Carlton Theatre

292 Flatbush Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11217

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Rev. Dr. James J. Olson
Rev. Dr. James J. Olson on October 27, 2015 at 11:47 pm

Stay tuned, folks! The Wurlitzer Style H 2/10 from this theater will be installed in the fellowship hall of my church in Waukegan, IL. It was removed before the theater was torn down, and has been in storage since then. It is in EXCELLENT condition and is very complete, and will have a full historic restoration. If any of you have pictures of the organ in the theater, we’d sure love to see them.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 1, 2013 at 6:32 pm

On October 17, 2005, lostmemory commented:

“NYC issued a C/O to a New building at 292 Flatbush Avenue on March 22, 1927. The first architects name is H. G. Wiseman. The second architects name is Hugo ‘something’. I can’t read the last name.”
This was probably either Hugo Taussig, or Hugo Magnuson of the firm Magnuson & Kleinert. Wiseman worked with both at various times following the 1920 death of his partner Arthur Carlson.

Ruth Anne Phillips' book Pre-Columbian Revival attributes the design of the 1923 Cameo Theatre to Wiseman and Hugo Taussig. Cezar del Valle’s Brooklyn Theatre Index attributes the Sanders Theatre to Wiseman with Magnuson & Kleinert.

As the C/O for the Carlton names only two architects, it was probably Taussig who worked with Wiseman on this house. In any case, the firm of Carlson & Wiseman was long gone by the time the Carlton Theatre was designed.

Jboyce2788 on January 23, 2013 at 7:01 am

I was born in 1953 and saw a number of movies at the Carlton. My mother worked at “Neumans” Ice cream parlor next door to the Carlton and my Father worked at the “Rustic Inn” which was just around the corner on Prospect Place. What I remember most about this theatre was going to the Rest Rooms down stairs from the main entry – everything was marble

DJM78 on January 9, 2012 at 10:15 am

The links on this page show some great vintage photos of the Carlton. It seems Brooklyn had so many classic movie theaters that are now gone.

johndereszewski on February 13, 2010 at 9:10 am

I actually once visited this place during its church years. I friend was trying to convert me – alas to no avail. While I was not into old movie theaters at the time, the place seemed quite impressive – and the Brooklyn Tabernacle people presented a pretty good show. They have a GREAT chorus. So the old theater was crtainly used to great avail.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on August 8, 2007 at 1:51 pm

“Park Slope’s Finest First Run Theatre” post-closing but before the church. View link

From a distance View link

Another angle View link

Early shot (re-post from 10/17/05) View link

frankie on May 18, 2006 at 9:09 am

My Brooklyn will never make a comeback again, now that they are constructing apartment skyscrapers on residential side streets in the South Slope. My block has an 8 story phallic symbol which will forever block out the sun from my front door. The site of the former 16th Street Theater below 5th Avenue has one now that went up FAST. Brooklyn is now Manhattan. At one time there were at least 6 movie theaters within walking distance of my home. Now there’s ONE. On a recent Monday night I went there to see “Akeela and the Bee” in the largest division at the Pavilion —– I was the ONLY ONE THERE ! The movie was wonderful, but —– maybe it’s not just the developers.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 17, 2005 at 12:39 pm

I have now discovered that the original Carlton Theatre opened in early January 1911. It had a seating capacity of 450. The airdome opened in 1913. Both closed on 10th May 1925 to be demolished and the new Carlton Theatre was built on the site, opening on 8th February 1926. It looks like the facade was retained, possibly because it contained a couple of retail units that would continue to provide revenue in rent.

Of course this may date the 1914 photograph (that lostmemory posted earlier today) to late 1910, just prior to opening?

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 17, 2005 at 12:03 pm

lostmemory; Harrison G. Wiseman is one architect, that we can establish as fact. I note that the two films listed as playing on the 1926 photograph are dated 1925 on the Internet Movie Database, so if they were released early in 1926, they could be opening programmes or soon after the 8th Feb 1926 opening.

The marquee in the ‘earlier’ photograph is certainly different. I believe that the marquee was added too underneath to allow for the attractions letters in 1926. The poster cases on each side of the entrance are empty. Could this be a pre-opening 1914 photo taken a few weeks prior to opening? Regarding the missing stairs to the roof garden theatre and no sign of the auditorium block beyond the facade on the photo, I believe the original 1914 Carlton theatre was a much smaller building, lower in height than the later auditorium that was built on the site.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 17, 2005 at 8:20 am

lostmemory;I agree with you, looking at the two photographs side by side the two facades are the same. This either means the 1914 photo is wrongly dated (which is what I would go for) or the earlier building’s facade was retained when the theatre was re-built in 1926.

