RKO Alden Theatre

165-16 Jamaica Avenue,
Jamaica, NY 11432

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Showing 126 - 150 of 161 comments

mauriceski on September 30, 2005 at 6:38 pm

the alden was my favorite theater because they had the best movies of the day all of the warner brothers movies with stars like cagney raft, davis, crawford, bogart,and bacall.

mauriceski on September 30, 2005 at 6:29 pm

the savoy was on jamaica ave and adistance from my house. so i went to the plaza.on saturdays the the price was eleven cents .i usally had sixteen cents . eleven cents for the movie and five cents for a box of good and plenty

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 27, 2005 at 10:49 am

The Carlton (not Carleton) has a listing here, as does Loew’s Hillside.

AlanShore1 on September 27, 2005 at 6:11 am

I don’t remember the hillside, carleton linden plaza or marlboro. The Savoy I do remember in the ‘50s. Triple features – a war movie, a monster movie and a western – all in one long afternoon!

I saw the Three Stooges perform at the Valencia in about ‘61 or so during their resurgence at that time in TV.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 27, 2005 at 2:54 am

Where was the Marlboro Theatre in Jamaica? I’ve never heard of it. In fact, I don’t recall a Marlboro Theatre anywhere in Queens. Perhaps “english” confused it with the Savoy, a Jamaica theatre that he neglected to mention.

mauriceski on September 26, 2005 at 8:43 pm

in the previous comment i ment linden not liden

mauriceski on September 26, 2005 at 8:40 pm

the pecking order of the movie houses in jamaica during my time wre as follows.valencia,alden,merrick.jamaica,hillside,carleton,liden,plazaaand the marlboro.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 19, 2005 at 3:20 am

In the years before “Showcase” saturations, the Alden did a “split” with the nearby Skouras Merrick of all programs put together for the RKO neighborhood circuit break. The Alden played all the WB and RKO movies and some Universal, the Merrick got 20th-Fox and some Universal. This often required running the programs for two weeks, even though attendance might not have warranted a “hold-over.” Sometimes, a program of reissues or new “B” movies would be shown instead.

mauriceski on September 18, 2005 at 6:35 pm

this theater is where i saw night and day also to have and have not with the young beautiful and unforgettable lauren bacall.also objective burma and most othe big warner brothers movies of the 1940s .at this point in time movies and baseball were bigger than life

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 29, 2005 at 1:07 pm

The Alden was built by Hurtjam Theatre Corporation, a subsidiary of Hurtig & Seamon, which never intended to operate the theatre itself. It was named in honor of its first tenant, the Shubert Organization, which opened it on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1928, with “Just a Minute,” a musical that had a brief run on Broadway in October. A week later, the “Greenwich Village Follies,” which had played on Broadway in the spring of 1928, followed. By March, competition from Loew’s Valencia and stage plays at the Cort Jamaica forced the Shuberts to sell their lease to Mutual Burlesque, which took over the theatre starting on March 18, 1929 with a revue entitled “Nite Life in Paris,” which boasted of using an illuminated runway for its chorus of 16 dancing beauties.

RobertR on August 28, 2005 at 10:56 am

How odd it seems to see a film saying “direct from Radio City” and then playing the Alden, but 1971 was probably right before it went into it’s decent of horror and kung-fu films
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RobertR on August 28, 2005 at 8:02 am

“Blacula” played the Alden in 1973
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br91975 on July 8, 2005 at 5:47 am

For what it’s worth, in resolving a four-plus month-old mystery, Fred Astaire’s final film was the 1981 thriller (and former Showtime staple) ‘Ghost Story’.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 8, 2005 at 5:36 am

Here’s a 1943 image of the Alden’s auditorium. Little had been changed since it first opened in 1928 as the “legit” Shubert Jamaica:

RobertR on July 1, 2005 at 3:02 pm

You cant go wrong with a fun double bill like this!! The main feature had in it’s cast the legendary stripper Lili St. Cyr
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Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 27, 2005 at 9:23 am

