Rivoli Theatre

1374 Myrtle Avenue,
Bushwick,
Brooklyn, NY 11237

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Rivoli Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Myrtle Theatre was opened on November 16, 1910, with seating provided for 1,000. It presented continuous vaudeville and pictures.

In October 1933 it was re-named Rivoli Theatre and was closed in 1963.

Any further information would be appreciated.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 45 comments)

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on July 28, 2008 at 7:27 am

Again, Walter H, welcome to both Cinema Treasures and Bushwick Buddies ! Bway and I are on both.

My late Uncle John, who lived on Harman Street between Wyckoff and Irving Avenues as a kid, went to the Rivoli as a kid also. He passed away last November at age 86.

My dad went to the Colonial Theatre a lot as a kid, because, he, too, lived near there, among other places, on Moffat Street between Evergeen and Bushwick Avenues. He is now 88.

My family and I used to shop on Knickerbocker Avenue, northwest of Myrtle Avenue, also. It is still a busy shopping area.

Please continue to read here on Cinema Treasures, and on Bushwick Buddies also. I have posted a great deal on both sites, on many theatres and topics, over the past 4 ½ years.

I have read that the Dectaur Theatre was known locally as “the itch”.

Bway
Bway on April 16, 2009 at 9:42 am

The exterior of this theater has been recently cleaned up. I wonder what it used to look like though, as the “modern” stucco certainly wasn’t it’s original surface. I have never seen an old photo of the Rivoli.

LouisRugani
LouisRugani on December 27, 2009 at 12:28 pm

(Olean NY Herald, April 15, 1930)
THE BOTTOM RUNG
By Joseph Von Raalte
Every profession produces its eccentrics and in the theater they have their “punch drunks” as has the “cauliflower” industry.
• The saddest one I ever encountered was in the Myrtle Theater in Brooklyn, a dilapidated little house that plays three acts of independent vaudeville and pictures.

Thc acts playing there are starving old-timers, seeking their room rent, or new acts, using the place for a dress rehearsal, knowing they will not be “caught” by bookers or agents.

The general utility man backstage at The Myrtle is a middleaged chap with a huge red nose, dressed in an ill-fitting doorman’s uniform.
He swears he’s “Raymond,” of the old-time act of Raymond and Caverly, “Dutch comics”; and as each act put in an appearance he corners them to rehearse past glories and to whine about “stupid bookers” who won’t work him. He then madly does impersonations of Dave Warfield, Tom Naughton, Eva Tanguay, all the old-timers, now out of the public run.
For $20 a week he takes light cues, moves scenery, acts as call boy. Thus, he’s closing his life, backstage, with Memory ever bringing the light of “other days.”

bobbymoral
bobbymoral on June 5, 2010 at 5:23 pm

I was a member of Calvario Pentecostal church (formerly known as Rivoli Theater) from 1993 to 2005. No major chances had been made to the interior. The original seats are still intact. Of course the screen had been removed and was converted to an altar. Only minor changes for maintenance. The exterior has been painted and work on several times. I would really like to know what the building was being used for between the years of 1950 through 1989. I gather all information below is accurate. If anyone has information for those decades I would greatly appreciate it. I have great sentimental value in this place. Thanks

Current Pastor: Luis Lebron 2008-
Former Pastor: Ramon Clemente: 1992-2006
Former Pastor: William Velez ?-1992

Church Building History:
El Calvario was originally known as The Myrtle Theater and is listed in the 1914-1915 edition of American Motion Picture Directory.

A Kramer theater organ was installed in the Myrtle Theater in 1921.

In October 1933 it was re-named Rivoli Theater

NY Times February 9, 1936

MOVIE CROWD FLEES SMALL DRAPERY FIRE; Cry Alarms Part of Audience of 1,000 in Brooklyn, but Blaze Is Quickly Extinguished.

About 1,000 persons, many of them children, were viewing a motion picture about 4:30 yesterday afternoon in the Rivoli Theater at 1374 Myrtle Avenue, near Central Avenue, Ridgewood, Brooklyn, when a man in the audience shouted “Fire!”.

NY Times December 18, 1941, Thursday

BROOKLYN THEATER IN NEW OWNERSHIP; Rivoli on Myrtle Ave. Bought by Corporation and Leased to Raybond Movie Chain

The 900-seat Rivoli Theater, at 1374 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn, on the northeast corner of Harmon Street, running through to Himrod Street, has been sold by George Giegerich to the Hartle Realty Corporation, a client of Moses H. Hoenig, attorney.

NY Times December 27, 1948

For 1200 children of the downtown Brooklyn area, a Christmas carnival will be … at the Rivoli Theater, 1374 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn, for 1000 children, December 27, 1948

bobbymoral
bobbymoral on June 15, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Your welcome John, I understand you completely. It’s difficult entering in a religious place and ask questions about the history. People usually get the wrong impression. However, church is a public place and is open to everyone. I know the current Pastor and he is a very friendly and welcoming individual. I can’t really speak on their behalf in regards to welcoming cinema people at the site. I don’t know how they would react but it wouldn’t be in a dismissive manner. They are very polite and are mostly interested in just welcoming people to worship. I do know that the current pastor is very knowledgeable and has been a member for decades. So I do plan on meeting with him soon and asking those questions. I recently found out by my associates that the building was indeed functioning as a church in the 80’s. You do make a good point about vandalism in the 70’s because it probably would’ve been effected especially during the 1977 black out. Feel free to contact me at and we can continue to converse.

Bway
Bway on June 16, 2010 at 7:29 pm

A photo of the interior would be greatly appreciated!

bobbymoral
bobbymoral on June 25, 2010 at 10:45 am

Bway, this is the link I created for former church members on Facebook..here you will be able to see some pictures of the interior. View link

sg77
sg77 on April 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm

we lived on wilson ave between himrod and harman sts. we went to the rivoli very often. all you had to do was to cash in for the deposit money were milk bottles. 3 bottles got you in, a big nine cents if you had more bottles you might be lucky to get some candy.. those were the days . things sure have changed. but so have we since then lol….

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on August 3, 2013 at 9:47 am

A few weeks ago I visited the area and found the church to be open, although no service was in progress. I decided to go in and was greeted by two attendants who invited me to view the old auditorium. It is in really good shape and clearly resembles its former use, with the altar area replacing the screen. In short, this represents a wonderful re-use of the old Rivoli.

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