91-11 Corona Avenue,
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The theatre was originally known as the Victoria Theatre and first opened in 1916, built from the profits from an outdoor nickelodeon that operated for years (weather permitting) on vacant land across the street. The plainly decorated auditorium had two sections of seats with a middle aisle. The stageless screen was flat against the back wall. Toilets were at both sides of the projection booth, reached by narrow staircases. Within ten years, the Victoria Theatre literally became an “itch” and was forced to close for a sanitary renovation.
To celebrate the re-opening, the owners changed the theatre’s name to the Newtown Theatre, in honor of nearby Newtown High School, whose students were its most frequent patrons. The Newtown Theatre was never more than a showcase for late-run double features, with program changes twice a week. Located near shops and eateries, as well as the Durkee’s spice factory, it did good business. In the late-1930’s, it was taken over by the Island Circuit, which sold it in 1946 to the expanding Interboro Circuit.
Interboro had just bought Emhurst’s other theatre, the much larger and grander Queensboro Theatre, and treated both to modernization. The Queensboro Theatre was re-named the Elmwood Theatre, but played the same programs as the Newtown Theatre, though not on the same days. In 1949, the Elmwood Theatre was upgraded to first-run for the area, but the Newtown Theatre was too small to qualify and remained a late-run house until closure in the early-1950’s as yet another victim of TV competition.
After a long period of closure, it became a church, but at a viewing several years ago, it seemed to be converted to a warehouse. It has now reverted back to church use.
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