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Yes, I remember the Picture Show on Duval St. in the late 70’s. That was an excellent documentary about Key West that it showed. Wasn’t “The Last Resort” in the title, or am I confusing that, too? I think this theater sometimes played “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” late at night.
Don, I think you’re right. The Monroe wasn’t far from the Strand Theatre on Duval St. and I must have gotten them them mixed up in my memory. The Monroe is listed as showing adult movies in the 70’s.
There were a number of other theatres in Key West in the years 1978-80. I remember a small movie theatre on the other side of Duvall St. where I saw The Rocky Picture Horror Show. There was another historical theatre on Duvall St. whose name I canâ€™t remember but we called it the Cuban Opera House with an austere interior where I saw Phyllis Diller perform live after it had been closed for many years. There was a movie theatre on N. Roosevelt Blvd. in the Searstown shopping mall. There was the Greene Street Theatre where plays were performed. I saw a wonderful performance of Tennessee Williamsâ€™ A Streetcar Named Desire there. The Greene Street Theatre moved from Greene St. to the Navy Base off of Whitehead St. and featured plays like Cabaret and A Thousand Clowns (in which I was involved.) The Red Barn Theatre opened during this time on Duvall St. which featured plays. I saw the single most hilarious performance Iâ€™ve ever seen there which was an evening of scenes from Shakespeareâ€™s tragediesâ€"not meant to be funnyâ€"with a rowdy audience. There was a theatre on Front St. which performed plays. And finally a beautiful, modern theatre opened in 1980 as The Tennessee Williamsâ€™ Art Center on Stock Island adjacent to Key West at the Community College where Tennessee Williams donated an old play of his to be performed for the opening titled Will Mr. Merriweather Return From Memphis? (never before performed.) I met Tennessee Williamsâ€™ there during the auditions and again later for a follow up audition at his home on Duncan St. I was in Key West in 1983 when Tennessee Williams died and attended a memorial service for him at this theatre where locals reminisced about him, a number of them falling down drunk. Ah, Key West.
I used to live in Key West in the late 1970s. I remember the Strand Theater as showing Deep Throat and The Devil in Miss Jones for years.
Another comment: I wrote above that the building complex went through a renovation in the twenties. It’s more accurate to say it went through a restructuring, hence the on-line note about it dating from 1924. Someone else told me 1926. I’m just piecing all this together.
Glad to pass on information about this cinema treasure. In my last post: “If someone wants to go in there…” I was refering to the theater, not the balcony. The manager was friendly to me and a very smart guy. I don’t think he’ll let people up to the balcony, though. He clearly loves the Montauk.
The Montauk Theater is housed in a building complex that spans the block between Henry St. and Madison St. on Main Ave. in Passaic. In addition to the theater, the building complex includes stores along Main Ave., unoccupied office space above the stores, a small hotel, and an unused, very old ballroom that was converted into a disco in the 80â€™s. The Montauk Theater, circa 1905, had its original entrance on Madison St. Currently this face of the theater is bricked off. The theaterâ€™s marquee and entrance is now on Main Ave. toward the Henry St. side. There is also currently a service entrance to the Montauk on Henry St. which used to be the theaterâ€™s main entrance at another point in its history, not sure exactly when.
The building complex, which has two architectural design segments along Main Ave., went through a renovation in the mid-twenties. According to the manager of the Montauk Theater, who is the source for my historical information, the current theater is the original vaudeville theater, spanning from Madison Ave. to Henry St. It has had renovations over the years, exactly when he is not sure. The rest of the details I have observed for myself.
The Montauk has been reopened for just over a year, and in accordance with many new restrictions, it is closely video and security guard monitored and shows straight porn only. The balcony is closed. If someone wants to go in there to see the theater as a paying customer, no one is going to bother you. It is not identified as a gay theater. The town itself is run down, but you can easily park in the center section of Main Ave. right in front of the theater in metered-type parking for up to two hours before you have to put in more quarters. Like I said, this is one to see.
The Montauk Theater is currently open but possibly not for long. Check it out even if you donâ€™t like pornography which it now shows. The Montauk is a 100 year old vaudeville theater that was top of the line for its day and still features a marble lobby with bronze doors, deco wall sconces, marble Corinthian columns, silk wall covering, a sunken orchestra pit with balastrade, and an arched, ornate ceiling with central chandelier. It has graceful dimensions and concert hall quality acoustics. Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor and all the vaudeville greats performed there. Catch it while you can!