Argo Theater

485 Hempstead Turnpike,
Elmont, NY 11003

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 34 comments

QueensCutie
QueensCutie on June 29, 2014 at 6:51 pm

How long did the Mittman family own the Argo Theatre? Anyone know what became of them?

RobertR
RobertR on August 6, 2013 at 5:54 am

The balcony is probably still intact above the store in the auditorium.

robboehm
robboehm on March 16, 2012 at 7:21 am

The Community and Bellerose used to share prints when they had the same films. Presumably the Argo shared with the Park.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 27, 2011 at 5:40 pm

The architect of the Century’s Argo Theatre was Samuel Lewis Malkind, who also designed the Parsons Theatre in Flushing, New York. Early in his career, Malkind worked as a draftsman in Thomas Lamb’s office.

Later, he was a partner in the firm of Malkind & Weinstein, with Martyn Weinstein (who later changed his name to Martyn Weston.) Malkind & Weinstein were associate architects (with the firm of Reilly & Hall) in the design of Loew’s Coney Island Theatre (later renamed the Shore Theatre) in Brooklyn.

Malkind might have designed other theaters on his own as well, but so far the Argo and the Parsons are the only ones I’ve been able to track down.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 22, 2011 at 6:42 am

Hey nhpbob… I know first hand that memory can play tricks, and it I think it has done just that in the case of your “Go Ape” recollection. “Battle for the Planet of the Apes” was released in the early summer of 1973 and probably did OK at the box office, given its relatively meager production costs. Fox issued the “Go Ape” marathon the next summer in 1974, probably to drum up interest for its upcoming “Planet of the Apes” network television series – and milk a few extra pennies out of the franchise at the same time.

Vito
Vito on November 22, 2011 at 5:05 am

It had a hugh projection room with a shower in the bathroon and large windows overlooking the turnpike. Of course working for Century in the day was the ultimate job for a projectionist.

nhpbob
nhpbob on November 21, 2011 at 10:43 pm

The one time I went to this theater (lived in New Hyde Park with plenty of other Century theaters closer)…was to “Go Ape For A Day” when the Planet of the Apes marathon happened when “Battle For the Planet of the Apes” got released (but needed help). Nice memory.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on July 4, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Street view above is completely off and should be re-set for correction.

robboehm
robboehm on March 31, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Before the illuminated sign was erected atop the concrete slab marquee there was a sign announcing the Elmont Theatre. It didn’t say Century. As a rule Century had it’s name out there on any project which they initiated. This was probably a lease that Century bought into late in the contruction phase. And the name Argo is strange since the Argo Village section of Elmont was no where near the theatre. Guess the name Elmont wasn’t as desirable.

RichD
RichD on March 31, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Robbie, thank you so much for your long and detailed description of the Argo’s interior! You brought back so many memories!!

Among the films I’ve seen there…“Godzilla’s Revenge”/“War of the Gargantuas” (double bill); “The Neptune Factor”; Disney’s “Pinocchio”; “Friday the 13th 3D”; and most likely many more that I can’t quite recall right now.

robboehm
robboehm on August 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm

What about the pundit who says there are currently 40,000 screens in the USA but there will only be 1,000 in ten years because of all the hand held gagetry.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 21, 2010 at 10:49 am

Oh, Johnnybingc what great statement about the business I worked in from 1974 to late 1983.I could see the showmanship going as far back as the late 70’s. Really when all these Twins,Triples and 4plexes started to open up. I saw a change of “run them and run them out”.I bet it is 100 times worse today.

RobertR
RobertR on April 17, 2009 at 9:53 am

I remember how they covered the Century’s neon with this peice of wood when it was an indie
View link

