Graham Cinema

3171 Whitney Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11229

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Showing 1 - 25 of 30 comments

DavidZornig on December 17, 2016 at 1:06 pm

Circa 1974 photo added courtesy of Michael Schuman.

JDconsumer on December 14, 2016 at 5:07 pm

The building was actually not razed but rather it was re-purposed.

gellybelly49 on September 21, 2014 at 5:10 pm

hope all habitual visitors and moviegoers like the picture I posted – I took it back in the 80s (?)

HollywoodMark on September 21, 2014 at 4:38 pm

I saw Day of the Triffids (1963)there on a double bill with Village of the Damned. So I was 8 or 9 years old. Jeesh. We would knock the letters off the marquis and spell out our names in our bedrooms. We would drop a smoke bomb into the ticket taker’s booth and when it filled with smoke, run in the theater. I remember seeing the old Batman serials there and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969) so then I was 14. Also Planet of the Apes. I lived on Knapp Street and went to PS 194. Played in Bedford Bay Little League. Ha!

HollywoodMark on September 21, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Graham Theater! Any photos?

BF45789 on December 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm

foud advistment for the movie house from the 1940"s

trying to find pictures of the place

gellybelly49 on September 21, 2012 at 8:32 am

ahhh- the Graham! my neighborhood cinema; I lived in the nearby projects on W and Batchelder and nearly EVERY saturday of my childhood was spent in that darkened palace for the matinees (only $.35, later $.50). Mom used to give us $1.00 for the show, and there was enough left over to buy a sugar daddy, hot dog and soda and then go buy a comic book at the corner store on knapp and ave X on the way home. my favorite schedules always seemed to include Abbot & Costello films as part of the double feature, which began with the great B&W screener for “previews of Coming Attraction” loads of cartoons (usually Merrie Melodies) and then two films; an afternoon of pleasure, enter at 12 or 1230 and home in time for dinner by 530! my friends and I used to “tightwalk” the railing at the adjacent driveway; sometimes, we’d sneak someone in but often got nailed by the stern Matrons in their blue and white uniforms as they flashed the torchlights looking for those who opened the exit doors to allow “interlopers” to steal in without paying. I saw “the thing from another world” there at the age of 7 and it gave me nightmares for weeks thereafter; (it’s one of my favorite sci-fi films to this day). in fact, many of my favorite films today are the result of the education garnered from drowsy afternoons at the Graham, the Tarzan double features, musicals, westerns (that I took my grandfather to see – he loved “cowboy and indian movies”). Though we had a plethora of Century owned theaters in sheepshead bay, such as the Marine, Nostrand, Sheepshead, Brook, Mayfair et al, the Graham was our neighborhood palace- not ornate in any way, mind you, but a few short walking blocks from home. it was also where I took my first “date” at the age of 9 – the twins, maureen and madeline to see Oklahoma! My dream as a child was to grow up and buy the Graham, turn it into my own bijou and show the films I wanted to see and share with other patrons. When I travel back to the old neighborhood, I always drive by, and park in front of the sad looking condos that replaced my childhood pleasure palace and reminisce. God Bless that old movie house, and thanks for the memories!

jhansel on April 16, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Hi Seppy,

Thanks for the good thoughts. We’ll keep searching for those photos.


Seppy on April 16, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Hi Jim H,
My brother and I have wonderful memories of the Graham.
If you have any photos, we’d really appreciate it.


jhansel on February 18, 2010 at 11:46 pm

One more story: During that final walk-through before we sold the Graham, I found a lot of 35mm film that had been strewn about the lobby from the projection booth above. I suspect that it was the print of the last film ever shown at the Graham, “10” starring Bo Derek.

jhansel on February 18, 2010 at 11:43 pm

It’s great to read all the stories about the Graham at 3171 Whitney Avenue, because my grandfather was the original owner and the ONLY owner throughout the Graham’s life as a cinema. It was in my family for over 50 years, although we did not operate it ourselves after 1960.

The building was originally a trolley car barn, which accounts for the long and narrow shape, unusual for a cinema. When trolley service disappeared from Brooklyn, the city sold off the building. My grandfather, who owned a few other cinemas in Brooklyn, bought it and turned the trolley car barn into a 900+ seat cinema. He operated it for decades. In the Great Depression, he would give away a five-pound bag of sugar for every 100th ticket. Tickets were a quarter of a buck.

After he retired he leased the Graham out to various operators in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. When the cinema finally closed, I did a walk-through to figure out what we should do with the building. Since nobody in the family lived in Brooklyn or was free to move there and run a cinema, we decided to sell the property. After we sold it a builder turned the old shell into condos by digging out the parking lot and created a few levels for the apartments.

