Loew's National Theatre

570 Bergen Avenue,
Bronx, NY 10455

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Loew's National Theatre ca.1916

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Loew’s National Theatre is claimed to be the very first theatre that Marcus Loew built himself, after starting his circuit by acquiring a number of existing properties in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. The name was a message to the entertainment business that Loew’s intended to become a national circuit, and it did. The National Theatre was designed by the architectural firm of Neville & Bagge, with H. Craig Severance as consultant, and first opened in September, 1910, with vaudeville the primary attraction and movies shown only as fillers.

With white marble frontage and a gorgeous Beaux-Arts auditorium, the National Theatre was one of the largest theatres built in the Bronx up to that time. The movies were first-run for the borough until 1929, when Loew’s gave that exclusive privilege to the newly-opened Paradise Theatre and shifted the National Theatre and its other Bronx theatres to playing the same programs two weeks later.

The National Theatre was one of the longest lasting of the Loew’s Bronx theatres, operating into the early-1970’s before being closed and eventually demolished. As far as I know, it was never sub-divided.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

charliek
charliek on September 12, 2004 at 8:22 am

I’m very interested to see the address given above for this theatre as 570 Bergen Avenue, because the information I had said the address was 500 Bergen Avenue. I spent many hours walking around that area trying to identify the location so I could take a “now” pic to go with the “then” pic on my web page (scroll half-way down):
View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 23, 2004 at 11:11 am

According to the current Loew’s exhibit at the American Museum of the Moving Image, the National was the very first theatre actually built by the company, and the construction coincided with the formation of Loew’s Consolidated Enterprises, which had Marcus Loew as president, Adolph Zukor as treasurer, Nicholas Schenck as secretary, and the Shuberts as key investors. The National first opened on October 17, 1910, and cost nearly $400,000.

RobertR
RobertR on December 23, 2004 at 11:30 am

That original marquee made it all the way to 1971.

RobertR
RobertR on July 4, 2005 at 11:53 am

In 1974 the National was still open as an independant.
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Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 20, 2007 at 6:34 am

Henry Loew, the only brother of Marcus Loew, was the very first manager of the National, and ran the theatre for 33 years, until his death in 1943 at age 66, according to an obituary in The New York Times of 6/15/43. Henry Loew entered the business in 1904 as manager of his brother’s penny arcade at 147th Street & Third Avenue in the Bronx, and then ran another Loew’s arcade in Manhattan at 23rd Street & Sixth Avenue before Marcus promoted him to the National when the theatre opened in 1910. Marcus Loew died in 1927 at age 57.

nonsportsnut
nonsportsnut on October 6, 2009 at 6:00 am

I’m a Three Stooges Fan Club member, trying to confirm a personal appearance by the “3” Stooges (Moe Larry and Shemp), on a bill with Wee Bonnie Baker, the Barretts and Don Hooton, after an appearance by the A.B. Marcus Revue. The movie “Queen of Burlesque” was also shown. I have a display ad, but no dates (or town shown). Believe it was the Summer of 1946, and may have been Shemp’s first appearance after Curly’s strokes. The National was advertised as air cooled and showed a phone number of JA-7863.
Any help will be appreciated.
Thanks Frank Reighter

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on December 8, 2009 at 9:19 am

Cool pictures, Lost Memory.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on May 8, 2011 at 11:04 am

Marcus Loew was born on this date in 1870.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 25, 2011 at 9:33 am

I would venture that the location of this theater was the east side of Bergen Avenue just south of the intersection with Westchester Avenue. A parking lot now occupies most of this block front from Westchester Avenue and down along Bergen approximately 2/3 of the way to the corner of E 149th Street. The E 149th Street corner is occupied by a vacant and overgrown lot. Department of Buildings records indicate a Certificate of Occupancy was issued on July 26, 1985, for a “public parking lot for 74 private passenger cars” at 570 Bergen Avenue.

The street view above faces the opposite side of Bergen Avenue, down the block near E 149th – south of the theater’s site. The correct view can be obtained by turning around to the right and heading north about half a block.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on March 21, 2012 at 9:55 am

On this first day of spring in 1949, Loew’s National treated the Bronx to a vaudeville show, with two performances at 3:30 and 8:30pm. Young Hollywood and Broadway star Tommy Dix was the headliner. Also, on screen, the National presented two Film Classics releases in glorious Cinecolor, “Sofia: City of Intrigue,” and “Miraculous Journey.”

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