RKO Keith's Theatre

619 15th Street NW,
Washington, DC 20005

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CharlieCoates
CharlieCoates on July 22, 2013 at 10:19 am

The first film I saw at Keith’s was THE LONG GREY LINE in 1955. The last was THE ORGANIZATION in 1971. In between were a lot of good flicks (MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, GOLDFINGER, THUNDERBALL and so on. By the early 70’s many of the old stand-by downtown theatres had either closed (Capitol, Metropolitan,) or turned to porn (Playhouse, Trans-Lux, Warner(!)) before closing. In my Army days in the city, I would catch my bus in front of Treasury on 15th Street across the street from Keith’s. I would walk up Pennsylvania Avenue past the Willard Hotel, which, at that time, was in full decline (as was 14th Street) and boarded up. Happily the Willard has come back.

Keith’s is, alas, gone. The space is now occupied by the Old Ebbitt Grill. Could have turned out worse.

gill
gill on March 2, 2013 at 11:18 am

There is an excellent 1928 photo of the Keith’s on the Historic-Memphis.com website’s Theatre page. Here’s a link to the page.

Bruce Calvert
Bruce Calvert on October 23, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Even when this was a vaudeville theater in the early 1900s, there were still early movies on the program. The Silent Film Still Archive has two programs from 1907 and from 1908 showing Vitagraph actuality films on the program.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 11, 2012 at 10:16 am

Modernization described in this 1955 trade article: boxoffice

dickneeds111
dickneeds111 on November 22, 2011 at 9:04 pm

The keiths was home to all James Bond movies. I hated this theatre for movies. The projrction booth was so high that it projected an very bad Keystone effect.

sconnell1
sconnell1 on December 23, 2009 at 2:33 pm

I saw my first movie at RKO Keith’s sometime betwen April 14th and April 27th of 1954. The film was the re-issue of PINOCCHIO (1940).

Other films I saw at Keith’s were:

SAMSON AND DELILAH/ULYSSES (re-issuses) (on 10/31/59) BIDMAN OF ALCATRAZ (7/62)(with my then girlfriend Peggy Harris), TARAS BULBA, KINGS OF THE SUN, THE PINK PANTHER, FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE (5/23/64), GOLDFINGER, HELP!, THUNDERBALL, BOY DID I GET A WRONG NUMBER, RETURN OF THE SEVEN, HOW TO SUCEED IN BUINESS, THE ALAMO (1967 re-release), FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, EIGHT ON THE LAM, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (9/2/67), HOUR OF THE GUN, THE SCALPHUNTERS, THE DEVIL’S BRIGADE, YOURS MINE AND HOURS, THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR, WEST SIDE STORY (re-release), GUNS OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, MIDNIGHT COWBOY (with my friend Joyce Khosrofian), COTTON COMES TO HARLEM, CANNON FOR CORDOVA, and DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER on 1/16/72) (with University of Maryland classmate Jamie Drago) (the last film I saw in D.C. before I left for California).

Most of these films I saw were at Saturday matinees beause the admissions were cheaper.

James Bond aficionados will probably noticed that I did not see DR. NO or ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE at Keith’s. I saw DR. NO at Warner theater in West Chester, PA on 6/22/63. Didn’t think I’d like George Lazenby as James Bond, so I skipped it.

Ron3853
Ron3853 on January 26, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Listed below are the final films to play at the Keith’s.

06/22/77 Tentacles/Food of the Gods
06/29/77 Silver Streak/Cooley High
07/06/77 The Last House on the Left, Part II
07/13/77 Orca
08/10/77 Big Time
08/31/77 Big Time/Pipe Dreams
09/07/77 The School That Couldn’t Scream
09/14/77 The Mack
10/05/77 The Mack/Bucktown
10/12/77 Axe/The Child
10/19/77 Damnation Alley
11/16/77 Coffy/J. D.’s Revenge
11/30/77 Saga of Dracula/Vengeance of the Zombies
12/07/77 Three the Hard Way/The Dragon Dies Hard
12/14/77 The Story of O
12/21/77 The Gauntlet
02/01/78 Mr. Mean
02/08/78 Mr. Mean/Candy Tangerine Man
02/15/78 Friday Foster/Foxy Brown/Sheba, Baby

