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In the early 1970’s, I attended this theatre many times. It was always a pleasantly operated theatre as were many of the Century Theatres were. Its great to see some upper terra cotta still in place today as the owners knew it was special features. However, it is sad to see. It’s a good thing we have our memories.
I went here for the first time with a friend. Wednesday’s are Bargain Day (All Seats $5.) all day. School was out and the inner lobby was full of young folks for “SpongeBob”. The theatre lobby retains the poste cases (6) and seats for people awaiting entrance (Nice touch as most don’t). Some details remain intact, but the lobby resembles an arcade with a table to play air hockey which is annoying to people in the small 75 seat theatre (where we sat watching “50 Shades Of Grey”. On the way out I viewed the other two screens which were a bit larger but away from the noise of the lobby. The bathrooms were clean for such a busy matinee. The popcorn was good and I bought a can of soda at the stand. The staff was cordial and polite. This theatre is an excellent bargain as Brooklyn is at a loss for neighborhood theatres. For a 76 year old building it serves its' purpose. Digital projection and seats were fine. I suggest late afternoon shows when schools are out. For $5. there are no complaints as today’s movies are not worth more than $5. The theatre is not to far from my home and I will visit it again. You can keep your modern multiplexes. Remember, It’s a good time for a “Kent” on a Wednesday. (Forgive the cigarette pun!)
The original 1929 letters were opaque 3-D glass with black outlines. Uncovered during renovation above the box office wer the same letters with the black outlines painted gold, what a suprise! They wer up for some months and spelled out: Top Line WELCOME TO LOEW’S KINGS SHOWCASE THEATRE 2nd: LATE SHOWS ON FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHTS.
The original (first marquee)was a high hat style and had stationary lights under the canopy and the reader boards were back lit. The corners were tiffany-like curves also back lit. The vertical sign (NOT BLADE SIGN) was neon but not animated.
The second marquee had larger reader boards which had lime green neon all around the chaser lights borders inside and out (2 strips of green that went on and off.
The front of the marquee had two panels that spelled out “Loew’s Kings” in red Loew’s lit up first and then Kings and then did an on of sequence and repeated same. The vertical sign had L O E W ‘ S in red neon andd horizontal white tubing (neon). It was very animated and went like this, each letter would light up from top to bottom andd then the white horizontal tubing would follow, when it was all lit up, the “LOEW’S” name wouldd flash on and off three times, go off and then the white tubing would go off from top to bottom. The cycle repeated itself. The “Loew’s” name would also on occasin would grow fron the inner most part of the letters to the outer most. Each letter had an inner, middle and outer neon tube. I know it will be hard to envision this,
but take my word on this, you could see this vertical sign from Maple Street where I lived on Flatbush Avenue almost 15 blocks away. The Albemarle and thhe Kenmore also had fabulous marquees and vertical signs. I wish we had the sophisticated cameras of today back then. What is imbedded in my memory will always be there forever!
P.S. Find the 1970 film “Cotton Comes To Harlem” in Pan and Scan and you will see Loew’s Victoria which had the same Loew’s Kings marquee. You will see it working in on of the night scenes. The new Kino Lorber widescreen version omits it however.
Remember Kings Theatre is a Performing Arts Center, so there is no need for any type of chasing lights. A new replica of the vertical sign will read K I N G S with Theatre below it when it is installed at a later date.
Personally, I think I would like to see the terra cotta without any sign on it.
By the way, Barbra Streisand N E V E R worked at the Loew’s Kings, she worked at a little Chinese restaurant on Nostrand Avenue. Read one of her biographies and “That’s the Truth” (Lily Tomlin’s character Edith Ann)!
The neon is on as of yesterday, but some of it is out.
The neon is on as of Thursday, 2-12-15. Some of it is out.
Redstone always owned this property and it was NOT leased.
Albemarle Palace was the name of the ballroom above the lobbies and opened before the theatre.
I wasn’t finished with my comment, to continue. I didn’t tell you the weekly salary was $150.00 a week and they had us working between 60-70 a week! After Century hired me they offered me $200.00 a week and placed me in the 3 Huntington theatres they had, The Whitman, York and Shore which was atriplex at the time. I worked 5 days as an assistant manager with Friday and Saturdays OFF and one Sunday a month (with pay!), how could I resist. I loved all those theatres and their staffs. When Redstone opened the Commack Mutiplex with 10 screens and 4,200 seats it was the largest theatre on all New York. It came close to being #1 several times but settled into the #2 spot. Redstone coaxed me away from Century Theatres by offering me $400.00 a week in 1983. How could I resist. Unbeknowst to them was that I had reported them to the labor board in 1980. I worked hard for them for a year and a half without taking any vacation time. When in 1985, I put in vacation time due to exhaustion, my request was denied and I was let go.
That was there loss and from then on the Commack went downhill til it closed several years ago. I have fond memories of all the employees I worked with at both multiplexes. I remember Sunrise Multiplex’s first St. Patrick’s Day Party, It was a blast. I would like to hear from any one working at Sunrise from 19979-1980 & Commack from Oct. 27 1983 to summer of 1985.
