Loew's Willard Theatre

96-01 Jamaica Avenue,
Woodhaven, NY 11421

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Showing 101 - 124 of 124 comments

PKoch on June 22, 2006 at 6:01 am

Bklyn Jim, EdSolero, anyone else that’s interested, here is a link to the board I hang out on to discuss monster and other type movies.
It’s troll and flame-free, and there’s lots of great people there :

View link

PKoch on June 22, 2006 at 5:02 am

Come on in, the water and the monsters are fine !

Yes, EdSolero, that’s exactly it !!! I first saw it on “Supernatural Theater”, Saturday 8:30-10 PM WOR Channel 9 in the spring of 1965. Yes, it WAS Japanese, but the guy who had “The Manster” growing out of him was white, and played by an actor with an uncanny resemblance to William H. Macy.

Tell me more about The Creep from Creature Features !

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 21, 2006 at 3:35 pm

If I may join the fray for a sec… was “The Manster” the one where a monster is growing out of a guy’s body – and it begins with an eye on his shoulder!?!? I think I recall that one from my Creature Features days with The Creep on WNEW channel 5. I don’t remember that one being Japanese… but my memories of it are very faint.

BrooklynJim on June 21, 2006 at 11:58 am

Nah, no green liquid, PK. And too cold for clothes removal. The one you’re referencing may have been in the 1959 color import, “The Mysterians,” something I’ll be posting about very soon on the RKO Bushwick page. (Lookit! My own Coming Attractions! Sheesh!) Anyway, please remind me if it doesn’t go up in a week or so.

“Half Human” had to do with the Abominable Snowman, or something like that. Avalanches. Cute Japanese wenches. Wooden acting. Loud snoring…

Never saw “The Manster” that I recall, but you’ve gotta see “MANT” within the John Goodman flick, “Matinee.” I KNOW yer gonna luvit!!! Rent it this weekend and let them memories roll…

PKoch on June 21, 2006 at 10:35 am

Good, good ! Thanks for the tip on “Half Human”. I remember a apanese sci fi flick in which a man told a woman to take off her clothes, and people turned into pools of green liquid. Was that it ?

Speaking of Japanese, ever see “The Manster” ?

I remember the antenna line from “Them !”

BrooklynJim on June 21, 2006 at 10:06 am

Tech Sgt. Leonard Nimoy, as he walks to the teletype machine and sez to the cutie: “It’s T.S. stuff – Top Secret.”

“T.S.” is “Top Secret?” Wasn’t in my part of Brooklyn.

In “Beast,” one of the scariest moments for me was fire destroying the roller coaster in Coney Island! “NOOOO!!!” The other was watching the soldiers drop to the ground from the wounded beast’s infected blood. The funniest was his coming ashore in lower Manhattan’s Fulton Fish Market. Loved those guys' expressions!

If you get a chance, rent “Half Human.” It’s a likeable, pleasant enough bomb, and like “Godzilla” (same Japanese director), the film also features the same three Japanese lead actors/actress from “Godzilla, King of the Monsters.” They also add the likes of John Carradine, as they did with Raymond Burr, to woo U.S. audiences. (After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, why would they even bother? They’d get even in years to come by selling us their cars, tvs, stereos, etc.)

“Get the antennae! Get the OTHER antenna! He’s helpless without it!” – Professor Edmund Gwenn to Nevada Trooper James Whitmore in the desert

PKoch on June 21, 2006 at 9:50 am

Thanks for the compliment, and for calling me young !

“THEM !”, eh ? I know what you mean about that squeaky fan belt sound, growing ever louder.

“Enough formic acid pumped into him to kill an elephant !”

“Saturate the nest ? If I can still lift an arm when we get out of here, I’m gonna see how saturated I can get !”

Did you notice Leonard Nimoy’s bit part ?