This last triple bill of AIP-Pam Grier was the final booking at the Keith’s Theater. It played two weeks, and beginning the week of March 1, 1978, the theater was DARK.

kmnoske
kmnoske on January 8, 2008 at 11:57 am

My father, Charles Noske, was a manager at Keith’s in DC in the 30s and 40s until he enlisted. He loved working there and used to tell me stories of the ushers, the candy girls, the movies and the stars who came to opening night premieres. He met the likes of Fred and Ginger, Raymond Massey (whom he declared a “regular guy”), and Frank Sinatra (who he says played poker pretty well). I have been looking for more information on this movie house (as he called them) for years. What a find! Thanks to all of you for sharing your pictures and thoughts. Charlie’s daughter, Karen

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 1, 2007 at 7:29 am

A Wurlitzer theater organ opus 1851 style H NP was installed in Keith’s Theater on 2/27/1928. Status: sold.

Ron3853
Ron3853 on August 24, 2007 at 10:09 am

I believe that RKO operated the Keith’s Theater until the late 1960s when it was merged with the Stanley-Warner circuit, whose theaters included the Avalon, Uptown, and Warner, among others.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 24, 2007 at 9:47 am

In 1956, RKO Theatres sold Keith’s Theatre and the adjoining Albee Building to Washington real estate tycoon Morris Cafritz for $1.55 million, according to a report in The New York Times of 12/28/56. As part of the deal, RKO leased back the theatre for a term of five years, with options to renew after that. I don’t know if RKO was the final leaseholder or not. Someone could have taken over after RKO.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 5, 2007 at 1:30 pm

Added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1978

Chase’s Theater and Riggs Building ** (added 1978 – Building – #78003053)
Also known as Keith’s Theater and Albee Building
1426 G St. NW. and 615—627 15th St. NW., Washington
Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering, Event
Architect, builder, or engineer: De Sibour,Jules Henri
Architectural Style: Beaux Arts
Area of Significance: Performing Arts, Architecture
Period of Significance: 1900-1924
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Commerce/Trade, Recreation And Culture
Historic Sub-function: Business, Theater
Current Function: Commerce/Trade, Recreation And Culture
Current Sub-function: Business, Theater

rlvjr
rlvjr on July 4, 2006 at 6:57 pm

Let me politely say that the Kennedy Center doesn’t hold a candle to Washington’s long lost movie palaces such as Keith’s, Loew’s Capitol, Loew’s Palace, Loew’s Culumbia or the Metropolitan and Warner. Don’t take my word for it, visit the stunningly beautiful Warner Theatre, either for real (it survives with prosperity) or by looking at photos on Cinema Treasures. The Crown Jewel was Loew’s Capitol, the theatre that kept the tradition of movie + stage show until the CinemaScope era. The Metropolitan Opera played Loew’s Capitol two days a year, as did big-name ballet. Now that such things play the Kennedy Opera House I frequently say the Ken Cen is like a tar paper shack compared to Washington’s once-great Loew’s Capitol. The thing is that the Capitol was built as the FOX and such FOX survivors as the Fox Atlanta, Fox St. Louis and Fox Detroit are called “The Fabulous Fox.” Fabulous! What an understatement to describe such places.

tomasej
tomasej on April 13, 2006 at 9:31 am

This was one of several theaters in downtown D.C. all within walking distance from each other which would have made a truly remarkable “Kennedy Center”! This theater had two balconies in the same horseshoe shape as the orchestra, and from the last row one could look down the rows of seats to a clear view of the stage with no obstructions from man or material. Renovations to this and other theaters would have been a lot less than all the money spent on building the Kennedy Center, not to mention subsequent repairs (due to faulty construction!) and later renovations.

