Carlton Theatre

175-02 Jamaica Avenue,
Jamaica, NY 11432

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bobby1361 on January 12, 2013 at 8:16 pm

The building was demolished and a school sits where it once was. I attended several functions as a child in the 1970’s when it was a catering hall. It closed in the early 1980’s and fell into disrepair.

SWCphotography on February 21, 2012 at 11:27 pm

From the description above the date narrows down to Nov. 1927-March 1928; probably Nov 1927 since there are still leaves on the ground.

SWCphotography on February 21, 2012 at 11:13 pm

The source for Warren’s 5/14/2008 postcard

Cort Theatre circa 1927-1930
Featuring vaudeville star Olga Petrova’s play “What Do We Know”

Jerome on December 23, 2011 at 2:14 pm

In the early 1950s, The Carlton had a way to lure customers beyond the reach of the Jamaica Ave “El”: the cheapest prices. I remember it costing kids 9cents for double bills of films that were reasonably recent but a month or so later than the major theaters. Between the Carlton and the Savoy, Jamaica had veritable “repertory
programing"enabling a movie fan to see favorite films for years after they opened at the major theaters.

Panzer65 on May 14, 2008 at 1:55 pm

Nice photos of the Carlton Warren.
Quick question about the photo carlton3.jpg. Looking at the edge of the balcony, theres several faces that appear, any knowledge of who they may be?

Panzer65 on June 24, 2007 at 4:59 am

View link
Check out this link for an exterior photo of the Carlton.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 8, 2007 at 6:10 am

Hmm. Dorsey, the Andrews Sisters… Seems bookers at the old Carlton sure gave it a good solid try with acts of that caliber.

JKane on January 6, 2007 at 5:47 pm

Great stories by Usher back in 2005. I used to frequent all the Jamaica Ave. theaters in the late ‘50s & '60s but missed the Carlton, which closed just before my moviegoing days began. Remember it as the Regency Caterers and was always curious about its earlier theater history.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 23, 2006 at 8:15 am

Back in the fall of 1993 I snapped this photo of the former Cort/Carlton while it was still operating as the Regency Catering Hall. Actually, now that I think about it, I can’t say for sure it was still in operation, but the signage was still there.

Regency Catering Hall 1993

I was driving around taking photos of old movie theaters that day (also got the Queens, Community Twin, Mayfair, Valencia and Flushing Kieth’s and will post images soon) and saw the Regency on Jamaica Ave between the Valencia and Community. At the time, I didn’t know for sure if it was a former theater, but it had that look about it. It wasn’t until I started poking around this site in the past 3 years that I learned of its history.

Carlton on September 10, 2005 at 4:24 am

In rereading the above submission I note that I said I started working for Prudential in 1954, it was actually two years earlier in 1952.
The balcony seats were not used; only the orchestra and loge seats were available. The balcony was closed supposedly because of the condition of the ceiling. The loge, the only section in which smokingg was permitted cost more than the orchestra. An usher was posted in the loge to check ticket stubs to ensure only those who paid the price were admitted. Like all businesses some ushers found a way to suppliment their wages by making the additional collection and pocketing the money rather than send the patron back to the box office.
One afternoon while seated in the loge with a cashier and expressing our feelings toward each other, we were nearly thrown out of our seats when Jack Palance shot Elisha Cook Jr. in a scene in Shane. The roar of Palance’s gun when heard through the theatres sound system was like standing next to the sixteen inch guns on the Missouri when they fired a salvo.

The assistand manager during those days was an Adele Kammerer, known by many and all as “Toots”. She was a wonderful woman who treated the staff as if they were her own. And that meant getting yelled at when you did something wrong.

During the ‘50’s there were still “beat” cops and for some period each day, usually towards the end of a shift the beat cop would spend some time in the back row of the Carlton. If the sector car with the sargeant showed up…as he usually did, the beat cop made a s strategic exit through a side door. We probably broke more fire laws than were on the books, but when the fire inspector showed up for a look see, he’d be kept busy in the office until the ushers quickly (and quietly) took the chains and fire poles of the door locking systems.

