RKO Keith's Theatre
44 W. 4th Street,
3 people favorited this theater
Previously operated by: Keith-Albee
Firms: Rapp & Rapp
Styles: French Renaissance
Previous Names: B.F. Keith's New Theatre
The B.F. Keith’s New Theatre opened November 27, 1922, to much fanfare. No expense had been spared for this theatre. Two heavily carpted marble staircases lead to the first promenade, which was decorated with rare, old French furniture, upholstered in the riches of Louis XIV and Louis XV damask. The first promenade led to the mens and ladies room, both of which were elaborately furnished. There was also a second mezzanine which was lavishly decorated. In the auditorium, theatre patrons enjoyed wide aisles with seats finished in ruby Italian velvet. The walls were finished with the color of old ivory and lit with crystal and gold chandeliers. The stage of the B.F. Keith’s New Theatre was fitted with the latest in stage equipment. Performers enjoyed seven floors of dressing rooms, many with their own bathrooms and beds. The theatre was equipped with a Wurlitzer organ which had 657-pipes.
By 1929 vaudeville was being phased out and the B.F. Keiths New Theatre became a full time movie house with occasional live shows. In 1930, RKO bought the theatre and it became known as RKO Keith’s Theatre.
The RKO Keith’s Theatre continued along throughout the 1930’s and 1940’s, and in the 1950’s the theatre was equiped with television equipment and several University of Dayton sporting events were watched from the theatre via closed circuit TV. In the 1960’s attendance at the RKO Keith’s Theatre was dropping like many other theatres in the US.
The theatre was sold in 1966 to Richard H. Grant and Paul H. Deneau and in 1967 they decided to close the theatre. Ironically, the final movie was titled “Once Before I Die”. The theatre was demolished later that year and the Grant-Deneau towers were erected in its place. A sad but typical end to one of the best theatres in Dayton, Ohio.
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