Oxford Theater

552 State Street,
Brooklyn, NY

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Oxford Theatre, State Street & Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, New York in 1916

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Contributed by philipgoldberg

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 11, 2004 at 6:29 am

The Oxford had 800 seats, according to the 1926 Film Daily Year Book. I’ve often wondered if it was a conversion of the Casino Theatre, a longtime burlesque house that was always advertised as being on State Street near Flatbush Avenue. It might have been re-named Oxford to enable “Casino” to be moved to the DeKalb Theatre. I’ve never been able to find a specific building # for the Casino on State Street.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 11, 2004 at 10:49 am

Thanks, Charles. I’m sure now that the Oxford was formerly the Casino, which had about 1,250 seats. They probably closed off a balcony when converting to movies. As the Oxford, it was never more than a late-run situation, one of probably too many in the downtown Brooklyn area. There would have been no sense in demolishing the Casino and replacing it with a new theatre.

cjdv
cjdv on December 31, 2004 at 5:31 am

Both the Oxford and the Casino are listed in Trow’s Business Directory for 1912 (under Theatres and Places of Amusement). In the Brooklyn Eagle—November 14th, 1915—there is an ad for the Casino (“Rose Sydell and the Famous London Belles”) and under Motion Picture News a brief paragraph on the Oxford. In the Brooklyn Eagle—September 23, 1928—there is a listing for the Oxford under “Feature Films Showing Today”. Next to these listings is a small ad for the Casino (“Stock Burlesque” with “Runway Chorus of Beautiful Girls”.
The opening of the Casino can be found in the Brooklyn Citizen in September 1909. There is an article “24 Theatres Will Open Their Doors This Month” dealing with the new theatrical season in Brooklyn. It states “The new Casino is almost completed and will be ready for its opening sometime this month.” The theatre seems to have always been a burlesque house—I have not come across a film listing yet.
While both the Oxford and the Casino often give Flatbush Avenue and State Street as an address, the Casino is sometimes listed as 98 Flatbush. It closed in 1929. At some point in the 30s, the oxford turned to burlesque which could be why its license is listed as “revoked” in 1938. Perhaps there is some connection between the closing of the Casino and the Oxford’s switch to burlesque. Anyway more research is needed for the Oxford in the 1930s.
Harry Abbott, of the Columbia Burlesque Wheel, got his young son Bud a job at the Casino as “assistant treasurer” (dates vary 1911 or 14). This was the Bud Abbott’s first job in burlesque. Bud and/or his biographers often exaggerated the importance of this theatre.

Ginger
Ginger on March 17, 2005 at 6:17 pm

Ralph Monti’s book,“I Remember Brooklyn”, has a photo of the “Oxford Follies” located on State St.west of Flatbush Ave. It was a vaudeville theater.
Gin

erikf
erikf on August 12, 2006 at 9:18 pm

The Oxford and Casino were seperate facilities as seen on Plate 34 of the Brooklyn 1912 E. Belcher Hyde map. The Casino was located across the street and to the west of the Oxford on the triangle wedge between Flatbush and State officially at 98 Flatbush. The Casino was a bowling alley by the end of World War II and the Oxford was destroyed in a fire on July 14, 1951.

If you can paste this entire link, it will show a 1940 photo of the Oxford from the New York Public Library.
View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 13, 2006 at 1:50 am

Although it is listed with 800 seats in Film Daily Yearbook’s;1926 & 1927 editions, the Oxford Theater is listed in 1930 with a seating capacity of 648. In both the 1941 & 1943 editions of F.D.Y. it is listed with 685 seats and is (Closed) in both these editions.

oodygdin
oodygdin on September 10, 2007 at 3:44 pm

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Almanac for 1916 lists the Casino as being on Flatbush near State Street, seating 1687 and C.W.Daniels as manager and the Oxford as being on State near Flatbush, seating 774 and O.Muller as manager.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 20, 2008 at 5:17 pm

Here is an excerpt from an article in the NYT dated 4/20/37:

Three armed bandits held up the manager of the Oxford Burlesque Theatre, 552 State Street, Brooklyn, yesterday and escaped with $1,100 in week-end receipts.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on May 25, 2012 at 10:49 am

Here’s a view of the Casino Theatre, which was on State Street near Flatbush Avenue according to posters displayed: brooklynpubliclibrary

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 25, 2012 at 7:24 am

Cezar Joseph Del Valle’s Brooklyn Theatre Index says that the Oxford Theatre opened on October 9, 1910. The house was designed in the Moorish style by architect William McElfatrick. It was a rather small theater, with only 648 seats.

The April, 1911, issue of Architecture and Building featured two photos, a plan of the orchestra floor, and a cross-section of the Oxford Theatre as part of an article on theaters (Google Books scan). The first photo is on page 350.

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