RKO Dyker Theater

525 86th Street,
Brooklyn, NY 11209

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RKO Dyker Theater

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The Dyker Theater was opened on November 26, 1926. It was equipped with a Marr & Colton 2 manual organ. In 1928, it was leased to RKO, who operated the theatre for the remainder of its cinematic life. Closed in 1977, the RKO Dyker Theater was converted into retail space.

Modell’s is on the balcony level. Take the escaltor up and you will be amazed to see the repainted auditorium ceiling, upper proscenium and upper side walls have been intergrated into the store.

The vertical sign stills butts the facade, although it now says Radio Shack, its other occupant.

Contributed by philipgoldberg

Recent comments (view all 40 comments)

AnitaK
AnitaK on September 11, 2007 at 7:30 pm

Warren -
Thanks for the reminder! I am new to all things “digital” and in fact, my son-in-law submitted The Dyker picture to this site before we remembered all photos should be displayed through a link. My apology to the cinematreasures founders.
Also, in reply to your other comments – I am delighted again to learn more about The Dyker, and really wish I could be more helpful. Refer to my original post dated 6/8/07, where I basically wrote everything I know about this theater! I was hoping my oldest sisters would recall something else, but they only have a recollection of attending “Shore Road Academy,” and that my family lived on the 6th floor at “1992 Bayridge (Blvd?) near the Narrows.” Our father was Frederick Huebner, and he did own The Dyker with his partner, Eugene Pulch.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on September 11, 2007 at 8:17 pm

I don’t think there’s a rule against displaying a photo in a post, I think most of us just don’t know how to do it. There are other photos in posts here and there on this site; I wish there were more.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on September 13, 2007 at 2:14 pm

Bea-Anita—

Thanks for the wonderful ‘27 photo. That magnificent marquee evidently was the first of what might have been three in the theater’s lifetime. In my post of 10 March 2005 above, I noted that the theater underwent a facelift in early summer 1951, importing the modern marquee in the photo I posted on 26 April 2005. My earlier memory projects another marquee, larger that the one in your photo. It bore the shape of what was then the conventional RKO nabe marquee, approximating a smaller version of the one at the RKO Albee on Albee Square. It would have had four lines of title space, with white letters on black background.

But I also have a hazy memory of yellow letters on blue background—I’m recalling my first nighttime visit to the Dyker to see “Down to the Sea in Ships” (I was/am slightly younger than Dean Stockwell) in April 1949 (I’m associating the date with a family birthday) and was astonished to see lights that I’d never imagined.

Your photo also suggests my memory of the theater’s pre-‘51 box-office, established in the lobby’s right-hand wall-space upon entering the bronze and glass doors from the street. It resembled box-offices in mid-town legit theaters, with a bronze window-grating separating the buyer from the seller. Some of the earliest crayon drawings that I produced as a child represented that wonderful box-office, as its lines were easy to reproduce and the finished picture gave me the thrill of visiting the Dyker for yet another terrific movie.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on July 17, 2008 at 8:38 pm

On May 5, 1993, The Brooklyn Spectator published two pages of Bay Ridge movie palace memories written by Andrew Johnson and John Cocchi.

Here they are:
View link
View link
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View link

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on December 9, 2008 at 4:51 pm

Warren—

Many thanks for posting the NYT ad for 8 Feb ‘49. Perhaps my memory played tricks in my post of 1 Sept 2005 above— There I recounted a “Stage Party” with an in-person Olsen and Johnson somewhat later that year (associated with a revival of the filmed “Hellzapoppin” that summer and a live O'n'J extravaganza at Madison Sq Garden). But the Tuesday crossover “Laugh Day” with “Crazy House” matches my account as well (sans O'n'J in the “Stage Party”).

