Folly Theatre

15 Debevoise Street,
Brooklyn, NY 11206

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Showing 1 - 25 of 47 comments

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 2, 2014 at 3:10 pm

If comments are removed by members, the number in the “view all comments” field is automatically reduced. I found a page (I can’t remember which one it was now) that was displaying six comments, but had a “view all 12 comments” link at the top. Clicking on the link, the new page displayed only the same six comments that were on the first page. That has to be a technical issue.

It is likely, though, that the comment on the State Theatre in Tempe that I found in the Google cache but not on the CT page itself was one that had been removed by a member. Google’s cache usually lags a bit behind changes in the pages that have been cached. But probably not all of those comments have vanished entirely from the Internet. At least some of them are bound to have been preserved by the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 2, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Joe… Another consideration is that many comments and photos have been deleted by CT members themselves, as they “back themselves” out of CT existence. It seems that some members get so incensed over disagreements or perceived insults or slights, that they then go about systematically removing any traces of their contributions on the site. Most recently, a long time member here passed away, after having contributing over 4000 photos and a great many comments. It seems that, for reasons unknown, the entirety of that person’s photographic contributions were removed by a family member, and, last I knew, all of their comments to theater threads were being eliminated one by one. Sad, but true. I’m hoping that the instances to which you refer are mere technical glitches that can be corrected.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 31, 2013 at 6:09 pm

The default to open theaters when searching is a new feature of the site, and not in itself a bug. The introduction of that feature, and the division into theaters that are open, closed, etc., probably has something to do with the bugs that have turned up since the change was made, though. Changing a lot of code at once sometimes leads to unintended consequences. The comments, photos, and listings that have gone missing or don’t go where they should are still on the server. They just aren’t all being fetched properly when requested. I’m sure Patrick will be able to get the problem fixed once he returns from his holiday.

johndereszewski on December 31, 2013 at 4:31 pm

I noticed that when you try to search for name or zip code, you initially only get the “Open” theaters which basically involves only a small percentage of the places. Then, when you limit the search to “Closed” or “Demolished” the theaters that come up do not correspond to the category. For example, when I search for 11221 zip and “Closed” I still get theaters that are situated all over the place.

Hope this helps.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 31, 2013 at 2:56 pm

There are odd things going on with the site lately, Ed, but I hadn’t noticed this one until you pointed it out. It’s another thing for Ken to tell Patrick about. Have you noticed anything else?

johndereszewski on December 31, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Site manager, thanks so much for the prompt response. Now let’s act on Ed Solero’s issue.

Happy New Year to all!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 31, 2013 at 11:04 am

This is another in a list of Brooklyn cinemas, where there are images on the theater’s photo page, but the overview defaults to a street view.

johndereszewski on December 31, 2013 at 7:57 am

I just noticed an omission at the top of the page. While both the Brooklyn Theatre Index and a previous comment made by Warren G. Harris indicate that the Folly was constructed by the firm of Dodge & Morrison, no reference to this on the page itself appears. Given the impressiveness of this long gone building, I think a little recognition is due. Hopefuly, the site administrator will agree.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 15, 2010 at 3:44 am

In his comment of April 9, 2008, Warren identifies the architects of The Folly as the firm of Dodge & Morrison. The senior architect of this firm, Stephen Webster Dodge, is the subject of this brief biography in a 1908 book, “Flatbush of Today.”

The biography only mentions three theaters designed by the firm, all of them already attributed at Cinema Treasures. The firm’s junior partner, Robert Burns Morrison, didn’t have a biography in the book. Perhaps he didn’t live near Flatbush.

Bway on April 14, 2010 at 11:32 am

The photo was emailed to me by someone, but it turned out to be one of Warren’s scans. I don’t know what happened to the links though.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on April 13, 2010 at 3:13 pm

It’s disappointing to keep scrolling down and clicking on to photos that an no longer there.

