Kenmore Theatre

2101 Church Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11226

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RKO Kenmore Theatre exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened as the Keith-Albee Kenmore Theatre on 17th September 1928, this cavernous movie house later became the RKO Kenmore Theatre and was chopped up into four screens in the early-1970’s.

The Kenmore Theatre was a popular place for films like “Superman”, “Star Wars”, and “Flash Gordon”, and was renovated in the late-1980’s/early-1990’s.

Despite the work, the theater rapidly deteriorated and became the scene of a violent gang shooting in an argument over a seat.

The theatre was shuttered by the N.Y.P.D. in 1999 after a screening of “The Matrix” (or “Life”). It was put up for sale after a year of sitting dormant.

The interior is now completly gutted and the stores that bordered the theatre building have also been hollowed out. The theatre is now a Modell’s sports clothing store.

Contributed by John Chappell, Jamal Savage

Recent comments (view all 81 comments)

Bway on July 27, 2010 at 7:50 am

Does any ornamentation of the theater remain inside? I would like to visit the Models store to see the inside, but won’t bother if there’s nothing worth seeing inside.

Astyanax on July 27, 2010 at 1:08 pm

I happened to walk by the Kenmore site a couple of weeks ago. The temperature was soaring and I missed walking past a theater lobby and getting a blast of cold air. What a pity that the Flatbush movie palaces are all shuttered, although there is slim hope for the Loews Kings. The urban turmoil of the ‘70’s was a major contributor to the demise of these theaters and although it is easy to blame population shifts and major crime, we also have to consider the lack of product. Apart from the occasional Star Wars / Lady Sings the Blues / French Connection / James Bond movies, Hollywood (and the breakdown of the studio system) could not come up with enough product to consistently sustain these venues. The blax-sploitation flicks and the kung fu movies were sure to attract the very element that would want to act-out the violence and the mayhem represented on screen. With the increased availability and affordability of air conditioning and color TV, why go out. All in all, I could have dashed into Models for a quick respite from the blistering heat.

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on February 16, 2011 at 4:57 pm

This nighttime photograph of the Kenmore Theatre was taken in 1931 by George Mann of the comedy dance team, Barto and Mann.

PeteMarriott on April 1, 2012 at 7:53 am

I used to go to the RKO Kenmore as a child in the 70’s and 80’s. If I had Tens of millions of Dollars to spare I’d buy Modells out and rebuild the theater as a community landmark project. It’s sad it closed down the way it did but it’s even more sad what replaced it.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 20, 2012 at 6:52 pm

I always loved that style of letters on the this RKO theater. I first saw them when I was 10 while waiting outside a bank for my grandmother to complete her business. (Reflections in a Golden Eye was playing…I finally saw it years later, and oh, boy, would that have changed my life if I’d seen it at that tender age!!) It was love at first sight for those block letters. I think the Kenmore used them all the way to its closing, but I’m not sure.

Tinseltoes on August 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Two pages of photos from a 1928 trade journal start here: archive

Tinseltoes on December 4, 2012 at 9:00 am

Curiously, “Nearby Theaters” fails to mention Loew’s Kings, which opened a year later and was the RKO Kenmore’s top rival in Flatbush. And the CT listing for Loew’s Kings doesn’t list the Kenmore among nearby theaters. Figure!

LugosiResearch on December 29, 2012 at 6:35 pm

On Friday 23 February 1951, Bela “Dracula” Lugosi presented his in person Horror and Magic Stage show at RKO Kenmore. Currently I am conducting research on all things Lugosi; if anyone out there actually saw this show and/or has memorabilia (handbill, photos) related to this show, please contact Bill at Thanks in advance for any assistance! I already have an image of the full size poster for this show.

Tordini on April 29, 2013 at 1:12 am

it was that LUGOSI poster that sent me here!

Tinseltoes on April 29, 2013 at 11:35 am

I’ve posted two ads with the Lugosi show in the Kenmore’s Photos Section.

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