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The first time that I went to the Graham I was quite young. I walked with my sitter from our homes near Batchelder St. and Ave. S. It was a hot summer day — typical 1940â€™s weather. After we crossed Ave. U it was mostly vacant weed filled lots.
The Graham stood by itself. As I remember it there was very little else there except for PS 194 and the Brooklyn Robbins baseball field. It was during WWII. The film that we saw was British and had something to do with women training to be paratroopers. My sitter, Dorothy Ann, kept saying â€" â€œI could do that.â€ I think I must have been about seven and she was all of twelve. The place wasnâ€™t air-conditioned but we were use to that then.
The Graham showed a lot of films that werenâ€™t on the Century circuit. The Century chain dominated our neighborhood.
The next time that I went was later in that decade to see two films that were not on the Century Circuit and still canâ€™t be found on VCR or DVD today. â€œSalty Oâ€™Rourkeâ€ and â€œThe Man in Half Moon Street.â€ They were better than good!
Still later in the decade I attended a Saturday afternoon showing of â€œJungle Bookâ€ staring Sabu. All the wild life was not just on the screen that day. A rat crossed the aisle about ten rows in front of me and disappeared into some vacant seats. My attention had been drawn by a laughing commotion in the effected area. We were a tough bunch of kids. Today I think the theater would have been closed and fumigated.
The word of mouth kids news stated that if you go to the DEWEY, you can get in for 5Â¢ —– if you bring your own chair!
I did go once, in the late 40â€™s, to see a Halloween show â€" two Frankenstein movies and a live magic act. I didnâ€™t bring my own chair but there was a small section that had had its seats removed. It was empty that day. So the 5Â¢ bit could have been true.
Wait till it comes to the Nostrand was our family cry. And most of the time it came true and it did come to the Nostrand.
We lived smack in the middle of a cluster of Century Theaters in Brooklyn. In the 40â€™s and early 50â€™s, movies would open in NYC and then move to the first run houses in Downtown Brooklyn. After that theyâ€™d reopen at the Kingsway, Marine, Brook or Avalon. Then they headed to my beloved Nostrand.
I think I watched more movies there than any place except for our television set.
Back then they usually ran three double feature bills a week. I loved that theater from its art-deco features, indirect lighting and even its maroon drinking fountain.
In our neighborhood movies left the Nostrand and went to the Quentin, College, Elm or Triangle.
I guess this routing plan changed in the late 50â€™s or early 60â€™s.
The Quentin was an important part of my young life in the late 1940â€™s. On a Sunday afternoon, you could walk to and enjoy two attractive features plus a Three Stooge or other comedy short. Those double features â€" WOW! â€" very kid friendly. Parings such as: King Kong and The Son of King Kong, Dracula and The Son of Dracula, Texas and Arizona, Henry Aldrich Haunts a House and Henry Aldrich â€" Boy Scout, Abbott & Costello in Buck Privates and Abbott and Costello â€" In The Navy and on and on.
The Quentin was also a good place to catch a film before it left circulation.
I spent many afternoons there. On a hot summer day you could walk across Quentin Rd. to De Leoâ€™s Bar to stand in the doorway and feel the cooler, beer scented air from inside while you watched the marvel of TELEVISION! Adults seldom chased you away. The only things wrong with De Leoâ€™s was that we were too young to go inside and that they usually ran Giant games. Can you imagine â€" Giant games — in Brooklyn?
The history itself is quite interesting.
I agree with Orlando. The Triangle had to be named for the Sgt. Joyce Kilmer Square that is situated just opposite the old theater entrance. The Triangle was a great place to catch up with a film before it disappeared from the circuit.
Look for Sgt. Joyce Kilmer Square on this site:
(It can be seen right after Crazy Eddie.)Itâ€™s where Kings Highway meets Quentin Rd.
By the way Quentin Rd. was originally Ave.Q. It became Quentin Road to honor Teddy Rooseveltâ€™s youngest son who was killed in WWI. Look for that also on the site.