RKO Babylon Twin

701 Montauk Highway,
West Babylon, NY 11726

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tpotter1560
tpotter1560 on January 22, 2018 at 5:07 pm

I will always remember this theater… I saw Star Wars there in 1977 when I was 6 years old. I remember seeing Young Frankenstein there as well. My parents grew up locally and that shopping center was their “hang out” as teenagers. I remember getting most of my Star Wars figures at the TSS Store (K-Mart decades later) across the street or the Service Merchandise catalogue store in the next shopping center over.

robboehm
robboehm on May 28, 2017 at 7:50 am

Bed Bath and Beyond was Martin’s in the day.

David_Schneider
David_Schneider on May 27, 2017 at 3:29 pm

I remember seeing “Return of the Jedi” here during the film’s opening weekend in 1983. (I just realized I may be accidentally posting this almost exactly 34 years later.) I arrived early for my chosen show time… and was startled as I was driven past on Montauk Highway and into the parking lot to see a line outside that I then had to wait in for the duration of the screening to thankfully get in to the next one. The sky was overcast, and it drizzled for the last twenty minutes of the wait. I joked to the fellow kid behind me about our dedication, and we conversed to pass the remaining time. I then sat with him during the show, and he used his fingers to somehow help his eyes squint because he had recently lost his glasses.

I sort of recollect maybe a lot of dark red in the lobby’s décor. Yes the auditoriums were narrow enough that I felt subconsciously prompted to sit closer to the screen.

I also saw the original “Ghostbusters“ here, and another film I can‘t recall.

When part of the front of the theater became a Blockbuster Video I thought that was ironic: the theater is gone but you can still consume films by renting them from there, including perhaps some older ones that had played at the theater.

The former entrance and lobby of the theater/former Blockbuster and F.Y.E. music store is now Davis Visionworks. The rest of the theater structure is now a GNC, a Weight Watchers, and a Carter’s kids clothing store.

In pre-2015 Google Street View images there are two vertical blue steel beams in front of the building at the corner of Montauk Hwy and Brookvale Avenue that I believe held up the marquee if memory serves. They have been replaced by a sign showing what businesses are in the Great South Bay Shopping Center.

My late father once told me there had been a pond upon which he used to ice skate as a kid during winters in the 1930’s, that was filled in and replaced by the A&S (Abraham & Strauss) department store (now National Wholesale Liquidators) in the corner of the shopping center at the time the property was developed. When visiting the place while growing up I’d contemplate that – my father at my age, and a more rural version of Long Island I hadn’t experienced.

Back when the cinema existed the shopping center also included a Woolworth’s store with a diner I had eaten at with my mom, a French restaurant (Le Petite Chateau?) to which my high school French class took a lunch time field trip, and a Chinese restaurant, gone before I was old enough to know of it, where my parents said they had some of their early dates.

paul baar
paul baar on May 18, 2017 at 9:55 am

AMEN,ROBBEOHM,YOU CAN EVEN BUY THE DVD FOR THE PRICE OF THE TICKET.

robboehm
robboehm on May 18, 2017 at 9:35 am

Of the existing Long Island theaters there are very few from the early days and these have been chopped up. Now they build multiplexes with a dozen or more auditoriums but many seat fewer than 50 people. Except for the big, splashy movies you should just wait and see it on your home theater screen for a third of the price you’d pay.

paul baar
paul baar on May 18, 2017 at 9:22 am

I SAW “THE GREEN BERETS”,“WILL PENNEY”,“AIRPORT”,“THE ODD COUPLE"AND MANY MORE.IT WAS A NICE THEATER BUT I THINK THEY WERE STARTING TO BUILD TOO MANY.THE INDUSTRY WAS SAYING TICKET RECIEPTS WERE DOWN IN THE LATE"60’S, BUT THEY BUILT MORE TAKING AWAY FROM THEATERS LIKE THE BABYLON THEATER.

