Kent Cinema

959 McLean Avenue,
Yonkers, NY 10704

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Sontaran6
Sontaran6 on June 19, 2011 at 5:30 pm

A fire ended the building’s career as a theater. Storefronts occupied the building’s lobby until, at least, the early 1990s, when I last visited the neighborhood. Google Maps now appear to show a two-floor commercial building in the old Kent’s place. Sad!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 15, 2010 at 3:16 pm

“There was A Crooked Man” is one of my favorite westerns,Fonda is the warden of a prison in the wild west.He knows Douglas has buried his loot for when he breaks out and wants it. Henry Fonda stated it was good Western,but the public had no one to pull for since both the Warden and the outlaw were on the bad side,A good Western with a strong supporting cast. Guess I am off topic, Sontaran 6.

Sontaran6
Sontaran6 on January 11, 2009 at 7:12 pm

That bloody clock appears to have been the Kent’s most memorable feature — like the Rockettes, at Radio City Music Hall! The clock should be memorialized with a humongous statue, at the corner of McClean and Kimball!
Love ya' all! Say “hello!” to St. Barnabas for me.

brianolo
brianolo on January 7, 2009 at 2:19 pm

The “New Kent Cinema” did have an emergency exit, directly opposite the First National illuminated clock. I remember it well as I used the exit as an entrance a few times in the 70’s when funds were low.
Saw my first movie there “Bullit” in 1969 I think. Went straight to the downstairs front row to discover everything was a blur so close to the screen.

brianolo
brianolo on January 7, 2009 at 2:19 pm

The “New Kent Cinema” did have an emergency exit, directly opposite the First National illuminated clock. I remember it well as I used the exit as an entrance a few times in the 70’s when funds were low.
Saw my first movie there “Bullit” in 1969 I think. Went straight to the downstairs front row to discover everything was a blur so close to the screen.

Sontaran6
Sontaran6 on December 31, 2008 at 4:53 pm

The very last movie I saw at the Kent was “There Was a Crooked Man”, starring Kirk Douglas and Henry Fonda. Maybe I saw it in 1971 or so. There was a “B” feature too, but memory has blanked regarding that one. I wish I could recollect what the first flicks I saw at the Kent were, back during WWII, but I have no clue at all. Saturday afternoon B&W “action” movies from those days all merge together in my dimming memory — Westerns, War movies, Bogart, and lots of boring stuff starring Bette Davis or Irene Dunne, my Mom’s favorite actresses. I kept waiting for Bogart to eliminate the ladies, so John Wayne could get on with his “action” scenarios….

Sontaran6
Sontaran6 on December 28, 2008 at 1:18 pm

My thanks to Mr. Kovar and Mr. Zornig. Old geezers romanticize, but the Woodlawn folks who shared the Kent with my family were an especially nice lot. Work has exiled me to the Midwest since the early 1970s — nothing but inhumane suburban-mall Multiplexes around here (groan!) — so I hardly ever go to movies any more, except for “Harry Potter” flicks with my grandkids. It’s sad.
I just discovered Cinema Treasures about a month ago, after acquiring a snazzy new iMac. My old steam-driven boxy Mac was about 19 cyber generations out-of-date. This Website brings back many, many happy memories.
Happy New Year!

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on December 23, 2008 at 10:43 am

Oh, and remembering to click on the “Notify Me” box. Computers…Ha!

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on December 23, 2008 at 10:42 am

Greetings Sontaran6. Great post, and may I say that is exactly, what I feel anyway, that the Cinema Treasures “Comments” pages are for.

Were it not for the many memories of the folks that attended or worked at the various theatres over the years, we’d only be able to visualize from the initial description and whatever changing era photos get greatfully supplied, as the list grows.

I’ve only been gently informed once that a subject was a bit off topic.
It was about a large non-theatre building that had long ago functioned as a niteclub.
But ironically, in that reminder about the off topic subject, I was provided with even more great info about it, and I was reminded of another theatre BEHIND the very non-theatre I had mentioned.
Which sparked a whole new set of memories I could then add to THAT theatre’s page.
So it was a bonus for me and hopefully the list.

