Kenmore Theatre

2101 Church Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11226

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Cineplex Odeon, Keith-Albee, RKO

Architects: Eugene DeRosa

Functions: Retail

Previous Names: Keith-Albee Kenmore Theatre, B.F. Keith's Kenmore Theatre, RKO Kenmore Theatre

Nearby Theaters

RKO Kenmore Theatre exterior

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 mid-1978.

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 75 comments)

Moose on May 29, 2015 at 10:38 am

I worked here for several week in the fall of 1967. Hired by to be a theatre manager. The Kenmore was a beautiful theatre. What I remember most is the movie “Privilege” being shown and a couple asking for a refund, and I accommodated them as they had just recently arrived. Privilege is definitely an unique movie that can be viewed on You Tube.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 30, 2015 at 8:27 pm

British art film “PRIVILEGE” played at the Kenmore?

shorty11 on July 27, 2015 at 2:42 am

moose i was a kid at the capitol and we were there every saturday , there was a movie dont think it was a karate movie , yet i can recall there were women who wore chastity belts and they would expolde if a man tried to remove them by any chance do you remember the title of that movie , had to be about 77 or 78

jinchelsea on October 4, 2015 at 8:38 am

I was an usher, relief cashier and doorman, and eventually a phone receptionist in the mid-1960s. A fascinating building, still holding all the backstage stuff and dressing rooms all over the theatre for when it had been a vaudeville house earlier in the century. You always knew where the local cops were if there was a problem; the cops had their own “cards and beer” room in an old dressing room at the top of the theatre, where they hung out every day.

Being an old theatre, nothing was automatic, including the screen and the curtain, and as an usher, we had to close the curtain after each film (we were still in the days of double features) and actually adjust the size of the screen for widescreen (Panavision had pretty much replaced Cinemascope by then, but same idea) and the old 4:3 size. The old vaudeville signs on each side of the stage, which had been used to announce each act, were still visible but no longer in use. Some times I would be on the pay phone talking to a friend on the mezzanine level, and would forget to open the curtain or adjust the screen when the film began!

As an usher, mostly in the balcony, I had to make sure that two customers were NOT sitting in one seat, and when they were, I had to quietly go up to them with my flashlight and ask them to stop (lol, as if) and it was not unusual to find used condoms and wrappers on the floor! And yes, we sold separate loge tickets upstairs on Saturday nights, and I’m not too sure that the extra 25 cents always made its way down to the office…

Finally I was promoted to a “desk job,” where I spent the time answering the phone (Good evening, RKO Kenmore, may I help you?). By this point in time, autoanswerers were already in fashion, so people were surprised to hear a human voice on the line. Most were appropriate calls, some cranks or kid pranks or heavy breathers, and some people called every day because they were lonely. I was also given the chance to rifle through the file drawers, loaded with posters and stills from earlier films, when theatres actually used “ballyhoo” or in-house advertising and made up their own signs and posters from the ad materials provided by the distributor. This was how I really started my career as a poster collector, which has grown to over 5,000 posters, but that’s another story…

czall on January 14, 2016 at 8:17 am

I am looking for any and all pics of this theater from a front view from the 30-60’s. My mom’s family had a store above called Kenmore Weavers and I would like to see if I can find a pic of it Thanks for any help anyone can provide

Astyanax on January 17, 2016 at 9:26 am

Lived briefly in the area and saw Lady Sings the Blues in its showcase run. Regretfully, didn’t have a chance to admire the sumptuousness of the theatre, not realizing that it would be my one and only visit.

HomecrestGuy on December 10, 2018 at 4:25 am

I just added a 1941 photo of the Kenmore to the gallery, it’s showing an earlier E. Flynn film, Dive Bomber. The picture is a NYC Tax Photo.

bigjoe59 on March 31, 2019 at 3:00 pm


is the comment “the theater rapidly deteriorated” after the late80s/early90s renovations referring to the physical condition of the theater or the to be frank the quality of the patrons?

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on October 8, 2019 at 5:55 am

The RKO Kenmore and Loew’s Kings were always considered the two leading cinemas in Flatbush, but the Kenmore is listed here as located in Prospect Park South. And why isn’t the Kings listed as a “nearby” theatre? It was certainly closer to the Kenmore than the Savoy.

robboehm on October 8, 2019 at 6:56 am

Comfortably cool. As I remarked on another theater site, the Nearby feature of CT is far from reliable and there is no point in questioning it.

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