I’ve wasted countless hours, leading into days, with this on-going problem with so many cinemas and theaters.

If photos are “oops, sorry, try again” then why not DELETE that entry and cut out the senseless letters. Hmmmmmmm???????

johndereszewski on April 13, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Thank you Bway and Warren for this terrific vintage picture. I just can’t believe that such a significant theater existed on this corner. I just have two additional comments to add:

  1. When one reads – or re-reads – “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” – one can really think of The Folly as a place where the principal characters of this wonderful novel went to enjoy a silent film and/or a stage performance on a Saturday night. Perhaps Jimmy Nolan even performed here. This was clearly one of the crown jewels of the “Ghetto Street”.

  2. It is interesting to think that the very stately Folly was situated just down the block from the far more mundane Lindy Theater. But I guess that’s how things were those days.

Bway on April 13, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Photo above courtesty of Warren G Harris.

Bway on April 12, 2010 at 10:10 am

Here’s an old photo of the Folly Theater:

Click Here for Photo

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 24, 2008 at 11:03 am

In March, 1937, an adored screen star topped the “International Winter Garden Revue” at the Folly Theatre. The cast of 40 included 18 beautiful dancing girls: View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 11, 2008 at 12:14 pm

Here’s a new direct link to an exterior photo of The Folly Theatre before William Fox took over. The introductory “The” was part of the name until the Fox era: View link
According to some vintage programmes at the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library, The Folly first opened on November 4, 1901 with George W. Monroe in the stage comedy, “Mrs. B. O'Shaugnessy.” The Folly became the flagship of Hyde & Behman’s Brooklyn houses: “Being the first theatre in Greater New York erected under the new theatre building laws, it complies with all the requirements as to large and numerous exits and fireproof construction…A stage measuring 36 by 80 feet can accommodate the largest and most elaborate scenery. The main floor of the auditorium has 850 seats, the balcony 600, and the gallery almost as many more. All seats, including those in boxes, command a perfect view of the stage…The ease of the patrons is provided for by the liberal spacing of aisles and seats, and the comfortable, well-fitting seats. The air is purified during the performance by the numerous air ducts and electric fans that have been installed…The lighting of the entire house is most brilliant: most of the electric lights are placed directly in the plaster, but beautiful fixtures are placed in the entrances and on the side walls when necessary. The electric equipment, both on the stage and in the auditorium, is capable of producing an endless variety of effects, and is easily manipulated from the main switchboard backstage…Sitting in the auditorium, you see three ceiling paintings by Tojetti— the center one showing ‘Love and Music,’ and the side panels ‘Night and Day’— being beautiful dancing figures, with large sun and moon for backgrounds. Elaborate floral paintings and other decorations are the work of Illanic Panzironi, who collaborated with Mr. Tojetti… The exterior of the building shows an imposing tower on the corner, 95 feet high, with flagpole, from which will float the burgee of The Folly, and surmounted by a conspicuous weather vane. The tower is of a particularly graceful and pleasing outline, with its domed roof and dormers above, and the wide, balustraded portico surrounding it below. This portico contains the three large arched entrances to the main vestibules and lobby.”

jflundy on April 9, 2008 at 4:14 pm

In 1927 the Folly was listed by the Brooklyn Eagle as being at Graham Ave and Debevoise, seating 1975, being managed by H.H. Lipkowitz.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 9, 2008 at 2:00 pm

