RKO Marble Hill Theatre

5625 Broadway,
Bronx, NY 10463

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zoetmb
zoetmb on December 30, 2010 at 9:35 pm

The theatre is just north of 231st and Broadway and is most certainly The Bronx, regardless of the name. I lived off of 238th street (also the Bronx) when I was a child and spent many a Saturday at the RKO Marble Hill and sometimes at the independent Dale theatre around the corner. The RKO was always much more fun although the Dale tended to play better films (my father took me to see Fantasia at the Dale around 1955).

I also remember the matron: in my time (early 1960s), there was one, white haired matron who wore a white uniform (looking somewhat like a nurse) and who always wanted me to sit in the “children’s section” even when I was forced to pay the adult ticket price. In the early 60’s, they ran a Saturday promotion which still included a double feature, cartoons, newsreels, etc. for the massive sum of 20 cents. In those days, it was considered safe enough to send little kids to the movies by themselves.

I remember seeing both “The Tingler” and “13 Ghosts” at the RKO Marble Hill. I remember being very disappointed that the seats were not wired for “The Tingler” as they were in first-run theatres to give patrons a little buzz whenever the Tingler “got loose”. But they did give out the blue and red viewers so you could choose to see or not see the ghosts in “13 Ghosts.” I think the hot dogs were 25 cents back then, which was considered quite expensive, but I ate many anyway. Around the corner, on the south side of 231st street just west of Broadway was a pizza place that sold gigantic slices of pizza for 15 cents. One slice was more than enough.

The Three Stooges may have made a live appearance there, but my memory on that is a bit fuzzy.

One negative back then is that smoking was still permitted and the theatre was always filled with smoke.

margeconradmckenna
margeconradmckenna on August 27, 2010 at 12:33 am

I remember the “matrons” (those scary ladies in white dresses) monitoring the kids on Saturday afternoons during the 1940’s. We could spend all Saturday afternoon at the Marble Hill … double feature … coming attractions … cartoons … the “chapters” … always a cliff hanger at the end to bring you back on the next Saturday .. and Movietone news ..all for about fifteen cents. Those were the days!
Margeconradmckenna

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on February 21, 2010 at 10:54 pm

This theatre was/is located in Manhattan, not The Bronx.

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AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on January 31, 2009 at 8:58 pm

From the NY Times, this odd explanation of why Marble Hill is really, sort of, Manhattan;

“The City of New York, as it was before 1899, became the borough of Manhattan. Its island boundaries have been changed many times by landfill as well as legislation. For example, when the bed of Spuyten Duyvil Creek was cut through a rocky bit of northern Manhattan to simplify navigation between the Hudson and East Rivers, the lost territory, known as Marble Hill, was joined physically by landfill to the Bronx. But legally, Marble Hill residents remain Manhattanites and vote in Manhattan, even though they have to cross Spuyten Duyvil Creek on the Broadway bridge to do so.”

BobFurmanek
BobFurmanek on February 23, 2006 at 10:37 am

To promote his new film “The Ladies Man,” Jerry Lewis appeared on stage at this theater on July 12, 1961.

gsteve
gsteve on February 5, 2005 at 1:02 pm

My wife Dorothy Calafati was the daughter of Salvatore Calafati. Salvatore emigrated to United States from Serra San Bruno, Calabria Italy, at the age of 16 (in circa 1900) and worked in the New Jersey area until about the age of 22. He then came to New York State and settled in the New Rochelle area. He passed his New York exams to be an architect and practiced his profession until he passed away in 1967. After the depression of the ‘30s , he settled in East Northport, New York and designed and built homes and buildings out on Long Island. He was the father of a boy and three girls and raised them in Westchester County until his wife (Charmela Martignetti) passed in the early ‘20s. Salvatore then married Mable Russell and raised a family of two girls and a son on Long Island. We have pictures of many homes that he designed in the New Rochelle area. Unfortunately, his original plans were lost shortly after his passing. Dorothy and I are interested in any information that develops from this noble effort to preserve his building. My Email address is

RobertR
RobertR on January 29, 2005 at 12:45 pm

From the looks of these pictures the balcony may still exist above the stores drop ceilings.

Divinity
Divinity on January 29, 2005 at 12:35 pm

Yes it is Valencia. Especially with those dropped ceilings.

GeorgeStrum
GeorgeStrum on January 28, 2005 at 7:40 pm

As a resident to the area I never knew the building during it’s glorious theatre days. Until recently the upper outside facade was clean until graffiti vandals attacked it this past fall. I go to the KFC, the Chinese take out and the 99cent store and try to imagine what it might have been like, but that’s very hard to do.

Divinity
Divinity on December 22, 2004 at 11:50 pm

The theatre is a few blocks north of the Manhattan border in Kingsbridge which is located in the north west section of The Bronx. Being that the theatre bears the name Marble Hill it is confusing to some. Some may even claim that this is in the south east section of Riverdale (also part of The Bronx). Officially speaking, the theatre is located in the Bronx.

charliek
charliek on September 12, 2004 at 2:04 pm

To view recent pics of this old theatre building, click here:
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philipgoldberg
philipgoldberg on November 13, 2002 at 1:37 pm

This Bronx house was part of the RKO Chain.