Casino Theatre

1151-1155 DeKalb Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11221

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Showing 1 - 25 of 62 comments

Bway
Bway on May 17, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Oh good, like I said, I had a strange thing happen a few weeks ago, where photos didn’t show up, and a system restore solved the problem. I never figured out what it was.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on May 17, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Jayar’s pictures now come in fine and are great. This was probably just a temporary thing.

Bway
Bway on May 17, 2010 at 9:28 am

John, I think it has to be a problem with your computer, as I see the photos fine. You also commented about my photo in the Parthenon Theater “not coming through”, so I think you may have a problem with your computer. You may want to do a system restore, I had a similar problem like that some weeks ago, and that fixed the problem. It’s definitely on your end.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on May 16, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Jayar, while I thank you for posting these pictures, they apparently have been blocked and cannot be accessed. Hopefully, you will be able to resolve this problem.

Looking forward to seeing really good stuff!

Jayar1
Jayar1 on May 5, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Early photograph of the DeKalb Theater…
View link

Jayar1
Jayar1 on April 26, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Bargaintown USA was located at the intersection of Broadway and Reid Ave. see photograph at

http://www.topix.net/city/brooklyn-ny

doowopluvr101
doowopluvr101 on April 4, 2009 at 7:26 pm

Like Fenando I took the “nickleless tour” when i was about 10 years old in 1968. The largest theater I ever seen. Too dark to appreciate the decor. besides what 10 year old knows from gothic nor french revival. Spooky is what I remember most. So much space. The stage appeared to be so far away from the top of the balcony.

this place must have been some kind of business in the 60’s.
I won’t swear to it but I’m so certain that around the time the mets were winning the world series that place caught fire. I recall as if it were yesterday how I and a couple of pals joined in with some of the older guys from the neighborhood and went shopping through the charred remains. toys, dolls for my sisters is what I recall.

No I’m not suggesting that this was Bargaintown. I don’t remember a bargaintown. And Buy Rite was on a whole different block.

I do have a tenant thats in her 80’s, has been living in the same place since 1932 On Dekalb ave and she averts that yes they had vaudville shows, italian shows and it was in fact bargaintown.

Bway
Bway on April 2, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Amazing how beautiful the interior of this theater was. Does anyone know if anything at all survived the conversion to a school?

Jayar1
Jayar1 on February 10, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Check out this site for photographs of this area

http://www.topix.net/city/brooklyn-ny

PKoch
PKoch on September 5, 2007 at 11:42 am

Thanks, Lost Memory, for getting this page back on topic in general, and back to the right type of organ, in particular !

PKoch
PKoch on July 16, 2007 at 9:57 am

As for the cleanup between matinee and evening performances at the Dekalb / Casino, I’m also reminded what Robert DeNiro as Travis Bickle said near the beginning of “Taxi Driver” :

“Some nights I have to clean the come off the back seat before leaving the cab at the garage.”

I mentioned that to a former friend, now deceased, who used to drive a cab for a living, and he said that was VERY accurate.

PKoch
PKoch on July 16, 2007 at 9:53 am

Bway, I was thinking the exact same thing myself. I think the image showed that “Women in Bondage” was on a double bill at the RKO Bushwick, along with “The Lodger”, starring George Sanders and Merle Oberon, in 1942, and that the marquee also read “Burlesque every Tuesday and Wednesday evening”. The link to that image must be someplace on the page for the RKO Bushwick (theater # 1322).

I remember laughing when I saw the image, because the marquee read as though the “women in bondage” appeared as the burlesque at the Bushwick on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings !

Bway
Bway on July 16, 2007 at 9:40 am

I could have sworn I have seen it in ads for at least the Bushwick Theater, but I could be mistaken. I seem to recall something on the marquee of the Bushwick Theater from the 30’s saying “Women in Bondage” or something, but that could have meant something else in the 30’s.

Bway
Bway on July 15, 2007 at 4:56 pm

I believe even some of the more facny theaters like the RKO Bushwick and Madison did occasionally do burlesque shows.

