RKO Royal Theatre

423 Westchester Avenue,
Bronx, NY 10455

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RKO Royal Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx, the Royal Theatre first opened on September 7, 1913, and was one of the first large commissions for architect Thomas W. Lamb. Owner Percy Williams launched it with vaudeville only, but when he sold the theatre to Keith’s in 1918, movies were added. By that time, the Royal was so successful that Keith’s wanted Lamb to expand the seating capacity to 3,000 by combining the two separate balconies into one, but safety engineers nixed the project.

Inevitably, the theatre became the RKO Royal, first-run for the neighborhood but day-and-date with the circuit’s other Bronx theatres. After closure in 1962, it was demolished, but has yet to be replaced by anything but a parking lot.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

bamtino on July 3, 2004 at 2:50 am

A vintage image can be found here:
View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 6, 2005 at 2:30 pm

The RKO Royal Theatre had two other architects helping out Thomas Lamb (on one of his first projects), they were Buchanan & Fox.

BobFurmanek on February 23, 2006 at 11:05 am

To promote his new film “The Ladies Man,” Jerry Lewis appeared on stage at this theater on July 12, 1961.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 20, 2007 at 5:09 pm

Regarding the Westchester Theatre, Bronx, I have three possibilities for you…..

American Motion Picture Directory 1914-1915
Westchester Theatre, 2319 Winchester Avenue, Bronx, (now maps as 2319 Washington Avenue, Bronx, 10458)
Westchester Hippodrome, 1423 Williamsbridge Road, Bronx, 10461

Film Daily Yearbook, 1926 edition
Westchester Theatre, 2319 Webster Avenue, Bronx, 10458 (600 seats)

Seems a coincidence with two theatres having a 2319 number on different streets! As Webster Avenue is the one that actually maps correctly I would say this could be the correct address of the Westchester Theatre which is in the photo posted by Lost Memory above.

BobFurmanek on February 4, 2009 at 1:45 pm

On Friday January 26, 1962, the Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly-Joe DeRita) embarked on a three day promotional tour for their latest feature film, THE THREE STOOGES MEET HERCULES. They were accompanied by “The Herculean Giant” (almost 8 foot tall Dave Ballard) and popular DJ Clay Cole, who was one of the stars of the co-feature, TWIST AROUND THE CLOCK.

On Friday January 26, they appeared at the RKO Royal at 9:35 PM.

RickEvans on February 13, 2015 at 9:15 pm

Spent quite a few Saturday matinees with on or two rows of pals in the childrens' section watching SciFi and horror movies at the RKO Royal.

Although my best memory is when my dad took me to see I Married a Monster from Outer Space and The Blob. It was a cold winter night and my dad quipped “We won’t have to worry about the blob on a night like this.”

@kencmcintyre Thanks for posting the link to the image.

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