Rivoli Theatre

1374 Myrtle Avenue,
Bushwick,
Brooklyn, NY 11237

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Showing 1 - 25 of 39 comments

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.

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….

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

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

A photo of the interior would be greatly appreciated!

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.

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

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.”

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.

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”.

WalterH
WalterH on July 27, 2008 at 9:35 am

The old Rivoli. This brings back so many memories. I used to go to the Colonial Theater as a kid because we lived near there, but my mother would often go shopping on Knickerbocker Ave and we would go sometimes to the Rivoli to see a movie. What memories. I am 82 now, and the memories are faint, but this site has stirred so many memories. I notice someone above, I think Florida Joe, mentioned dish night. My mother had an entire set of dishes from the Colonial Theater. She would always make me be sure that I would bring home the dish of the week if she wasn’t with me.
I also remember the seats being very soft as someone mentioned above. Much better than the Decatur, another theater I went to often as a kid.

I am so glad I found this site, I have lots of reading to do. I found out about it through another new site I found the Bushwick Buddies. Such great memories there too of the old neighborhood. I am really enjoying the nostalgia since finding these two sites!

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on January 14, 2008 at 4:32 pm

As of yesterday, the old Rivoli is still very much intact. While just about all of the old exterior trappings of a movie palace have long been removed, the church has done a fine job of maintaining the outer walls and the building looks very attractive – as a church. This must be a fairly prosperious parish.

While the place was open for worship during my visit, I did not want to intrude, especially since I did not have the time to stay for the service. However, if anyone contacts the church in advance, I see no reason why they would not welcome a visit from old cinematic fans.

PKoch
PKoch on December 28, 2007 at 7:04 am

Thanks, Lost Memory.

PKoch
PKoch on June 12, 2007 at 7:29 am

Thank you, Lost Memory, for posting this.

sasheegm
sasheegm on September 24, 2006 at 7:23 am

Hi Lostmemory: What a nice article——-I went to the Rivoli many times as a kid——-I remember when they used to give away dishes & cups and saucers…….The Loge upstairs, had a couple of private cubicles that were open to the public——It was in the smoking section…..I remember seeing everything from King Kong, to Red Garters, to A&C Meet Frankenstein there———Thansk for the memories once again——-Joe From Florida

Bway
Bway on June 5, 2006 at 7:32 am

Anyone know of any photos of the interior of the rivoli, either current as the church, or from historical photos?

sasheegm
sasheegm on May 6, 2005 at 11:28 am

I attended the Rivoli with my Parents many times…….It was not as expensive as the RKO or Loews Theaters, but always had a good double feature……….They also had “dish” night and “glass”, where they would give away dishes and glasses to all the Ladies in attendance……My earliest recollection of the Rivoli on Myrtle Ave, was going with my parents to see “Abbott & Costello-Meet Frankenstein”………I was about 7 or 8 years old and could sleep all night as the film scared the hell out of me———-Years later I would realize that it was the musical score that did that trick……..Also the Rivoli would show 3rd run Double features…..and I remember very clearly when the RKO Madison showed the Double Feature of “King Kong” & “The Leopard Man”———-We( my neighborhood friends & I) waited on line for it seemed like n eternity to see the big Gorilla——a few weeks later, the Rivoli was showing the same twin bill……and as you guessed it, we saw it again………I believe that was the last Major theatrical showing prior to the TV debut on Channel 9’s Million Dollar Movie"….It was a very comfortable theater, as the seats were nice and soft in comparison to the Starr a few blocks away——-Great little theater———Joe From Florida—-sasheegm

JoeS
JoeS on April 20, 2005 at 10:28 am

My young friend Charlie’s Mom Evelyn was the Rivoli Theater's
cashier for many years. When you walked into the the theater
the cashier was to your left.The Manager would usually be the person
who took the tickets.Once you entered the movie theater there
was a staircase in the center on your right side.The stairs went
up one flight to the balcony.The Rivoli had a loge section below the
balcony which was entered through the balcony.On the main floor
there was a candy counter to the left of the balcony.
A Matron served the main floor and there was nothing significant about the decor of the Rivoli.It wasn’t an elaborate theater such as
the RKO Madison.

Bway
Bway on November 22, 2004 at 4:37 pm

Thanks! AN interior shot would be much appreciated!

Sweetr710
Sweetr710 on November 22, 2004 at 4:12 pm

I was just browsing on history for my daughters talent class “History of Ridgewwod” came across plenty of Theaters in Ridgewood. Read on the comments of “The Rivioli” and realized I once attended a service at this church. It is a Spanish Pentacostal church. I can’t promise but will try to get a picture taken from the inside. Will be glad to try and help. The time I entered the church it’s interior was very gorgeous and theater-like. Knew at first site that it was a theater. Hopefully I can help you guys.

Sweetr710
Sweetr710 on November 22, 2004 at 4:05 pm

I was just browsing on history for my daughters talent class “History of Ridgewwod” came across plenty of Theaters in Ridgewood. Read on the comments of “The Rivioli” and realized I once attended a service at this church. It is a Spanish Pentacostal church. I can’t promise but will try to get a picture taken from the inside. Will be glad to try and help. The time I entered the church it’s interior was very gorgeous and theater-like. Knew at first site that it was a theater. Hopefully I can help you guys.

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on September 22, 2004 at 2:53 pm

Thanks, Chris. That looks like the Harman Street side. That shows so much more than what one sees from the el. The newest thing about the building seems to be the metal railing around it at sidewalk level.

Bway
Bway on September 22, 2004 at 2:33 pm

Here’s a current view of the Rivoli Theater taken today.

Click Here for Link

The theater is now a church. The building seems to be deteriorating. It has been heavily altered on the exterior. I couldn’t even tell where the original main entrance was.

Bway
Bway on September 1, 2004 at 8:38 am

There is some confusion about a theater called “The Knickerbocker”. Does anyone know if the Rivoli was at some time called the “Knickerbocker” in addition to being known as “The Myrtle”?

PeterKoch
PeterKoch on July 22, 2004 at 3:37 pm

For those present and former Bushwick and Ridgewood residents who wish to express their condolences and get-well wishes to Monsignor James Kelly of St, Brigid parish, the address is :

St. Brigid Rectory
409 Linden Street
Brooklyn, New York 11237