Loew's Pitkin Theatre

1501 Pitkin Avenue,
Brownsville,
Brooklyn, NY 11212

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Showing 176 - 200 of 337 comments

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on May 22, 2006 at 10:45 am

I’m intrigued by the starting times of the De-Luxe Wonder Stage Shows in the ad for “Applause” (evidently in January, 1930; the film opened a two-a-day run at the old Criterion on 7 Oct. ’29): 1:00, 3:45, 7:00, and 9:00 (with a referred-to morning film at an 11:00 am bargain price). That’s highly irregular scheduling which implies some complete shows ran for just two hours, while others promised three and a quarter hours of entertainment.
Might the real schedule have been normalized to 1:00, 4:00, 7:00 and 10:00 pm, with the advertisement doing its best to rope in afternoon ladies (for whom a 4:00 start would have suggested too late an exit to preside over family suppers) and evening couples (for whom a 10:00 start would have implied a post-midnight exit with a sleep-deprived next day)?
A three-hour complete show seems reasonable in any case for a 90-to-110-minute feature film, forty-minute five-act variety show, and a half-hour or so of newsreel, short subjects, coming attractions, and intermission. In contemporaneous newspaper ads for the Roxy, Paramount, Capitol, et al. I’ve seen similarly irregular timetables. The point is moot, since performances were continuous and audiences were socialized to drop in at any time and leave when the loop came ‘round again.
As Joan Crawford used to say, whom was kidding whom?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 22, 2006 at 6:32 am

If you’re referring to the ads that I posted on 5/20/06, there were four. Which one do you mean?

ThePhotoplayer
ThePhotoplayer on May 22, 2006 at 5:58 am

The ad posted about the Pitkin is NOT a Loews paste-up. It was made by the newspaper, and hence it is an error on their part. I’m sure you won’t find the same mistake repeating week after week.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 22, 2006 at 4:18 am

Check out Orlando’s comments from March 4th, 2004, way at the top of this page for an early reference to the use of the phrase as a marketing tool by Loew’s.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 22, 2006 at 4:16 am

I’ve heard that the term “Wonder Theater” was used with varying degrees of specificity by Loew’s during this period. Interesting, however, that Loew’s would advertise the Pitkin as one of the “big 5 Wonder Theaters”, particularly in that 3rd ad Warren posted that heralds the “new wonder” of the 175th Street which was the last of the Wonders to be built. Did they merely decide to drop reference to the Jersey (already opened the previous year) to target New York audiences?

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on May 21, 2006 at 11:15 am

Okay, adverising the Loew’s Pitkin theater as a “Wonder” theater was probably an advertising gimmick by Loew’s. I could be wrong but from what I have read, a “Wonder” theater had to have a special theater organ installed that was built by the Robert-Morton Organ Co.

“Five such "ultra-deluxe” instruments built in 1928 – 1929 by the Robert-Morton Pipe Organ Company of Van Nuys, CA were installed in the large Loew’s New York metropolitan area “Wonder Theatres”.

This theater did have a Robert-Morton theater organ but it wasn’t one of those five specially built organs.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on May 21, 2006 at 9:49 am

Wow, that should start some controversy. I don’t know if these were posted here before but here are some modern photos of the Loew’s Pitkin.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 21, 2006 at 8:31 am

Here are four ads that seem to prove the Pitkin’s right to be called one of the “Loew’s Wonder Theatres.” There were actually six such “Wonder Theatres,” not five, if the out-of-state Loew’s Jersey is included. The opening ad for the Pitkin also includes the Metropolitan, which suggests that Loew’s may have originally intended to apply the word “Wonder” to all of its large and deluxe theatres:
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/pitkinopener.jpg
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/applause.jpg
www.18.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/wonderbig5.jpg
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/talmadge.jpg

Tympany
Tympany on April 24, 2006 at 12:20 pm

Does anyone out there knows the name of the catering hall that was replaced by I.J. Morris Funural Home. It was situated on Rockaway Pkwy and Church Avenue?
Chip

Bway
Bway on March 24, 2006 at 3:59 pm

Ed, the flea markets (at least when I was last there, were on Sundays only (except certain weekends when they were also Saturday), however, they did indeed take up not only the outer foyer and lobby, but the entire auditorium also. There were vendors in the outer lobby (with the original etched mirrors on the walls yet), the inner lobby, and the auditorium itself.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 24, 2006 at 6:18 am

This would be more appropriate to the Kieth’s site, but I just thought I’d add that while the Flea Market may only be in operation on Sunday (I seem to recall it operated in the foyer and lobby space), the theater is open whenever there are Bingo games being run in the former auditorium.

PKoch
PKoch on March 24, 2006 at 4:48 am

Right on, Bway !

I seem to recall walking around the inside of the RKO Keith’s Richmond Hill on or about Saturday July 12 2002. Perhaps now the flea markets are only on Sundays.

Bway
Bway on March 23, 2006 at 4:28 pm

Ken Roe, it’s been many years since I have been in the Ridgewood Theater, but all of the auditoriums retained ornamentation from what I remember. Vaguely, I remember the side balcony theaters having a lot. In each of those, you have the original walls on one side (outer walls of the original theater, and the ceiling had “half-circles” of ornamental plasterwork, until of course you would hit the “new” wall that divides it up. You also had the original fancy balistrade railings too. I remembered liking to sit in the first row in front of the railing on the sides, which would be about half way up in the what was the balcony.
Downstairs ornamentation also survived, but again, you have a “new” wall on one side, and the original on the other. I believe all the theaters were painted a dark blue, with brown railings, floors etc. The original paintjobs and all different colors are long gone.

