Century's College Theater

1584 Flatbush Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11210

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Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on June 4, 2018 at 5:22 am

What do you mean by “only 21 of which are open”? Operating specifically as cinemas, or including other purposes such as performing arts or churches? Yesterday’s “movie clock” in the NY Daily News listed nine, nearly all multiplexes.

robboehm on June 3, 2018 at 3:39 pm

Cinema Treasures shows a total of 395 theaters in Brooklyn only 21 of which are open. Regardless of neighborhoods that’s the way things are.

Samson on June 2, 2018 at 8:48 am

I saw many movies here, the Flatbush Junction was a major hub and also a dividing line of neighborhoods. As the demographics changed it got dangerous there and no one went anymore so it closed. Sad.

JackIndiana on March 21, 2017 at 3:01 pm

I remember seeing a number of AIP releases during my 1970s childhood. FOOD OF THE GODS, THE LITTLE GIRL WHO LIVES DOWN THE LANE and THE AMITYVILLE HORROR as well as a few Universal movies in the 1980s.

atmos on March 11, 2017 at 9:23 pm

Opened 1938 and closed 1984.

bradmarcus on August 23, 2013 at 8:15 pm

I remember seeing Sgt Pepper, Jaws 2 and Amityville Horror there, each on opening night. Nice little theater. Shame it’s gone.

Projgndkid on February 28, 2012 at 7:37 am

My grandfather was the projectionist here. I remember the walk past the manager’s office and up the several stairs to the projection room. I must have seen Rocky -5 times in one day. I’m glad it’s closed, so the memory of my grandfather was preserved with its closing.

Frank Angel
Frank Angel on May 11, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Sometime in the early 80s, the then President of Brooklyn College and a team from the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts visited the closed theatre in the hopes that it might be acquired by CUNY to take some of the performance load off the Center’s four theatre complex. Their theatres were having a hard time servicing all the events that they hosted every year. A fifth theatre would be able to ease the bottle necks they often ran into.

This theatre would have been perfect as it is directly adjacent half a block from the large U shape building and can be seen in the aerial view to the left of the theatre building on the next corner. All at that meeting, including President Hess, agreed the theatre would be a perfect addition to the Performing Arts Center.

Unfortunately CUNY in its wisdom would not purchase the property and now, decades later when the Center is pushed beyond its physical limits, CUNY and the City are forced to spend between 75,and by the time it is done, 85 million dollars do build a theatre exactly the same size of the College Theatre. Ironically, the PAC is designed with faux art-deco elements and so the College Theatre would have been a perfect match.

Gary C. is mistaken; the theatre had some wonderful and yes very distinctive art-deco elements including the lighting fixtures and structural lines made with aluminum plating. The stand-alone external box office itself is a very unique structural design indicative of that period and almost never seen today. Many times we can look directly at things and not realize how special they are.

The College Theatre didn’t close because it was unremarkable, it closed, just like so many others, because of the slump caused by commencement of the video age. Also because Century Theatres by this time had become nothing but a real estate company with little interest in operating theatre; they were making profits by selling off it property holdings before dissolving their east coast operations. They were letting all of their theatre simply run into the ground. An independent operator who knew (and loved) the theatre business could easily have made this or any of the other Century Theatres operate profitably.

Why didn’t anyone else take up the gauntlet on these theatres with great locations? Because Century had in its sale contract an encumber that stated the property could not be used as a movie theatre. This lovely, modest theatre should not be faulted because of the stupidity of greedy corporate types.

GaryCohen on January 14, 2010 at 10:38 am

My express bus used to pass the College theater every day when it turned onto Flatbush Avenue. (It also passed the closed Rialto, now a Church and came within 2 blocks of the still-closed, though not demolished, Loews Kings.) I was only in this theater twice with my wife to see Olivia Newton-John in “Xanadu” and “The Amityville Horror.” I remember absolutely nothing distinctive about this theater and although I am now out of Brooklyn, I am totally unsurprised that it has closed up.

Bway on April 27, 2009 at 7:51 am

I wonder if other theaters sold war bonds/stamps as it appears the college did.

Bway on March 26, 2009 at 3:42 am

That is an interesting photo. Thank you.

kencmcintyre on January 1, 2009 at 11:55 am

This April 1967 NYT item gives the address as 1590 Flatbush Avenue.

A two-alarm fire swept through nine three-story buildings at Nostrand and Flatbush Avenues in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn last night and early this morning, causing heavy damage and injuring four firemen. The nearby College Theater, a movie house at 1590 Flatbush Avenue, was also evacuated as a precautionary measure.

Broadwaychris on May 25, 2008 at 3:52 pm

Those are great images- it wasn’t all that when I was there, but, it was easy to see it once being that good.

Broadwaychris on May 25, 2008 at 5:04 am

I worked at The College near it’s final days.
It had a real ticket booth under the marquee and was fairly in tact in terms of it’s low-key Deco splendor. Not big enough to split, it was a dump because it was rundown and sort of forgotten. It did host live shows as late as the late 60, early 70’s. My best friend saw a Chuck Berry concert there.

Bway on June 12, 2006 at 5:12 am

Here’s an aerial view of the theater. I “think” it’s the triangle shaped building on the corner:

View link

BoxOfficeBill on December 6, 2004 at 7:34 pm

For the Brooklyn College crowd in the late ‘50s and early '60s, this theater showed some sophisticated imports and revivals. Before then, it featured subsequent runs; afterwards, a mix of fare. I remember seeing reissues of “The Lavender Hill Mob” and Hitchcock’s “Rope” there in the late '50s.

Astyanax on November 25, 2004 at 8:20 pm

The Jewish Child Care Association (JCCA) now occupies the upper level of the theater, with it’s entrance on Avenue H.

Bway on November 15, 2004 at 12:38 pm

Are any of the old ornamentations still intact in either the lobby or the old auditorium?

Orlando on May 4, 2004 at 6:41 pm

The theatre space was converted to a Record Store store. The lobby would have been to small for anything with the descending stairs to the concessions and ladies room on one side and the men’s and manager’s office on the other side. Correction, both restrooms and manager’s office were on the right and the candy counter on the left.
I think it closed in ‘85/86.

RobertR on March 26, 2004 at 10:57 am

It says in the above post that the lobby is now a restaurant, is the theatre still intact?

Mike326 on January 13, 2004 at 9:37 pm

Does anybody have details on Century’s Rialto on Flatbush Ave. off Cortelyou Road.
I know that it closed in the summer of 1977, its last film was “Kentucky Fried Movie”, and it now serves as a church.
Does anybody know anything more about it’s history ?

William on November 14, 2003 at 4:49 pm

The address for the College Theatre is 1584 Flatbush Ave..

philipgoldberg on November 13, 2002 at 11:17 am

The former lobby of this small Art Deco theater is now a West Indian restaurant.