RKO Alden Theatre

165-16 Jamaica Avenue,
Jamaica, NY 11432

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RKO Alden Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located on Jamaica Avenue at 165th Street in the Jamaica section of Queens, it had a secondary entrance on 165th Street. The Shubert Jamaica Theatre was opened on December 31, 1928, as a live theatre for the Shubert Brothers. It was not a great success, and after a short period as a burlesque theatre named Mutual Theatre, was soon renamed Alden Theatre, operating as a movie theatre. It was taken over by the RKO Theatres chain in the mid-1930’s.

It was closed around 1985, last operated as a quad.

Contributed by SteveSmith

Recent comments (view all 126 comments)

Willburg145
Willburg145 on October 5, 2012 at 3:11 pm

I doubt the interior is still intact. I remember going to a DMV office located in what probably was the auditorium. As I recall the lobby was located on Jamaica and the theatre on the side street. Does anyone know what the interior was like?

robboehm
robboehm on October 7, 2012 at 7:11 am

What’s wrong with that? We need more photos and less of some of the comments.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on October 7, 2012 at 3:37 pm

I think TT’s point that visitors to this site can easily overlook the picture sections and just go straight to the comment section is well taken and that it makes sense to remind us of this resourse. (I know that I was quite slow in appreciating the value of the photo section when CT was upgraded.) So let’s both encourage the posting of new pictures as well as good comments in going forward.

LugosiResearch
LugosiResearch on December 29, 2012 at 7:34 pm

On Monday 1 January 1951, Bela “Dracula” Lugosi presented his in person Horror and Magic Stage show at RKO Alden. Currently I am conducting research on all things Lugosi; if anyone out there actually saw this show and/or has memorabilia (poster, handbill, photos) related to this show, please contact Bill at Thanks in advance for any assistance!

techman707
techman707 on May 1, 2013 at 11:15 pm

LugosiResearch,

I believe that Bela Lugosi did the same show at the RKO Keith’s in Richmond Hill.

techman707
techman707 on May 1, 2013 at 11:20 pm

“Willburg145 on October 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm I doubt the interior is still intact. I remember going to a DMV office located in what probably was the auditorium. As I recall the lobby was located on Jamaica and the theatre on the side street. Does anyone know what the interior was like?”

I had the MISFORTUNE of working as a projectionist at the Alden for a few years after it was “quaded”. The motor vehicle office was NOT in the theatre building, it was a separate NEW building.

robboehm
robboehm on February 25, 2014 at 9:09 am

Ad from February 24, 1929 uploaded to photos. The, at that time, Shubert. Ad for nearby neighbor Valencia, too.

robboehm
robboehm on April 10, 2015 at 3:47 pm

Uploaded Ed Doyle’s vintage street level photo. These links are getting very tenuous. Also uploaded two American Classic images: street view by night and the marquee on the 165th Street entrance after the theater closed.

Texas2step
Texas2step on April 12, 2018 at 6:53 pm

In May of 1929 this one was advertising as the Mutual Theatre, formerly the Shubert Theatre.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on April 13, 2018 at 8:13 am

Closed quickly as the Mutual due to protests from local churches against the risque content of the burlesque shows. Remained closed until leased by an indie and re-named the Alden with vaudeville and films. Closed and re-opened several times until eventually taken over by RKO, which had no outlet in Queens closer to Jamaica than the Richmond Hill.

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