Ron3853
Ron3853 on February 21, 2006 at 3:07 pm

Here is another batch of Films that played at the Keith’s Theater, picking up from where my previous post left off:

01/01/72 Diamonds are Forever
02/16/72 Mark of the Devil
03/15/72 Shaft/The Split
03/29/72 Cool Breeze
04/26/72 Bigfoot
05/03/72 Chato’s Land
05/24/72 The Legend of Nigger Charley
06/28/72 Duck, You Sucker
07/19/72 Dr. No/From Russia, With Love/Goldfinger
07/26/72 Blacula
08/23/72 The Magnificent Seven Ride
08/30/72 The Return of Sabata
09/06/72 Twitch of the Death Nerve
09/20/72 Melinda
10/18/72 Hammer
11/01/72 Hickey and Boggs
11/08/72 The Mechanic
11/22/72 Ulzana’s Raid
11/29/72 Daughters of Satan/Superbeast
12/06/72 Born Black
12/13/72 Across 110th Street
02/14/73 Shaft/Shaft’s Big Score
02/21/73 Wattstax
04/18/73 Scorpio
05/02/73 Deep Thrust
05/16/73 Coffy
06/20/73 Karado: The Hong Kong Cat
06/27/73 Live and Let Die
08/08/73 Scream, Blacula, Scream
08/29/73 I Escaped from Devil’s Island
09/26/73 The Outside Man
10/03/73 The Spook Who Sat by the Door
11/07/73 The Black Six
11/21/73 Coffy/The Mack
12/12/73 Embassy
12/19/73 That Man Bolt
01/09/74 Black Girl/Across 110th Street
01/16/74 The Dragon’s Vengeance
01/30/74 Five on the Black Hand Side
03/13/74 Busting
03/27/74 The Street Gangs of Hong Kong
04/03/74 Theater of Blood
04/10/74 The Super Cops
04/24/74 Africa Uncensored
05/08/74 The Dynamite Brothers
05/22/74 The Spikes Gang
05/29/74 The Spook Who Sat by the Door
06/05/74 Fists of Fury/ The Chinese Connection/Enter the Dragon
06/19/74 Mr. Majestyk
07/03/74 Thunderbolt and Lightfoot
07/31/74 The Black Godfather
08/14/74 The Return of the Dragon
08/28/74 Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
09/11/74 Amazing Grace
10/09/74 Honey Baby, Honey Baby
10/16/74 Cool Breeze/Melinda
10/23/74 The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3
11/13/74 The House on Skull Mountain
11/20/74 Kato & the Green Hornet
12/04/74 Five on the Black Hand Side/Hickey and Boggs
12/11/74 Uptown Saturday Night/Cleopatra Jones
12/18/74 The Man With the Golden Gun
01/15/75 Black Starlet
01/29/75 Shanghai Lil/Man of Iron
02/05/75 Coffy/The Mack
02/12/75 Bogard
03/05/75 Report to the Commissioner
03/19/75 Shoot it Black, Shoot it Blue
03/26/75 The Black Gestapo
04/02/75 Twilight People
04/09/75 Enter the Dragon/The Chinese Professionals
04/16/75 Karate One by One/Top of the Heap
04/23/75 Womens' Cell Block 7/A Town Called Hell
04/30/75 Man of the East
05/07/75 Moonrunners/Charley One-Eye
05/14/75 The Exorcist
05/21/75 Mandingo
07/02/75 The Wilby Conspiracy
07/23/75 Take a Hard Ride
08/06/75 The Devil’s Rain
08/13/75 The Chinese Connection/Fists of Fury
08/20/75 Power Kill
09/03/75 The Exorcist
09/10/75 The Street Fighter/Return of the Street Fighter
09/17/75 The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3
09/24/75 Return of the Dragon/Kato & the Green Hornet
10/01/75 Skill, Brains, and Guts/Ali-Frazier Fight
10/08/75 The Return of the Panther/Dragon Squad
10/22/75 Truck Turner/Book of Numbers
10/29/75 Massacre, Mafia Style/Voodoo Heartbeat
11/05/75 Sisters/Coffy
11/12/75 Thou Shalt Not Kill/Savage Sisters
11/19/75 No Way Out/Together Brothers
11/26/75 Mean Johnny Barrows
12/10/75 Call Him Mr. Shatter/The Four Deuces
12/17/75 The Killer Elite
01/21/76 Psychic Killer
01/28/76 Beyond the Door/Abby
02/11/76 Goodbye, Bruce Lee
03/03/76 (call theater for title!)
03/17/76 Deadly Hero
03/24/76 Super Dragon/Dragon Squad
03/31/76 The Premonition
04/07/76 Sparkle
05/05/76 Hot Potato/Enter the Dragon
05/12/76 Grizzly
05/26/76 Dolemite/Boss Nigger
06/09/76 The Exorcist
06/23/76 Black Christmas
06/30/76 Mahogany/Lady Sings the Blues
07/21/76 Velvet Smooth
07/28/76 The Super Weapon
08/04/76 House of Exorcism
08/11/76 St. Ives/Thomasine and Bushrod
08/18/76 Infra-Man/Together Brothers
08/25/76 Super Dragon/Three the Hard Way
09/01/76 HOUSE DARK
11/03/76 Shout at the Devil
11/17/76 Get Mean
11/24/76 Twitch of the Death Nerve
12/01/76 The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio
12/15/76 Fritz the Cat/9 Lives of Fritz the Cat/Heavy Traffic
12/22/76 Exit the Dragon, Enter the Tiger
01/19/77 Executive Action
01/26/77 The Town That Dreaded Sundown
02/09/77 Madam Kitty
03/02/77 Death Collector
03/16/77 The House by the Lake
03/30/77 The Enforcer/Hustle
04/06/77 Black Samurai
04/20/77 Car Wash/Super Fly
04/27/77 Uncle Tom’s Cabin
05/18/77 Cross of Iron
06/01/77 Le Grande Bourgeoisie
06/08/77 Mandingo/Drum
06/15/77 Tentacles

