Kingsway Theatre

946 Kings Highway,
Brooklyn, NY 11223

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Showing 1 - 25 of 113 comments

DJM78 on June 19, 2012 at 6:28 pm

GoBoy, Movieplace-Thanks for the info on the separate entrance. It’s a shame that almost all of these classic theaters are gone from Bklyn.

Tinseltoes on May 25, 2012 at 11:47 am

Here’s a vintage photo taken while the Kingsway Theatre was in the final phases of construction: brooklynpubliclibrary

Tinseltoes on May 21, 2012 at 8:21 am

Here’s a 1980s tax photo of the exterior: lunaimaging

Tinseltoes on May 16, 2012 at 6:59 am

Maurice Sendak, the revered children’s book author and illustrator who died last week, is remembered in the current New Yorker Magazine with an article that includes this direct quote about his youth: “I lived in Brooklyn. What else do you do in Brooklyn? You go to the movies, get away from the house, go to the Kingsway Theatre, which is just a block away from where you live. And you and your sister go to see every Merle Oberon, every Bette Davis— every movie. You just sit there and see them over and over and over again. And, when the Mickey Mouse cartoon shows in between, you go crazy. Mickey Mouse brought something out in me that even analysis couldn’t put back together again.”

Movieplace on March 5, 2012 at 9:04 am

To DJM78: That fifth theater with the separate entrance was the last theater to be carved out of the Kingsway which had been twinned then quaded. That fifth theater had to have been the stage once upon a time, given the way it was situated to the rest of the theater. If my memory serves and it has been over 20 years, the theater ran parallel to Coney Island Avenue but the fifth theater ran perpendicular to Coney Island Avenue. The old Strand on 47th street & Broadway had a similar conversion as the stage was used as a theater with a separate entrance on 47th Street.

robboehm on March 4, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Ed, click on the word photos at the top. There is a picture of the Kingsway as a chopped up function theatre.

Ed Miller
Ed Miller on March 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm

What a pity that there’s only this photo here of what once was the Kingsway. I have to cruise the net to see if I can find some vintage pics.

MikeP429 on March 1, 2012 at 10:53 am

Just stumbled across this site…awesome!! Saw many movies here during the 80s…Ghostbusters, Elm Street, Superman II and III. The best memory I have is standing outside the theater for 3 hours the day Return of the Jedi premiered…thankfully a nice, sunny, warm day in May of 1983. We stood outside debating if Han would be rescued from Jabba the Hutt, who this “other” Jedi was and whether or not Darth Vader really was Luke’s father. Although Jedi is now thought of the weakest of the original trilogy, I remember my friends and I walking out of there feeling great…we got all our questions answered!!

GoBoy on February 16, 2012 at 8:41 pm

DJM78: You are right.There was a seperate theater in the back,with the entrance on Coney Island Ave.The Kingsway was built with a large back stage area for live shows.After it was divided up into 4 theaters,they came up with the unique idea ,to gut out the stage area,and turn it into a theater.I saw a few movies there. It wasn’t bad.

DJM78 on January 8, 2012 at 10:12 pm

I worked for Cineplex Odeon for a few years. Correct me if I’m wrong but I remember the Kingsway had an auditorium that had it’s own separate entrance around the corner from the main lobby. Always thought that was odd. I’m sure the separate entrance was do to an engineering obstacle when the Kingsway was multiplexed.

Ianny on June 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Does anybody happen any of the Kingway from the 90’s or right before it closed? The comic shop I frequented for the early part of my childhood was attached to the Kingsway until around 1996 when it moved down the block.

PHILTK on February 27, 2011 at 11:34 am

I recall that they used to show some of big boxing matches (ali vs frazier)on closed circuit tv. they used to charge $30 a head which was an insane price back then and still sell out the place.

bmovies on August 25, 2010 at 4:54 am

The Kingsway definitely was a twin in 1979. I remember one time when I went to see a movie there in the upstairs theater. After the movie ended, us the audience filed out of the theater and as we went downstairs to the exits, a couple of guys (I think they were teenagers, I’m not sure. They could have been in their early 20s. I was 10 years old in 1979) emerged from our crowd on the stairs and immediately ducked into the theater that was playing Kramer vs. Kramer, a 1979 movie. For the life of me, I do not recall the movie I saw upstairs, but because Kramer vs Kramer was a drama about adults and divorce, I wasnt interested in seeing that movie (my own parents were divorced, but that wasnt the reason why I didnt want to see it). I didnt watch Kramer vs Kramer until many years later on tv.

