Loew's Oriental Theatre

1832 86th Street,
Brooklyn, NY 11214

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Costilow
Costilow on May 12, 2005 at 9:18 pm

Hollywood memories. There are so many and I definitely am not the writing expert. Saturday was my day. The movies cost all of 7 cents. With that you received two movies, at least two serials and of course the very popular races. The races would be of crazy people going through obstacles courses or car races that were more like demolition derbies. Each racer, car or person, wore a number. This number would be on a ticket that was given as you entered the theatre. The winning numbers would go on stage and receive a token prize. It wasn’t the prize but the acclaim by your friends for being the lucky winner. As they would say “you lucky dog”.

If I went to the movies during the week you could only get in after 3 pm. Then you’d have to sit in the children’s section which always had a matron watching over us. At 6 pm all children were “supposed” to leave. We’d ask to ask adults to buy our tickets so that we could go in after the designated hours.

I remember that they would put the film canister out by an exit door on 78th St. for the pickup and delivery of the films. Could you imagine that happening today? I never heard of anyone stealing the films. What a tragedy if that happened. The public would be without a movie for the next few days.

When December 7th came I was in the movie with my friends. They stopped the film and the theatre almost completely emptied. I wish I could remember the movie.

If I remember it was on Wednesday’s when they had dish night. They would give one dish per ticket. My mother and grandmother were regulars for this night. We ate off these dishes forever. My mom even gave my wife and me a full set when we got married. I eventually gave them away but I understand that they have real value today. When someone dropped a dishes there was always a big round of applause. Rarely, but not often, the Hollywood would have some form a stage entertainment. It was usually an Italian radio show’s soap opera actors. This didn’t happen very often as the Senate and the Walker had that venue pretty covered up. The big Italian soap opera was a show called “Pasquale C.O.D.” They also had some operatic singers come through from time to time.

I also remember that after the movies I had to pass Freytag’s on 79th and 17th. If I could I’d stop for the best ice cream cone on earth. This too has passed into oblivion.

I can’t remember when it became the Hollywood Terrace. I know that I attended a few weddings there and if I remember, I think it became a dance hall somewhere along the line. When it first opened as a catering hall the builders/owners didn’t level the theatre floor and it was a joke. That lasted a very short time and the floor was leveled. Many won’t remember that because it last only a “New York minute”.

I hope that this has jogged a few memories.
Thanks for listening.
Larry

Theaterat
Theaterat on May 12, 2005 at 5:08 pm

Triple 8 Larry…Thanks to CINEMA TREASURES the old and forgotten theaters of Bensonhurst and Boro Park are well documented. A friend of mine who calls himself PhilPhil has posted entries on the Colony, Merro, Senate, Endicott and Ritz(QV).I post his entries under my screen name(Theaterat) because he does not have a computer. Can we press you for an anectdote describing the Hollywood? He was only there once or twice and his memory of it is very hazy.I myself live fairly close to it and always remembered it as a catering hall called the Hollywood Terrace. 2 years ago, it became a Kosher catering hall called Atares Shlomo. Your info on this theater will be most helpful. Thanks from PhilPhil and Theaterat.

Costilow
Costilow on May 9, 2005 at 10:46 pm

Reading all the posts on the Oriental sure brought back fond memories. I was raised on 79th and 18th. My youth was about movies. I remember the Hollywood, Benson, Oriental, Walker, The Garden, The New Garden, The Kingsway, The Marlboro, The Jewel (showed three movies)and the many theatres in the city that all had live shows. The Hollyuwood was a favorite because on Saturday it held the crazy races and had loads of cartoons and serials. What else could a youngster asked for? I’m in my 70’s now and in Arizona but I still have a love for good old Broohlyn and Besonhurst. I’d love to have some interior pictures of the old stately lady.

Theaterat
Theaterat on April 28, 2005 at 7:46 pm

Yankee Mike…. Would love to see that picture posted! Seems you were there the same night as I.

YMike
YMike on April 25, 2005 at 12:57 pm

I believe that made for TV movie was on NBC, not HBO. I took a picture of the Loew’s marquee when they were filming it. The scene outside the Loew’s takes place at the start of the film.