My research ends here. The Keith’s Theater went on for about another year, then shuttered forever. Most of its last years were just a melange of blaxploitation, kung fu, and horror films—some were brought back over and over in double bills. The house was still the city’s outlet (playing day-and-date with a number of houses in the suburbs) for UA action-type releases, including the James bond series, but the rest of UA’s films mostly played the Avalon on upper Connecticut Avenue.

I had lunch in the place the other week – it’s now the Old Ebbetts Grill, and I wish it well…still, I wish I’d been there once in my life to see a film on its screen. Maybe July 1965, when my favorite spy film, “Masquerade” with Cliff Robertson & Jack Hawkins graced it’s screen. Oh well, that’s what dreams are for.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 20, 2005 at 10:16 am

Vintage photo of the Keith’s Theater in Washington, DC can be seen here.

rlvjr
rlvjr on July 12, 2005 at 12:43 pm

WALT DISNEY! This was the place where WALT DISNEY’S pictures had their first runs, along with the best of RKO, Universal and later United Artists. KEITH’S had two balconies and all seats had good view of the stage or screen. Study the above list and you’ll see the decline in film quality following the Martin Luther King Riots when vandals burned and looted downtown Washington as police were ordered to keep hands off. That killed first runs eventually, and our beautiful downtown theaters died, as people feared and resented the lawlessness and those who excused it. When THUNDERBALL played here UA also booked it into the PIKE in the suburbs. The success of the suburban booking helped end downtown first runs. President Kennedy supposedly sneaked off-the-job and came here for DR. NO, again for FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. More importantly, I took Sally here for OLD YELLER.

HarryWelsh
HarryWelsh on July 27, 2004 at 9:39 am

Ron3853, thanks for that listing of films that played the Keith. I saw a number of those UA films there. I worked a few summers in the late 50s and early 60s as a waiter at the old HOT SHOPPES, and would take in a movie on my day off. The Keith was my favorite theatre, maybe because the UA pictures were pretty good too then.

