Bayside Theatre

38-39 Bell Boulevard,
Bayside, NY 11361

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Showing 1 - 25 of 59 comments

Tinseltoes on March 27, 2012 at 7:01 am

Several photos of the Bayside/Capitol can be found near the end of this new article: forgotten-ny

robboehm on February 17, 2012 at 8:40 am

Link doesn’t work.

timefreeze on February 15, 2012 at 7:38 pm

timefreeze on February 15, 2012 at 7:38 pm

I hope this link works. I uploaded a photo of the Capitol Theater, which became the Bayside. According to the marque, it must have been just prior to it’s opening.

fungible on September 11, 2010 at 4:41 am

Here is a link to a photograph of a lobby card (mentioned above) from Irving M. Lesser’s ‘Capitol Theatre’ in Bayside, New York, for the week of Mon. Dec. 12 through Sun. Dec. 18, 1927.

fungible on July 12, 2010 at 3:03 am

Oh, and by the way, during at least the 1950’s, the corner store, where the Washington Mutual bank is now, used to be Miller’s Pharmacy, a wonderful apothecary run by an older gentleman of the same name, the type of drug store that signified its profession by displaying large glass globes filled with colored water, much the same way barbers used to display their profession via barber poles.

fungible on July 12, 2010 at 2:54 am

Just came across this thread.
I grew up in Bayside in the 1950’s and was one of those youngsters who enjoyed watching movies and buying popcorn and Jujubes at the candy counter at Skouras' Bayside Theater.
I recall being frightened out of my whits and having nightmares after seeing ‘The Blob’ there in the late 1950’s.
Back then the theater featured matrons with uniforms and flashlights, and they’d guide one to seats when the theater was crowded and sternly patrol the aisles to tell noisy kids to be quiet.
From about 1964 til 1968 I worked as an office boy at The Bayside Times when the weekly newspaper was owned by Publisher Christine Allison and was located in a storefront on 41st Avenue a few doors off Bell Blvd. next door to a photography studio.
Since I was on Bell Blvd. a lot as a teenager and at crazy hours day and night, I happened one afternoon or evening (not sure) to stop by The Bayside Theater after a show.
Testing the door, I found it to be unlocked and I entered the lobby and theater and saw that it was being given a rudimentary cleaning in preparation for the next performance.
I recall there was a large high-wattage incandescent bulb on a tall pole stationed in one of the aisles to illuminate the theater and to help the clean-up guy see what was on the floors between the seats.
Saying hi, I probably told the clean-up guy that I worked at The Bayside Times and that the movie theater had always been a part of my growing up in Bayside.
It was my good fortune that day/night that the guy offered me a tour backstage.
I recall seeing a 1920’s-era electrical panel board with all sorts of dials and dimmer switches.
I followed the guy down a stairs to an area beneath the stage and saw massive beams underpinning the entire stage area and was told that the theater had once featured vaudeville acts and that elephants had even performed on that stage.
One of the keepsakes from that theater tour was a wonderful old lobby card which I still have to this day, preserved and framed, hanging on the wall in the family summer home.
It is printed on heavy card stock and proudly proclaims ‘Irving M. Lessers’ Capitol Theater'.
A number of films are advertised as being scheduled for that week, in runs lasting just a few days each.
The card isn’t in front of me right now (I live in the Washington DC metro area) so I’m not sure of the exact month and week of the movie schedule displayed on that card, but I think it’s from sometime late in 1927 and displays the films, their showdates, and times.
The movies leading that week’s bill were ‘What Price Glory’ with Victor McLaglen, Edmund Lowe, and Dolores del Rio (release date: November 23, 1926, according to; and ‘Tell It to Sweeney’ with Chester Conklin and George Bancroft (release date: September 24, 1927, according to IMDB).
This lobby card also displays the theater address and phone number (back then phone numbers were just six digits: ‘BAyside XXXX’).
As soon as I get around to it, I’ll post all the exact details on the card along with a photo of the card.
In a comment above posted 9/22/2006 by Warren G. Harris, he states that the opening date for the theater was October 11, 1927.
Given that ‘Tell It to Sweeney’ was released just three weeks earlier on September 24, 1927, and given that this lobby card appears to be of that same period, it means Bayside Theater was indeed running some first-run movie fare, at least in the theater’s opening months.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 26, 2009 at 7:35 am

Here’s a closer view of the original Capitol signage. Note the “capitol dome” symbols at the top of the vertical and on the marquee, which were later junked when the theatre was re-named: View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 23, 2009 at 1:11 pm

A capsule history and early photo as the Capitol Theatre can be found here: View link

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 29, 2008 at 8:54 pm

Look at that… More than two years after hashing out the address of this theatre with Warren and Lost Memory, the info up top still needs to be updated! Bryan… If you’re out there… We should change the address for this one to 38-39 Bell Boulevard.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 16, 2008 at 8:03 am

Some recent photos of the building can be seen in this article: View link

DARCYDT on April 8, 2008 at 7:03 am

That should be Columbus Day October 8.