Theaterat
Theaterat on April 23, 2005 at 6:12 pm

One night, back in early December 1997, a friend of mine called me after super. He told me the Oriental was open and was showing a movie!I met him and we got in my Oldsmobile and without even warming it up, we drove to the theater and parked. The stores appeared to be open and had items in the windows. The marquee advertised a movie called “Innocence Lost Forever”. As we approached the theater, we stopped to look. A huge guy in a black jacket and a shaved head told us to move along. When we asked him what was going on, he replied in an easygoing voice that belied his rough looks that it was a movie shoot.It was all an illusion. The movie being shot(no pun intended)was an HBO movie about Sammy “The Bull” Gravano. Never did get to see it, but for one brief almost shining moment, we almost thought our favorite theater was re opened.

racerx85
racerx85 on April 3, 2005 at 5:21 pm

I remember I saw Gladiator on a whim and came out stunned. He just killed me. I was a fan from then on. I don’t know how he does it. I wish there were more like him, at least in an acting sense. It’s amazing to see the physical transformations from character to character. The choices are just great to watch.

Theaterat
Theaterat on April 3, 2005 at 5:01 pm

Tommy X … LA Confidential, Gladiator. A Beautiful Mind, Master and Commander. Hey, he is Russell Crowe and he can do whatever he wants!

racerx85
racerx85 on April 2, 2005 at 10:59 pm

Hahaha, Rat, That’s a rant that rings so true. And that’s the business I actually crave to be in! I always swore that if I made it, I’d try my hardest to bring back some modicum of class to Hollywood. It will be tough though with the likes of Vin “Did I mention I was a bouncer in New York?” Diesel and Sandra “They threw a whole lot of chash my way to make a sequel nobody asked for” Bullock. And by the way, it’s more like ten bucks. And I loved Master and Commander. The guy may be an arrogant sob, but he certainly can act.

Theaterat
Theaterat on April 2, 2005 at 8:19 pm

Tommy X….Neither do I. It seems that not too long ago there were movies that were actually worth seeing. For the most part, todays films are not really films at all. They are only deals that are made by producers, Hollywood and merchandising people. They are designed to be made fast,open in wide release, do a few good weekends, and go to DVD or pay per view in the span of three months. Can anyone with half a brain be willing to pluck down 8 bucks, go to a faceless multiplex, be bombarded by endless commercials( not including the trailerts) to see a moron movie like The Pacifier with Vin Diesel and call THAT entertainment? If Hollywood gave us more intelligent movies say like Master and Commander, prehaps I would go back again. It may be sad, but it is certainly true.

racerx85
racerx85 on April 2, 2005 at 6:24 pm

…And I don’t remeber a single one of those pictures, you?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 2, 2005 at 6:13 pm

The May 15, 1986 “Movie Clock” of the NY Post shows the Oriental with three screens, presenting “Wise Guys,” “Fire With Fire,” and “Blue City.”

Theaterat
Theaterat on April 2, 2005 at 5:59 pm

Robert R When the Oriental was multiplexed, the orchestra saction was left intact. The Balcony was seperated in its first incarnation to make it a twin. When it became a triplex, the balcony was divided down the middle. The orchestra level was never cut up.

racerx85
racerx85 on April 2, 2005 at 6:30 am

“I guess, almost needless to say, the owners of the Loew’s Oriental or Marshall’s just didn’t care much about the uniqueness of the space they were working with. ”

I think you’re right. And what a true shame it is. I just can’t believe the complete disregard for living history. I still wish I could just get someone there to tell me if there is or isn’t anything left. I know I’m obsessing but it seems such a crime to have it all gone for nothing but a B-list department store.

br91975
br91975 on April 1, 2005 at 9:02 pm

I guess, almost needless to say, the owners of the Loew’s Oriental or Marshall’s just didn’t care much about the uniqueness of the space they were working with.