Falkenberg2001
Falkenberg2001 on April 24, 2004 at 10:36 am

I saw this theatre for the first time when there was a huge picture of Shirley Eaton on the top of it advertising Goldfinger. Being all of 11 or so it was mindboggling…

George Senda
Concord, Ca

Ron3853
Ron3853 on March 28, 2004 at 1:39 pm

Part of the history of a motion picture theater is the movies that were shown there. Listed below are the films which played at the Keith’s Theater in Washington, DC from 1957-1971. Due to the extreme number of bookings, the films from 1972 through the end of the theater’s days will be provided in a second posting. Research is from microfilms of The Washington Post and Variety.
11/27/57 My Man Godfrey (2nd week)
12/04/57 Monolith Monster/Love Slave
12/11/57 Land Unknown/Slim Carter
12/18/57 The Sad Sack
01/01/58 The Tarnished Angels
01/15/58 All Mine to Give
01/22/58 Old Yeller
02/26/58 Paths of Glory
03/19/58 Missouri Traveler
03/26/58 Day of the Bad Man/Damn Citizen!
04/02/58 Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs
04/16/58 Run Silent, Run Deep
05/21/58 God’s Little Acre
06/11/58 Peter Pan
06/25/58 Horror of Dracula/The Thing That Couldn’t Die
07/02/58 The Vikings
08/27/58 Raw Wind in Eden
09/03/58 Adam and Eve
09/10/58 Me and the Colonel
10/08/58 The Defiant Ones
10/29/58 Man of the West
11/12/58 Gigi
12/17/58 The Buccaneer
01/14/59 The Geisha Boy
01/28/59 The Perfect Furlough
02/11/59 I Want to Live!
03/18/59 Tempest
04/01/59 Imitation of Life
05/13/59 Thunder in the Sun
05/27/59 Pork Chop Hill
06/10/59 Shake Hands With the Devil
06/24/59 The Horse Soldiers
08/05/59 Darby O'Gill and the Little People
09/02/59 The Devil’s Disciple
09/30/59 Ten Seconds to Hell
10/07/59 The Wonderful Country
10/14/59 But Not for Me
10/28/59 Samson and Delilah
11/11/59 Odds Against Tomorrow
11/25/59 Third Man on the Mountain/Dumbo
12/16/59 On the Beach
02/17/60 Who Was That Lady?
04/06/60 The Unforgiven
05/11/60 The Gallant Hours
06/01/60 Sergeant Rutledge
06/08/60 Battle Cry/Sayonara
06/15/60 The Apartment
08/17/60 Elmer Gantry
09/28/60 Night Fighters
10/05/60 Studs Lonigan
10/12/60 The Magnificent Seven
11/09/60 Inherit the Wind
12/21/60 The Facts of Life
02/01/61 The Misfits
03/15/61 Operation Eichmann
03/29/61 The Hoodlum Priest
04/19/61 The Secret Ways
04/26/61 Portrait of a Mobster
05/03/61 Indiscreet/Mister Roberts
05/10/61 Curse of the Werewolf/Shadow of the Cat
05/17/61 Revolt of the Slaves
05/24/61 The Young Savages
06/14/61 The Last Time I Saw Archie
07/12/61 By Love Possessed
08/09/61 Goodbye Again
09/13/61 The Young Doctors
09/27/61 Paris Blues
10/11/61 The Great War
10/18/61 On the Beach
10/25/61 Town Without Pity
11/15/61 Bend of the River/The World in Arms
11/22/61 X-15
12/06/61 The Big Country/A Hole in the Head
12/13/61 Written on the Wind/The Perfect Furlough
12/20/61 Pocketful of Miracles
01/17/62 The Happy Thieves
01/31/62 The Misfits/The Megnificent Seven
02/07/62 Sergeants 3
03/14/62 The Children’s Hour
04/18/62 Cape Fear
05/16/62 Follow That Dream
06/06/62 Geronimo
06/20/62 The Road to Hong Kong
07/11/62 Birdman of Alcatraz
08/08/62 Jack the Giant Killer
08/15/62 Kid Galahad
08/29/62 The Scarface Mob
09/12/62 The Valiant
09/19/62 War Hunt/Sword of the Conqueror
09/26/62 Pressure Point
10/10/62 The Horror Camber of Dr. Faustus/The Manster
10/17/62 Hero’s Island/Something Wild
10/24/62 Tower of London/The Vampire & the Ballerina
10/31/62 The Manchurian Candidate
12/19/62 Taras Bulba
01/30/63 The Raven
02/13/63 No Exit
02/20/63 Five Miles to Midnight
03/13/63 Love is a Ball
03/27/63 Come September/Lover Come Back
04/03/63 I Could Go on Singing
04/17/63 Diary of a Madman/Amazons of Rome
04/24/63 The Apartment/The Misfits
05/01/63 Judgement at Nuremberg
05/08/63 The Mind Benders
05/22/63 Dr. No
06/19/63 Call Me Bwana
07/03/63 The Great Escape
08/21/63 Toys in the Attic
09/11/63 The Caretakers
10/02/63 Johnny Cool
10/16/63 Stolen Hours
10/30/63 Lilies of the Field
11/20/63 McLintock!
12/18/63 Kings of the Sun