I too had difficulty at first with posting to Cinema Treasures.
First it was a WebTV thing-(incompatible server), then once that was solved, it was remembering to “Log In” everytime I posted.
The latter being the most frustrating. As everything you’d just painstakenly written, gets wiped out if you hadn’t Logged In.
I remind/warn any folks that I forward Cinema Treasures pages to, of that very “Log In” criteria.
Now that’s, off topic!

Anyway, thanks for sticking with it, and adding your vast personal life experiences and memories to Cinema Treasures. They will now reach other generations for ever.
I’m confident that’s how CT’s creators meant for it to be used and enjoyed.
All the Best!

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on December 23, 2008 at 9:27 am

Great post, Sontaran6, no need to apologize whatsoever.

I lived in Woodlawn and became familiar with your “fondly remembered neighborhood house” in the early 70s when it was a $1.00 for a double feature.

Other than the annoying green clock, that you couldn’t help but keep checking, it was a nice, clean, safe theater with excellent programming as I posted earlier.

10 cents for a Kids Matinee in ‘45 would sound right. I remember paying a quarter in the late 50s at my beloved neighborhood house.

Great memories, have a happy one yourself.

Sontaran6
Sontaran6 on December 21, 2008 at 4:25 pm

Maybe I should apologize for using “Comments” to describe the Kent (as I remember it), as I did above, but three attempts to e-mail my recollections to this wondrous Website failed. Geezers like me (I’m 75) sometimes don’t cope with the technological marvels of the current century very well. So, I apologize, mildly. CinemaTreasures will surely be merciful to decrepit codgers who evade its protocols, as it strives to make access a little easier for us dinosaurs. In return, having memorialized my old childhood neighborhood “theatre” as well as I am able, I’ll try not to be equally annoying, again. Have a happy….

Sontaran6
Sontaran6 on December 20, 2008 at 12:41 pm

I attended the Kent as a kid during and after World War II (roughly,
1943-1955, from age 9 through high school), and occasionally on visits
thereafter (until 1970). At my current age (about 75), my memory isn't
perfect.

The “Theatre” (the first place I encountered that used such an odd
spelling) was just a few dozen yards north of the Bronx/Yonkers border,
on the south side of McLean Avenue between north-south streets named
Martha Avenue (a Bronx name that leaked into Yonkers) and Kimball Avenue
(the Yonkers continuation of Van Cortlandt Parkway). Small storefront
shops flanked it on both sides.

The Theatre itself was a rectangle, oriented (roughly) from north (on
McLean) to south (the auditorium). Once you got past the chintzy ticket
booth and some glass double doors, you were in the plain lobby.
Directly in front of you was the candy counter. It sold popcorn and the
standard movie-theater candies, like Jujubes, real cheap. My limit, as
a kid, was 10 cents. On Wednesday evening, “giveaway” premiums, like
dishes, were hawked in the lobby. You’d have to ask my late Mom how
that worked….

(Mom and Dad went to the flicks on weekday evenings, to see the sappy
romantic “A” features, when schoolkids had to go to bed early. Kids
went to the movies on weekend afternoons, to see the exciting
action-packed “B” features, cheap!)

On each side of the lobby were two adjacent open “doorways”. The
rearmost one, on each side, led to stairs, that led to the auditorium's
upper level. The foremost one, on each side, led through (pretty dark)
hallways to the back side of the auditorium’s lower level.

If you climbed the stairs, you arrived at the back of the auditorium's
upper level, at either side of the projectionist’s booth. A lateral
crosswalk afforded access to three aisles, one on either side and one
down the middle. The whole upper level, including the aisles and
seat-rows, was gently tilted toward the screen. I don’t recollect how
many seat-rows there were. I’d guess there were at least double the
number than those in the theater’s lower level. One delightful thing
about the upper level was the fact that — as long as I lived in New
York — one could smoke there!

If, on the other hand, you entered one of the hallway tunnels from the
lobby, you emerged at the back flanks of the auditorium’s lower
level. Again, a crosswise track afforded access to the lower level's
three aisles, one on either side and one down the middle. It also
afforded access to three short stairways — perhaps 6 or 8 steps? —
rising to the upper level’s aisles. The divider between the upper and
lower levels was a perpendicular wall. (Ushers used to become extremely
annoyed if folks — especially full-fare teenagers — in the upper
level’s front row put their feet on top of the wall!)