Ed Miller
Ed Miller on May 26, 2010 at 8:58 pm

I agree with Gary C. above, I can’t believe that the Kingsway didn’t survive. The neighborhood, from what I hear, is still fine, so what’s the issue? Don’t people go to the movies anymore? I’ve read all the comments about the Kingsway being twinned, but the date of that happening varies with people’s memories. I’m sure it was NOT a twin when I saw “The Rose” there in 1979.

TLSLOEWS on March 13, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Very nice looking theatre from the outside.

GaryCohen on January 9, 2010 at 2:28 pm

I never thought this theater would go out of business, because the area is still stable. It is unbelievable how few theaters remain in Brooklyn. I remember this theater always being crowded with lines, unlike the Avalon theater (long gone) which was only around 5 or 6 blocks away on Kings Highway and never drew well. My fondest memory of the Kingsway was seeing “How the West Was Won” there, one of my favorite films, when it left Broadway and made it to the outer borough “showcase” theaters in 1963 or ‘64. My father attempted to take us to see “Thnderball” there in 1965 but we could not get in. (We saw it a the Rialto on Flatbush Avnue instead.) I never liked this theater much after they divided it into 5 theaters. The last thing I can remember seeing there was “Robocop” in 1987. As stated, I was very surprised that this theater went out since I always remember it doing very well.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 14, 2009 at 1:33 pm

The Kingsway also had a smaller marquee on another side of the building. RKO Century was just the name of the operating company. The theatre was now known as the RKO Century Kingsway as the result of a corporate merger:
View link

jflundy on March 19, 2009 at 12:34 pm

The Kingsway Theater at 946 Kings Highway was listed as a B.F. Keith’s Theater in the 1924 Brooklyn Eagle Almanac.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 27, 2009 at 7:20 am

Here’s the cover of a four-page programme for the week beginning Monday, June 6th, 1921. The films were: “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” June 6-7; “Made in Heaven,” June 8; “The Truth About Husbands,” June 9-10; and “Proxies,” June 11-12. Each feature was accompanied by a newsreel and short subjects, with “live” music provided throughout by the Kingsway Concert Orchestra, under the direction of Joseph Cacioppo. Matinees were held daily, with continous performances on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays. A special note in the programme said: “This theatre, with every seat occupied, can be emptied in less than 3 minutes. To avoid panic, choose the nearest exit now, and, in emergency, walk (do not run) to that exit."
View link

EcRocker on January 31, 2009 at 9:53 am

Ah yes you brought up the all mighty word here. “Stoops”. I wonder how many kids today would even know what they are. I recall many hours playing stoop ball, Stick ball and all other sorts of street games we no longer see today.

I was on another site in here earlier and someone posted a detailed list of movies that had played there from around 1970 till it closed in late 2007. What amazed me was this was a single screen 70MM theatre. How it went from first run films playing for weeks on end to 1 week.

Catch 22- 18 weeks
12/26/73 … THE EXORCIST (26 weeks)
12/05/84 … BEVERLY HILLS COP (16 weeks, Dolby Stereo)

I wonder if anyone has a listing of showings at the Kingsway prior to and after the spit ups.

Astyanax on January 31, 2009 at 8:17 am

Like you ECR, my kids grew up in the surrounding neighborhood and their fondest memories from the 80’s is “playing on the block”. In Midwood, the Century theaters including the Midwood, the Elm, the Nostrand, the Avalon, the Mayfair, along with the Kingsway, and the Kent (not a Century house) had a devoted following of kids and adults and were a safe destination within the immediate neighborhood. These theaters helped define the neighborhood and afforded residents the chance to come together.

It may be no accident that Crazy Eddie’s home entertainment empire started across the street from the Kingsway but as you point out the rise in technology has led to the closure of the above theaters except for the Kent. As a result movie viewing has become an isolative experience, separate from any audience interaction. Most playdates now involve indoor activities and most front yard (few remaining) activities or just hanging out on the stoop are no longer in evidence.

Movie going, as opposed to movie viewing, as a social phenommena no longer exists.

EcRocker on January 31, 2009 at 6:36 am

Hey B I empathize with you aboiut what has happened to the area. Between all the modern gadgets keeping kids in the house more then they were 30-40 years agao and all the junk added in the food we eat you wonder why we are becoming a nation of overweight people. I remember looking forward to getting together with friends on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and going to the local movie houses. Most of the times it wasn’t so much as what movie playing but more like how to pay for one on a student discount trying to sneak the rest of us in for free. In the single sreen theatres it wasa real no brainer because you didn’t have to guess which door you had to be at because any door got you in to the same show.