Prithcard used to have partys every now and again after closing. We’d all get to gether and some how a couple of quarts of Scheafer beer found their way into the theatre…usaully in the cloak room.
No one ever go squashed and Prithcard never let anything get out of hand. The partys were great for staff morale. Often after closing we’d all go over the Savoy Pizzeria near 177th Street. One of the usher’s was over 18 and would often “borrow” his fathers car a 1939 cream over blue Cadillac in mint condition. We would then either go to the White Castle on Springfield and Hollis for a dozen or so “burgers” or make the trip to Springfield gardens to the “Pizza King”. We wouldn’t be home till nearly one a.m. and our folks would be livid. An number of years later when I began working I worked around the clock and my folks still hated when I worked twi-lights.

We had a chap who managed the ACE in Ozone Park who would often stop by around close to join us for pizza or burgers. He had nifty custom Ford hot rod with exhausts that purred and roared depending on the accelleration. We knew him simply as “Johnny from the Ace”.

We had three projectionists. One who worked full time for Prudential and two who “moonlighted” from other theatres. One; used to walk around the booth in his shorts during the summer.

Carlton on September 8, 2005 at 5:42 am

This is about Prudential in general and the Carlton in particular.
Through the mid 1950’s my family lived at 176-11 93rd Avenue just around the corner from the Carlton. In 1954 I applied for a job as usher but was told there were no vacancies; however there was a job open at the Bellaire on Jamaica Avenue around 207th Street. I was hired by the manager whose name escapes me but he was a short unpleasant man. After working there a couple of months a job opened at the Hollis on Jamaica Avenue around 191st Street…a little closer to home. Finally I got a job a the Carlton. I worked for a chap named Larry Pritchard, a large, likeable and knowledgeable chap.

In those days the films ran Sun thru Tue, Wed, and Thu thru Sat.
Prudential scheduled the Sun/Tue and Thu/Sat films, but left the manager some leeway on what to play on Wednesday. Larry scheduled a number of foreign films, primarily English and we did very well for an a “nabe” on Wednesday. Prudential saw the benefit of the foreign films and transformed the Hollis into a “Cinema” showing primarily foreign films. The man they tapped as manager of the Hollis experiment was an Irish immegrant named Noel Cullen, who started at the Carlton as a ticket taker who was familiar with English films.

The Carlton was not a big money maker, but Pritchard was able to increase its revenue, by his film selections and salesmanship. He talked Prudential into building a refreshment stand with pop corn, candy and ice cream to replace the two old cany machines and noisy pop corn machine. Revenue from concessions grew large enough to recoup the investment, pay for staffing the stand and turn a profit.

When I finally started at the Carlton I had to endure some hazing. One day Prtichard called me into the office and told me to go the the Valencia and “see Zelenko” who had the area “screen stretcher”.
When I arrived at the Valencia, Zalenko clued in by Pritchard, told me the “stretcher” was at the Merrick. At the Merrick I learned it had goe to the Alden. At the Alden I was told Pritchard was looking for me and that he already had the “stretcher”. Not being totally duped, I figured after the Valencia I was in search of what my dad called “a bucket of steam”. When I returned Pritchard thought it was pretty funny, until I suggested he had paid me two and half hours pay for his joke…it took some of the smile off his face.

We moved from Jamaica to Woodhaven in the autumn of 1954…the neighborhood was changing. Sometime after that, Pritchard was transferred to the Crossbay…the “flagship” of Prudential’s Queens theatres. One night at the Crossbay to see movie I met Pritchard. He offered me a job and I worked at the “X-Bay” until I graduated from High School.

While at the Carlton we started showing 3-D movies; which came in 5,000 foot reels to allow for only one reel change since both projectors were reqquired to throw the picture. We painted the screen with aluminum paint to allow for greater reflection of the 3-D images. Pritchard hooked up little RCA 45 phono to the sound system and played music during the film change intermission. The Carlton did not have air conditioning; but Pritchard, always the inovator, hooked up soaker hose in concrete tunnels that funneled the forced air for the heating system and fabricated a make shift “swamp cooler” that cooled the theatre.

One night while changing the marquee I found that I needed the fewest new letters if I used Jean Simmons name as the star of the next film. Pritchard came out and told me to take it down and use the name of the “real star”. He added that if we ever got Cinemascope and played “The Robe” (a very long shot) I could use Jean Simmons. Well we did and I did…and still told me to take it down and put up Robert Taylor.

I still have E-mail contact with three of the cashiers from that period. It was a great place for a kid to work and learn about the movie.

philipgoldberg on March 18, 2004 at 2:57 pm

Didn’t they build a school on the site of the Carlton?