Stillwell Theatre

2402 86th Street,
Bensonhurst,
Brooklyn, NY 11214

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Stillwell Theatre

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This one-time Bensonhurst theatre stands on 86th Street not far from where the famous car/train scene in “The French Connection” was filmed. The Stillwell Theatre was built in 1927, and was open by March 1928. Interior decorations were by the Novelty Scenic Company. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer 2 manual, 10 rank organ.

The Stillwell Theatre was closed on June 7, 1952, but for many years the name remained painted on a back wall.

Contributed by philipgoldberg

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

YMike
YMike on July 12, 2004 at 11:32 am

Originally it was called the Brooklyn Roll-O Rama. They also held wrestling shows there from the 50’s thru the 70’s. It then closed for a few years in the early 80’s and reopened under the name you saw. It was only a roller rink under this name for a few years.

Theatrefan
Theatrefan on July 12, 2004 at 11:46 am

Thanks YankeeMike, I remember for years after the United Skates closed the star symbol logo was visible on the side of the roof. Does anybody remember going here when it was the Stillwell Theatre?

Theaterat
Theaterat on March 31, 2005 at 12:08 pm

I do not remember the Stillwell as a movie theater, but when it was a roller scating rink there was a lot of the theater left inside. Even though all the seats were gone, the decorative plaster work around the fire exit doors and the oval shaped domed celing(wich resembled a UFO to this ten year old) were dead giveaways to its movie house origin.Cannot say for sure if there was a balcony due to the many renovations that were done to it over the years.There seems to be no evidence of a fire escape outside.IN n the early 60s a second floor was added, probably at a great expense to the owners and a bowling alley called Bowl A Rama opened. One of the better alleys in the neighborhood, I bowled there for my high school team in 68 and 69.One day our team recieved free passes for two people to any Loews theater in Brooklyn. It was in April 68. I took my younger brother to the 46th st to see the movie The Bible. It was no 10 Commandments, but an interesting film based on the book of Genesis. The director, John Huston played Noah in the deluge sequence. Some old timers who remember the Stillwell told me the nickname of this theater was the Stinkwell. Not a good name!

YMike
YMike on March 31, 2005 at 12:17 pm

When the bowling alley was put in all the theatre decor was taken out. I bowled there also. The alley was destroyed in a fire in the late 1970’s and was never rebuilt.

EcRocker
EcRocker on January 5, 2006 at 10:43 pm

Roll-o Rama was at one time a Roller Rink and a Bowling alley. My mother spent many an evening there calling Bingo for an organization she was with. She would come home smelling like cigarettes.

YMike
YMike on January 8, 2006 at 12:14 pm

The Bowling alley was on the sceond floor. The alley was destroyed in a fire that somehow did not damage the rest of the building.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 4, 2007 at 7:11 pm

Don’t they always tell you it’s against the law to yell “fire!” in a crowded theater?
http://tinyurl.com/yglx77

Bloop
Bloop on March 23, 2011 at 11:10 pm

The Roller-Rama had flea markets on Sundays, circa 1976 ? 1977 ? Anyone remember ?????????????

albangin
albangin on July 1, 2011 at 10:38 pm

I do remember the flea markets in the 70’s….was dragged there as a boy. I remember being interested in the “oldness” of the place, would walk around and explore. The sign was still up then: “Roll a Rama”.

Borad
Borad on July 20, 2013 at 9:27 pm

On December 23, 1954, the Brooklyn Eagle reported that the theater was sold and turned into the Stillwell Outlet Farmers Market. The May 12, 1956 issue of the New York Times reported that the farmers market went bankrupt.

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