574 Flatbush Avenue,
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The Patio was supposed to be the crown jewel of the Century Circuit, and was the largest and most luxurious by the company’s usual architect-designer team of R.Thomas Short and William Rau. The highly gilded and ornamented auditorium was described as “Old World Spanish”. The ceiling had an octagonal dome at the center, hung with a chandelier equipped with special lighting effects. The theatre took its name from a spacious patio in the center of the lobby. Surrounded by white marble columns, it had a large, three-tier fountain and reflecting pool.
The Patio first opened on November 2, 1928, with John Barrymore’s silent “The Tempest” on screen and a musical program featuring the theatre’s resident orchestra, conducted by Howard Emerson, and the Kimball organ, played by Emil Velazco. The Patio did not present vaudeville due to nearby competition from three theatres that did—the Flatbush, Kenmore and Albemarle.
In another year, Loew’s Kings would join that group, so the Patio would never prosper, even after the decline of vaudeville. The Kings and RKO Kenmore became the leaders for the Flatbush area, with the Patio playing its movies several weeks behind them. The theatre benefited from the WWII attendance boom, but went into a decline afterwards and was hard hit by the arrival of home TV.
Century gave up on the Patio and leased it to the cheapjack Springer Circuit, which tried a policy of double-feature foreign movies before giving up. The Patio was sold for demolition and replaced by an apartment building in 1960 or thereabouts.
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