PKoch
PKoch on July 12, 2007 at 10:17 am

Thanks for the details, Warren. The term “sulphur redhead” comes to mind, also the poem “Red Silk Stockings” by Langston Hughes.

As for the cleanup between matinee and evening performances : I’m reminded of a porno theater or peep show. I never knew the Casino had such a sexually charged past, although, now that you mention it, I suppose many theaters did. I suppose that’s mostly what the Puritans had against theaters. Also, Warren, that’s the most sexually explicit comment I’ve ever seen you post on this site.

PKoch
PKoch on November 2, 2006 at 4:26 am

Thanks, Warren. I suppose the Halsey Theater was the one on Halsey Street, near Saratoga Avenue, between Broadway and Fulton Street, for which a page exists on this site, and at which the young Jackie Gleason got his start in show biz about seventy years ago.

Bway
Bway on June 5, 2006 at 5:16 am

There was also a Starr Theater on Knickerbocker near Starr.

PKoch
PKoch on February 27, 2006 at 11:25 am

Dorothy From Oz, thank you for your story of “Deep Coat” !

The Starr was a small neighborhood theater in Bushwick, on Starr Street, just a few blocks southeast of Flushing Avenue. There should be a separate page for it.

If the Star was on or near Fulton Street, much more of a main drag than Starr Street, in or near downtown Bklyn, then it was much larger than the Starr Theater.

Dorothy
Dorothy on February 26, 2006 at 6:21 am

My dad says he attended the Casino On DeKalb near Broadway to see the burlesque shows with his teenage friends..mid 1930’s (prior to that they went to The Star on/near Fulton-I will have to further clarify with him as there seems to be more than one Star®? He was there at the Casino one night when a patron wearing a raincoat caused a big ruckus and was escorted out..if you know what I mean LOL!
more later…

PhilDB
PhilDB on September 19, 2005 at 6:04 am

This is a great discussion about the DeKalb/Casino theatre. I hope I can add some personal memory thoughts of the years when, as a youngster back in the 1930s and 40’s, I lived in Bushwick, at the corner of DeKalb and Evergreen Avenues, two blocks away from the theatre.
In those days the neighborhood theatres of choice for our family were primarily the Lowe’s Gates and RKO Bushwick on Broadway and the Rivoli on Myrtle Avenue along with the occasional visits to theatres along Fulton Street and in Manhattan. We went to see movies frequently and caught most of the classics that were being produced during that era.

When I was about 10 or 11 years old, I got the bright idea that I ought to go to a movie without my parents tagging along. They weren’t too keen on the suggestion, but I pestered and they finally consented with the proviso that it would have to be to the theatre nearest to our home rather than to any of the ones I had in mind.

Ergo, my introduction on a cold Saturday afternoon to DeKalb/Casino. The theatre looked old and dingy, nothing like I was used to. There was no concession area, hardly any audience and the interior was bitter cold with old radiators against the wall sputtering and whooshing out wet steam to no effect. But I was there on my own and for a young kid on a solo adventure, it was a “big deal” as I sat there munching on a package of Yankee Doodles my mother had packed for me and watched on the big screen, Frank Capra’s 1937 classic, “Lost Horizon,” starring Ronald Coleman. Even though it was the first and last time I would sit in that theatre, the experience would leave a lifelong positive impression.

Coincidentally, about 4 or 5 years ago in relating this story to one of the Brooklyn Board’s memory threads I had to confess to the fact I could not remember the theatre’s name. Next day, Warren, a great movie historian, e-mailed me and clued me in to the name changes. I thank him for that and for directing me to this website.

Now fast-forward to the present and let me recall things about that theatre experience that may relate to some of the points and questions raised in the current thread:
For sure, the two photos of the theatre building that “Bway” recently posted resemble the theatre building I knew in 1940. I remember entering the theatre through the large entrance on the left as you face the building, which at that time was covered by a marquee that extended out over the sidewalk area to the curbstone. In addition, I’m pretty sure the there was also a sign, a long, vertical, impressive looking sign that rose up to the roof line typical of what you often see attached to the side of theatre buildings. I don’t remember if the sign was mounted over the marquee or at some other point along the front of the building. I suppose that both the marquee and the sign may have displayed the name “Casino” based on what has been said on this thread about the name changes. But once again, I’m just not sure.