If you come to Queens, and stop in Richmond Hill, you should REALLY try and stop at the RKO Keith’s Richmond Hill, which is now a flea market and bingo hall. Every Sunday the flea market is run, so you can freely enter the building, and look around. I haven’t been there also in many years, but when I was last there, it was a diamond in the rough, the only desecration done to that theater was removal of the seats, and painting the walls plain beige, other than that, just about everything remains inside, right down to the balcony seats and all the old original light fixtures (although flourescent lighting was hung withing the auditorium). Definitely worth a trip, but do it on a Sunday so you can go inside. I have been thinking about going back for years, but just can’t seem to get there on a Sunday.

PKoch
PKoch on March 21, 2006 at 11:03 am

KenRoe, you’re welcome. I heard on the TV news six weeks ago about luxury condos being built in the South Bronx : “SoBro” : the new “cool” area in NYC to live in !

By all means, go see the Trylon while it’s still there. I first saw a film there Saturday November 3rd 1984 and last saw a film there Friday November 11 1994.

How do Richmond Hill and Kew Gardens compare with their London counterparts ? The last Jahn’s ice cream parlor is in Richmond Hill, 117-02 Hillside Avenue, corner of Myrtle, eastern end of the Q-55 bus line, next door to RKO Keith’s Richmond Hill, now a flea market and a bingo hall. It, like the Ridgewood, is rich in internal original decoration.

How do NYC cinemas compare to London cinemas ?

KenRoe
KenRoe on March 21, 2006 at 10:09 am

PKoch & Bob…Thanks for your concern. I am well aware of some of these areas (I have been visiting the USA since 1976, usually a couple of times a year) Actually only got robbed once(my bag had a ‘going over’ in a restaurant in Times Square!). I live in London and there are some areas here I wouldn’t think of going to at certain times, in fact, come to think of it I live in one! LOL. I will be careful and aware…as always. As you say though, these areas have theatres and I feel the urge to visit, armed with my Film Daily Yearbook lists, I just hop on and off the Metro and buses. I found South Bronx scary a few years ago, when I was there last year, there was a great improvement and I spent 2 days wandering the streets.

In Queens I want to get to the Trylon as I missed it last time I was in the area, also going take a last look at the RKO Flushing, plus there are many more I need to track down. I like to compare Richmond Hill, Kew Gardens etc. with their London counterparts!

Lost Memory…and all of you….I have posted some photos I took last June on the Ridgewood Theatre page. I see its now 3 screens in the former balcony and 2 screens in the former stalls. I wonder which would be best to go into to see anything of original decoration?

BobFurmanek
BobFurmanek on March 21, 2006 at 8:55 am

Ken; please be careful when you go exploring. Many (if not all) of these grand surviving palaces are in rough areas. My brother and I were chased out of a Detroit neighborhood when we tried to look at the Grand Riviera, and I was cornered by a gang of thugs beside the RKO Kenmore in Brooklyn – and that happened in 1976!

Do exercise extreme caution.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 21, 2006 at 7:45 am

Peter….That’s exactly what C/O means. I noticed that many of these NYC theater’s opened with a temporary C/O and the permanent one followed later. I guess that was the policy back then.

Ken….Maybe on your next trip, you could take in a movie at the Ridgewood theater and get some interior photo’s while your in there.

PKoch
PKoch on March 21, 2006 at 7:27 am

Lost Memory : C/O is “certificate of occupancy” ?

KenRoe, you’re most welcome to the compliments ! Welcome to the USA ! Please stay safe.

What theaters in Queens will you be exploring ? Have you noticed the place and street names of Richmond Hill, Kew Gardens, Kensington, Mayfair and Curzon, to name a few, common to London, UK and Queens ?

KenRoe
KenRoe on March 21, 2006 at 6:19 am

Thanks for the complements guys. It is a wonderful building to photograph and I though I would get it at ‘all angles’ before anything happened to it! I’m happy to share with you all.

Bob..It was a sunny hot day, and this atmosphere led to a feeling of security as I wandered around. Schoolkids were just leaving class and at a quick glance all would seem to be ok. However, there were gangs congregating on the street corners who were eyeing me up, but I felt fairly confident I would be ok. Especially as my camera is not large (its the size of a credit card) and I was not pointing my lense at them. I just took my pictures, then left the area. Not a place I would go to after dark though.

PKoch…no relation to ‘that’ Kenneth Roe, I am British and based in the UK (but come to the States quite often). I’m back in NYC in June 2006 to explore more theatres hidden away in the Bronx and Queens this time!

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 21, 2006 at 6:06 am

A C/O was issued to a New building at this address on February 21, 1930. For some reason the permanent C/O is usually dated after the actual opening of the theater. The owner was Allied Owners Corp. Architect was Thomas W. Lamb. Purpose of building: 2820 seat motion picture theater.

BobFurmanek
BobFurmanek on March 21, 2006 at 5:04 am

Thanks for those pictures Ken. What’s the neighborhood like these days?

PKoch
PKoch on March 21, 2006 at 4:46 am

Thanks, KenRoe.

BTW, are you Kenneth Roe of the engineering firm of Burns & Roe ?

Herbie, are you the fabled and famous “Prince Of Pitkin Avenue” ?

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 20, 2006 at 1:33 pm

Ken…..Those are great photo’s of the former Pitkin. Thanks for sharing them.

hdl37
hdl37 on March 20, 2006 at 11:32 am

you are just jealous