RKO Keith's Theatre

135-35 Northern Boulevard,
Flushing, NY 11354

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Chester37a
Chester37a on January 16, 2004 at 6:36 am

The last motion picture I saw there was a “buddy-picture” called “Running Scared”. It starred Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines, …with Jimmy Smits as the heavy. I think it may have been the last film screened there because, when they shut the joint down the posters for said film were still up. I can remember passing by the theatre and seeing them fading from the sunlight. I saw some fun movies there over the years(Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Airplane,etc.) It was a shame to see it just waste away. I hate passing by that place whenever I’m in town.

loraliz
loraliz on December 10, 2003 at 2:01 am

Bernie at the Organ was a regular live feature at the RKO Keith’s for many years and well loved.

WilliamMcQuade
WilliamMcQuade on October 10, 2003 at 4:09 pm

I work in Flushing & pass by it daily. I got a peek inside & the lobby ( the landmark portion) is basically bare walls. So much for landmark protection. In NYC, it is all about money. History be damned

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 16, 2003 at 10:24 pm

The theater is also on the National Register of Historic Places and is situated on Northern Boulevard opposite Main Street.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 16, 2003 at 10:21 pm

The Kieth’s was an absolutely spectacular theater. Even as a triplex, seeing a film here (particularly in the intact balcony auditorium) was a special treat. The theater actually survivied until 1986, when it was closed by the local real estate magnate and vandal who attempted to gut the theater despite it’s official landmark status and convert the space into a retail mall. There has been much legal and civic turmoil regarding it’s fate over the last 17 years. The operators of the nearby historic Flushing Town Hall have been rumored to be interested in acquiring the theater to restore it to legitemate use as a cultural center, but any efforts there have been thwarted by legal entanglements and lack of funding.

Recently, a deal was announced whereby a commercial interest would redevelop the site for mixed usage but would restore the theater’s landmarked sections to their original glory. Unfortunately, NYC officials did not have the wisdom to give landmark status to the gorgeous auditorium (with it’s atmospheric Moroccan details), but at least the stunning lobby and grand foyer will be preserved under the new plan. I wonder if such a restoration would include a replica of the original fountain that was the centerpiece of the lobby. It was removed years before the landmark commission ever considered the theater for designation, replaced by a large candy-counter.

thenson702
thenson702 on August 15, 2002 at 8:31 am

The Keith’s was the theatre that I saw all of many early eigthies classic horror flicks. the theatre had been cut into three sections. the balcony was where the expected to be popular flick would show and the lower level was divided in two. I saw all of these films opening weekend, Indiana Jones,Heavy Metal, Howlling,Friday the 13th, Jason,Empire Strikes back to name a few. As I sat in the balcony I always wonder who would build a room soo large for trashy films and how much they must have paid someone to paint the ceiling. On the lower level there where vents that you could see to a lit basement floor which I was told that there were corridors down there from the Vaudeville days.

JoeB
JoeB on January 2, 2002 at 11:28 am

Bob Hope,George Burns, Lucille Ball and Groucho Marx & the Marx Brothers all performed here in Vaudeville.Groucho performed his first show with painted mustache here (his stage clothes & make-up arrived late, so he improvised and it became his trademark). Murray The K also held his show here occasionally in the 60s with CREAM performing here (with a young Eric Clapton)in late ‘66.

ET
ET on December 17, 2001 at 12:55 pm

My ballet school used to have their recitals at the Keith during the 60’s. I always remember having photo’s taken by the beautiful fountain in the lobby. Too bad it couldn’t be restored as a landmark.

bbuono
bbuono on December 2, 2001 at 5:37 am

The RKO Keith’s was my childhood theatre and an adventure to attend. It was a grand place on a Sat afternoon for us to enjoy a show and movie. My most memorable movie was “A Night to Remember.”