Comments from MEB

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MEB commented about RKO Keith's Theatre on Dec 6, 2004 at 12:26 pm

I worked at the RKO Keith’s between 1977 and 1979. Although it had already been in decline by then, the place still had a magical quality about it. I got to know virtually every inch of that building. Aside from the beauty of the architecture, it was a very interesting building behind the scenes. There was a corridor in the basement that had twists and turns and staircases. There were numerous rooms for support staff and mechanical equipment. As the building engineer, I got to operate the antique air-conditioning equipment which included the “air-washer”, the very large main fans and the old recipricating refrigeration machines. If I remember correctly, there were a total of 12 dressing rooms back stage, each was named for a city – the Akron Room, the Boston Room, the Rochester Room, etc. My understanding is that the rooms were named for cities that were part of the Keith’s-Albee circuit. There was also the green room and something called the elephant bath, or the animal room. It was a larrge porcelain tiled room under the back of the stage which had a ramp leading down to it. As the name implies, it was apparently used to wash animals that were used in stage shows. There was a great feeling of camaraderie among the workers. I became good freinds with a number of people, some of whom I am still friends with today. I recall a few people meeting their future wives/husbands while working there as candy-girls and ushers. I am very grateful for the wonderful memories. It really is a terrible shame what has happened to the Keith’s. Hopefully, the new owners will be able to incorporate the inner lobby into their new design.