Kings Theatre

1027 Flatbush Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11226

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BobFurmanek on October 20, 2004 at 12:54 pm

In many ways, the art of movie exhibition has come full circle. Architecturally, we’re back to the tiny shoebox style nickelodeons.

JimRankin on October 20, 2004 at 12:50 pm

It is ironic indeed, considering how they were dismissed years ago as old, musty, and outmoded, yet today the movie palaces that remain are often the most imaginative and artistic structures remaining in our cities. The irony is that we seek to preserve on film what we so seldom seek to preserve in life as living art works as well as memorials to our past. Of course, it is, as always, a matter of money and keeping something alive today that was intended to have thousands pay to enter it each day, is a Herculean task with few having the deep pockets needed to do the job. In the new book “Cinema Treasures” the authors make the observation that using such palaces as the LOS ANGELES has become a cottage industry for many such, and is often all that stands between them and the wrecking ball. A few multiplexes, such as the COLUSUS in Toronto are so large and elaborate as to almost be movie settings themselves, but such multiplexes are in the minority, and we are more and more left to notice the painful contrast between the opulent palaces of yesteryear and the spare and uninspired screening rooms of today.

br91975 on October 20, 2004 at 7:23 am

While watching last night’s Yankees-Red Sox ALCS Game Six, I saw the new spot for the Nissan Altima, which features a brief exterior glimpse of the shuttered Olympic Theatre in downtown LA, and had a thought: isn’t it ironic how, in current advertisements, films, and television programs, it’s the old single-screen houses and movie palaces – the most-endangered of movie theatres – which are used far more often as a shooting location than the modern-day multi- and mega-plexes?

Divinity on October 20, 2004 at 6:59 am

I for one would have no problem visiting Flatbush. I lived through the 80’s in this city and it never kept me from going to the theater on Times Square. Those were the days when shootings and muggings were frequent. One had to walk around clusters of prostitutes, pimps and other unsavory individuals back then. Yet people kept visiting and Times Square is alive and well today.

jflundy on October 20, 2004 at 12:08 am is the URL for the THSA archieve. It holds the Loews, Inc. collection of photographs. They can supply you at a price prints of any Loews house from various periods pre dating the 1960’s.

uncleal923 on October 19, 2004 at 9:30 pm

Does anyone know of any bitmapable (Is that a word?) images of the Loews Kings in its heyday?

Jiffy on October 15, 2004 at 3:11 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 3:46 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 3:45 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 1:10 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 11:48 am

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 3:26 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 12:19 pm

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

br91975 on September 24, 2004 at 12:11 pm

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

br91975 on September 24, 2004 at 12:08 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 11:26 am

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 8:53 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 8:12 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 8:59 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 6:07 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 2:34 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 7:26 pm

Interesting article about revival plans for Kings. View link

theatrefan on June 29, 2004 at 5:58 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 4:50 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 4:49 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.