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 George Bancroft in “Underworld”. 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 1,247 comments)

LugosiResearch on December 29, 2012 at 6:38 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 on February 6, 2016 at 5:54 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 5:32 am

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

BigBennyD on June 11, 2016 at 11:19 am

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

johndereszewski on June 13, 2016 at 4:49 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 10:39 am

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.

StBrigidkid on July 31, 2016 at 8:24 am

I was born on Madison Street a block away from the Madison Theatre and Ridgewood Theatre, cost 50 cents and I saw 2 movies, coming attractions and cartoons, they used to put cardboard posters outside, and there was always photos of the current movie to get us in, anyone remember that?

MarioManzini on November 2, 2017 at 7:25 pm

Mario Manzini here. I performed at the RKO Madison Theater on stage with my Escapology show on May, 1966. It was the first RKO Theater that I ever performed at. Many others followed. To promote my stage show there I did an escape from the old Ridgewood Court House Jail cell which made the Ridgewood Times and all NYC newspapers. Houdini’s brother Theo Hardeen had his stage show at the Madion Theater in 1946. Right after the show he was taken to the hospital where he died from Esophagus Cancer.

MarioManzini on November 2, 2017 at 7:26 pm


Texas2step on April 21, 2018 at 4:43 pm

The opening movie at the RKO Madison in 1927 was “Underworld” with George Bancroft.

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