Keep the stories coming. If I find the old family photos I will try to post some here!

marex54 on April 10, 2009 at 10:54 am

late 1950’s, Saturday double-features, cartoons, shorts, and a lot of Abbott & Costello.
Two “matrons” patrolling the aisles with flashlights telling us to be quiet and to take our feet off the seat backs in front of us.
Kids always trying sneak their friends in through the fire doors near the screen, so obvious by the sliver of daylight piercing the dark theater through the cracked-open door.
Then the fun began. Matrons running wildly down the aisles waving their flashlights trying to catch the culprits as they quickly took off in all directions, triggering an all out search throughout the theater.
Some kids, to avoid being caught, would bolt out the very same fire doors they entered after leading the matrons on a merry chase up and the aisles.
One unforgettable moment, as one kid was running out the door he turned back to one of the matrons and yelled,
“Aahh, go lay a hot faht!!"
Great memories of Brooklyn.

bkbill on March 15, 2008 at 9:12 pm

The first time that I went to the Graham I was quite young. I walked with my sitter from our homes near Batchelder St. and Ave. S. It was a hot summer day — typical 1940’s weather. After we crossed Ave. U it was mostly vacant weed filled lots.
The Graham stood by itself. As I remember it there was very little else there except for PS 194 and the Brooklyn Robbins baseball field. It was during WWII. The film that we saw was British and had something to do with women training to be paratroopers. My sitter, Dorothy Ann, kept saying â€" “I could do that.” I think I must have been about seven and she was all of twelve. The place wasn’t air-conditioned but we were use to that then.
The Graham showed a lot of films that weren’t on the Century circuit. The Century chain dominated our neighborhood.
The next time that I went was later in that decade to see two films that were not on the Century Circuit and still can’t be found on VCR or DVD today. “Salty O’Rourke” and “The Man in Half Moon Street.” They were better than good!
Still later in the decade I attended a Saturday afternoon showing of “Jungle Book” staring Sabu. All the wild life was not just on the screen that day. A rat crossed the aisle about ten rows in front of me and disappeared into some vacant seats. My attention had been drawn by a laughing commotion in the effected area. We were a tough bunch of kids. Today I think the theater would have been closed and fumigated.

michelemarie on September 17, 2006 at 5:26 pm

My e-mail is Thanks Robert. Go on the Republic Theater and copy Warren’s Photobucket pic. It’s great. Do you remember the R & F on Grand Street Ext. and Keap Street? Anniegirl

RobertR on September 17, 2006 at 3:44 pm

send me your email I will send it as an attachment for you. Mine is

michelemarie on September 17, 2006 at 1:45 pm

Dear RobertR. the article is so small cannot read it. Can you possibly get a larger image? Anniegirl

RobertR on September 14, 2006 at 8:14 pm

This 1970 article talks about the Graham going to the $1 policy.
View link

louieb on April 13, 2006 at 2:15 pm

I remember going shopping on Graham Ave with my mom, Aunt and Uncle and there was a Jewish Deli on the East Side of Graham Ave where we had lunch and a Busch’s Jewelry Store across the street. The Graham Theater had it’s Name in Green Lights right? That’s what I remember about the Graham Theater. I never went to the Theater but oh I remember it clearly by the Green Light marquee sign. OH Memories of Graham Ave. anniegirl louieb’s wife
posted by louieb on Apr 13, 2006

BklynMike on October 9, 2005 at 7:31 pm

I always knew it as the Graham Theater, but then again I was about 12 years old when it closed so my memory may be a little fuzzy. I was in the Men’s Room between the two movies of a double feature when the blackout of 1977 occured. I think the movies were “Lipstick” and “Black Sunday” with the second movie never being shown because the night turned into a black Wednesday (I think).

BklynMike on September 28, 2005 at 4:54 am

The reason the new building is the same shape as the old building is because it IS the old building. I watched as they bulldozed the interior but left the outside walls standing when the new Graham Condominiums were being constructed.
As for the old ladies with the squeaky shoes, does anyone remember “Mary”?
She now works at the UA/Regal theater off Knapp Street.
I had the privelige of working with her for about two years when the new theater first opened. She still works there to this day!
She said she remembers someone riding a motorcycle down the aisle during Rocky Horror at the Graham.

Theaterat on July 8, 2005 at 11:56 am

Though hardly luxurious, the Graham was a decent place to catch a movie. I remember seeing the movie “Tommy” , based on the album by the WHO there in the summer of 75. All the employees were wearing “Tommy” t shirts and most of the patrons were “blitzed” . It was a great vnight at the movied. I was with my friend Jerry D and we stayed for it twice.Every time I pass the new condo development, I think of that night so long ago.

brianpoc on February 27, 2005 at 2:46 pm

I got my first hand job at the Graham “1955”(in the beach we call it the ITCH!!!

KateRN on December 3, 2004 at 10:37 pm

Does anyone remember lining up outside the Graham for the ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW on Saturday nights. We bought rice, water guns and umbrellas to act out the movie. We were usually a pretty roudy group of drunk teens. The people of Gerritsen Beach were not happy with us.In retrospect, they should have understood us. We called it the Itch.

cinmon428 on August 7, 2004 at 2:00 pm

I believe the admission in the 50s for kids was about 35 cents. The lines were unbelievably long on Saturday afternoons, especially when it rained. Kids would push back and forth and that was half the “show.”


DJMitchell on June 3, 2004 at 11:41 pm

The Graham was a great movie theatre. It was like going to an event. On Saturday afternoon it was packed. They would show a Children’s full length film, an Abbott & Costello movie, 5 to 10 cartoons, a Three Stooges short and then they would let you stay for the main movie (all for 50 or 75 cents). Later in its history, they used show The Rocky Horror Picture Show every Staurday at Midnight and it was a full house. Every one was throwing rice and toilet paper and running down the aisles. What memories!!!