he made on another site. So many of the news articles from the early days sound like press releases. “Fitted up with every convenience” indeed.
The commentary says the, at that time, Rialto, was the first theatre to be wired for sound in Queens. There was also a claim that the Arion in Middle Village was. Comments on the Arion site would lead one to believe that neither had that distinction. Inasmuch as “The Jazz Singer” opened at Fox’s Jamaica (later called the Cort and Carlton), it would seem that the Rialto (Savoy) was not even the first in Jamaica. When the renovated, renamed theatre opened in December, 1929 it boasted a new Western Electric sound system. Would that have been done if one had been put in place only a short time before when talkies first came out?
1928 ads describe the Arion as “The Home of Talkies” although, perhaps not the first to be wired for sound as indicated in the overview (see later comments).
Contrary to the overview above the, at that time, Apollo, was advertising in the Brooklyn Eagle in 1928. Further research is needed to determine the actual opening date.
Ragtime did very well early on. I didn’t have a problem with the acoustics (does that really matter in a day when everything is overmiked?) and didn’t really find it cavernous, just unappealing.
Well, the 43rd street side of the Lyric facade is more impressive than that of the Apollo. Of course they could really have come up with some amalgams: Ricollo, Apric, Lyap. As you may recall the ANCO was for Ann Cohen.
Interesting that the opening day was August 28, 1931 when only a couple of weeks before on August 8th the anticipated opening was six weeks away.
The name Plaza was chosen, firstly, because of it bordering on Crescent Park and, secondly, because it was in keeping with the Spanish architectural structure of the building.
Can’t believe they were taking phone reservations in 1920! Seating capacity was greater as the Rialto than the Savoy. Somewhat surprising figuring the former also accommodated a 25 piece orchestra and a “gigantic pipe organ”.
The Rialto opened on December 1, 1920. At a cost of a half million dollars it was hailed as: “one of the largest photoplay houses in New York bearing comparison with any other theatres on Broadway”. The opening film was “Something to Think About” with Gloria Swanson and Elliot Dexter. The house also boasted a twenty five piece orchestra and a gigantic pipe organ (mentioned in a much earlier comment on CT). There was a special exhibition agreement with Famous Players-Lasky and Paramount.
Although other references to this theatre show it as being built by Al Schwartz after the success of his Rialto in Brooklyn, it was purported to be a local project using a local architect and financing. It was to be operated by the Long Island Motion Picture Company, two of whose officers were the Alterman Brothers who are listed as the new owners when the theatre reopened as the Savoy in 1929.
The Queens went porno after it was closed by Century. The Plaza in Corona also continured for a time as Spanish language.
You’re right, Meadows was NY Life. Lynbrook was one of the Calderone theaters that was leased out. Century had the Valley Stream and the Lynbrook. All the rest were Skouras, subsequently UA. I always figured Century didn’t own the Argo. When the whole building went up there was an announcement that the Elmont Theater would be coming. When Century did a project they always had “a new link in the chain of Century Theaters” signage. And it did operate after Century let it drop. I believe the ad said “Goodman’s” or something similar.
I’ll check out the wikipedia site after I finish this.
I’ve heard about that clause. Yet, if what you say is true, when the Community was closed and twinned I don’t remember it still being Century.
But the reality is the way the motion picture business went of all the Century owned or leased theaters the only ones still operating are the Meadows, Roosevelt Field, Franklin, Fantasy and Lynbrook. I’m not including the Shore because that’s a rebuild. As far as commenting, I never complained to Prudential and mentioned it on CT when I first learned about it in 2009.
Love to know the whole Century history, all the theaters that passed through their management and what ever happened to those comedy and tragedy masks that were part of the decor in the Glen Oaks and a couple of others theaters. I think they were also in the Argo.