“The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms” :

“It’s exactly as I pictured it, except that the dorsal fin is singular, not bilateral ! But he’s enormous ! And the clavicular suspension is … cantileveric ! But the most astonishing thing about it is that …”

The scariest part for me was when the rhedosaurus ate the NYC policeman.

“Monster at Nassau and Pine !”

The scene of the monster coming ashore at the Fulton Fish Market was later copied in the 1998 film “Godzilla” with Matthew Broderick.

The original “Godzilla” was inspired by the success in Japan of “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms”.

Whit Bissell, Tor Johnson, Ned Glass, Stanley Adams, William Schallert, Robert Shayne, Richard Deacon, Raymond Bailey, John Hoyt, John Agar, Morris Ankrum ….

“Oh, no ! Not HIM again !”

You could be right about the softball !

BrooklynJim on June 21, 2006 at 9:34 am

For a young guy, ya did a lot of catchin' up. I’m very impressed, Peter! “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms” was one of my earliest faves. Bradbury! Harryhausen! (Check out their superb interviews on the WB DVD.) My mom wouldn’t let me see it that summer, that it would give me nightmares, but when I explained my nightmares had been pretty tame, she relented and I got to see it on the next go-‘round at the Peerless. But she totally freaked out the following year when her movie-addicted first-born kept clammoring madly for “THEM!” (To this day, I immediately check the horizon if I should hear a squeaky fan belt in the distance growing ever louder…)

Hey, if you check out today’s comments on the Loew’s Kameo page, do ya think it’s possible to hold…

pausing here to catch breath

…a WHIT BISSELL FILM FESTIVAL in TriBeCa later this year? (Tor Johnson remains my alternate suggestion.)

[i still say 104th St. probably clobbered 102nd St. in softball.]

PKoch on June 21, 2006 at 8:50 am

Either that, BklynJim, or it was to achieve consistency with the Liberty El (Lefferts A Train) 104th Street station, which, as you probably know, used to be the eastern end of the old BMT Fulton St. el.

It IS odd, because 102nd Street is a two-way street, and becomes Freedom Drive in Forest Park, and 104th Street (the former Oxford Avenue) does neither.

I leave it to el expert Bway to elaborate further.

I first saw “The Giant Behemoth” on TV WOR Channel 9 in fall 1961 at age six, then for the first time on a movie screen at Film Forum in summer 1987 or 1988. I now have it, and the other two Eugene Lourie-directed dinosaur movies, “Gorgo” and “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms” on VHS, taped off AMC.

“Black Museum” : I remember those binoculars spring-loaded with six-inch prongs, so when the victim put them to her eyes and adjusted the focus ….

BrooklynJim on June 21, 2006 at 8:40 am

Seeing this Willard page knocked my socks off! Because it closed about 1960 or so, very soon after I’d moved to the new neighborhood, I’d almost totally forgotten this B-I-G gem of a theater.

The guys and I would take the el to Woodhaven Blvd. station, and then it was only a few blocks' walk on Jamaica Ave. Had seen a couple cheezy Hammer films there, “The Giant Behemoth,” with animation by Willis “King Kong” O'Brien, and one called “Horrors of the Black Museum.” Every kid in the neighborhood came back trying to devise a pair of binoculars with needles or sharp nails that shot out directly into victims' eyeballs and blinded ‘em. We were fun dudes.

I think there was a catering hall there that went belly-up prior to being taken over by Le Cordon Bleu. My kid sister had her “Sweet 16” party there in 1973.

One oddity: The next station on the el used to be 102nd St. Now I find that end closed and the station has been renamed 104th St. Did 104th St. have a stronger and more influential block association???

PKoch on June 13, 2006 at 4:44 am

Thanks, Warren and klass, for your input. Yes, klass, those numbered streets used to be all named streets : 104th St. : Oxford Avenue, 111th Street : Greenwood Avenue, names preserved for awhile in the names of the Liberty Avenue (Lefferts A train) el stations.

