RKO Fordham Theatre

215 E. Fordham Road,
Bronx, NY 10458

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RKO Fordham/Troy Donahue & Connie Stevens

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Fordham Theatre was always considered one of the top Bronx theatres due to its location in the shopping hub around the Grand Concourse and Fordham Road. With William McElfatrick as architect, it was primarily designed for vaudeville and built by Keith-Albee. As Keith’s Fordham Theatre, it first opened on April 14, 1921, with six acts of “Best Keith Vaudeville” plus the feature movie, “Black Roses”.

In 1929, the Keith theatres were merged into the RKO circuit. In that year, the Fordham Theatre also got a major rival in the larger and more sumptuous Loew’s Paradise Theatre on the Grand Concourse. For several decades, the two theatres were the area leaders, although the Paradise Theatre had the advantage of showing movies that were exclusive for the Bronx. The RKO Fordham Theatre showed the same programs as six other Bronx RKO theatres, as well as some Skouras houses in areas without RKO outlets.

The Fordham Theatre survived into the era of mass distribution and was triplexed in 1976. A fourth screen was added in 1980, but a decline in the neighborhood’s business district finally forced the Fordham Theatre to close. It was demolished in March, 1987, and replaced by retail buildings.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 61 comments)

patc on July 5, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Hi Ed, hope all is well. I don’t know if you remember me.. I remember you very well and your wife. She worked there also, right? I was the Chief Usher and student Assistant Manager. Ed are you on Facebook? I am, it’s Pat Concilio. Remember the staff: doorman Pop Lederer, Cashiers: Martha Chaiton, Olivia Eddo, Sylvia Strassberg, Libby (Estelle Libby), ushers Sydney Moussafer, Monte the porter, the matrons, Al from the projection booth (had problem with his leg… Hope to hear from you Ed…

patc on July 5, 2013 at 8:17 pm

I think I’m in the photo with the guest appearance of Troy donohue. Do you have a larger photo so I can make it out?

patc on July 8, 2013 at 9:18 am

Hi sjteich, what’s your name?

patc on July 8, 2013 at 9:39 am

Jack was a great District Manager. He based his office out of the RKO Fordham and was in charge of the RKO’s in the Bronx, Mt Vernon & New Rochelle. I remember calling in the figures from the theatre’s to him at home every night. He was a funny man alway telling a joke, and Marion was more subdued. He was like the Mayor of the Bronx. He knew everybody and if you needed something he would tell you who to see and tell them Jack Reis sent you. I remember needing car repair and he told me where to go and ask for Pepe. I did and they took care of me immediately and a discount added to that. I remember him smoking lucky strike unfiltered cigarettes… He drank a lot of coffee and always pitched money down to Monte, the porter to get him coffee. He was a great Manager, and District Manager… Knew his business! He was strict but so much fun to work with. Marion every so often would come by the theatre when they would go somewhere or out to dinner. She was always dressed very stylish. Those were the days my friend!!!!!

julius007 on February 12, 2014 at 5:14 am

Does anyone remember a Department store near RKO theater called, Albrecht’s?

patc on February 15, 2014 at 8:44 am

Yes I do. It was next to the RKO Fordham.

sjteich on February 22, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Pat C – my name is Scott Teichman and I am on facebook as well – there’s 2 of us with the same name on Facebook – I am the one from Colorado. Sorry I haven’t responded sooner but hope to hear back from you.

Hamblin on May 31, 2014 at 10:54 am

A few photos at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:RKO_Fordham_Theatre,_Bronx

patc on October 30, 2014 at 9:37 am

Nice pics. Looking at your photos the one in the lobby I see the Orchestra seats were visible. They later enclosed the orchestra with a half wall and glass for the other half and put doors. Then they added a concession stand in the center between the left and right of the orchestra doors. The concession was operated by ABC concessions. In the 1960’s it was run by Hannah a funny individual, but stern. They kept the Ladies room on the orchestra level pretty much the same as well as the ladies room on the mezzanine.

patc on October 30, 2014 at 9:44 am

Hi Ed, looking forward hearing from you. Hope all is well. You haven’t posted in a while.

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