RKO Proctor's Twenty-Third Street Theatre

139 West 23rd Street,
New York, NY 10011

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Hdtv267: I do know that Proctor’s 23rd Street was not the same theater as Proctor’s Pleasure Palace/58th Street Theatre. I was just adding a gloss to Warren’s comment of May 22, 2008, noting that this was not the only Proctor house that was called the Bijou Dream for a while. Proctor’s 58th Street was still operating as the Bijou Dream as late as 1913.

hdtv267 on April 19, 2013 at 2:27 am

Thanks Joe, but I think you’re about 30 blocks off!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 18, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Proctor’s 58th Street Theatre, opened in 1895 as Proctor’s Pleasure Palace, was also called the Bijou Dream, according to Our Theatres To-day and Yesterday, by Ruth Crosby Dimmick, published in 1913.

CSWalczak on February 9, 2010 at 2:09 am

An old picture of the theater as Proctor’s Twenty-third Street:
View link

AlAlvarez on February 4, 2010 at 9:04 pm

The address for this theatre covered from 139 to 145 so Bijou Dream should be added as an aka name.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 12, 2009 at 9:15 am

The Bijou Dream theatre mentioned in comments above, was located at 145 W. 23rd Street in in American Motion Picture Directory 1914-1915.

AlAlvarez on November 12, 2009 at 7:50 am

Listed in the 1941 Film daily Yearbook as the BARCLAY.

robboehm on March 6, 2009 at 7:31 am

For many years into the seventies and eighties, the brass letter “Proctors” remainded imbedded in the sidewalk delineating the width of the original entrance.

AndyD on January 16, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Here’s an interesting souvenir from this theater from 1891:
View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 22, 2008 at 7:42 am

“Bijou Dream” seems to have been more of a concept than an actual re-naming of theatres. Its arrival at the 23rd Street Theatre turns up at the bottom of this January 1908 ad. “Bijou Dream” proved so popular that by summer, it had also been installed at Keith & Proctor’s Union Square, 58th Street, and Harlem Opera House. Programs changed three times per week, and included movies as well as “illustrated songs.” When “Bijou Dream” no longer proved a lure, the name was dropped, but movies continued to be shown, along with a resumption of vaudeville: View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 17, 2008 at 1:30 pm

Please see my post above of 9/1/06. Apparently it was called Bijou Dream from 1908 until 1911, when the name reverted to Proctor’s 23rd Street.

AlAlvarez on May 17, 2008 at 8:15 am

According to the NYT it did just that while the 14th Street location still ran Vaudeville. The article specific states “Keith & Proctors Twenty Third Street”.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 17, 2008 at 7:54 am

Bijou Dream must have been a storefront nickleodeon somewhere in the vicinity. In 1908, Keith & Proctor’s 23rd Street was one of the top vaudeville theatres in New York City. I can’t imagine it suddenly becoming a movie house called the Bijou Dream.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on August 11, 2007 at 10:04 am

This theatre is listed under New York City in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide. It’s listed as “Proctor’s Twenty-Third Street Theatre” with F.F. Proctor as Manager.
The seating capacity was 1,551; The proscenium opening was 32 feet wide X 42 feet high and the stage was 39 feet deep.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on August 9, 2007 at 10:35 am

The theatre is listed as “Keith & Proctor’s 23rd Street Theatre” in a roster (Nov. 1909) of theatres affiliated with “B.F. Keith International Circuit Theatrical Enterprises”. There is a reproduction of a program for the week of Oct. 30, 1905 in the book “Lillian Russell” by Armond Fields (McFarland 1999). The famed musical comedy and operetta queen Lillian Russell had a vaude act at the time in which she sang some of her “greatest hits” with a piano accompaniest. There were 10 vaude acts and she was the headliner with her name in large type. At the end of the program, which played twice a day, was a movie “The Boarding School Girls at Coney Island”. The program is headed “Proctor’s 23rd Street – All-Star Vaudeville”.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 8, 2006 at 8:38 am

This theatre definitely did re-open as the Barclay after the fire. Besides the FDYBs, I found it listed in the New York Directory of Motion Picture Theatres, but also closed by the 1941 edition. Its nearest cross street to 23rd Street was reported as Seventh Avenue.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 1, 2006 at 10:36 am

The clippings file for this theatre at the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center says that it first opened in 1883 as the Temple Theatre, and that F.F. Proctor re-named it when he took over in 1889. Also, according to the file, the theatre had the later names of Keith & Proctor’s 23rd Street (1906), Bijou Dream (1908), Proctor’s 23rd Street (1911-37). After the fire, it re-opened on October 18, 1938 as the Barclay, the file says. I can’t guarantee the accuracy of any of that information, which was hand printed on the outside of the folder by various librarians over the years. The file itself contains only some remnants of vaudeville programmes.

Paul Noble
Paul Noble on June 28, 2006 at 3:09 am

Proctor’s 23rd Street theater is mentioned in the Clifford Odets play “Awake and Sing!” Grandpa wistfully recalls seeing Nora Bayes perform there. (Nora Bayes is the vaudeville performer later portrayed by Ann Sheridan in WB’s musical “Shine On Harvest Moon.”)