The brick building on the right side of the theater I recall as an automobile garage that rented parking space and provided auto serviceâ€"tires, gas, oil, repairs, etc. I believe it was called “The New Deal Garage.” My father, who used to jokingly call it “Used Deal Garage” serviced his used 1934 Chevrolet there but paid to park his car in an open lot either next to the garage or down the street away.

Now, on the matter of the building site on which the theatre is located and other interesting data about it. I have excerpted some information from an article from the microfilm file of the New York Times of March 5, 1911 stating that work was to begin on what would be the “Largest Theatre in Brooklyn,” that it would be known as the “DeKalb” and that it would “occupy a plot 180 by 170 feet on the north side of DeKalb Avenue about 200 feet east of Broadway.” The article went on to say that the architecture would be “Italian Renaissance” and that the front would be of “white glazed terra-cotta” and that there would only be “one balcony” but that there would be a “row of fourteen boxes, seating twelve persons each” and that the “total seating capacity will be 2,500.” It stated that the theatre was to be erected by the “Thomas A. Clarke Company, the builders of the Shubert Theatre” and that the building cost would be “about $500,000.”
I hope I’m not posting facts you already know. If not and if these figures hold true for the present structure, then they might answer some questions about how the building may or may not have been used in recent years.

The discussion about the traffic direction on Dekalb Avenue puzzled me. I believe that in the 1930s and 40s, DeKalb Avenue carried 2-way auto and trolley traffic over its entire route including the portion on which the theatre was located.

Like some other correspondents, I also attended PS 68 (through 6th grade) and PS 74 (grades 7-8). When the war began in 1941 our family moved to Stockholm Street near Central Avenue. I graduated from Grover Cleveland HS in 1948 and entered military service. I have not been back to the neighborhood since that time so I look forward for some interesting memory trips on this web site that will takes us back to the “good old days.”

JoeS
JoeS on May 5, 2005 at 2:47 pm

I just got this back from a female friend who is at least 10 years older than myself.Here she is stating that there were Italian

singing and plays.I described the theater to her and a number of other’s but she is the only one to respond at this time.

Quote*

I REMEMBER THE THEATER ON DEKALB AV WELL. MY FATHER TOOK ME THERE EVERY SUNDAY TO SEE CARLO BUTI, NICOLA PIONE AND ALL THOSE DRAMATIC PLAYS THOSE WERE SOME OF MY MOST CHERISHED MEMORIES.

Well I’ll await the reponse from other’s.

I attended PS 74 between 1949 and 1951 when I graduated.It’s possible that something was going on there before my time and I
just wasn’t aware of it.

Bway
Bway on May 5, 2005 at 5:22 am

I believe “Casino” was it’s name near the end (the last or current name of any theater is the name used on this site, even if it’s not the name that it is most known for. This is done for consistency.)
Anyway, “Casino” was definitely it’s name, it’s noticable in the www.nycsubway.org photos taken at the Kosciuszko St station, linked above.
According to your account, someone familiar with the area back then, apparently it seems that it wasn’t too long that it was known as the “Casino”, just before it was abandoned as a theater i assume.

JoeS
JoeS on May 4, 2005 at 7:16 pm

The Casino Theater was diagonally opposite the Dekalb Ave Library.
In the forties I remember a sign on the building stating, “Follie's
and Vaudeville”.I lived on the opposite side of the street (Dekalb)between Wilson and Central in the even numbers.I don’t remember this theater being open for movies at any time and I left in the middle ‘60’s.
I went to PS 74 which is now PS 274 and I worked at the Library on
Bushwick and Dekalb in the late forties.
Now here is the best part.I never heard of the name “Casino” until
I checked out this post.