The Valencia, which was directly opposite the Alden, has an address of 165-11 Jamaica Avenue. The nearest match I can find to that at NYC Property Search is 165-06 Jamaica Avenue, which seems to be a catch-all address for the current properties across the street from the Valencia.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 27, 2005 at 8:03 am

It’s possible that 92-23 165th Street was the Alden’s only “official” address. The small and narrow entrance on Jamaica Avenue was converted from retail space and not actually part of the theatre building itself. They broke through a store’s back wall and connected it to the rear of the auditorium. The Alden’s management may have only rented the space on a long-term lease. The owners might have refused to sell it.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 26, 2005 at 9:21 am

The 1945 NY Film Board of Trade Directory gives an address of 92-23 165th Street for the RKO Alden (that was the original side entrance). An NYC Property Seach shows the current owner as Alden Realty Enterprises. The site has a probable worth of $3.41 million.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 20, 2005 at 7:46 am

I would use the Jamaica Avenue address, but the one posted in the intro as “165th Street & Jamaica Avenue” is certainly accurate enough. The original entrance was used only for a few years and then permanently closed when the new one on Jamaica Avenue was built. Although I can’t find a specific address in Film Daily Year Books, it might appear in Queens telephone directories for the years of its operation.

Bway on March 19, 2005 at 7:15 pm

Since the entrance was on 165th street, the address of 9211 165th St should be used for this theaters address

Yes, that would be better than “Jamaica and 165th” as it says now. However, the Jamaica Ave address could also be used (the new entrance through what was once a store on Jamaica Ave which became the permanent and only entrance once RKO took over). So this theater really has two addresses (even though the building never moved). Hmmm, I wonder what happens when you have two addresess for the same theater, if they use the last address the theater used or the original.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 19, 2005 at 3:42 pm

The theatre may have started construction in 1927, but it didn’t open until December, 1928. It was built by an investment group that had no intentions of operating it and first leased it as a playhouse to the Shubert Organization, which is why it was originally known as the Shubert Jamaica. The one and only entrance was on what’s now known as 165th Street. All of the frontage on Jamaica Avenue had already been developed into stores. When RKO took over the theatre, by which time it had been re-named the Alden, the circuit purchased a store on Jamaica Avenue and converted it into a new entrance, with a new and much smaller marquee. The original marquee and entrance on 165th Street remained for many years, but were used only for display purposes and a side exit.

iemola1 on February 26, 2005 at 10:36 am

I’m pretty sure Mr. Astaire made some other films after Francis Ford Coppolla’s film version of FINIAN’S RAINBOW in 1968. Remember his romancing Miss Jennifer Jones while trying to fleece her out of her money in Irwin Allen’s THE TOWERING INFERNO? I do. Saw it back when at the KINGSWAY.

GeorgeStrum on February 25, 2005 at 5:46 am

The last time I attended the Alden was in 1968 to see Fred Astaire’s last film “Finian’s Rainbow”. The years passed and the Alden demised. However I did hear a “rumor” about the still remaining auditorium behind the present retail spaces that a poor Pentecostal church was looking to rent the space for their services. Evidently the rumor has been proved false or the deal never went through.

AlanShore1 on December 31, 2004 at 4:18 pm

Well, it’s refreshing to find that there are people who remember and value this treasure. I grew up in Jamaica in the fifties and all of Jamaica Ave. was filled with gems of one kind or another. Anyone remember the Savoy theater? A slightly more run down sibling of the others, but they had contests with prizes in addition to triple features. The Valencia had live acts, including The Three Stooges in about 1961.

Alan M. Shore

joemasher on May 13, 2004 at 6:24 pm

I’ve been in the Alden recently—the manager took me to their storage room which is the balcony and proscenium. There’s a drop ceiling from the balcony front to the stage, and the seats have been removed. Other than that, it is very much intact!