The by then long shuttered Folly Theatre was sold for demolition in 1949, according to an article in The New York Times of 11/20/49. The owner, who’d recently purchased the theatre from Randforce Amusement Company, intended to replace it with “a modern, two-story business building.” The NYT reported that the Folly was built for $350,000 in 1908 by Hyde & Behman, using the architectural firm of Dodge & Morrison: “The imposing red brick building became well known in Brooklyn for its drama and musical shows, vaudeville and silent pictures. Under Hyde & Behman, it staged such popular shows as ‘Betty, the Beautiful,’ ‘The Bowery After Dark,’ and ‘Why Girls Leave Home.’ For many years the Folly thrived on legitimate plays, but when William Fox took over and starting presenting movies, business began to decline.” The NYT revealed that the theatre had been owned all along by the Hyde family of Hyde & Behman. The Hydes had leased it to Fox Theatres and then to its successor, Randforce Amusement. In 1948, Randforce had excercised a purchase option in its lease and bought the Folly from the Richard Hyde Estate. No purchase prices were disclosed, but in 1949, the property was assessed at $85,000, of which $70,000 was for the underlying ground plot that measured 150 by 100 feet.

AntonyRoma on October 3, 2007 at 8:22 am

Hey guys, I think I may have discovered a new theater, The Deutsches Theater at 22 Grove St (Ridgewood I presume, by its name)

New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Oct 16, 1927. pg. X3, 1 pgs

Abstract (Summary)
IN the little theatre in Grove Street, where not so long ago “The Manhatters” and “The Band Fox Follies” were doing their stuff, a German theatrical company is now definitely established. It is the Deutsches Theatre, 22 Grove Street, incorporated in the State of New York as the Erni Belian Theatre, Inc., with direction, casting and play selection all under the management of Miss Belian.

AntonyRoma on October 3, 2007 at 8:07 am

Guess Williamsburg was always not too desirable a neighborhood. But the Folly must have been important to be referenced in this robbery. Gotta give Mr Finkelstein a big ataboy.

JEWELER THWARTS THIEVES.; Holds One Robber, Though His Companions Fire at Him.
New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Apr 7, 1912. pg. C4, 1 pgs

Abstract (Summary)
Harold Finkelstein, a jeweler at 39 Graham Avenue, Williamsburg, frustrated the attempt of three men to rob him at the point of their revolvers yesterday. Finkelstein’s shop is one block from the Folly Theatre, in the shopping district of Williamsburg. A young man entered the shop yesterday and handed the jeweler a silver watch, explaining that he wanted it repaired.

AntonyRoma on October 3, 2007 at 8:00 am

The Folly made 1st page news.

New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Jan 7, 1929. pg. 1, 2 pgs
THUGS TERRIFY 2,500 IN THEATRE HOLD-UP; Eight Gunmen Raid Brooklyn Film House, Seize $2,500 and Shoot Way Out. A POLICEMAN IS WOUNDED Robber Also Believed Hit in Pistol Battle During Auto Chase—Car Is Found. Loot Safe of More Than $2,500. Six Thugs Advance on Theatre. THUGS TERRIFY 2,500 IN THEATRE HOLD-UP Six Policemen Speed to Aid. Cash Found in Riddled Auto. Car and License Tags Stolen.

Abstract (Summary)
One of the most daring hold-ups since Commissioner Whalen took command of the Police Department and declared war on gangsters and gunmen took place last night when the Fox Folly Theatre, at DeBevoise …

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 12, 2007 at 12:31 pm

By the Depression year of 1937, the Folly had been dropped by Fox Theatres (by then known as Randforce in Brooklyn) and was struggling to survive under independent management. The programs changed twice a week, with a stage show supporting a late-run movie. Some of the stage shows were the equivalent of burlesque, the others conventional vaudeville. “Girlesque” featured the provocatively named “Tita,” as well as Lestra Lamont and her “Paper Fashion Creations.” As a further inducement to its “lady patrons,” the Folly gave away free dinnerware on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, offering a choice between the Sun-Glo or Her Majesty patterns:

mikemorano on November 25, 2006 at 11:54 am

Thanx Joe S. That is a very cool trick. It is much better then buying a specialized program and it’s cheaper too. haha

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 25, 2006 at 8:55 am

After Fox dropped the Folly, new owners struggled to fight the Depression with everything they could muster, including free gifts to women and children, “Bowery Nites,” and bonus acts of vaudeville: