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 1,240 comments)

Panzer65 on February 17, 2011 at 1:03 pm

This photo really exemplifies what a stunning palace the Madison was, thanks for posting Bway.

jgraif on October 19, 2012 at 10:56 pm

oh…the poor rko madison. the exquisite rko madison. i hope my recollection will spark some enjoyable memories. i was born in ridgewood on 12 march 1954. the madison was located on myrtle avenue less than one block from the intersection of myrtle and wycoff avenues, the “crossroads” of ridgewood, where the “el” met the subway and nearly a dozen bus lines terminated. it was a “busy” place! my father and uncle operated “graif’s café”, a bar and grille located on the other side of the intersection on wycoff avenue. other theaters were clustered around the intersection as well, like the “parthenon” which, of late, had become the “parthenon lanes”. across from the madison were two, top notch restaurants, kollety’s ice cream parlor and gottlieb’s delicatessen, both of which operated well into the evening to accommodate the madison’s patrons. i have many fond memories of patronizing both with my mother and older sister (while my father was working down the street). myrtle avenue was awash with the flickering of the madison’s marquee while we enjoyed hot fudge sundaes or hot corned beef sandwiches. that theater far exceeded what was usually dedicated to a “neighborhood”. its presence elevated the intersection from a crossroads to a “mecca”. of course, at the age of 5 to 10, i had no understanding of the significance, etc., most especially the organ, which i will address tomorrow. thanx for “listening”.

johndereszewski on October 20, 2012 at 6:10 am

Hello jgraif and thanks for your fond memories about the old Madison …….. When I worked in the area during the 1970’s, there were two bars on Wyckoff between Gates and Palmetto – one at the Gates corner and one mid-block. Which was the one that your father and uncle operated? I guess by the early 90’s both had been converted into something else …… By the way, the old Parthenon, which served as a Bingo parlor after its bowling alley days had ended, is now being converted into a 24 hour health facility ….. Hope to hear from you soon.

jgraif on November 10, 2012 at 8:41 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 on November 12, 2012 at 5:46 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 on November 12, 2012 at 8:01 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 on November 12, 2012 at 1:14 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 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

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