1029 Brighton Beach Avenue,
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The 2,184-seat Oceana Theatre was opened on January 25, 1934 with Joan Crawford in “Dancing Lady”. It was operated by an independent exhibitor. By 1943 it was operated by Rugoff & Becker. In the 1950’s, it was taken over by the Century Theaters chain.
The Oceana Theatre was later divided into a 4-screen multiplex. What was interesting though is that the owners were so concerned about people going from picture to picture, that they made a “rats maze” in where you had to go through different doors to access each individual auditorium.
The candy counter upstairs and down was divided in half and each theatre even had its own rest rooms! However, this shrunk the lobby into a very small size.
Later, they took the backstage area, and added theatres 5 and 6 to the building. The backstage area used to have vaudeville-era clothes in boxes and other great old items plus the original stage was hidden behind the screens on the 1st floor.
Also, originally in multiplexes, all screens had to share a common projection booth due to union rules. At the Oceana Theatre the booth was in the back of the two downstairs theatres and the upstairs booth was accessed through a ladder which would go to the booth which was in the middle of the theatre upstairs.
They eventually got rid of the booth structure and moved the projection booth to the rear of the upper theatres after union rules were relaxed.
Known later on as the Atlantic Oceana, the theatre operated as a venue for Russian live dinner theatre, known as the Millennium Theatre. This closed in 2014, and in the summer of 2014, it was being converted into a Russian supermarket. It was reopened in 2016 as the 1,326-seat Master Theater.
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