Town Theatre

37-11 Main Street,
Flushing, NY 11354

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The Town Theatre was one of the first movie theatres in downtown Flushing, Queens, and dated back to the World War One era. It was previously known as the Taft Theatre, and may have had other names before that. As the Town Theatre, it was operated by the Century Theaters circuit, and then by the Springer chain in its final years.

Changing programs twice a week, the Town Theatre played the same double bills as its nearby competition, the RKO Keith’s Theatre and the Prospect Theatre, but several weeks afterwards. In 1959, it was demolished to make way for a W.T. Grant variety store.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

roadwarrior23249
roadwarrior23249 on December 15, 2005 at 6:54 pm

I have a nice photo of the taft i will post on here as soon as i get the chance. Warren, sine you seem to be THE theater guy around here, maybe you can help me out. I have a book on early queens and it shows a theater called the Janice that was also on main st. Was this the location of the Taft/Town, the seem to be in the same location in the pics. Thanks

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 16, 2005 at 3:43 am

Mike69, the Janice has a listing of its own here. It was not the same theatre as this one. The Janice was just a few doors south of Northern Boulevard. I’ve posted some pix at the Janice listing.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 27, 2006 at 9:49 am

This 1935 exterior of the Taft Theatre was published in the August 24th issue of Queens Chronicle as part of its nostalgic “I Have Often Walked Series.” The pointed top of the rival RKO Keith’s Flushing can be seen at the far left of the image:
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/taft35.jpg
Curiously, the article’s text makes no mention of the theatre’s origin as the Flushing or of its later identity as the Town. The writer seems more fascinated by the naming of the theatre in honor of William Howard Taft (27th president of the USA), and points out that another Taft Theatre is still thriving in President Taft’s hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 25, 2006 at 6:06 am

By February 1950, Century had turned over the management of the Town and 43rd Street to Springer Theatres, though the former connection was still clear in the placement of advertising:
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/centspring.jpg

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 11, 2006 at 10:26 am

The Taft’s marquee can be seen at the extreme right of this 1939 view of Main Street, which looks north towards guess what? On the opposite side of the street from the Taft was Abramson’s, which for many years was Flushing’s only department store. I’m not sure if it was still operating by the time of the opening of Gertz on Roosevelt Avenue in the 1950s:
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/taft39.jpg

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 8, 2008 at 1:43 pm

This first opened as the Taft Theatre on December 31st, 1931, described in advertising as “New and Magnifcent,” and with the “Best Talking Pictures Presented in a Refined Atmsphere— at the Lowest Thrift Prices.” The first booking was a late-run double bill of “Skyline” & “Sob-Sister,” accompanied by a newsreel and color cartoon.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 15, 2008 at 7:58 am

Here’s a new link to a 1935 exterior image as the Taft Theatre:
View link

bobosan
bobosan on December 13, 2008 at 3:14 am

Here’s another image of the Taft from the 1930s:

View link

robboehm
robboehm on May 4, 2011 at 7:53 pm

When I was a child my aunt took me to Flushing. I remember walking past the Town. Even then I was a theatre nut. Does no one have pictures of the theatre as the Town? Also, I posted similar information to this a year or so ago but it has disappeared. Anybody else experience this sort of problem?

ajs42548
ajs42548 on December 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm

My great uncle (my maternal grandmother’s brother) was Joseph Springer who owned the Midwood from the late 50’s into the 60’s. He also owned 5 other theaters some in Brooklyn and the rest in Queens. I saw the American Masters show and also heard Woody Allen mention that his grandfather owned that theater. Either he sold it to Century Circuit or directly to my uncle. I used to live on Coney Island Avenue and Ave. J (across Coney Island Ave. from Bobbins). Of course I used to have a family pass and see movies free whenever I wanted.

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