Queens Theatre

219-36 Jamaica Avenue,
Queens Village, NY 11428

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Showing 126 - 150 of 159 comments

Dorothy on February 10, 2005 at 3:24 am

Good Memory Annie.. better than mine! Thanks for posting it!

Ken F… I sent the photo to the email on this site and I realize the photo section is closed but I did it anyway. (hmmm.. it is possible too that it could be the candy stand of the Community as opposed to the Queens).. but had to be either of the two that’s for sure.

I attended P.S. 34.

gregwalsh on February 8, 2005 at 12:14 pm

As I wrote my earlier response, I had a somewhat opposite thought:

I wondered if he got dour because I dumped his stepdaughter…

KenF on February 8, 2005 at 11:45 am

He probably got dour after I went to work there. I have that effect on employers.

gregwalsh on February 8, 2005 at 9:25 am

Ken, most likely, the same guy! Tall and slim – yes! But dour-looking? He didn’t strike me as such.

Anyway, Bud was a very good, efficient, manager; and as Century’s HQ was in the Community building, I viewed his eventual promotion to a larger, high profile, theater – such as the Queens, the Meadows, or the Kingsway – as a given.

When I knew him (and later, his stepdaughter Linda), he was living in Brooklyn (Carroll Gardens) on Butler Street – directly across the street from St. Francis College (which I attended from ‘55 to '57, before transferring to Pace at night).

KenF on February 8, 2005 at 8:55 am

Greg, could that have been the same Mr. Hansen who managed the Queens (and hired me) in ‘63? Tall slim dour-looking fellow. Smiled when he was unhappy.

gregwalsh on February 8, 2005 at 8:04 am


By chance, do you remember the name of the Community’s manager when you were there?

About the time I left Century (Summer ‘57), I was also breaking up with the stepdaughter of Bud Hansen, the Community’s manager. I’ve often wondered whatever happened to him (and her).

ahkashmir on February 8, 2005 at 7:16 am

Hey, everyone! I’m Dorothy’s friend, Annie, from Queens Village, and I still live there! However, from 1971-73,I worked as a candy girl at the Community Theater on Jamaica and 215th. I now live on 215th Place, right down the block from the theater. We had an awful matron, Mrs. Bossert, at the Community. Poor thing was hard of hearing and I remember one patron complaining that when he asked her where the bathroom was, Mrs. B replied, “last nine rows!” Of course, that was the smoking section. We had a lot of laughs over that one. I still hear about some of the people who worked at the Community, like Judy Burns, whose husband Tom was assistant manager at the Queens. There’s also Larry O'Gara, a Nassau County cop, and Lindi (I can’t remember her last name). One of our other matrons was a nice lady named Mrs. Jorgenson, I think. And, of course, our favorite candy lady was my old next door neighbor, Eleanor Schwarz, who passed away several years ago. I do remember hanging out at the Queens Theater, after hours, with some of the gang. We had so much fun, and it was great getting the free movie passes, to any of the Century theaters! Now both the Queens and Community theaters are churches, which I pass almost everyday. QV isn’t what it used to be, but it’s certainly home for me.

gregwalsh on February 8, 2005 at 5:07 am


Wagnerian? Hammersteinian? More likely Frankensteinian!!

I didn’t remember her name, but you’ve accurately described her. Immortal? Naah! Formaldehyde ran in her veins, which accounts for the grey skin (think of the corpses at Stutzmann’s). She had been resuscitated by Dr. Josef Mengele.

You might possibly have known my brother George; although (I think) he graduated in ‘59. Steve and Tim followed a few years later.

My wife and I were married there September 3rd, 1960. I literally married “the girl next door (89-11)!”

KenF on February 7, 2005 at 9:31 pm

Greg — your Wagnerian [or Hammersteinian] nightmare of a matron sounds just like barrel-shaped old Mrs. Frey with grey skin and a Bloody Mary bun atop her head, who was Commandant of Kiddies during my tenure. Perhaps she’s immortal. I hear her speaking (barking, really) with a German accent, though this may be an unreliable traumatized memory.

I graduated from St Greg’s in 1960. Might I have known any of your siblings? Check out queenspix.com for interesting shots of the old nabe, including PS 133 standing alone like a monolith amid many empty lots and unpaved streets.

gregwalsh on February 7, 2005 at 8:35 pm

During matinees, the right third was the Children’s section; complete, of course, with the ugliest matrons in the world, with dispositions to match!! One was a spitting – excuse me, barfing – image of Bloody Mary in South Pacific.

If you qualified for a children’s ticket, and was unaccompanied by an adult, you had to sit in that section, and be out of the theater by 7:00 PM! Maybe the rules, or the age limit, changed when you were there.