Goodbye Sunrise Multiplex.
I was one of six assistant managers to open the place in
December of 1979. It was a nice sixplex but Redstone Managemnet were notoriusly CHEAP with the salaries of management and worked them to the bone. 6 day work weeks with 4- 12 hour days and 2 14-16 hour days. The parttime employees made more. I left for Century’s Green Acres and reported Redstone to labor board. After a while, the labor board closed in and management got raises. An innocent manager got fired for my reporting them.
I got a solid brick from the demolition site. It was very heavy weighing in at 35 lbs. They built them solid in the good old days.
In two months, this building will be 94 years old. Yes, Flatbush is very lucky to have three theatres in a rowthat are still intact. That’s why I decided to make it my home again. The best of all, Kings Theatre, one of the three will be the neighborhood’s living room again.
In two months, this building will be 99 years old.
I am now an employee of Kings Theatre.
Too late, TygerLily, the building is half demolished. They started 12-30-14 and should be done by late this week. So sad for a 108 year old building that was a
NickelOdeon from 1907-1925. It’s facade was fully intact.
The blue tin was ripped off the structure. It was in use for 90 more years.
I was in the former Rialto this past Saturday night and for a service on Sunday morning. The enterior is in great shape. I’d say 85% intact. Stage curtains (waterfall type) are gone as is boxoffice. Otherwise stage procenium is now visible as are walls covered over by the removed drapery. The building is meticulous kept by the Eglise De Dieu staff members. The Century “spatter” carpeting does not exist anywhere in the building and the restrooms upgraded.
The marquee went up last week and is wonderful and the front has been cleared and is visible for the time since it was gated and boarded up. The boxoffice is now visible and was being worked on yesterday. The lobbies are in the final stages of completion. I will keep you posted.
The South Bay was digital about a year and a half now and the option to close and rebuild was decided within the past three months. They’d be closed now had they waited to install digital. They switched over theatre by theatre while film was disappearing and not all at one time. To NYer, Bow Tie is not to be blamed for the closure since they had the theatre for a little over a year. Clearview (Cablevision) is mostly to blame for the closing of the Babylon.
Clearview kept it as part of their “Free” Tuesdays if you had the “Cablevision” package that offered it free. It was sold out on free nights but empty on all the other days. Babylon was the theatre located on the far east of the island and everyone east of the Babylon swarmed it. When the theatres were sold to Clearview and then to Bow Tie it was a “package deal”. It was Clearview who decimated whatever audiences the Babylon had. As far as the South Bay goes, it is all digital and got the best product because it always out grossed the Babylon even in its' deplorable condition. Yes, the parking helps but its' not the South Bay’s parking lot. A deal was made back in 1967 with the shopping centers' owners. By the way, South Bay’s fortunes have been sinking due to its' uncleanliness and is due to be closed soon and be replaced with a brand new building housing 7 cinemas on the same sight. Nothing has been announced, but I have reliable connections. The demolition and rebuilding of the new structure will take at least one year. So therefore, Bow Tie was premature in closing the Babylon because there will be a void in movie going in this area. Lastly, Price matters, South Bay had a strong $4. and then $5 Bargain Matinee which was very successful. Babylon followed suit but only with a “first show matinee” and $6.00 all seats policy on Tuesday, these promos failed. Bargain Tuesdays didn’t attract the patrons. The Babylon Village said the theatre failed because of poor “Bow Tie” management. I disagree. Incorporated Villages of Long Island are the reason that some businesses fail with their “rules of signage and everything else” Enough said.
The Babylon Cinemas CLOSED last night, Sunday, Sept. 7th
2014. The last picture shows were “Guardians Of The Galaxy”, “If I Stay”, “Sin City 2” and “Dragon 2”. However, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” with stage cast “Sold Out” and started at 12:45 AM Sunday morning. The manager told the audience about the closing and the patrons went silent. Then the theatre got a round of cheers and applause for the 92 years of service to the area. It was very touching. I worked there a while in 1988 for UA management. Farewell to another Main Street symbol of entertainment. Capitol/Babylon Theatre 1922-2014.
On movies.com, there are no show times for the Babylon Cinemas, with Sunday 9/7, as the last day listed. I knew it was slated to close and I wonder what will happen to the building. It would have been 90 years old next year.
By the way, the Live and Film “Rocky Horror Picture Show” will play Saturday 9-6-14 at 11:30 for $8.00. DON’T MISS IT!!! Come SUNDAY!!!
I saw “Hair” at Babylon during this engagement. It was still a single screen with a big screen!
This cannot be a June 1925 photo, the theatre opened as the Capitol at that time. There was already a Babylon on Deer Park Avenue. The Main Street theatre acquired the Babylon name after the Deer Park Ave. Babylon closed somewhere in 1930 or so.. If you look at the decorative cameo “a Capitol building” henceforth the name Capitol Theatre. This façade burned to the ground and was replaced with its' current façade & neon VERTICAL sign. The red walls around the building survived the fire. “Beyond The Border” was the feature which would date the picture to the year this photo was taken.
The Linden closed in 1961 with the Disney film, “The Parent Trap”.