Graham Theater

279 Graham Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11211

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Showing 1 - 25 of 39 comments

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on June 3, 2012 at 6:12 am

Great catch TT, since the place was only known as the Capri very briefly.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on March 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Dear nacunis, I grew up in Greenpoint and only learned of Morell St. way after its demise, even after I got to know the srea when I attended Most Holy Trinity HS. It was actually named after the founder of the first successful development along the Williamsburg waterfront, at today’s Grand Street. It was called Yorkton. At the same time, another development, called Williamsburgh, opened a few blocks to the north, at around today’s Metropolitan Ave. It quickly went bust. But the Williamsburgh name stuck – and Yorkton soon went into oblivion. To make matters worse, even the name of Yorkton’s founder vanished, as part of Morell St. was first incoporated into Bushwick Ave. and the rest later swallowed by Bushwick-Hylan Houses.

I would love to see any pictures of the old Morell St., though I have none to share. You can send to my e-mail site at

Also, you might wish to share any thoughts about the old neighborhood on the Echo Theatre’s page in Cinema Treasures. This theater once existed at just about the point where Bushwick Ave. and Morell St. merged. I have attempted to link this page at the bottom of this message, but it might not work. If it does not, just search the theater page under “Echo” and it will come up. (The Echo is #8167 in the CT theater roster.)

Very glad to hear from you.

view the link

nacunis
nacunis on March 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm

johndereszewski – you remember Morrell Street? I lived at 21 Morrell and have one exterior photo of the street! I’d be glad to trade photos – been looking for Morrell St pics for over a year now.

jw
jw on January 13, 2012 at 12:16 am

Anybody remember Jack, the uscher at the Lindy theater? On Saturdays Lindy use to show double feature,superman chapter serial, and 25 cartoons. Bomba: Johnny Shefield. Lindy had a stcky floor. Junior high School 49. I lived on Seigel Street btw McKibbin and Moore St.

Willburg145
Willburg145 on November 21, 2011 at 8:18 pm

I have read many comments that make mention of the year a building was constructed. I have searced ACRIS (NYC register site) but they only have info dating back to 1966.

Fritz
Fritz on October 3, 2011 at 10:45 am

I remember going to Saturday movies at the Graham. There was no balcony, just the projectionists area. I remember the movie matron in a white outfit carrying a gigantic 6 cell flashlight constantly telling us to be quite. Good old days (late 40s & early 50s) watching two westerns, a whole slew of cartoons and a serial chapter.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on July 19, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Great comments, but you might wish to place them under the Lindy’s page, which can use the added info.

Astyanax
Astyanax on July 18, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Across from Katz Drugs there was a kosher deli, Adelman’s(?), which was a regular stop for a hot dog after the Lindy matinee.

bernzie
bernzie on July 18, 2011 at 10:37 am

I expect to be fwd this page to my brother Jerry. I do remember the Lindy. I didn’t go to any theatre much, but the Lindy’s Saturday matinee was really something. For 11 cents you got a double feature, a serial chapter and selected short subjects. I think you got some kind of candy thrown in. I barely remember Katz Drugs, but our Sunday lunch was at a kosher deli on Graham nearer to Broadway. Great memories.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on June 25, 2011 at 3:34 am

Astyanax, let’s just say that my tongue was very much in my cheek when I referred to the Lindy as a “palace”. It was actually little more than, as my friend Bway once put it, a regular building with a movie awning attached to it. In fact, if you look at the building that once housed the Lindy, which you can see on its CT page, you would never guess that it was once a theater.

Astyanax
Astyanax on June 23, 2011 at 10:53 pm

I never went to the Graham, but knew the Lindy well. Would never describe it as a palace, but as a kid I would frequently accompany the candy man who went up and down the aisles with his treats on a tray. In the mid 50’s Katz Drugs modernized their storefront and interior and was the showcase of the Graham Ave commercial strip.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on June 23, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Hello bernzie and welcome to Cinema Treasures!I did not know that the old Graham had “dish nights”. Growing up in Greenpoint during the 1950’s, I remember my mother, grandmother and aunt frequently attending dish nights at the old American Theatre, which became the Chopin before morphing into its current existence as a Starbucks coffee house. I may still be eating on plates initially given out at the American.I would really love to hear of your movie-going experience at the Graham. In addition, you probably also took in a number of films at the old Lindy – the modest movie palace that you alluded to that was situated on Graham about a block or two south of Moore St. And did you ever visit the really old Echo Theatre, which showed movies at the intersection of Bushwick Ave., Moore St. and Morell St. – right by the Bushwick Library branch? (Do you remember Morell St?) And, of course, you must remember the great Rainbow Theatre. (All of these theaters have pages on Cinema Treasures; so please visit them.)Finally, getting off topic for a second, as a resident of Graham and Moore, you must have patronized Katz Drugs during your time there. Michael Katz, who ran the place until he sold the business about ten years ago – he still owns the property – is one of my closest friends. If you have any memories of this place, please share them with me.  So, thanks for the memories and hope to hear from you very soon. 

