RKO Madison Theatre

54-30 Myrtle Avenue,
Ridgewood, NY 11385

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Showing 1 - 25 of 1,242 comments

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.

johndereszewski
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.

BigBennyD
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?

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

cinsal47
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.

LugosiResearch
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!

Bway
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.

johndereszewski
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.

johndereszewski
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.

jgraif
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
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
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”.

Panzer65
Panzer65 on February 17, 2011 at 1:03 pm

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

Bway
Bway on February 17, 2011 at 9:47 am

Here is perhaps one of the best interior photos of the former palatial lobby of the RKO Madison that I have seen to date. It just boggles the mind that they decided it would be a good idea to destroy this beauty in the 1980’s:

View link

Click below for the full page on the Madison:

View link

Bway
Bway on August 5, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Whoa! GREAT shot!

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on June 11, 2010 at 8:44 am

Thanks, Jayar1. I just finished exploring the Brooklyn photo album on Topix.

Jayar1
Jayar1 on May 17, 2010 at 9:26 pm

RKO Madison on Myrtle Ave

View link

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on April 12, 2010 at 11:58 am

Thanks, Lost Memory, Tinseltoes and Bway !

Bway
Bway on March 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm

The first minute of this video has a great shot of the Madison Theater in it, now the Liberty Dept Store.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yBz3ftS3fE

Bway
Bway on November 19, 2009 at 10:51 am

Here’s a great photo looking up Myrtle Ave from the Myrtle Ave and St Nicholas in I guess the 20’s or 30’s:

View link

Panzer65
Panzer65 on August 2, 2009 at 10:10 am

DJF7,
Does your mother have any recollection of exactly where in the Madison that the organ was located? I

DJF7
DJF7 on August 1, 2009 at 8:26 am

My mom told me that my dad helped restore the organ back in the early or mid 60s and even got a chance to play it before a movie showing once.

Bway
Bway on April 16, 2009 at 9:11 am

As for the 1960’s image of the marquee, I only vaguelly remember it from the 70’s before it was removed, and don’t remember it being that colorful. The Madison really did have one of those absolute classic cinema marquees didn’t it, and this color photo really brings that out.
The crowd out front is also amazing. Hard to believe that just 10 years later it was closed. My father often mentioned huge crowds out front in the 50’s and 60’s when movie stars would come make appearances at the Madison promoting their movies.

Bway
Bway on April 16, 2009 at 8:55 am

WOW. That’s all I have to say. While the 1986 photo is sad, it gave me chills seeing it again, as I remember walking past there all the time when i was a teenager at that time, and that is EXACLY how I remember it….with the Woolworth still next door, the Carvel, and yes, of course, Odd Lot. Panzer, I agree, from my memory, the auditorium of the Madison was still somewhat intact when that photo was taken. I do remember the Odd Lot, and the outer and inner lobbies were already ripped up, and used as the store, and perhaps part of the auditorium, but there was a fake wall through the building, and I think they still used the auditorium for storage. The store probably only occupied the part of the auditorium under the balcony, and the inner and outer lobbies.
It was about 3 or 4 years later, when Odd Lot closed, that the theater was destroyed when the new owners that got it ready for the Busy Bee Flea Market Compartment stores destroyed the place. When it was Odd Lot, I also still remember the floor somewhat sloping. That wasn’t leveled until about 1989 or 1990 either.