01/22/64 Soldier in the Rain
02/12/64 Man in the Middle
02/26/64 One Man’s Way
03/11/64 West Side Story
03/18/64 The Pink Panther
05/20/64 From Russia, With Love
07/01/64 633 Squadron
07/22/64 For Those Who Think Young
08/05/64 Flight From Ashiya
08/12/64 A Hard Day’s Night
08/26/64 The Seventh Dawn
09/09/64 Woman of Straw
10/07/64 Four Days in November
10/14/64 The Secret Invasion
10/28/64 Invitation to a Gunfighter
11/11/64 Tom Jones
11/25/64 Kitten With a Whip
12/23/64 Goldfinger
04/07/65 The Train
06/30/65 I’ll Take Sweden
07/14/65 Masquerade
07/28/65 The Glory Guys
08/11/65 Help!
09/01/65 Billie
09/15/65 Never on Sunday/Topkapi
10/06/65 A Rage to Live
10/20/65 The World of Henry Orient/The Facts of Life
10/27/65 It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
11/03/65 Return From the Ashes
11/24/65 The Hallelujah Trail
12/08/65 A Hard Day’s Night/Help!
12/22/65 Thunderball
05/18/66 Duel at Diablo
07/06/66 Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number
08/24/66 What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?
09/28/66 Ambush Bay
10/05/66 Goldfinger/Dr. No
10/26/66 Return of the Seven
11/16/66 The Fortune Cookie
12/07/66 A Man Called Adam
12/21/66 After the Fox
01/25/67 A Fistful of Dollars
03/08/67 How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
04/26/67 The Alamo
05/10/67 For a Few Dollars More
05/31/67 8 on the Lam
06/21/67 You Only Live Twice
08/30/67 In the Heat of the Night
11/01/67 Beach Red
11/15/67 Hour of the Gun
11/22/67 Operation Kid Brother
11/29/67 Kill a Dragon/Navajo Joe
12/06/67 The Magnificent Seven/Return of the Seven
12/20/67 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
02/14/68 The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz
02/21/68 The Billion Dollar Brain
03/06/08 Attack on the Iron Coast/Danger Route
03/13/68 Guns for San Sebastian
04/03/68 The Scalphunters
05/01/68 Yours, Mine, and Ours
05/29/68 The Devil’s Brigade
06/26/68 The Thomas Crown Affair
08/28/68 Hang ‘Em High
10/02/68 Salt and Pepper
10/23/68 The Ugly Ones
10/30/68 From Russia, With Love/Thunderball
11/20/68 West Side Story
12/18/68 The Night They Raided Minsky's
01/15/69 Play Dirty
02/05/69 Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell
02/19/69 They Came to Rob Las Vegas
03/05/69 Rachel, Rachel/The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
03/19/69 Sam Whiskey
03/26/69 Goldfinger/Dr. No
04/02/69 Support Your Local Sheriff
05/07/69 A Fistful of Dollars/For a Few Dollars More
05/28/69 Where It’s At
06/04/69 Guns of the Magnificent Seven
06/18/69 Uncle Tom’s Cabin
07/02/69 The Bridge at Remagen
07/16/69 Death Rides a Horse
07/30/69 Midnight Cowboy
11/12/69 Hang 'Em High/The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
11/26/69 The Battle of Britain
12/17/69 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
02/11/70 Female Animal
03/04/70 What Do You Say to a Naked Lady?
03/25/70 Halls of Anger
04/15/70 The Mercenary
04/22/70 Skullduggery
04/29/70 Midnight Cowboy/Alice’s Restaurant
05/13/70 A Long Ride from Hell/The Last Grenade
05/20/70 Barquero
06/03/70 One More Time
06/10/70 Cotton Comes to Harlem
08/12/70 They Call Me Mister Tibbs
09/16/70 (4) Clint Eastwood Westerns
09/23/70 Hornet’s Nest
09/30/70 Underground
10/07/70 Sabata
10/21/70 Cannon for Cordoba
10/28/70 West Side Story
11/04/70 a. k. a. Cassius Clay/In the Heat of the Night
11/18/70 Witchcraft '70
11/25/70 The McKenzie Break
12/09/70 Kama Sutra
12/23/70 You Only Live Twice/Thunderball
01/27/71 Burn!
02/17/71 Dorian Gray
02/24/71 Midnight Cowboy
03/03/71 Airport
03/10/71 Frazier vs. Ali
03/24/71 Raid on Rommel
05/05/71 The Beguiled
05/19/71 Cotton Comes to Harlem/They Call Me Mister Tibbs
06/09/71 What’s the Matter With Helen?
06/23/71 Today We Kill, Tomorrow We Die
06/30/71 The Grissom Gang
07/14/71 Lawman
08/11/71 Von Richthofen and Brown
08/18/71 Adios, Sabata
09/15/71 Doc
10/06/71 Black Jesus
10/13/71 They Call Me Trinity
10/27/71 Play Misty for Me
11/10/71 The Organization
12/22/71 Diamonds are Forever