I don’t remember how many seat-rows there were on the lower level. I
suspect they numbered 8 or 10, no more. The best seats, for kids (who
were relegated to the cheap lower level during weekend matinees) were
the backmost rows. The rows in front were so close to the screen that
the images were too distorted to decipher!

There were a couple of “exit” double-doors on the east wall of the
lower-level seating area, that let out into an alleyway. I remember
them being used to evacuate large crowds once or twice when I was in
attendance, but I can’t recollect why. There was no emergency, as far
as I can remember. Curious!

At the front of the lower level, there was a very narrow crosswise
aisle, and then a raised “stage”, maybe 6 feet high and only a couple of
yards deep. During the War, there were occasional “stage shows”, which
always turned out to be “Bond Drives”, raising money for the war
effort. After the War, I never saw another “stage show” at the Kent.

During its heyday (as I remember it), the Kent made a thing about
opening a big curtain before showing its “A” feature. But then, it
went on to show another film and all kinds of extras — I can't
recollect when the curtain closed, but it must have! When I was a
kid, the screen was an old-style B&W rectangle, proportioned rather
like the screen on an ancient fishbowl Mac. When I occasionally
visited the neighborhood in the 1960s and very early ‘70s, the Kent
had acquired a “wide screen” (like my new 2008 iMac), and the curtain
was gone. I haven’t been back since.

The Kent’s interior decorations, insofar as there were any, were few and
far between. There were some “art deco” touches around the (dim) wall
lamps on either side of the auditorium. And I DO remember the annoying
illuminated clock mentioned by another correspondent on the Kent's
CinemaTreasures Webpage — the darn thing must have been there since
Time was invented! Otherwise, the Kent did not offer much of a
challenge to any of the major film palaces of the day. But, it was
“Woodlawn’s” movie; and we liked it.

My fuzzing brain tells me that I paid only 10› for a kid’s Saturday
matinee ticket in (about) 1945. Can that be right? [but then, at that
age, when I began exploring the NYC Subways all by myself, I could
travel all the way from Woodlawn to Coney Island for only a nickel. So,
maybe it’s possible.]

I hope this fills in a little about a totally forgettable, but still
fondly remembered, neighborhood movie house.

Sontaran6
Sontaran6 on December 4, 2008 at 1:32 pm

I began going to the Kent during World War II, when I was 8 or 9. It was the “neighbohood” movie house for “Woodlawn”, the local Bronx/Yonkers borderland. The usual fare included two features, a newsreel, a cartoon, a serial chapter, previews, and sometimes an extra short. At weekend matinees, unaccompanied kids sat in the lower-level front rows; grownups had the upper-level back rows to themselves. Free dishes were given away on Wednesday evenings. Interior decorations were plain, with art deco touches near the wall lights Not much changed by 1970, when I last visited. I was walking home from the Kent when I heard that FDR had died.

couchcritic
couchcritic on September 11, 2008 at 2:54 pm

The other guy was Murray Levine. I worked for them over at the Parkway.

prompterbob
prompterbob on July 1, 2008 at 1:53 pm

I was the projectionist at the Kent Cinema during the late 1970’s. It was a single screen discount cinema then and we usually showed a double feature (along with a new movie.) We seldom had first runs. We were open in the evenings during the week and all day Saturday and Sunday. The theatre was owned by two young guys – one was named Jay and I forget the other. When the theatre only had a few people watching the last show, they used to ask me to drop a reel so they could go home early. I also remember them asking me to chop out a piece of a movie (A Special Day) so the double feature would be shorter and they could fit in another showing.

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on August 7, 2005 at 2:11 am

The Kent sat 625 and had a neon clock at the front left of the screen which I remember finding annoying. Sponsored by a local merchant (bank, I think).

I was there in the 70s and it was a double feature sub-run house. Some nice programming like On Her Majesty’s Secret Service & Francois Truffaut’s Stolen Kisses. j

joemasher
joemasher on June 11, 2005 at 8:11 am

The Kent was twinned and operated as such for a few years before it closed. I believe it ceased operation by 1990. The whole building was gutted and converted to other uses, including retail, offices, and a dance studio. Looking at it from the front you’d never know it was a theatre, but if you drive around back you can see the box of the auditorium.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on June 9, 2005 at 6:43 pm

The lobby is now used for retail.