RKO Orpheum Theatre

578 Fulton Street,
Brooklyn, NY 11217

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1911 post card view of the Orpheum Theatre in Brooklyn

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Orpheum Theatre opened by Percy Williams on December 31, 1900. It had a seating capacity of 1,809. In 1912 it was taken over by B.F. Keith-Albee chain, and they operated it until 1929. From 1929 until it closed on December 7, 1953, it was operated by RKO.

It was demolished and for several decades was an empty plot of land, used for parking. In 2013 a new building was being constructed on the site.

Contributed by Central de Libros Antiguos. Zaragoza (Spain)

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Orlando on March 1, 2004 at 7:57 pm

Up the block was the Montemartre (aka Momart) a small theatre which opened in 1927 at 590 Fulton Street. The Momart was opened by Warner Brothers and featured foreign films for its' 26 years as neighbor to the RKO Orpheum. This area of theatres came about in the early 1900’s as the turn of cenyury theatres of the 1860’s started to move away from Brooklyn Government Buildings now Cadman Plaza. The movie palaces where in the proximity of Flatbush & Fulton Streets. Brooklyn’s Times Square was just as impressive as New York’s. How 12 theatres in the area boasting over 40,000 seats survived the depression is just how important movies and theatres were a fabric
of society during the 1930’s and ‘40’s.

Orlando on March 1, 2004 at 8:00 pm

In addition to above, The Momart went down with the Orpheum 1n 1953-54. The Strand was out by 1958. The Majestic just kept on going.

philipgoldberg on March 29, 2004 at 2:03 am

The site is now a parking lot.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 1, 2007 at 9:58 pm

When the larger and posher E.F. Albee Theatre opened nearby in January, 1925, Keith-Albee switched the Orpheum to a so-called “combination house,” offering three shows per day of a feature movie and six acts of vaudeville. Programs changed twice a week. The opening bill had Harold Lloyd’s “Hot Water” on screen. Among the six vaudeville acts was a group called “Thirty Pink Toes."
Try to figure that one out.

jflundy on July 9, 2008 at 11:39 pm

Here is a photo with a Bill for the Orpheum on August 13, 1935.

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Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on October 31, 2008 at 4:12 pm

The Orpheum first opened to the public on New Year’s Eve (December 31), 1900, and was considered the most magnificent theatre built in Brooklyn up to that time. This illustration on the front cover of a programme shows one of the reasons why. The dazzling illuminations were a first for the new century. The Orpheum quickly became one of the most successful vaudeville houses in the entire USA. Many patrons purchased season subscriptions, and occupied the same seats with every program change: View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 1, 2008 at 3:36 pm

Here’s an ad for the Orpheum’s very first offering of “High Class Vaudeville.” Depending on how one measures history, December 31, 1900, was either the very last day of the 19th century or the last day of the first year of the 20th:
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Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 1, 2008 at 3:44 pm

Excerpted from a collage in the Brooklyn Eagle, this image shows the auditorium’s proscenium arch. The full collage of images follows that:
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Tinseltoes on May 2, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Portions of the Orpheum Theatre can be seen at the left of the elevated tracks in this vintage photo, and the Majestic Theatre to the right: View link 209

johndereszewski on November 14, 2010 at 5:00 am

This appears to be a 1905 photo of the Orpheum, when it was clearly one of Brooklyn’s most magnificant theaters. Enjoy – and also survey other puctures of Fulton St. in this attachment.

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