Kings Theatre

1027 Flatbush Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11226

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Jiffy on October 15, 2004 at 6:11 pm

The footage on the DVD clocks in at 1 minute 33 seconds. I told you about that freeze frame!

Jiffy on October 14, 2004 at 6:46 pm

Interestingly, “The Bellboy” itself was black and white. Then he tours for a color film and the tour is in black and white.

Jiffy on October 14, 2004 at 6:45 pm

Bob, you did a great job because the footage does not look it’s age. Has it really been 44 years? I will guess approx 4 minutes were used but hard to tell because I kept freeze framing it. I could tell it was edited as it faded to black at the end. The theaters that can be seen are the Kings, Premier and 46th St. I wonder if the “Ladies' Man” footage is on that disc of that film?

BobFurmanek on October 13, 2004 at 4:10 pm

Jiffy, I transferred that footage to video when I worked for Jerry Lewis. It was taken from the 35mm color camera negative, and the quality was outstanding. The original reel was about ten minutes. How much did they use on the DVD?

Lewis toured the Loew’s New York circuit for THE BELLBOY, appearing at just about every large Loew’s theater in the New York area. There was great color footage of the Paradise, Pitkin, King’s, Oriental, and many others.

He did a similar tour of the New York area RKO theaters in 1961 for THE LADIES' MAN. However, that film footage was 16mm black and white.

Jiffy on October 13, 2004 at 2:48 pm

This theater, as well as several other Loew’s theaters, can be seen in very nice color footage on the new DVD release of Jerry Lewis' “The Bellboy”. Lewis is seen touring Loew’s theaters in the area and making personal appearances trumpeting the release and he had someone document the event. No auditoriums are shown but there are very nice marquee shots. As a side note, the second feature at each location was “Tarzan the Magnificent.”

Orlando on September 24, 2004 at 6:26 pm

The vertical is no longer on the building, it was removed last year and some loose terra cotta has been re-inforced. The Kings has been closed for 27 years and it’s current condition is not as “HORRENDOUS” as warren states. True there is water damage in the auditorium in about 40% of this space. The stage skylight has let the outside elements destroy the stage area, but it doesn’t have a eight foot hole in it like the Westbury of Long Island which was open all along with a broken skylight. The lobby areas are missing fixtures and is not as weathered as the auditorium. Let’s remember that the building was closed and walked away from. If the city had boarded and secured the location, this would have never happened. Yes it would have some damage but not as much would have occured. The treasures of the Loew’s Kings were not stolen by homeless people but like many believe, but by the caretakers including the Flatbush Developement people who had the keys to the building.

RobertR on September 24, 2004 at 3:19 pm

Wow the vertical is still there and could so easily be repaired if the $$ ever became available.

br91975 on September 24, 2004 at 3:11 pm

I should have written ‘renovated’ and ‘restored’; apologies for my typos…

br91975 on September 24, 2004 at 3:08 pm

I suspect that, ultimately, if the threat of the demolition of the Loew’s Kings should arise (it isn’t landmarked, is it?), then we’ll probably see a group akin to those who’ve, as best they can, renovate and restore the Loew’s Jersey, take charge of getting the Kings up and running again. Until that day, it’ll probably continue lying in disrepair and breaking several hearts in the process.

RobertR on September 24, 2004 at 2:26 pm

Was it all water damage or are vandals getting in? What a waste we let these treasures sit empty and then spend millions to make them look like they did before. I remember when that documentry was done the place was still intact.

RobertR on September 24, 2004 at 11:53 am

The King’s is never mentioned anymore and every day it seems less likey it will be saved, but you never know. Does anyone know the last time it was inspected and how bad the damage is?

BobFurmanek on September 24, 2004 at 11:12 am

75 years ago, the Wonder Theaters were built and became prime showcases for all the great MGM product over the next 3 decades. The only Wonder Theater showing film today is Loew’s Jersey but, sadly, they are not playing any MGM product in their 75th anniversary programming.

However, the beautifully restored Lafayette Theater in Suffern, New York salutes the Loew’s Wonder Theaters by presenting a newly restored 35mm print of one of MGM’s greatest musicals, “Meet Me in St. Louis.” It will be shown this Saturday, September 25 as part of their weekly Big Screen Classics series. They will also present a vintage MGM short, and will play live music on their magnificent Wurlitzer organ.

For more information, visit their website at

theatrefan on August 3, 2004 at 11:59 pm

Thanks ErwinM.

I guess part of the reason the 175th Street still had the original one is because Rev Ike bought the theatre from Loew’s in the late 60’s. They started ripping out all the organs in the early 70’s. I could have sworn I saw an organ in the Valencia too, maybe I am confusing it with another theatre turned church.

I saw the documentary on the Kings and at the very start there is a gentleman playing a theatre organ, I wonder if that was the oringinal Kings organ. It sounded great!

EMarkisch on August 3, 2004 at 9:07 pm

Theatrefan….The following excerpt from the American Theater Organ Society Web Journal dated April 9, 2003 will explain the location of the 5 Wonder Mortons…."

