Trump Cinema

490 Neptune Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11224

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After Trump Village was opened, a small shopping center went up on Neptune Avenue. In it was a tiny movie house named the Trump Cinema which was converted from retail space and opened around December 1968. It began screening 16mm prints until it was eventually equipped for 35mm. It showed Hollywood fare for most of its short life.

A side story here was that the theatre featured a fully automated projection booth that could be operated by pushing a button in the box office. The red button was never used but remained long after the local projectionist union protested and forced the theatre to use a union operator for its projection equipment.

With the cost of paying a projectionist, the tiny theatre had trouble making a profit. So it attempted to change its fortune by going XXX, only to have the neighborhood stage yet another protest in front of its entrance.

Finally a disgusted owner closed the theatre in 1977, and it was gutted for Radio Shack, which still occupies the site.

Contributed by philipgoldberg

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

kencmcintyre on November 2, 2007 at 3:58 pm

The address should be 490 Neptune, per an old city directory listing as well as the current listing for Radio Shack.

Mitchboo on March 29, 2008 at 6:06 pm

I grew up in (and with) Trump Village from the day I was born in 1964 through the mid-80’s. I look back now from this nice house and “neighborhood” in the suburbs and think, “Man, what a great place to have been a kid.” With all that we have now, I really wish my kids could experience half the adventures and half the spontaneity we had in Brighton Beach/Coney Island and, in particular, in Trump, that Jewish ghetto by the sea. Between the beach, the parks, the street games, the public transportation, the thousands of kids in Trump and in the surrounding neighborhoods, and all the energy and excitement only the streets of New York can offer, it was an amazing place. My clearest memory of the Trump Cinema, aside from the short time it turned into a XXX theater, was as a 7 year old, picketing outside the theater with my older brother (by 2 years) and his (our) friends. We were “protesting” because they wouldn’t let us in to see “Billy Jack.” We went back three days in a row after school and really thought they’d eventually let us in. Never happened. The theater was as small as described in other posts, but for us it was magical, a place our parents could drop us off to see the newest kids' movies and cartoons. Really cool to have found this site. Mitch

HBH on July 15, 2008 at 8:26 am

the toilet was behind the screen, so everybody saw you when you had to go use it

TheGameShowGuy on September 19, 2008 at 2:49 pm

I grew up in Warbasse across from Trump Village and I think this tiny theater -which existed only nine years from 1969-1978, was more a victim of “Pay TV” once Warbasse and Trump got HBO, the Trump Cinema went XXX. Still as a kid growing up…this was sort of our neighborhood’s own,private theater.

GaryCohen on January 25, 2010 at 2:41 pm

What as tiny horible dump this was. The screen was so small, it was like watching a movie in someone’s living room. I think I was there one time to see a double-feature of “Don’t Look Now” and “Bang the Drum Slowly.” I’m not surprised to hear that is gone, no great loss.

TLSLOEWS on June 18, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Sounds like it was a great little dump.

techman707 on August 18, 2010 at 12:59 pm

There seems to be a lot of mis-information about the Trump Cinema. It opened in late 1968 and was the “prototype” 16mm theatre of Automated Theatres Of America. They sold the theatre to the owner of the Card Shop in the shopping center. Because getting a continuous supply of 16mm current features wasn’t reliable
the new owner converted the projection equipment to run standard 35mm films, starting with the re-release of The Ten Commandments. It had absolutely nothing to do with union projectionists, which the theatre had from the day it opened (automated or not) until it closed.

This theatre had NOTHING to do with Jerry Lewis Cinemas. There was a Jerry Lewis Cinema in New York, but in was located in a strip mall in Rockaway. It burned downed and was reopened as a twin, then a third theatre was added shortly later.

TLSLOEWS on March 27, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Thats funny techman so the “Dumps” got the better original format,how ironic.

techman707 on January 28, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Anyway (it took me long enough), getting back to the Trump. The entire introduction is wrong. The Trump Cinema was opened in 1968 with Zeiss Ikon 16mm projectors as a prototype for its owner, Automated Theatres of America. They, like Jerry Lewis, sold “turn key” theatre packages. The main difference between them and Jerry Lewis theatres is that ATA franchises were all equipped with Zeiss Ikon 16mm projectors and NOT 35mm.

Obviously, there wasn’t room for ONE theatre franchise company, let alone two and sometime in 1970 they sold the theatre to Ted Morse, whose brother in-law managed the theatre. Realizing they couldn’t get many current pictures in 16mm, I installed 35mm projection equipment for them in 1971. The “red” automation “start” button referred to was NEVER used from day one and I disconnected it when I installed the 35mm projectors, but it remained on the wall of the box office. They had union projectionists from the day the theatre opened, until the day it closed, which I believe was some time around 1977. In addition, it was nowhere near the site of the old Tuxedo Theatre.

Art11224 on January 14, 2015 at 11:12 am

I added a photo (see Photos) of what the site of the Trump Cinema looks like today(1/14/2015) : A small Radio Shack store -which is currently liquidating after being at that location at 490 Neptune Avenue for 36+ years. This is due to all stores in the half century old Trump Village Shopping Center closing in anticipation of the center’s soon to be confirmed demolition. Soon (if all the rumors are true) the entire shopping center -which once included The Trump Cinema will be demolished. (took pix of it today- before it’s gone as I grew up there with such stores as Shluker’s Bakery, Sea Garden Diner, Jade Pagoda, My Place Pizza (now Rocco’s) and of course our tiny movie theater, the Trump Cinema…too bad no pix of the Trump Cinema …but remember film was costly back then..not like the snap and delete convenience of digital.)

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