MarkieS
MarkieS on January 4, 2010 at 10:12 pm

I saw that all time classic “who slew auntie roo?” with Shelley Winters there!

robboehm
robboehm on April 23, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Yeah the posting has been corrected!

robboehm
robboehm on April 6, 2009 at 9:46 am

My question, how does one change an incorrect posting. This theatre was located in West Babylon at 701 Montauk Highway, not 901 Sunrise Highway in Copaigue. It was not demolished but exists as retail space per earlier postings. I went by the other day and realized that the f.y.e.(music, movies) sign on the facade doesn’t fully cover the old “holes” in the facade where the original theatre i.d. was. You can seen where the size of the theatres was doubled, that is, made longer, because of the way the rooftop A.C units are placed – midway on the building. When first built the A.C. units were at the back of the building.

robboehm
robboehm on February 23, 2009 at 1:57 pm

This site is frought with misinformation. The RKO Babylon Twin was built at the same time as the other RKO twins. It was not on Sunrise Highway but on Merrick Rd (Montauk Highway). The last time I was in the area it was used as retail space. When first constructed as a twin it was, virtually, identical to the Twin in Rockville Centre. Short and stubby. In later years they added to the back making it long and narrow. No way was this in Copiague. I might buy Lindenhurst, but more probably West Babylon, just west of the South Bay.

All the new RKO twins were to debut at the same time but the opening on this one was delayed to they could complete the “lavish finishing touches”. Yes, that’s what the ad said. Since I lived fairly near there I drove over to take a look. They hadn’t even put on the roof. Lavishing finishing touches my …

konga5
konga5 on September 19, 2008 at 6:10 pm

Yeah, that deep blue brick/tile ! We should have grabbed a few at demolition!

BobT
BobT on March 4, 2007 at 5:27 am

“theater never did great always way behind COMMACK AND RVC …”

But nobody messed with “The Godfather” probably their greatest booking. They were on the Paramount run in the 70’s and I saw “Saturday Night Fever”, “Looking For Mr.Goodbar”, as well as B fare like “Laserblast” and a comedy directed by Joan Rivers called “Rabbit Test”. When I think of the RKO Twins, I always think blue and orange.

JohnMoviola
JohnMoviola on March 4, 2007 at 1:08 am

I HATED this theater! It was long, and if you had to sit in the back, you needed a telescope to see the screen! I’m not kidding! the screen always looked dark, like they were projecting the film with a 30 watt bulb. I wasn’t sorry to see it go. It was one of the worst.

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on September 24, 2006 at 11:54 am

theater never did great always way behind COMMACK AND RVC …

longislandwally75
longislandwally75 on June 3, 2006 at 3:15 am

i remember when it opened…i wasn’t like a now a day twin..
it would show the same movie on both sides..
1 3 5 7 9 and 2 4 6 8 10
wally75

jukingeo
jukingeo on April 9, 2006 at 11:17 am

I concur with LongIslandMovies and Wirelessmedia. This building has NOT been demolished, but converted in to the aforementioned business'. Status should be changed for accuracy.

When it was a theatre, back when I was a kid, I always hated it. It was small and overpriced. Staff was always pompous like they knew it better (just like all the RKO’s in the area). Alas…up the block was the grand Babylon theatre (see that posting here) which WAS a beautiful single screen theatre, with a balcony. Alas that was made into a triplex in the late 80’s. Now it is dull and boring and no different than the rest of those huge multi-mega plexes you see out there.

JG

Orlando
Orlando on August 16, 2005 at 6:02 am

We will see the exterior of this theatre which was always a twin. The exterior blue bricks are under the makeover. The tour is on Sept. 11, 2005. See the Lindenhurst Theatre website on this site for info. This twin was incresed in size in 1976.

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on July 17, 2005 at 10:00 am

status and function should be changed. closed / retail

wirelessmedia
wirelessmedia on February 17, 2005 at 12:08 am

Actually, this is still standing. It is a Blockbuster and FYE (For Your Entertainment)

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on August 21, 2004 at 1:11 am

NEVER A BUSY THEATER FOR RKO UNLIKE ITS SISTER THEATER COMMACK TWIN BOTH BUILT AS TWINS, THE LONGEST AUDITORIUM YOU EVER SAW . The lobby in both theaters had smoked mirrors ,the best thing about these theaters were the candy stands and ladies rooms each stall had its own sink and mirrors.