Only one of the five Wonder Mortons, originally installed in the greater New York area remains in its original location at Loew’s United Palace Theatre, 175th Street and Broadway in Manhattan. The one from Loew’s Jersey Theatre in Jersey City is now in the Santa Barbara Arlington Theatre. The Morton from Loew’s Paradise Theatre in the Bronx is being installed in Loew’s Jersey Theatre (where the original home of the Arlington organ). The Morton in Loew’s Kings Theatre in Brooklyn was broken up for parts but its restored console is now part of Paul Vandermolen’s residence organ near Chicago. Lastly, the organ from Loew’s Valencia in Jamaica, Queens is going to be installed in the Balboa Theatre in San Diego".

theatrefan on August 3, 2004 at 5:34 pm

Does anyone know what happened to the oringinal theatre organ that was once in the Loew’s Kings? I know the Jersey’s went to California and they are replacing it with the one fron the Paradise. Also do the 175th St. and Valencia still have there Wonder Organs?

genahy on July 5, 2004 at 10:26 pm

Interesting article about revival plans for Kings. View link

theatrefan on June 29, 2004 at 8:58 am

Check with your local libraries regarding the “Memoirs of a Movie Palace” documentary, one of the branches here in New York City has it for loan and I was able to borrow it and watch it. It’s really is quite an experience to see this video. I do hope the NYC Economic Development Corp. is finally able to do something with this former Loew’s Movie Palace, unfortunately it will cost millions of dollars to restore it to its original splendor.

Ziggy on June 29, 2004 at 7:50 am

Okay, I just found out that it adds the link automatically when you type it in, so just go ahead and click on it. Enjoy!

Ziggy on June 29, 2004 at 7:49 am

I don’t know how to use the “add a link” feature, but if you type you will wind up on a page (in french) that has some photos of the Kings interior as it looked in 2001. Don’t click on the english version of the page. I did it and, for some reason, could no longer find the photos.

JimRankin on June 28, 2004 at 1:11 pm

The documentary you are referring to was called: MEMOIRS OF A MOVIE PALACE by Christian Blackwood Productions then of New York City in 1980. The VHS tape was in limited production and a copy ‘should’ be at the Library of Congress as part of its copyright. I know that the Theatre Historical Soc. of America ( )has a copy, but whether or not they would be willing to copy it for you, I do not know. In July, after they return from their Conclave in Kansas City, inquire of their Ex. Dir. at the address on their front page. A Google search turned up places selling the original 3x4-foot poster advertising the video, but not the video itself. Blackwood Productions does not appear in a Google search, nor do recent titles by Christian Blackwood, whom I met as a young men here in Milwaukee back in April of 1980 when he was attending the “Symposium on the American Movie Palace” then held at the Univ. of Wis. at Milwaukee. If you find a source of the video, please let us know here! No doubt there are many people who would like to get a copy, including me, Jim Rankin at

Movieplace on June 28, 2004 at 12:29 pm

There was a documentary made about this theater about 20 years ago. Does anybody know the name of this film or better yet how I can obtain a copy? I know that the organ still rose up on it’s seperate lift for the film, however I do not remember if it was playable.

MarkW on May 31, 2004 at 11:51 pm

Listing should be changed to Loew’s Kings

mahermusic on April 24, 2004 at 11:08 pm

Loew’s Kings opened on September 7, 1929, not September 6, 1928.

Mike326 on April 11, 2004 at 10:09 pm

What does the term “day-and-date” mean ?

jflundy on April 7, 2004 at 2:59 am

Loews Kings opened on Friday September 6, 1928. It was built on the site of a seasonal outdoor movie park and the Flatbush BRT trolley depot and storage yard dating back to the 1890’s.

The site became available when a new carbarn and yards were opened located at Avenue N and Utica Avenue in Flatlands. The Marcus Loew organization was seeking to expand its theater circuit and the Kings was to be one of the new “Wonder” theaters in the NYC metropolitan area.

After the Kings was built,the Cortelyou Road trolley which began its run at the old depot, had to make a switchback on Flatbush Avenue to run south, turning west onto Cortelyou Road at the Century Rialto Theter and proceeding to Gravesend Avenue and then north to Church Avenue near the Beverly Theater.

The Kings feature vaudville with live orchestra, a large organ (Morton if I recall correctly) and silent movies. It was the number one Flatbush theater and was jammed with long lines of patrons waiting for seats in the vast lobby with brass railings and velvet ropes channeling the waiting throngs into multiple lanes.

In 1930 the Cortelyou trolleys were replaced by new electric trolley buses and added further glamour to the area which was well served by public transit. Despite this the patronage started dropping off as the Great Depression began.

In the eary ‘30’s the theater had been showing talkies for a few years and vaudville was dropped in favor of a straight movie policy.In 1935 double features became standard.

Throughout the 30’s, Erasmus Hall High School, located up Flatbush Avenue next to the Astor Theater, held its graduations in the theater on Saturday mornings. The organ was prominently featured in the ceremonies with one of the music teachers ( can no longer recall his name) performing in a quite grand manner.

The orchestra was quite large, being very long and dived half way down to the stage by a transverse asile. The balcony was very small and on the whole the layout of the auditorium was similar the Brooklyn Paramount.

Attendance picked up in the late 30’s and boomed during WW2. Around 1947 the marquee and vertical were updated spoiling the exterior harmony with a garish if spectacular look. The vertical was huge and had a brillant neon effect changing from gold to silver and impossible to miss from far up the avenue.

Patronage began declining slightly in 1951 but was still good in 1953 after which a downward slide began. I was in the orchestra on a Wednesday afternoon in 1957 seated by the center aisle at the east side in the first row to the rear of transverse asile waiting for the show to start; I looked around and saw only two other people in the huge house. I sensed that things had really changed and wondered how long would the theater last. Shortly, four men came down the asile wearing suits, one the manager. I could hear them speaking as they approached me. They stopped at the asiles intersection. One man said to the manager that the theater was clean but the beauty was somewhat faded. The manager said it hadn’t had a coat of paint in 29 years. Another said that it was too bad but don’t expect it. Apparantly this group was a corporate survry team checking out the house.

At this time there was still a newsreel but that soon stopped.