jbertini
jbertini on March 9, 2009 at 8:42 pm

I started my movie career at the Argo. Worked for Arnold Mittman and I was the usher , cashier and Marquee guy! I was 17 when I started there and I loved every minute of it! I went on to manage, the East Rockaway Criterion theatre, the Bellmore Movies, The Westbury Twin and ended up having a partnership at the Merrick Holiday Park Theatre later changed to a twin. I loved the business but slowly the old beauties became extinct! A real shame, no more showmanship in the theatres of today, all commercial, The theatre business still courses thru my veins it is really unbelievable and I am 50 now. The Argo was really an unbelievably regal, magnificent theatre from itscurving wide stairacase that led to a beautiful upper lobby where
the 400 seat balcony was to the beautiful and modern flush receptacles and recessed vending machines this theatre was a palace on Long Island. Art Deco I believe. To get o the Marquee it was one hell of a trek to the top, and then u had to venture in to the roof to do the Marquee!! One side was ok because u had plennty of roof but the other side ( Jewelry store side) was tricky and dangerous
the Marquee wasn’t even 4 ft from the over hang ( there was a collapsable railing but stil it wouldn’t have taken much to fall of the ladder and go over the side! I was 17 what did I know, and to get to the roof you had to brave all the pidgeons nesting under the fire escape, It gave me the creeps every week. But heck They paid me 75.00 a week to usher , cashier and do the marquee so I did it!! Learned a lot there and never knew I would fall in love with the motion picture business like i did! John Bertini, Garden City, New York

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 27, 2008 at 10:00 pm

Big article about this theater’s future in today’s NY Daily News (Long Island section.) They’re looking to put in a major supermarket rather than the hodgepodge of stores that are there now. I’ll try to find a link.

LJS
LJS on April 26, 2008 at 12:50 am

I saw “Love at First Bite” starring George Hamilton here. One of my enduring childhood memories is that someone climbed the marquee and switched the title to “George Milton in Eat Shit.”

Artie16
Artie16 on March 11, 2008 at 11:56 am

I worked at Century’s Argo Theatre in January, 1952 until I was transfered to another theatre as Assistant Mgr. Have fond memories of it.
Art Ringfield

veganbuddha1
veganbuddha1 on April 8, 2007 at 3:10 pm

Thank you for some of the history of this Theater Robbie. I only started going to this Theater in the late 70’s. I remember seeing the first Star Trek Movie there. I use to love it because it was a nice walk from where I lived and it was cheap. When I started going it was considered a second run theater. I remember there two fires in or around the theater. I think I heard someone say the first fire was from a Jewelry store and the second was in the the theater itself. I thin it closed after the second fire. Sorry I can’t remember the years of the fire. I will assume it was around 83. I think this because by the time I started going to college, 85, the theater was closed for a few years.
All my friends loved gong there. No matter what the rating of the movie was they sold you a ticket. That was so cool back then.
One day my Mom and I went to see Superman and in the middle of the movie someone had a heart attack. It freaked my Mom out and we had to leave. Never really found out what happened to that guy.
A friend and I saw Raiders of the Lost Arc twice in a row. I never did that before, and never again.
It was a fun there with a cool atmosphere about it. I never found a theater like that since.

rcdt55b
rcdt55b on December 4, 2006 at 10:04 am

Ed, thanks for the pics. It WAS a nice conversation you were having with yourself. LOL. I watched them remove the neon sign one day. Originally the sign was completely covered up. Then one day I guess the covering fell off. There stood the sign with all the neon still intact for a few years. Then someone took the neon. Then finally they removed the sign. What a shame. It was about the only thing left to remind you of what it once was.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on July 18, 2006 at 8:50 am

Forgot to post this photo after I took it back in May, but it looks like the old Century’s Argo sign was indeed removed from the roof of the former ticket lobby earlier this year:

Former Argo May 2006
Same view December 2005

I throw the 12/2005 shot in for comparison.

Ha… I just realized I’ve been having a conversation with myself on this theater’s page since December of last year. And I never even attended a movie here!!! I guess this is not one of Long Island’s more beloved old theaters, eh?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 9, 2006 at 9:19 am

The links to the photos I posted in December no longer work as I reorganized my photobucket albums. Here’s a new link to an Argo Theater album where I now have all those pics.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 2, 2006 at 5:02 am

Passed by last night and looks like they took the old fin marquee from the roof of the former B.O. vestibule area on Hempstead Ave. I’m glad I shot those photos back in December.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 9, 2005 at 5:06 am

Here are some photos taken yesterday morning to accompany my post from December 7th. The address is 485 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont, NY.

Note that there are two strips of parallel neon tubing runing around the perimeter of the old outer lobby just under the canopy soffit… were these original to the theater?
View link
View link
View link
View link

You can see the anchors for the old balcony fire escape above the Discount Store sign to the right:
View link
Here you can make out where that window of Robbie’s overlooking the foyer staircase was bricked over:
View link

Finally, a few distance shots one from the east and one from the west showing the building’s narrow profile:
View link
View link

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 7, 2005 at 11:21 am

Does anyone know the dates of operation for this theater? I’m curious as to exactly when this theater was first opened.