With all the modern gadgets it’s no wonder the movie houses are hurting. I just recently took on a subscription for Net-Flix. Why spend $10 to go out to see a flick when you know that the latest first runs will either be on DVD or On-Demand PPV within a few weeks to a few months after release. I don’t have a big screen HDTV but it sure looks and sounds good on my PC.

Most theatres still have matinees but you still get ripped off at the consession stands. Anyway who wants to watch a movie where a whole bunch of kids are sitting there texting all of their friens and the illumination of the cell phone screens.
Anywaysthe movies industy was always about making money but just like sports most of todays actors are being WAY over paid.

Todays kids are way better off then most of us were when we were kids. I wonder where some of us would be or doing if we had all this technology back then.

bmovies on January 30, 2009 at 7:22 pm

“Just to put an end to Brownstone limestone dispute. Lets just call it what it should be called. A ROW house.”

Sounds fair. I’ll accept that (maybe…I’ll mull it over with my attorneys) ;–) Sorry about all the confusion, but everyone, all the adults, around me at the time refered to it as a brownstone, and what does a little kid (and even as a grown adult) know about architecture? But I just dont like it when my memories are being trampled on and practically being called a liar by you know who about my own neigborhood. I mean, for goodness sakes, I lived there.

“All the private homes that used to have grassy front yards are gone or changed. Every home is built out to the sidewalk or have driveways where the green yards used to be.”

Yeah, using google street view, I can see that. :–) Although I lived around the corner on 12th street, I often came around to 13th for one reason or another (the synagogue is still there, but the old grocery store has been replaced with a beauty supply store). And you’re right. Where there were once front lawns/yards, are now driveways.

I’m not surprised about the homes being built out all the way to the sidewalk. I read an article about homes being built today. According to it, what with todays technology (cable tv, sattelite tv, tivo and DVD players, home computers, video games, etc), the homes of today have become more like community centers. Whereas homes used to be built primarily to provide shelter, evidently today theyre built more to provide room and comfort. So theyre going to make use of every inch of the property to build on.

I do wonder if the kids who today live around the areas of 12th and 13th streets, if they ever go out and play with their friends on the sidewalk or in each others backyard as often as we used to do, if at all. Like I pointed out before, what with all the new technology (cable tv, DVD players, home computers, video games, etc), kids today tend to stay indoors alot. Back in the 1970s, the only thing that I had to keep me indoors was a 25 inch color tv (no cable). I watched alot of stuff on tv, but other than that, I was playing outside in all sorts of weather (with the exception of rain).

EcRocker on January 30, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Just to put an end to Brownstone limestone dispute. Lets just call it what it should be called. A ROW house.

Oh no not Mrs Stahls. They were the last of a dying breed. I sometimes used to walk from where I lived in Luna Park on W 8st to get knishes. Could it be that they moved to another location? I seem to recall a while back that the property owner was looking to put another building in it’s place. I saw something on that Mrs Stahls may have been sold and turned in to a pizza place. The original owners must have been feeling the pinch of the area being overun by the russians. I lived in the Coney Island ,Brighton Beach area most of my life and it makes you wonder if you are going to need a passport to be there. he last time I was upp in the area in 2004 the Luna Park Housing Complex was about 95% Russian occupied including the current board of directors. Even the area where the former Kingsway was is a mix of Russian and Asian.

sausterlitz on January 30, 2009 at 10:50 am

I was just back in the old neighborhood after many years. The only word I can use to describe it is stifling! Wall to wall cars, people, houses & stores. I rode down my old block of E. 13th Street between Kings Highway & Avenue P and was so bothered. It had changed so much for the worst. All the private homes that used to have grassy front yards are gone or changed. Every home is built out to the sidewalk or have driveways where the green yards used to be. The quietness is gone and crowdedness is everywhere. Kings Highway has become a crowded bustling street of schlock shopping. I can’t imagine that I used to live there and liked it. I couldn’t even get out of my car to walk around. No parking anywhere! The old Kingsway Theatre is a Walgreens. Even my old favorite: Mrs. Stahls Knishes in Brighton Beach is gone for a SUBWAY shop! I guess the good old days really are the good old days.