RKO Alden Theatre

165-16 Jamaica Avenue,
Jamaica, NY 11432

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RKO Alden Theatre

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Located on Jamaica Avenue at 165th Street in the Jamaica section of Queens. 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, 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 last operated as a quad many years ago.

Contributed by SteveSmith

Recent comments (view all 123 comments)

RobertR
RobertR on February 4, 2012 at 4:09 pm

So is this place still intact? The retail seems to be just in the lobby.

markp
markp on May 30, 2012 at 6:06 am

In looking at Ed Solero’s ad on the top of the page, I see 2 theatres in New Jersey that I actually worked at as a projectionist years ago. The Ritz in Elizabeth and the Royal in Perth Amboy, where my father also worked, and I was working the last day it was opened, July 13, 1988.

jimwhite
jimwhite on July 26, 2012 at 10:12 am

Hi, I just found this wonderful site and here’s my story. In June of 1960 upon completion of our freshman year at Richmond Hill HS, my friend Alan Wood and I went to EVERY movie theatre in Jamaica looking for work. Alan was hired but I had to wait until September when I turned 16. We were hired by the manager, Mr. LaRocca. Some of the people who were already working there included HEAD Usher, Jimmy Ward, two lovely old matrons (who loved to drink), Tony Sacco, porter, Malverna, cashier, Patricia, the candy counter girl and an elderly doorman. Alan and I quickly became friends with everyone especially Jimmy Ward who was 18 and could proof us at the local bar ajacent to the 165th St. train station, The Paddock Bar. We continued working there thru graduation in June of 1963. During that time we had our friends/classmates Sonny Spiller, his girl friend Rosann DeGruccio and my almost girl friend, Emma Haines. Being an usher is a lonely job, often times boring after you have seen Gypsy 40 times! So part of the fun was exploring the old vaudville back stage dressing rooms where we would find old movie posters, accounting ledgers with hand written accounts of weekly takes from the different stage shows and films. The stage itself was a wonderful array(?) of electrical switches and ropes for the curtains and scenery. Lastly, if Brooklyn Jim is around, I went to Saint Michael’s in East New York.

Willburg145
Willburg145 on October 5, 2012 at 1:11 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 5:11 am

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

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on October 7, 2012 at 1:37 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 5:34 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 9:15 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 9:20 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 7:09 am

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

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