If the cops later migrated to the balcony, perhaps it was to watch Dorothy “make out…”

Where on 249th? 89-09, second house behind the frozen custard stand on Jamaica Avenue. As my deceased mother’s executor, I sold the house just 18 months ago. It’s been completely rebuilt by the new owners.

I spent my first 3 ½ school years (K-3A) in PS 133. Living south of the Creedmoor track, we were then “zoned out” of 133, and had to travel to 33. By September, 1950, the east wing of PS 133 was open. With but one year to go (i.e., 8th grade), I was allowed to choose between 33 and 133. I chose to stay at 33. Two of my brothers were forced to return to 133. My youngest siblings all went to St. Greg’s.

My wife still has a cousin living around the corner from where you had lived: 85-40 247th!

KenF on February 7, 2005 at 5:32 pm

It most likely was. Tall redheaded guy. In my day the gendarmie preferred the back of the balcony. We’d give them a swing of our Century flashlight if some sergeant came snooping.

Do I remember correctly that the right third of the house, by the mgr’s office, was the Young Adult section? Always wise to have NYPD blue on hand.

Where on 249 St? I lived on 85 Ave off 246 St. Spent a year at PS 133 before St Greg’s opened.

Are the 105 and PS 33 still across the street? I’ll bet the staff of most schools these days wish they had a hundred cops nearby'

gregwalsh on February 7, 2005 at 5:52 am


So it was YOUR dad who would occasionally sack out in the last row of the orchestra, outside the manager’s office (chuckle).

Seriously, the cop on the beat was always quite welcome; especially with the explosion of Rock-n-Roll and “Beach” movies in the mid-‘50’s. The teenagers would sometimes get out-of-hand; and then we’d put the cop to work (as only he’d know how…, heh, heh)!

BTW, although I lived in Bellerose (249th Street), I spent 5 ½ years at PS 33 – across the street from the 105th Precinct.

KenF on February 7, 2005 at 5:05 am

Dorothy, thanks for the tip about the QV website.

When you sent the photo to Cinema Treasures, what response did you get? For as long as I’ve been a member here, photo submissions have been closed. Did you have better luck?

BTW, my dad worked at the 105th Precinct, so some of the folks at the website may have known him as the cop-on-the-beat. (That’s how I got the job at the Queens, heh heh.)

Dorothy on February 5, 2005 at 5:18 am

Ken F.. I have forgotten a lot of names. I can picture so well the doorman with a black mustache… and the tickets sales lady.. who was a fixture there for years. They would not let us youngins do the ticket sales.. altho at one point they let me after I got “bonded”.
I already sent one photo to this site email that I found so far. A pic of my friend Lynn, a candy girl, behind the inside candy stand circa early 1970’s.
I have also since located a very old friend of mine Annie from my Queens Village days and she pointed me to this QV MSN group. Besides those who lived in QV many years ago it also contains photos of very early QV.

View link

I think you can view the pix without joining. I am going to point that group to this site. Surely there are others out there with some great photos!

I will continue searching for more photos.

KenF on February 5, 2005 at 4:56 am

Dorothy… have you located your Queens snapshots? We’re waiting breathlessly. Was one of your doormen a fellow named Schaeffer or Wilkins? They’re the only two I can recall who were young enough to have spanned our two eras. Maybe.

KenF on December 23, 2004 at 8:36 am

I just found a photo of the Queens/Chaminade Austin at:


As you say, Robbie, rather plain-looking. But Jayne Meadows v. Ruth Buzzy? Egad. A nightmarish choice.

bzemanbz on December 23, 2004 at 8:07 am

Chaminade lists the Queens Austin as 13 ranks, but the Austin opus list says 42, so maybe they only found part of it. The rest of Chaminade’s instrument was rummaged up from the RKO Richmond. As far as glitz and glitter, the Valencia’s Morton could run circles around the Queens' Austin. The Valencia’s console flew out of the pit as a cream and gold, gessoed, silver and gold leafed four manual confection complete with an elaborately decorated fence around the top. One could easily hide a volkswagen in it. The Austin, on the other hand, looked more like a walnut, roll-top desk that housed a typewriter. Sort of Jayne Meadows vs Ruth Buzzy,

gregwalsh on December 23, 2004 at 6:24 am

Ken, according to a good friend (the organist in my own parish, who first told me of this website), the organ went to Chaminade High School in Mineola.

Robbie, my organist-friend also confirms what you said about the “churchy” tone of the Austins.

Dorothy, I’m glad I didn’t ask… (“Dorothy, those are NOT mouse droppings; that’s the new peppercorn-flavored popcorn!”)

