RKO Columbia Theater

1014 Beach 20th Street,
Far Rockaway, NY 11691

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This was a vaudeville house, and opened as the Columbia Theatre in 1913 as part of the B.S. Moss chain. Movies were screened as part of the program. It had turned to a movies only policy by 1926. By 1941, it was part of the RKO circuit.

Last operated by an independent operator as the Town Theatre for a short while from 1970. When the Mott Street area declined, so did the movie attendance here, and this theater shut its doors. The theater has been demolished.

Contributed by philipgoldberg

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

William
William on November 14, 2003 at 7:11 pm

The RKO Columbia Theatre seated 1350 people.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 8, 2004 at 10:47 am

The Columbia Theatre had Edgar T. Hovell as architect and first opened in July 1913 as a vaudeville house under B.S. Moss management, which explains how it eventually became part of the RKO Circuit. In its first decades, the Columbia also had an outdoor roof theatre seating 1,100. In 1970, an “indie” took over the Columbia and re-named it the Town, but the theatre closed several years after that and was demolished. Its address was 1014 Beach 20th Street. The only Far Rockaway theatre on Mott Avenue was the 585-seat Gem, at street number 1920.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 20, 2005 at 11:48 am

Here are two 1944 views of the Columbia, which was the lesser of the two RKO theatres in Far Rockaway. The double-feature programs usually originated on the Loew’s circuit. In this image, “Cover Girl” was supported by “The Whistler,” both Columbia releases. Unlike the larger RKO Strand, which was all on one floor with stadium seating at the rear, the Columbia had a conventional balcony:
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/127-2771_IMG.jpg
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/127-2773_IMG.jpg

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on September 27, 2012 at 9:24 am

This should be listed as the RKO Columbia. For much of its life as a cinema, it was a secondary house to the RKO Strand down the street.

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