RobertR
RobertR on April 1, 2005 at 8:59 pm

No damage was done to the walker when it was quaded. Three small auditoriums were built on the orchestra under the balcony and all the original walls, ceiling, screen etc were visible from the balcony theatre.

br91975
br91975 on April 1, 2005 at 8:21 pm

This posting by Philip Goldberg might answer some of the questions about what remains of the Loew’s Oriental…

I was in the building this weekend shopping with my wife. Although the orchestra level is completely gutted, I found an original theater staircase behind a closed door. it still has some of the original brasswork. Look at the drop ceiling and you’ll see a few missing panels, let your eyes adjust to the darkness above and you can barely make out the old ceiling of the theater. Also look at the plastered side wall. It’s also from the original theater lobby. It’s freshly painted but if you look up to where the ceiling panels are, and look above them through one of the missing panel’s holes, you see where the old dark paint from the theater begins. (To gain access to this stairway, just ask to use the bathroom, as it stands behind a locked door, and a store associate must open it for you.)
posted by philipgoldberg on Nov 5, 2002 at 2:10pm

racerx85
racerx85 on April 1, 2005 at 7:44 pm

I just re-read this entire conversation and a few things are apparent, I really should proof before posting, more than one of us have encountered the Eastern Bloc Of The Oriental, and we’d all love to know what’s left of the old girl. I’m glad to see the spirit still alive…

racerx85
racerx85 on April 1, 2005 at 12:46 am

I hope so. It still gets to me every time I see it. Every time I see anything related to old theatres I think of the Oriental. The gym I go to in Bay Ridge is an old theatre. The main room still makes use of the top of the screen frame, the Teaser? I still can’t believe that all those years the old dressing rooms and stage set up were still in tact. Why didn’t I think of getting a job there when I was a kid?

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on March 31, 2005 at 11:37 pm

That Russian lady is no help whatsoever, I believe they have a different manager working on the weekends, that may have a nicer attitude.

racerx85
racerx85 on March 31, 2005 at 11:15 pm

Theatre rat,
I’m glad I wasn’t the only one. al I asked her wss if any of the old architecture was preserved. She looked at me as if I just gave her the flesh-eating bacteria. “No! All gone. All of it”! was her reply. In an almost spiteful tone I might add. I still want to try again and see if there’s anything left. I was just by there today and was thinking that there must be something up there. It’s like five stories of empty space. Hmmm…

Theaterat
Theaterat on March 31, 2005 at 8:04 pm

Tommy X,,,I had an encounter with that Russian woman. Rude to the extreme. And nasty. Bet the only party she ever went to was the Communist party!

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on March 31, 2005 at 7:26 pm

Thanks for the info RobertR, I hope too much damage wasn’t done when it was quaded in the mid 80’s right before it closed. I know there was a proposal for landmark status that did not get passed.

RobertR
RobertR on March 31, 2005 at 5:05 pm

The Walker is 100% intact behind all the false plaster board walls.

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on March 31, 2005 at 2:52 pm

One day in September of 1997 I was walking by the front of this theatre, and was horrified to see a construction crew gutting the entire main floor. There was a dumpster full of old theatre seats from the Loew’s Oriental right outside the front entrance, everything that existed on that level was clearly being torn out in the conversion to retail.

I did get to take one of those staircases once when I asked a guard if I could use the bathroom, the staircase was the same as I remember only painted a different color, the bathroom also seemed to be in the same place when it was a theatre. I tried to look around for any other signs of the former theatre, however I could not find any, only a bunch of rooms for the sales staff. Someone once mentioned to me that the Walker on 18th Avenue has its balcony mainly intact so one can only hope about the Oriental. I also wonder how much of the original marquee is left under the Marshall’s sign, they look like they are the same exact size & location.

I have a copy of a photo of the Loew’s Oriental, the movie playing at the time was “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad” from 1974 according to the IMDB, the two stores on the right side of the theatre entrance were: Oriental Movers & Food “N” Stuff, I remember later in the early 90’s a bagel store right next door to the theatre.

All this talk of the Loew’s Oriental is really making me nostalgic. For me, as a child it was always such a treat going to a palace like this to see movies, I still remember the huge line for Star Wars back in the summer of 1977, twenty years later they were tearing the place apart!