Cameo Theatre

25-15 Steinway Street,
Astoria, NY 11103

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This small, cheaply built theatre (by the architectural firm of Phinean & Zolat) first opened in 1941 and was located at the very top of the Steinway Street shopping area, not far from its intersection with Grand Central Parkway. The Cameo Theatre was on the opposite side of Steinway Street from its nearest and much larger competitors, Loew’s Triboro Theatre and the Skouras Astoria Theatre.

The Cameo Theatre played last-run of all the theatres in the Astoria section of Queens, with program changes several times per week. To cater to Astoria’s large immigrant population, the theatre later started showing Greek and other foreign-made movies under the new name of the Olympia Theatre. When that failed, the Olympia switched to XXX porno before finally being closed due to complaints from Astoria’s many churches and religious groups.

The building was converted into stores, with residential apartments above. In more recent years it has been converted into a medical centre, with offices.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

NicknBayside
NicknBayside on March 16, 2005 at 2:45 pm

This was the place I saw my first porn flick. My cousin and myself heard through the Grapevine that this theatre didnt ask for proof of age. This was the truth I was 15 he was 13. They let us right in to see “Debbie Does Dallas” and “Count The Ways”. These were our first porno experiences. When we tried to go back a few weeks later we were not let in. I guess it depended on the mood of the male cashier. The worst part about it was being constantly molested by the male staff!! I personally will never forget this place.

hardbop
hardbop on April 19, 2005 at 2:49 pm

This block has changed. It is now kind of a little Cairo as it is dotted with Arab-owned businesses, most of them coffee shops where patrons could smoke those hookahs or whatever those huge waterpipes are called. The no-smoking ban in bars really put on a crimp on these businesses.

dito
dito on May 18, 2007 at 5:22 am

me and my friend stole a case of beer from Bohemian Hall (now the BEER GARDEN) & gave it to them when we were 13 for $5 & free admission to see Beyond the Valley of the Ultra Vixens after we bought whippets from Jolly Joint! Yeehaw! dito

astorian
astorian on May 29, 2007 at 6:16 pm

The Olympia was not closed due to complaints, but due to an arson fire that gutted it.

Dave55
Dave55 on August 4, 2007 at 8:46 pm

In the sixties the Olympia would get most of the Elvis movies first..Being an avid Elvis fan at the time I rember this theater well

GerardC
GerardC on April 23, 2008 at 9:41 pm

The listed address of this theatre is incorrect. It should be 25-15 Steinway St.(with a zip code of 11103)– 22-15 Steinway is north of Astoria Blvd. This theatre is south of Astoria Blvd. It is located between 25th Ave and 28th Ave on the east side of Steinway St. It was gutted around the late 80’s / early 90’s (don’t remember exactly when) and became an electronics importer / exporter store. I remember being inside and one could not tell it used to be a theatre – When this store closed down it sad empty for a long time, then appeared to totaly rebuilt again to its current configuration as a medical center on the first floor and I believe more offices above.

robboehm
robboehm on March 11, 2009 at 9:26 am

As a summer temp letter carrier I had the opportunity to see the theatre before it would open each day. In the late 50’s it seemed well maintained and a cozy if austere space.

robboehm
robboehm on March 21, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Interestingly, if you look at the CT listing for the Cambria in Cambria Heights, there is some discussion about the Cameo being known as the Cambria for a period of time. No reference to that here though even in the AKA portion.

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