For most of this period the Keith’s was the premiere showcase for United Artists' new releases, back in an era when new films premiered at one theater. In 1968, after the rioting following the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Washington’s downtown theaters began to lose their hold on the first-run openings, and United Artists began to split its films between the Keith’s and the Avalon, with the Keith’s getting the obviously action-oriented films (war films and westerns) and those dealing with black themes.

hinrichsscott
hinrichsscott on March 17, 2004 at 12:23 pm

I saw one of my first movies there without my parents. I was with Ricky Evans and we had taken the T-2 bus in from Potomac, Md and then walked up from the Federal Triangle stop. This must have been one of the last movies they showed (1978?). The movie was about an armageddon after a nuclear war had destroyed most of the world.

I remember the theater as a giant. massive creature, in a partial state of disrepair. But I was captivated by the theater as much as by the movie – I was so used to those shoe-box style theaters (can anyone from DC say “Studio 1-2-3” theater).

Even 25 years later, I was still thinking about that theater.

It seems that the movie was right, the armageddon did come – at least for the Keith’s.

sharimccoul
sharimccoul on February 27, 2003 at 8:53 am

Just stumbled across this wonderful website and noticed recognition of the old and lovely BF Keith theater in Washington, D.C. I worked for a time across the street while the Keith was being demolished in 1978, and the sight through my office window simply broke my heart. But let me tell you, the noble Keith was not about to topple like a pile of children’s blocks. I saw the thick, massive brick walls slowly succumb to the wrecking ball over a matter of weeks, revealing the enormous deep-red velvet stage curtain which still hung bravely in place. Eventually that came down, too. Then the titanic supporting I-beams of solid iron were separated and lowered and dragged away. The Keith had been a Parthenon, and now the ants had dissembled it, slowly but surely.