RKO Madison Theatre

54-30 Myrtle Avenue,
Ridgewood, NY 11385

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Madison Theatre, Ridgewood, NY in 1927 - Auditorium and Balcony

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the Ridgewood section of Queens. The RKO Madison Theatre was opened on November 24, 1927, presenting Keith-Albee vaudeville and a feature movie. It was operated by B.S. Moss, an affiliate of Keith-Albee. It was a first run RKO theatre that had a huge stage that often ran live shows along with the film. I have seen ads from the 1960’s that show a lot of personal appearences here. By the 1970’s the Madison Theatre was on the AIP grind run, I remember seeing “Squirm” and “Tenticles” here right at the end.

The current retail space uses the lobby and inside the auditorium there is a false ceiling across at the underside of the balcony level.

Contributed by RobertR

Recent comments (view all 1,243 comments)

jgraif
jgraif on November 10, 2012 at 11:41 pm

with respect to all, the theater is actually in brooklyn. ridgewood is located in both queens and kings counties. the theater is south of the border (cypress avenue) despite what the post office has done over the years to completely screw the whole thing up! best reference? any 1960’s era subway map you can find. the border is drawn just below the seneca avenue stop of the myrtle avenue el. the theater is south of that and squarely in brooklyn. best to all.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on November 12, 2012 at 8:46 am

With all due respect jgraif, the Madison has always been situated in Queens. The current Brooklyn-Queens boundary has been situated since 1925, east of Gates Ave., on Wyckoff Ave. (Cypress Avenue ceases to be the boundary at Menahan Street.) Prior to that time, the boundary veered a little closer to the Madison but did not not place the theater in Brooklyn. It is the Parthenon that changed boroughs as a result of the border change. Also, while the old zip code arrangement, which did include portions of two zip codes in both boroughs, certainly was confusing, this changed in the early 1980’s when the zones were redrawn along the borough lines ……. On other matters, I would still love to hear your comments about the two saloons on Wyckoff Avenue. Talk soon.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on November 12, 2012 at 11:01 am

The fact that the Ridgewood theaters were listed in the Brooklyn movie directory does not mean that they were in Brooklyn. This was a situation where the old Brooklyn zip code lines trumped the actual borderlines. With regard to the old Ridgewood, the movie clocks still did not get it right even after the zip code lines were changed to reflect the borough borders.

Bway
Bway on November 12, 2012 at 4:14 pm

jgraif, Cypress Ave is not the Brooklyn-Queens border. The Madison is and always was in Queens. The Border has been in a zig-zag line since the Madison was built. The Brooklyn Border traces Cypress Ave from Newtown Creek to Menahan St. It then zig zags down to St Nicholas Ave. It then precedes to Gates Ave. At that intersection, it then goes down to WYckoff Ave. It then Traces Wyckoff Ave across (and behind the Madison) to Eldert St where it goes down to Irving St, whichg then traces it through the Cemetery of the Evergreens.

LugosiResearch
LugosiResearch on December 29, 2012 at 9:38 pm

On Tuesday 27 February 1951, Bela “Dracula” Lugosi presented his in person Horror and Magic Stage show at RKO Madison. 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!

cinsal47
cinsal47 on February 6, 2016 at 8:54 pm

The manager of the RKO Madison in my day (50’s-early 60’s) was a school mate, Paulette Polina’s father. This made Paulette special not to mention she was really cute with this great beauty mark and her initials, P.P., also got a lot of attention from silly kids. It was a magnificently beautiful theater. Huge! Two balconies! They wouldn’t let us kids sit up there…Wonder why?…It had a fantastic wide “CinemaScope” screen. I saw the five Oscar winning (Best Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design, Original Score, Adapted Screenplay)DOCTOR ZHIVAGO there, and it remains my favorite all-time movie. I sure would love to see a movie like STAR WARS on a screen like that! It was the most expensive of the three theaters in Ridgewood. And there was no misbehaving in there- they would literally throw your ass out! There was a great Chinese restaurant next door. As a young adult after a fraternity party, we would got there late at night and have chicken chow mien. And we’d get a free scope of ice cream! Ridgewood was a great place to live and grow up in with its three great movie theaters.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on February 17, 2016 at 8:32 am

The current retail tenant now has a website, with not much in visuals but offering plenty of bargains: www.shopliberty.com

BigBennyD
BigBennyD on June 11, 2016 at 2:19 pm

Does anyone remember when The Three Stooges appeared there in the late 50s /early 60s, and which movie they were promoting?

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on June 13, 2016 at 7:49 am

I think it was the one with Hercules – the guy who played Hercules appeared with them. A few years ago, someone noted the date of these appearances at a number of theaters. If you search this thread, you may find this reference.

Jeff M.
Jeff M. on June 26, 2016 at 1:39 pm

To Ed Solero and his question from Sept. 13, 2007 regarding theatres used in the making of both the 1933 and 2005 King Kong movies. I was researching the now gone Ridgewood Theatre and, from there, looked up the RKO Madison when I spotted your question in the comments. Anyway, if you haven’t already found this out you were correct in that the Shrine Auditorium was used in the 1933 film. In the 2005 version the Civic Theatre (1929) in Auckland, New Zealand was the theatre auditorium that King Kong destroyed. Also, in the early 1960’s, the late Carl Weiss restored and played the RKO Madison’s 3 manual 15 rank Wurlitzer theatre organ for intermissions. He really loved how that organ sounded in the auditorium.

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