bernzie
bernzie on June 23, 2011 at 11:55 am

I rarely went to the Graham but do remember Friday night dish night in the ‘40s. If you went every Friday night you could eventually procure a set. My eyesight in those days was so good that from Moore Street I could see what was playing (about 6 blocks away.) There was a movie house on Graham that was nearer to Moore and cost less (11 cent Sat. matinee.)

berternie
berternie on June 1, 2011 at 1:22 am

Remember watching alot of American International movies back in the late 60’s at the Graham. A cat would roam the theater and brush up against your leg in search of mice.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on February 12, 2011 at 9:51 am

The Index is published by Theatre Talks and is written by Cezar Del Valle. I was able to buy it through Amazon, but had to pay the full $43 price. However, our friend Bway was able to identify a lower price, so it makes sense to shop around. (As usual, I am a much better giver than follower of my advise.)

I strongly recommend buying this two volume set. For anyone seriously interested in the history of Brooklyn theaters, it is an essential reference source.

Astyanax
Astyanax on February 12, 2011 at 9:05 am

Thanks John for the above reference. How available is the Brooklyn Theatre index and where can it be found?

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on February 12, 2011 at 8:32 am

This theater, or at least its site, is suggested, in the Brooklyn Theatre Index, to be the possible location of the World Theatre, a small nickelodeon that existed somewhere in Williamsburg circa 1912. It was owned by the uncle of Dario Marotta, whose extensive research provided one of the principal sources that the Index relied upon. A terrific old picture of the place appears on page xxiv in volume one and the speculation of its location is provided on page 360.

While the designation of the World’s actual location remains, at best, speculative, it is certainly intriguing. Hopefully, someone will come forward with information that will shed some more light on this mystery.

TPH
TPH on August 23, 2010 at 10:44 am

This theater was so low on the distribution ladder that it never came under the management of the Brandt’s who ran a string of neighborhood 2nd tier sub-run houses across the boroughs or even the Endicott group, which was generally at the end of the food chain.

TPH
TPH on January 3, 2010 at 5:41 pm

I just noted John’s comment of a year ago regarding the arrival of patrons to a theatre in mid-movie. This was not uncommon, and as he noted many patrons did not have the opportunity to check the newspaper’s movie clock, nor was it likely that a sub-run house such as the Graham had an advertising budget. Since there were no breaks in between each feature, you just sat through until you got to the portion that was showing when you walked in.

Silicon Sam
Silicon Sam on January 3, 2010 at 9:03 am

Concerning the June 2007 comment, how does a dropped film just explode? Were films really that volatile?

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on January 3, 2010 at 8:44 am

Well, it has been quite a while since anyone has commented on this page, and I still would be interested to hear more about the “devatating” fire that occurred here in the 1930’s – as noted by Lost Memory in a June 2007 comment. Any ideas?

While I am aware of CT’s policy to designate the theaters after their current or most recent name, it is most appropriate that an exception to the rules was made here. For nearly all of its existence, this theater was known as the Graham. The name change to the Capri only occurred during a very brief and eminently forgettable period when it served as a very shabby porn venue. (I do not even recall the name change.) Just about all of the persons who enjoyed the Graham had nothing to do with the Capri – and the Capri hardly became a porn movie mecca. So this is one situation where the “best memories” should trump the “last memories”.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on January 12, 2008 at 7:13 am

This last comment is really fascinating. I’m surprised that it has not generated any comments. Does anyone remember this rather significant event? Are there any records as to how long the theater was closed and when it reopened? Since it began as a 600 seat theater but (as noted above) had a listed capacity of just under 300 in its final years, was this seat reduction caused by fire damage? (Possibly the balcony, if there was one, was made inoperable at that time.)

While I never went to the Graham – I grew up in Greenpoint and had other, and better, cinematic options (all of which are now also history) – I would pass it and the Rainbow on the bus when I attended Most Holy Trinity HS in the 1960’s. At the time, it always featured triple bills. I was also struck by the fact that I almost never saw anyone going into it. Thus, its transformation into a porn theater, while sad, was not very surprising.

rdittus
rdittus on February 24, 2007 at 6:24 pm

Unfortunately, the Graham had turned into a porn movie house for most of the 70’s. I forget whether it closed in the late 70’s or early 80’s. It changed its name to the Capri sometime before it closed. I remember some neighborhood protests to try to get them to show family oriented movies again, but it didn’t work. This left it so that kids from the area had to go to either the Meserole in Greenpoint or the Arion in Middle Village to see a movie. (At that time, we really didn’t think about heading over to The Commodore – too bad it couldn’t hang in there after that neighborhood turned around).

michelemarie
michelemarie on October 23, 2006 at 8:11 am

Dear KenRoe. Thanks for the photo. I used to shop on Grand Street as a kid from Williamsburg, and often seen that moviehouse before it closed I do not remember when it closed. I used to take the Metropolitan Ave Bus Q54 into Bridge Plaza and I do not remember it being a porn moviehouse. What do you say. anniegirl

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 10, 2006 at 4:00 pm

A recent(June 2006) photograph I took of the Reel/Graham/Capri Theater, now in use as a health centre;
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kencta/186847539/