Dorothy on December 23, 2004 at 5:43 am

Greg W – don’t ask!

We had to inventory – count EVERYTHING..even the cups for soda.. and to my recollection the candy stayed in place and was locked by sliding doors.. I’ll have to locate my Queens Theater pix.. I have one of my ex (the usher) as well in his usher uniform plus my friend Lynn the candy girl behind the counter
A few times I even got to sell tickets in the front booth… had to be “bonded” for the job as well. and there was an older gentlemen who was the ticket taker whose name escapes me.

And as to the phantom,,, I heard him

KenF on December 22, 2004 at 3:25 pm

Holy bass pedal, Batman! Are you telling me the Queens had a bigger organ than the fancy-schmancy Valencia? Take that, Loewe’s! Go Century! Is it still there?

bzemanbz on December 22, 2004 at 1:05 pm

I would suppose that the organ was probably abandoned in the 40’s. It was a large instrument built by Austin Organs in Hartford, CT (still going strong I might add), opus 1569 (1927/8), 3 manuals (keyboards) and 42 ranks (sets of pipes). That made it somewhat larger than the Valencia’s Robert Morton a few miles west. Austins were more refined than Wurlitzers or Mortons and not as unified, so they had a more “churchy” sound. Possibly this led to its demise. Anyway, the Beacon in Port Washington, the Freeport, Prospect (Flushing), and the Huntington all had identical Austin instruments. The Beacon’s was in a restored condition and in use up until the time that the theater was sliced up into shoeboxes. One more bit of trivia: both the New York Rialto and Strand had 56 rank Austins. RCMH’s Wurlitzer (biggest of ‘em all) boasts 58! The Austins were busy beavers populating many of New York’s theaters with organs although we hear mostly of Wurlitzers and Mortons as the quintessential choice. Oh, one more bit before I stop. The Freeport Theater’s Austin wound up in St. Aloysius RC Church in Great Neck and did admirable churchy service there for many years before wheezing its last breath.

KenF on December 22, 2004 at 12:07 pm

In my era, the candy stayed put in the stand, which had folding panels that closed and locked.

Prowling around in our off-hours, we found relics of the vaudeville and silent movie era. Under the covered orchestra pit was a dusty neglected organ. Behind the faux-tapestry to the right of the screen were the pipes and the forced-air percussion apparatus. Backstage there were rooms full of what seemed to be bits of costumes, carpets, and settings. All that was missing was a phantom.

gregwalsh on December 22, 2004 at 5:41 am

Ken – Yes, the music normally came from the booth. But there was an override switch on the manager’s office wall at eye level above the turntable. That turntable was the one I used. My LPs were played only while I was in the theater. I wouldn’t allow anyone, even Sy, to touch them.

BTW, the PA system (over which intermission music played) utilized a different (smaller) set of speakers from those used for the film sound tracks. Every once in awhile, the projectionist would forget to turn off the PA music as the film began. Thus, the override switch was our means of shutting off the music.

Dorothy – You’ve raised an interesting issue – I remember occasional mice in the theater (inevitable due to food scraps and chewing gum left by patrons). Unsold candy, of course, was removed from the stand during the nightly inventory, and locked in rodent-proof cabinets.

Ken or Dorothy, what was done with the bags of pre-popped corn, when penetrated by mice? Or shouldn’t I ask (gag, barf)??

Dorothy on December 22, 2004 at 1:42 am

I worked as a candy girl there 1970ish. Married the usher. (we divorced and he’s now deceased) Manager was Mr. Mendelsohn always smoked a huge cigar and very strict. Ushers had black jackets and white shirts and flashlights and showed patrons to their seats. WE…ummmm.. snuck into the ushers room a few times. Our dates also brought us to the balcony where we “made out”. (giggle) Huge long fire escape stairs. Popcorn came already popped in huge bags and huge plastic containers of all-ready melted imitation butter were used. The mice constantly ate into the bags of popcorn. Somewhere I have a pic of a friend behind that candy stand.
Stores nearby included Bohack supermarket, Woolworths (flat open cases -salesperson stood in the middle), and a place where you could get an egg cream soda.

KenF on December 21, 2004 at 9:12 pm

By 1963 the dickies were gone — we wore our own white shirts — and so was fresh popcorn. The back half of the ushers' room was gated and locked, with a dozen or so bags of popped popcorn stored. The stuff was poured right into the top of the machine.

There was a turntable in the manager’s office, but I think the music was usually controlled from the booth. Our regular afternoon operator was a big Floyd Cramer fan. If I never hear ‘Wildwood Flower’ again I’ll die a happy man.