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The Mayfair Theater, 1964…Now: “The Bombay”.
CHARLIE CHAPLIN in “THE GREAT DICTATOR”“BLONDIE PLAYS CUPID”
NOW PLAYING: LON CHANEY in “THE PENALTY” (1920-1921)
Photo of the Whitman Theater pylon sign on Route 110 taken on December 8, 2010 (yes, it is Elvis' birthday)…Note: the electric meter is still attached. It’s the Whitman because it is right across the street from the birthplace of Walt Whitman.
ALL of the interior remains!
The first telephone number that I ever memorized was ULster 5-4826; Tony The Tailor; 437 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn 5, New York.That number was good from 1956 until December 31, 2002. Two doors East of the Peerless Theater. The theater is owned and operated by the “Reverend Lee”….and it’s just like new inside.
From 1967-1971 I attended the Delehanty High School; 93-01 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica, NY 11432, 112 feet from the Valencia in Jamaica. By that time, Jamaica was a pretty awful place to walk around or to shop. If you could park, it was a couple of blocks away at a municipal parking lot just north and east of Merrick Road and Jamaica Avenue. By the late 60’s, early 70’s, it was not someplace that parents sent their kids to for entertainment on a Saturday afternoon. The clean, sfae, “new”, modern Meadows was within bicycle range of home (which was Bellaire (now Queens Village)) in a perfectly safe neighborhood… and later, when I started driving, it had it’s own safe, free parking. There were also options for after-cinema burgers, etc. by the Meadows. In the early 70’s, no one in their right mind would be caught in Jamaica after sundown.
I graduated from Richmond College (CUNY) in June of 1976. The college (now relocated and renamed “The College of Staten Island”) was around the corner in rented space in an office building on Stuyvesant Place. It had no auditorium, so it rented out the old St. George Theater for that purpose.
The “James Bond” theater! It was always first run for all the James Bond films….It was twice as far away as our local Jamaica Avenue theaters, but if you wanted to see a first run flick, this is where you had to go!
A slight correction to my post of October 11, 2007. The correct name of the catering hall across the street from the Bellaire Theater was: “The Bellaire Castle”. The Italian restaurant just west of the Bellaire Castle (again on the south side of Jamaica Avenue) was “Collasacco’s”. It was the only source of pizza in the area…no slices, whole pies only…lots of “Jimmy Roselli” and “Jerry Valle” on the juke box….Just east of the Bellaire Castle, again backed up to the Long Island Railroad, was the King Kullen super market which is now the site of the Queens Village Poat Office 11428.
Small problem: The late 1960’s photo of the Peerless (refered to in my previous post) did not come through as a link, so here it is:
John C (
BROOKLYN, NY â€" My fatherâ€\s drycleaner/tailor shop was at 437 Myrtle and as a kid hanging out at dadâ€\s store, I would be given 75 cents to get out of his hair for a couple of hours at the Peerless Theater two doors down.
The building and the interior are today exactly as they were in the early 1960â€\s when the theater was open for business. Today the interior is even better than it was then because everything is well painted and maintained. The marquee was taken down in the late sixties as I recall, and the front doors were replaced at that time.
The people who lived upstairs had no sound problem because the seats and the screen were actually in a separate building that was 75â€\ down a 20 foot wide entranceway that also housed the ticket booth (on the right side). This area immediately behind the front doors was ostensibly for holding the throngs waiting for the next â€œsell out show.â€
After you walked down the corridor, which is the same length and width as the stores to the right of the movie, you entered the theater proper at the last row of seats with the screen to your right. The wall at the back of the screen is actually on Waverly Avenue. The rear emergency exits lead to a courtyard that is behind Jive Turkey, 3 Stars Laundromat, Yes Cleaners and â€œDooâ€\sâ€ barber shop. There is a fire escape from some upper area by the screen that leads down to the courtyard but I wouldnâ€\t think that it could hold two pigeons at the same time these days.
The candy counter was under the screen so that management could save on a matron who, by law, had to be present whenever school was not in session in order to mind the kids. With the candy counter under the screen, the matron could do double duty as candy salesman and matron while remaining in compliance.
The place was never air conditioned but was instead cooled by two enormous, 5-speed electric fans. When the theater closed, my father bought them both and they cooled Tony The Tailor Drycleaners until 2002 when he closed the doors. They were discarded during the subsequent renovation by the present tenant.
There are two windows on the right wall (facing the screen) that were shaded but open during the summer. They were too high to see in from the hidden courtyard, but I could always HEAR the movie while standing in the shade of my fatherâ€\s gigantic fig trees that were planted against that wall.
Those fig trees had to be the biggest fig trees in the state. The courtyard was closed in on all four sides and was heated, year-round by the window mounted exhaust fans from the laundromat and the drycleaner. They must have thought that they were in the Mediterranean because they extended so high that we couldnâ€\t reach the topmost fruit with the Peerlessâ€\ marquee ladder that we also â€œacquiredâ€ when they closed the doors!
So itâ€\s all still there…and better than ever. If you stand in the courtyard on weekends, you can be treated to the sound of a full gospel choir!
Thereâ€\s a short angle photo of the Peerlessâ€\ marquee available on line. The photo was taken from the north side of Myrtle Avenue facing east from the middle of Clinton Ave. with the old Myrtle Avenue El coming toward the camera on its way to â€œBridge & Jayâ€. I see a 1968 or 1969 Buick parked at the curb. The el came down in 1971, so that should give you an approximate date. The photo is located online. Thatâ€\s the Peerlessâ€\ marquee just to the right of the sign that says â€œCIGARSâ€.
We lived at 99-52 211th Place, Bellaire, 29 New York. I remember seeing “A Night To Remember” there as a kid…. It was Hollis Lanes for about 30 years and then became The Hollis Pistol and Rifle Club for awhile. It was right across the street from the old “Castle Gardens” a catering hall with parapit walls…. I waa bowling there in the mid 60’s when the Great East Coast Blackout happened…..Was that 1965?