RKO Dyker Theater

525 86th Street,
Brooklyn, NY 11209

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palace47_
palace47_ on April 17, 2013 at 1:52 am

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

LugosiResearch
LugosiResearch on December 29, 2012 at 8:40 pm

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!

benobarb
benobarb on August 16, 2010 at 7:20 pm

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.

RXD
RXD on December 17, 2009 at 2:29 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.

BobFurmanek
BobFurmanek on February 4, 2009 at 3:12 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.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on December 9, 2008 at 11:51 am

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.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on July 17, 2008 at 3:38 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
View link
View link

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on September 13, 2007 at 9:14 am

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.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on September 11, 2007 at 3:17 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.

AnitaK
AnitaK on September 11, 2007 at 2:30 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.

AnitaK
AnitaK on September 10, 2007 at 8:21 pm

Hello Everyone – As promised. Family Photos!! Here is the only picture of the Dyker in my sister’s album:


View link

No date given, but hopefully someone will be able to determine when these feature films were playing?
The marquee says: Shirley Mason & a star cast in The Wreck.
Sensation Seekers
Please look at photos added to the Lafayette theatre,
and especially note additions to another cinema treasure:
the Ramsey Cinema.

AnitaK
AnitaK on July 12, 2007 at 2:06 pm

BoxOfficeBill – Thanks for the reply! About 20 years ago, while at work, a gentleman “recognized” my Brooklyn accent and after some conversation told me he – as a teenager, spent many years in the balcony of the Dyker, but couldn’t recall the movies!!

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on July 12, 2007 at 1:53 pm

Bea-Anita—

Thanks for the comments— I’ve been swamped with work and traveling widely for the past year and a half, and so have cut down on quality time with our treasured theater memories— I still have lots to share on this site, and will do so when time permits— am meanwhile thrilled to hear that your dad managed the venerable RKO Dyker— in the late forties and early fifties, my childhood nickels must have added greatly to your family income— Box-Office-Bill

AnitaK
AnitaK on July 12, 2007 at 1:06 pm

Warren – I see you are on-line. My planned trip to NJ and Suffern) next month will include a search thru old family photo albums. I hope to find a picture of The Dyker.

AnitaK
AnitaK on June 15, 2007 at 9:26 am

Especially for BoxOfficeBill. You haven’t posted lately, but I hope you are still keeping in touch. I re-read your comments here, and looked for others concerning Cinema Treasures. You have renewed my interest in theaters; and from what you wrote, I see we are the same age. If, just if…my family had stayed in Bay Ridge, I could have easily experienced all the same “memories” of the Dyker. So, a special thanks to you (and others) for making this theater come to life through your wonderful descriptions and narratives. BTW…I am planning a drive to Suffern, NY, in August intentionally to visit the Lafayette. I emailed my sister about this site and my posting. She sent the following reply:
“Yes the Dyker and Lafayette Theatres pictures and comments were interesting,…in 1945 I opened up my florist just before Christmas, must have sold the business around 1967. It is a very beautiful theatre and I have gone several times last year and heard the big organ being played.”

AnitaK
AnitaK on June 8, 2007 at 10:44 am

Hello – I just found this site, and I am truly delighted to read the comments and to view some of the photos. My father, along with one partner, owned the Dyker Theater. I never had the opportunity to visit this building as my family had moved from Brooklyn to Northern NJ in 1934 – eight years before I was born. My father took care of the day-to-day management until his “retirement” at this time, but continued to lease the theater to RKO until his death in 1968. I had always thought the Dyker was sold immediately, torn down and made into a parking lot!! So, it is especially nice to know many people still enjoyed the movies for a few years after and loved this theater building as much as my father did.
As it turns out, our home in NJ was very near Suffern, NY, where another interesting “Cinema Treasures” is located and still in operation – the Lafayette Theater – designed by the same architect as for the Dyker. We went to the Lafayette frequently and especially for the weekly Saturday serials in the late 40’s and early 50’s. For 25 or 30 cents, you could see the continuing adventures of The Lone Ranger and Superman. Also, does anyone remember the Halloween “costume” contests at the Lafayette during those years, too? All the children received prizes of games and toys!! Another fact, my older sister, a florist, rented a shop for her business (from 1945 till ~1965) that was located at one end of this theater building, “Joyce Flowers.” So, although I never got to see The Dyker, I remember the Lafayette Theater well.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on September 19, 2006 at 6:50 am

Warren— I’m thrilled to learn that the Dyker was still using its decently-equipped stage in ‘47 (evidently early in that year, since the advertised Dennis Morgan movie had opened on B'way the previous December). The only live show I remember from the Dyker in that era was the Olson and Johnson Party that I recounted last 1 Sept.on this page. I have the faintest memory of a live (and disappointing, because it didn’t measure up to stage fare in Manhattan) afternoon show for children associated with Disney’s “Melody Time,” likely in Summer '48 during that film’s nabe release. In those years, the Dyker didn’t offer Vaudeville as regularly as Loew’s Bay Ridge nearby. The prime venue for RKO vaudeville nearby was the magnificent Prospect on 9 Street at 5 Avenue.
KenRoe— Thanks for the photos of the current interior. Oddly, the ivory coloration captures what I recall as the original cream tones in the mid-'40s. As I recounted above in March '05, during the (very) early '50s the theater received a facelift that introduced a pale green scheme to the walls. But the ceiling rotunda never ever sported a blue cloud formation in those days. It was then a tan-and-brown recessed projection.

ShortyC
ShortyC on August 9, 2006 at 11:21 am

Believe me UA Crossbay you wouldn’t want anything saved, there wasn’t really much of value to save. But I like that they saved parts of the theatre, its better than none.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 9, 2006 at 11:11 am

The RKO Dyker is a pretty good example or re-use and retention of original detail. Unfortunately here in the former orchestra section all has been lost. I checked out the two most recent Modell’s conversions of former theatre’s at the RKO Kenmore in Flatbush, Brooklyn and the UA Crossbay in Ozone park, Queens and sadly nothing has been saved inside these buildings.

ShortyC
ShortyC on August 9, 2006 at 10:59 am

Thanks a lot KenRoe for the pictures, its good that the original ceiling is still intact, I notice a lot that Modells takes a lot of theatres and converts them into retail space pretty well.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 9, 2006 at 9:52 am

OOpps, sorry, here is that last photo link again:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kencta/21103549/

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 9, 2006 at 9:49 am

Four photographs I took in June 2006 of the RKO Dyker Theater:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kencta/211033531/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kencta/211034337/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kencta/211034756/
http;//www.flickr.com/photos/kencta/211035349/

William
William on June 13, 2006 at 11:10 am

The RKO Dyker Theatre opened on Nov. 26, 1926.

BoxOfficeBill
BoxOfficeBill on March 31, 2006 at 9:26 am

How much VM? Plenty, evidently, all over the RKO circuit. But tell me: what was Howard Keel doing on second-billing at the Albee? The date was early summer, 1959; but the NY Times doesn’t list “Floods of Fear” at all in its Directory. Leonard Maltin identifies the film as a “British” release. We don’t need to worry about hyper-Demetrification at RKO: Lana and Keel likely kicked VM off the nabe screens a week or two later.