DARCYDT on April 8, 2008 at 7:02 am

This theater closed Sunday October 14, 2001 the week before I got married. On Columbus Day October 7 I went to see the film Tortilla Soup at an afternoon showing. The theater was closed but they said they would reopen at night. They said they would be open the next weekend but were closed Tuesday thru Thursday, I don ’t know about Friday. Last films there were Zoolander (3rd), Don’t Say a Word (3rd), Tortilla Soup (2nd) and Rush Hour 2 which was there 2 weeks but had previously played Loews Bay Terrace nearby.

First film I ever saw at this theater was “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” Memorial Day weekend 1998.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 12, 2007 at 12:35 pm

The address for this theatre is overdue for a correction to 38-39 Bell Blvd – per discussion in various posts above from September of 2006. The address given above as 39-01 would place the theatre on the wrong corner of the 39th Ave/Bell Blvd intersection (where a Citibank branch is now situated).

DixonSteele on October 16, 2007 at 5:17 pm

My sister lived around the corner, but the only movie we saw here together was the horrible JADE.

The theater was in bad shape by that time. RIP Bayside.

jpark377 on March 28, 2007 at 4:13 pm

I was a contractor at this theater in the 90’s, and I sent my invoices to 38-39 Bell Blvd. And yes, they got paid; so the address does seem to need an update.
The old “back stage” area was a blast. You had to cut thru one of the downstairs theaters, and it had an old creeky “weighted” steel fire door on the left side, near the screen that led to this area. The lighting was poor, and the ceiling was incredibly high. You had to watch where you walked, because the roof leaked back there forever, and hence the floor boards were rotting in certain sections. The old vaudeville dressing rooms were still back there, though they were in total shambles, and were at this point, just used for storage (light bulbs, seat parts and the like). Just looking around back there, you could almost imagine how great that place had to be back in it’s glory days. Unfortunately, I only had an opportunity to see the theater after many years of disrepair.

mikemorano on November 4, 2006 at 1:35 pm

You are a sick individual fella as others have noticed. There are members on this website that have never added a theatre. Perhaps you would like them all to leave. There is no connection for the ad you posted. It was a bogus post just to inflate your comment counter as are many of your recent comments. You lack honesty and intergrity. How sad.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 4, 2006 at 1:18 pm

“mikemovies,” if you can’t understand the connection, than you obviously belong at another website. Frankly, I would rather be known as the “most disliked person on this website” than the person whose sole contribution to the listings is Theatair X, which was converted retail space (not even a theatre!) that polluted its neighborhood with pornography and disease before being shut down by the law.

mikemorano on November 4, 2006 at 12:49 pm

Jealous of a trouble making twerp like you fella. Get a grip on yourself. I asked a question. ‘What does a drive-in ad have to do with this theatre fella?’. As usual you avoid posting an answer. You are the most disliked person on this website. I hope you enjoy that title. Try to stay on topic from here now on.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 4, 2006 at 12:41 pm

“mikemovies,” your galvanic jealousy of my superior knowledge of theatres has apparently affected your brain. I urge you to seek help immediately, before you waste away from self-inflicted verbal diarrhea.

mikemorano on November 4, 2006 at 8:10 am

This theatre appears to be an indoor multiplex theatre. What does a drive-in ad have to do with this theatre fella? You posted the same comment in the Westbury Drive-In listing. More duplicate comments. Perhaps you should take your own advice and stay on topic. The Bayside Theatre is Not a drive-in theatre fella.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 4, 2006 at 5:30 am

In the late 1950s, the Skouras circuit started advertising its Long Island drive-in theatres in Queens newspapers, apparently because Queens had no drive-ins of its own:

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on October 7, 2006 at 6:19 am

In January, 1935, the owners of the shuttered Capitol made a new management deal with Brandt Theatres and re-opened the house on January 30th with a double bill of “Our Daily Bread” & “The Captain Hates The Sea.” Due to the Capitol’s unsuccessful history, the name was changed to Bayside, which appeared in advertising as “The Beautiful Bayside” until the name became established on its own. Meanwhile, Springer-Cocalis continued to operate the Victory in competition with the Bayside:

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on October 4, 2006 at 6:09 am

The Capitol Theatre closed “permanently” just before Christmas, 1934, with a double-feature of “The Richest Girl in the World” & “Wake Up and Dream” as its final program. Manager George Baladon told the press that the theatre “is too expensive to operate in a community the size of Bayside. The Capitol is years ahead of its time.” Irving Lesser, who ran the Capitol orginally, left after a year with vaudeville and movies, when management was taken over by the Springer-Cocalis circuit with movies only. Though the Capitol was being closed, Springer-Cocalis had taken over the shuttered Victory Theatre in West Bayside and would begin operating it on January 5th, 1935, with the same “high-grade” movies that would have played at the Capitol: