RKO Albee Theatre

1 DeKalb Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11201

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Showing 1 - 25 of 94 comments

bigjoe59 on July 19, 2019 at 2:23 pm


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.

Orlando on July 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

Hey BigJoe'59 ….From Sept of 1973 to May of 75, all the downtowm theatres weroperating except the Fox, torn down within those months, the Paramount, Strand were closed in other uses. The Orpheum and Momart weretorn down in the early 1950’s. Loew’s and the RKO Albee, Duffield and Majestic were still open. You might be mistaking the Albemarle Theatre with the Albee. The Albemarle, Astor, Kings, Rialto (all Flatbush Ave.) and the Beverly, Kenmore and Granada (all Church Avenue) were all operating at this time. However the Kings and Rialto both closed on August 30 1977 along with the Astor. The Granada 1982, Albemarle in 1983 with the Beverly soon after. The RKO Kenmore was the holdout until 1999. Three of the Flatbush Avenue theatres all in a row are still intact… 1 for live shows and 2 as houses of worship. In order of condition it’s the Albemarle, Kings and the Rialto (the oldest at 103 years old looks like the day it opened (interior). The Albemarle is immaculately maintained inside and out (including power washing the bricks on the facade and side (every year!), the sidewalks and interior. No theatre gets that much tender loving care. I will not discuss the Kings for obvious reasons.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on July 10, 2019 at 10:37 am

That could be true of the Alpine, but does anyone have an up-to-the minute listing of all cinemas currently operating in the five boroughs? I assume that with “NYC,” you mean Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and Staten Island. The area’s daily newspapers have drastically reduced their movie coverage, probably in retaliation to the industry’s increasing abandonment of printed advertising.

bigjoe59 on July 9, 2019 at 3:03 pm


many thanks to Comfortably Cool for the info. Sept. of 1973 to May of 1975 I went to Pratt Institute to get my Masters degree. if it was early enough after school I spent time in the Downtown Brooklyn shopping center. at that time this theater, the Loews Metropolitan and the Ablemarle were still in operation. I even shopped in the Abraham and Strauss Dept. store.

another question since you are a font of knowledge. isn't
the Alpine in Bay Ridge the oldest continually operated movie theater in all of NYC?

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on July 9, 2019 at 1:13 pm

Prior to the 1960s, Downtown Brooklyn was a city in itself, packed with large department stores that attracted shoppers from all over the borough, as well as Queens and lower Manhattan. Starting with the Strand and Loew’s Metropolitan and followed by the Keith-Albee, Fox Theatre, and Brooklyn Paramount, it also became an entertainment mecca with exclusive first-run status, for a time even day-and-date with Broadway. After William Fox’s bankruptcy, the RKO circuit got the contract for Fox (and subsequent 20th-Fox) product, which is the reason why the Albee and not the Fox Theatre became the Downtown Brooklyn showcase for that studio. Taken over by Fabian, the Fox depended primarily on Warner Brothers and Columbia product. The Brooklyn Paramount still focused on Paramount releases, but with Fabian management instead of bankrupted Paramount-Publix. The Metropolitan remained solidly MGM and United Artists. In addition to Fox, the Albee also was the showcase for RKO Radio product. Universal product was usually split between the Albee and Metropolitan.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 8, 2019 at 7:25 pm

I think there are people on here more qualified than I to explain the important role played by the RKO Albee in its 50 year run as Brooklyn’s top exhibitor. (Perhaps tied with Loew’s Metropolitan…?)

bigjoe59 on July 8, 2019 at 2:40 pm


to Mike(saps)~ no offense against Brooklyn its a great borough but. I find it interesting that after The Robe’s 1st run engagement at the Roxy Fox would have booked it even if only for a week exclusively into the Albee. was there some special business relationship between Fox and the management of the Albee?

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 8, 2019 at 1:32 am

It seems to have played exclusively here for one week before going wide all over the metropolitan area.

bigjoe59 on July 7, 2019 at 3:08 pm


on pg. 1 of the photo section is an ad for The Robe’s run at this theater after finishing its exclusive 1st run in Manhattan. now from the wording in the ad am I to understand during the film’s run at this theater it was the only movie theater in all of NYC showing the film?

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 1, 2019 at 1:51 am

It was still showing first run, but day-and-dates with other Brooklyn houses, not playing exclusives in Brooklyn as it had for decades.

bigjoe59 on March 31, 2019 at 2:53 pm


before it closed in Sept. 1978 was it still showing films first run?

Queensgirl on July 6, 2015 at 8:48 pm

the memories…..My uncle and cousin worked at the Brooklyn fox and Albee,I spent teen years at the Valencia in Jamaica but my cousin got me passes to see murray the K at the fox

Cimarron on March 19, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Pic of 1920’s Projection Room added to Photo Section.

Androdworld on September 8, 2013 at 6:56 am

Brad Smith, you’re AWESOME! I wish I could visit (or had visited) one tenth of the theaters you have photos of. Thanks!

Ros_Fun on December 4, 2012 at 9:41 am

This has been closed for a long time, just like the Brooklyn Paramount, which was taken over by some College.

PercyCleebow CODENAME: STRIKER on October 1, 2011 at 12:43 am

This theater and me have a long but short history, Me and my Mom spent lots of Money we didn’t have here. I was so young I remember being carried into this theater as a child, seriously I was born in 1969 and remember seeing Return of the Dragon (1974) and had to be held up to see over the chair in front of me. (The photo was provided by the Brooklyn Public Library)“SORRY DIDN’T MEAN TO REMOVE THE PREVIOUS PHOTO” when I saw the posting I new I had to contribute that shot…

Bloop on April 27, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Warren G. Harris: I love that movie “The People Next Door” ! I’d love to hear more stories you may have. The INTERIOR of the suburban homes looked so realistic —that was a studio in NYC? I wish this movie would come out on DVD.

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on February 9, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Thank you for your good words, saps. It was my father George Mann who documented many of Barto and Mann’s appearances by taking photographs of the marquees where they appeared. Although most of the marquee photographs are more like snapshots, he was an accomplished photographer. You can see examples of his photography by clicking here clicking here.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 9, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Brad, you have an amazing collection of fascinating theater marquees. Thank goodness Barto and Mann so thoroughly documented their appearances.

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on February 9, 2011 at 1:06 pm

This photograph of the E.F. Albee Theatre was taken in 1927 by George Mann of the comedy dance team, Barto and Mann.

dave-bronx™ on February 1, 2011 at 9:40 am

That’s why I questioned the photo of the Albee I saw in the book – one theatre was Lamb and the other was the Rapp Bros. I worked at the Palace and am quite familiar with it. So while perusing the book I saw a photo and automatically assumed was the Palace until I read the caption that indicated it was the Albee.

dave-bronx™ on January 30, 2011 at 10:34 pm

The RKO Albee was long gone by the time I came to NY so I never got to see it. I saw a photo of the lobby and auditorium in the book “American Picture Palaces” by David Naylor, and It looks amazingly similar to the RKO Palace in Cleveland OH. I suspected it was a mistake in the captioning of the photo, but was never quite sure. I would like to ask the Albee Theatre aficionados here to check out the links below that contain photos of the Cleveland Palace, which has been restored and is open and operating as one unit of a performing arts center. After viewing the photos could you please report here if the lobby and auditorium are similar to your recollections of the Albee interiors? Thanks in advance for your opinions.

RKO PALACE – Cleveland Ohio:
Exterior (front and side):

View link
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To give proper credit, the photos were taken and links posted on the Palace page on this site by CT member ‘spectrum’ on Jul 9, 2009.

The CT page for the Palace Theatre Cleveland OH is at:

Redster57 on January 30, 2011 at 8:34 pm

In 1959 I worked for Bell Telephone Co. on Willoughby St. My girlfriends and I would go to the Albee on our Splitshift. I was the most beautiful Movie Theater. I would imagine getting married there. LOL We would also go to eat at Bickfords. Not so far from the Movie Theater. Anyone remember California Pie Co. on Degraw & 3rd Ave.?By the way I think The Albee should’ve been a landmark. We knock down the most beautiful building here in America, in the name of PROGRESS. Just my opinion.

GaryCohen on November 15, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Oh what a beautiful theater this was. The large chandelier, the plush carpeting. Of the 4 golden-age theaters in downtown Brooklyn, The Albee, The Paramount, The Brooklyn Fox and the Loews Metropolitan, the Albee was my favorite. They must have had distribution deals with American International since I saw several Vincent Price Poe films there: “Masque of the Red Death,” “Haunted Palace” as well as Vincent in “The Last Man on Earth.” Also numerous Universal films: Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” Brando and Niven in “Bedtime Story,” Sandra Dee in “I’d Rather Be Rich,"Tony Curtis in "Wild and Wonderful,” etc. I also saw Heston in “55 Days at Peking” and Richard Boone in “Rio Conchos” at this great theater. The first time I ever took the number 2 train alone, from my home in East New York, was to see Troy Donohue and Connie Stevens in “Palm Springs Weekend” at the Albee in 1963. During much of the early to mid-‘60s, my friends and I would go to the Albee or the Loews Met, then hit the record and book departments of Korvettes and A&S nearby. There was also a Howard Johnsons across the street. I remember eating there with my father and staring out the window at the Albee. (I believe it was showing Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine in “Irma La Douce.”)
I remember being Downtown Brooklyn in the early to mid-1970s and seeing that the Albee had degenerated into showing Kung-fu and Blaxploitation films. Very sad.
Not long afterward, they tore the Albee down and put up a rather poor mall. Now I’ve heard they they tore that down as well.
However the Albee, like so many other theaters of my childhood, lives on in my memory.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 29, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Accidents happen. Give a brother a break.