A quote from the Theatre Historical Society magazine Marquee Vol 1 No.3:‘Theatres of Brooklyn’s Park Slope’ by Cezar Del Valle

‘Pioneer film director D.W. Griffith made a guest appearance at the opening night of the Carlton on February 8, 1926. The theatre had been built on the site of an earlier movie house and airdome at 292 Flatbush Avenue. Patrons of the new Carlton entered a foyer 100 by 37 feet, with rose and black carpet, a statue in the centre and French mirrors along the walls of travertine marble. A fireplace help keep out the winter chill. The 1,383-seat oval auditorium boasted a 16-foot-high chandelier surrounded by 16 others, each 5.5 feet high. On warm summer nights audiences could enjoy a film in the Italianate roof garden with a capacity of 1,124.’

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 17, 2005 at 6:55 am

The 1914 photograph is of a different building to the 1926 one. Obviously an earlier theatre that was replaced in 1926. lostmemory;Thanks for finding the photo of the 1914 building.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 17, 2005 at 6:08 am

The American Motion Picture Directory 1914 – 1915 lists the Carlton Theatre, 292 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

BoxOfficeBill on April 24, 2005 at 1:27 pm

Oh, and one of my aunts worked upstairs, in a mail-order buisness just over the marquee (Necchi sewing machines, which advertised exclusively on TV via the Dumont channel 5 network).

On 16 December 1961, two airliners collided over New York Harbor, one falling to the ground in Staten Island, the other around the corner from the Carlton on Sterling Place between 6 and 7 Avenues. The sole survivor among forty or so passengers was a young boy, tossed from the wreckage into a bank of snow.

BoxOfficeBill on April 24, 2005 at 1:21 pm

CharlesVanBibber— thanks — excellent photos. The Carlton offered quality presentation and classy showmanship. I remember it as the only neighborhood theater in Brooklyn that closed the curtain for a brief intermission after each of the co-features.

Several of my high school friends lived in the neighborhood, and with them I saw a bunch of films there in 1956-59, most memorably “Touch of Evil,” which opened directly at the RKO and other neighborhood chains without an initial Broadway booking.

Among other films there, I recall seeing Alec Guinness in “The Prisoner,” “Doctor in the House” and several others in the “Doctors” series (just right for teen-age double entendre), and “Pillow Talk” (despite my pathological aversion to the two stars, a film I greatly enjoyed at the time).

Bilko on March 31, 2005 at 7:53 pm

I went to the Carlton regulatly from 1955 to 1963. I lived one block away at 200 Park Place. It was really great and offered double-features. I recall that it cost only .25 for first-run double features —– in the 50s.

philipgoldberg on May 2, 2004 at 5:10 pm

It’s now completely demolished. Make way for more condos, most likely.

philipgoldberg on March 29, 2004 at 2:39 pm

With the exception of the St. Mark Place wall and the rear wall facing Flatbush Avenue, this building is almost gone. It even appears that they are taking down the modern facade put up by the church during their ownership days. This building looks like it will be gone for good in a matter of days or a week or two.

Orlando on March 2, 2004 at 9:56 am

The Carlton was one of four roof-top theatres in the borough of Brooklyn. The others were Loew’s Kameo (originally the Cameo) on Eastern Parkway, Fox-Metropolitan’s Congress on St. John’s Place and the Rugby on Utica Avenue. It is a shame that the Carlton is gutted since the Brooklyn Tabernacle must have refurbished it from its' movie days prior to becoming their new home. If a drugstore opens in its' place, I wouldn’t be surprised. Whoever it is, they should be boycotted.

philipgoldberg on February 25, 2004 at 1:58 pm

A recent walk passed the old Carlton revealed that its current owners are gutting the interior. Gone is the balcony, the ceiling and the floor. Only the pink velvet walls are left. The lobby has been stripped tp the brick as well.

senatours on February 18, 2004 at 9:05 pm

Does any one know anything about this theater being used as a shelter for the victims made homeless as a result of the plane crash on dec 16, 1960?

Can anyone advise on where I can obtain photos of this theater?


William on November 14, 2003 at 4:43 pm

The Carlton Theatre is located at 292 Flatbush Ave. and it seated 1383 people.