KathyLass on June 11, 2006 at 2:06 pm

The Loew’s Willard Theatre, on Jamaica Avenue and 96th Street (formerly Willard Street) opened on November 24, 1924 as a vaudeville and motion picture house with a capacity of 2500. I got this info from a book called “The Story of Woodhaven and Ozone Park”.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 25, 2005 at 1:34 pm

Thanks for mentioning that article Frank. I’m going to post a link to it in the Garden theater message area.

fmgrana on June 25, 2005 at 11:28 am

The Queens Chronicle dated June 23, 2005 has an article and picture of the Garden Theater in Richmond Hill taken in 1937. They mention the Willard Theater in the article.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 28, 2004 at 3:41 pm

The Willard was the very first theatre that Loew’s built in Queens, so it was considered quite luxurious for the time. People flocked there from all over Queens to see the first-run movies and accompanying vaudeville. Along with Loew’s Astoria, which the circuit acquired after it had been running for two years, the Willard was one of the top theatres in Queens until Loew’s opened others in Queens, starting with the Hillside and Woodside in 1926. Eventually, the Willard and all other Loew’s theatres in Queens were reduced to playing sub-run to the Valencia, which opened in January, 1929 and became an exclusive first-run for the borough. But Loew’s always did a good job of maintenance on the Willard and it remained the pride of the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill area, rivaled only by the RKO Keith’s Richmond Hill, which was built two years later. Loew’s finally disposed of the Willard to comply with the federal anti-trust decree against the company. The theatre became an “indie” for a time before being converted to a catering hall.

RobertR on September 28, 2004 at 1:51 pm

How nice was this theatre? Did anyone ever see movies here? I remember someone telling me once they went 4 days in a row to the Willard to see “Seven Brides For Seven Brothers”. A few months later she did the same when the Haven got it. The name is pretty rotten though.

PeterKoch on April 23, 2004 at 2:36 pm

There are nine images of the Woodhaven Blvd. station of the BMT Jamaica line at : www.nycsubway.org All but the most recent of them, dated January 30, 1983, face east, show the tracks curving to the right, and show the Cordon Bleu, ex-Willard near the vanishing point. It appears as a pink brick building with dark grey sloped roof.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 23, 2004 at 1:46 pm

Yes, Cordon Bleu is the ex-Willard. I took some digital photographs of the exterior last year, and will post them if that ever becomes possible. I wanted to go inside, but the manager wouldn’t permit me. He did say, however, that the interior was totally gutted and that nothing remains from the Willard days. From what I could see, he was probably correct. The decor reminds of a 1960s motel. The Jamaica Avenue facade has been covered over with false windows and imitation tiles.

PeterKoch on April 23, 2004 at 1:20 pm

I think the Willard Theater is now the Cordon Bleu Catering Hall in Woodhaven, Queens. If you go to www.nycsubway.org, BMT Lines, BMT Jamaica Line, Woodhaven Blvd. station images, you can catch a glimpse of the once Willard, now Cordon Bleu, in the images that face east, with the power towers of the abandoned LIRR Rockaway Line in the distance, just beyond the Willard.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 15, 2004 at 6:31 am

The address for this theatre is incorrect, making the map also incorrect. The Willard (now a catering hall) is located at 96-01 Jamaica Avenue, Woodhaven, NY 11421. Woodhaven borders on Richmond Hill, but is a separate community. Both are in the borough of Queens, which is part of New York City.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 18, 2004 at 11:56 am

The Willard Theatre first opened on November 26, 1924, and was the first theatre that the Loew’s circuit actually built in Queens. Its only other theatre in Queens at that time was the Astoria, which Loew’s purchased from its original owners, Ward & Glynne, in 1923. The Astoria first opened in 1920…The shell of the Willard still stands, but the interior was completely gutted in the 1950s for a catering hall that remains in business to this day.

William on November 15, 2003 at 10:34 am

The Loew’s Willard Theatre was located at 9601 Jamaica Ave in Richmond Hill area.