I consulted the full-page NYT for 8 Feb ‘49 and was amazed to see how many other films that I saw as a kid were playing that season— “The Paleface” (and “Sealed Verdict”), “Three Musketeers” (and “Mickey”), “Julia Misbehaves” (and “Ruthless”), “Loves of Carmen,” “A Letter to Three Wives,” “Command Decision,” “So Dear to My Heart,” “Down to the Sea in Ships”— Over a period of months my folks took me to see them at various neighboorhood theaters (the RKO Shore Road, Loew’s Alpline and Bay Ridge, the Stanley), but three of them I recall seeing with them on B'way— “John Loves Mary” with Jack Carson on stage at the Strand; “The Bribe” with Arthur Godfrey on stage at the Capitol, and “Joan of Arc” at the Victoria. Our legs must have been run off from attending so much.

My point is not to wax nostalgic about these events (I could bore this page with details about each) but to remark about how common movie-going was in those days, both at the nabes and via hour-long subway rides to Times Square. My family’s penchant for that was not unusual—I remember that other kids my age attended at least as many movies and some even a lot more, with regular weekly seatings at the nabes regardless of what was playing (my experience was comparatively selective, bolstered by compulsive reading of ads and reviews and my pint-sized contempt for critical flops; also, despite my protests, my folks would not take me to see “The Snake Pit,” “Road House,” He Walked by Night,“ or "Force of Evil”).

Where did anyone find so much time to do this? Our jaunts to Times Sq invariably took place on Saturday or holiday mornings (reduced prices before noon). February brought a number of holidays— including the post-war “Coal Week” which closed the schools for ten days to save energy (today we ought to close the schools to save kids from standardized testing). Over-crowded space also meant that the lower grades attended half-day sessions to share classrooms expeditiously. In ‘49 I endured the second grade in morning sessions, and I recall my mom often meeting me afterwards and then walking to the RKO Dyker for afternoon shows (with a bag of home-made sandwiches for nourishment). As my dad worked around-the-clock, he’d often join us. The “Stage Party” beginning at 3:00 pm makes sense.

This account might seem incomprehensible to a generation that views most of its films on DVD— though that medium brings its pleasures too.

BobFurmanek
BobFurmanek on February 4, 2009 at 8:12 pm

On Friday January 26, 1962, the Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly-Joe DeRita) embarked on a three day promotional tour for their latest feature film, THE THREE STOOGES MEET HERCULES. They were accompanied by “The Herculean Giant” (almost 8 foot tall Dave Ballard) and popular DJ Clay Cole, who was one of the stars of the co-feature, TWIST AROUND THE CLOCK.

On Sunday January 28, they appeared at the RKO Dyker at 3:25 PM.

RXD
RXD on December 17, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Funny memory about the RKO Dyker: I lived in Dyker Heights but attended the
H.S. of Art & Design in the city. Anyway, I needed a convenient ‘hideout’ one day,
to kill some time (& school wasn’t it) so as soon as the Dyker opened, I made a
hasty entry, oversized zippered art portfolio in tow. As I passed 2 uniformed
ushers I overheard them saying – “I dunno – maybe he’s got a pizza in that thing."
LOL! I never forgot that & always think of the Dyker when I see one of those
leather portfolios.

benobarb
benobarb on August 17, 2010 at 12:20 am

I just got turned on to this wonderful site. My wife’s father and uncle owned the luncheonette next to the Dyker. Their names were Arthur and Bernie Faber. I got to believe that some of you commenters stopped in for an eggcream. Any memories would be greatly appeciated.

LugosiResearch
LugosiResearch on December 30, 2012 at 1:40 am

On 27 January 1951, Bela “Dracula” Lugosi presented his in person Horror and Magic Stage show at RKO Dyker. Currently I am conducting research on all things Lugosi; if anyone out there actually saw this show and/or has memorabilia (poster, handbill, photos) related to this show, please contact Bill at Thanks in advance for any assistance!

palace47_
palace47_ on April 17, 2013 at 6:52 am

I am deeply touched to learn that my Bela played the Dyker ! Bela in Brooklyn !!!

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