RKO Albee Theatre

1 DeKalb Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11201

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Albee in later years

The E.F. Albee Theatre, on Dekalb Avenue, which opened on January 19, 1925, was named after Edward F. Albee (1857-1930). It was originally planned to be named the New Orpheum Theatre. The E.F. Albee Theatre opened on January 19, 1925 with a vaudeville show featuring Bill Robinson and Smith & Dale (part of the Avon Comedy Four). It had crystal chandeliers in the lobby and paintings from Albee’s private collection. It also contained a 40 x 70 foot Czech Maffersdorf carpet billed as the world’s largest rug. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer OP 870-260 special organ with 2 manuals and 16 ranks. Soon after opening it went over to movies.

The RKO Albee Theatre was closed on September 21, 1978 and was demolished in November 1978 to make way for the Albee Square Mall (which itself was demolished in the Summer of 2008). The up-market City Point retail and residential building was built on part of the site, and this contains the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown Brooklyn movie theatre which opened in October 2016. (It has its own page on Cinema Treasures).

Contributed by Frank Tilelli, William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 103 comments)

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on July 19, 2019 at 4:23 pm

Hello-

to Orlando thanks for the info. also to Comfortably Cool when I said all of NYC I meant all five boroughs. in fact if they were still in operation both the Bunny and The Colosseum would have take the title from the Alpine. both theaters in Upper Manhattan closed rather recently.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on July 26, 2020 at 5:38 pm

Hello-

how is the gutted movie palace in Flushing listed on this page? I tried just Flushing, then RKO Flushing. then i tried Keith’s Flushing. but zippo.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on July 26, 2020 at 8:49 pm

RKO Keith’s Theatre in Flushing page is below.

http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/834

robboehm
robboehm on July 27, 2020 at 1:39 pm

bigjoe if you’d input Flushing, NY you would have been given a page showing two open theaters. If you went for the prompt for all theaters you would have been given nine, one of which is the RKO Keith’s Theatre (which is how you would have had to enter it by it’s name). When circuit names are involved it can be tricky. Best bet is my city name.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on July 27, 2020 at 1:51 pm

Hello-

to David Z. and Rob B. thanks of the info. just out of curiosity would you happen to know why Queens is the only borough out of 5 in NYC that doesn’t get a borough listing and you have to put the specific neighborhood in Queens you’re looking for.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 27, 2020 at 3:03 pm

The various towns/districts of Queens were listed in editions of Film Daily Yearbooks as being in Long Island. When Cinema Treasures was first set up for some reason each town/district were listed as separate entities.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on July 28, 2020 at 1:44 pm

Hello-

to Ken Roe thanks for the info. its just bizarre that Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten island and Manhattan(as New York, New York) gets entire borough listing where as Queens doesn’t.

robboehm
robboehm on July 28, 2020 at 9:20 pm

Unlike the other boroughs of New York City where references are to the such and such section, Queens has maintained community identities in every day references and specifically designated Post Office Identities. If it’s good enough for the US Postal Service it should be good enough for Cinema Treasures. So let it be.

Also, isn’t it easier to find something with a community name than the borough name? Did you ever see how many entries there are for Brooklyn?

And let’s not even get into the fact that Manhattan is the borough name but it is New York County, Staten Island is the borough name but the County is Richmond, and the borough of Brooklyn is Kings County. The Bronx and Queens only have the one identity.

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on July 29, 2020 at 6:58 am

this was one of the first theatres in the us to show closed circuit fights long before fathom events made it possible.

hdtv267
hdtv267 on October 2, 2020 at 1:01 pm

Fathom’s bread & butter are the performances from the Metropolitan Opera and also RiffTrax. Most people watch fights and such at home now (well pre-Covid) Fathom was spun off from NCM, the pre-show content provider still giving Maria Menudos a paycheck for 2 minutes of work.

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