Starr Theater

233 Knickerbocker Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11237

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Showing 1 - 25 of 30 comments

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on April 19, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Thanks LM for providing the 1940 picture of the Starr. (At least that was when the “Mortal Storm” came out.)

As I view this photo, it seems as if a not insignificant portion of the old Starr’s upper floor was demolished when the building was converted to its current use. This probably involved the balcony, which helped provide nearly 1,000 seats to this rather small space.

Bway
Bway on February 6, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Well the original building was nondescript to begin with. I never said it was a restoration, just that the renovation of the building surely looks better than the crappy 1980’s era type of facade that was on the building. it’s a huge improvement.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 6, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Hey Bway… The current look is certainly nicer than before, but it doesn’t appear to be a restoration. Seems they eliminated the parapet wall above the entrance and around the perimeter facing Knickerbocker and Starr, and then spruced up the old bare brick wall of the auditorium structure, which was set back with a higher elevation behind the lobby and one-story storefronts. Gives the impression of a vintage restoration, but the old building never looked like that.

Bway
Bway on February 4, 2014 at 7:38 pm

I am amazed that the restoration of the building! I took a photo of the old Starr Theater in 2005, and to compare it to the current photo is textbook example of how the neighborhood is improving. In my photo, you could still make out the top edge of the original facade of the old historic photo Lost Memory Added. I recommend looking in the photo section!

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on February 3, 2014 at 9:15 pm

Great photo LM. I guess this picture was taken in the very early 1970’s at the latest since the place had been transformed into the supermarket by the time I got to know the area a few years later.

By the way, this photo – and not the current one – should be the one displayed at the top of the page.

funghi
funghi on May 10, 2011 at 6:31 pm

@Lost Memory, your photo of the Starr is not loading… Could you Please repost it again… I’m not even sure if your going to see this…(Since its been years since your last posting) As a child in the 60’s I went to the Starr every weekend… I would love to see it again… Either way, Thanks for the memories….

Bway
Bway on April 19, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Yes, I think it used to be red.

Bway
Bway on September 8, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Here’s a side glimpse of the Starr Theater, which is now a supermarket, that I took last week:

Click here for link

boerumhill1849
boerumhill1849 on May 29, 2008 at 8:31 am

There definitely was a Star Theatre at 389 Jay Street. Go to the below link of 389s CofOs and you will see it was there. It was sold off in 1939 and likely demolished until 1954 when it was built as the Fulton Savings Bank. The bank remained until conversion to the present stores in 1999.
View link

The ultimate proof is seen here showing the Star in 1930 as a burlesque and vaudeville theater. Use the Pand and Zoom feature and you can see everything.
View link

Go to the Brooklyn Eagle site keyword search at
View link
Use “Star Theater” “Jay Street” and you will find scads of hits. The best is below telling the whole plan as of 1890.
View link

Go here to the New York Times archive and you will find the 1939 article about the Star Theatre going into receivership. You will have to pay to read the full article if interested.
View link

Hope this helps! The Star Theatre at 389 Jay Street in Brooklyn should ABSOLUTELY have it’s own entry.

Erik from Boerum Hill, Brooklyn

jflundy
jflundy on September 2, 2007 at 8:37 pm

Star Theater at 389 Jay Street was a Burlesque house that closed in late ‘30’s. It may have shown movies for a brief period but it was torn down, probably just before or after war and became a parking lot.
This is in response to question by Lost Memory on Sep 28, 2004 at 6:40pm.

Bway
Bway on June 6, 2006 at 2:07 pm

Unfortunately, the link to the historic photo of the Starr linked above no longer works.

sasheegm
sasheegm on April 25, 2005 at 2:22 am

You fellows do a great job providing Information, Photos, Stats…..that takes time and effort, and I appreciate it….My expertise is in the Classic film Genre…especially the Golden Age of the 1930s……but it was at these old movie houses where it all began as a kid going to the movies….Ciao, Joe From Florida….sasheegm…..

Bway
Bway on April 25, 2005 at 1:16 am

Yes, I did enjoy seeing the photo. In fact, thanks to him posting the link to the photo, I now also know that the building I took a photo of back in September (linked above) housing the Associated supermarket actually the Starr Theater building gutted and remodeled into the supermarket. Originally, I had thought that that the Starr had been demolished, and the Associated building built on it’s site.
The “function” above can be cnaged to “retail”, as the building does still exist, and is now the Associated Supermarket, as my photo above shows.

sasheegm
sasheegm on April 24, 2005 at 6:06 pm

Hi again cjdv: I think Lostmemory showed the phto to BWAY & myself, as we were sort of posting back and forth last night…..and i appreciated that info that he supplied as BWAY did……Now this other site is “WOW”……..My ball game is coming on soon, but I have bookmarked the site and will be checking it out very soon…..Thanks cjdv——In the few days hat I have been here, since i found this site, I have met a fellow classic film collector, ItalianGerry and a bunch of good people——I used to post on a regular basis at IMDB Classic Foum as well as About.com Classic films——Now ocasionally at Delphi Forums for my good friend Brad Lang….but my illness prevents me from staying seated too long, and at IMDB’s boards, a group of misfits were disrupting everything and no moderator to do anything about it….I left about the same time that Leonard Maltin left….Now I just give user comments on Classic films that may have none….I appreciate all of you guys and the knowledge you all have regarding these old sites——Ciao for now, Joe From Florida—-sasheegm—–

cjdv
cjdv on April 24, 2005 at 5:33 pm

lostmemory;
Nice photo but may I make a suggestion (not a criticism). Why isolate the photo from the actual website. There might be other images on the site of interest to those who post on Cinema Treasures. The Starr photo is from the Bijou which also has a photo of the Empire on Ralph. Also I think it might be a good idea to give credit to the person who created the site by linking directly to it. The short url for the Bijou is:

http://www.cinetalk.net/

sasheegm
sasheegm on April 24, 2005 at 4:04 am

WOW: Look up the Rogers LostMemory & Possibly my old tenement cold flat at 997 Wiloughby Ave(if they even have it listed)——-would be interesting to read tomorrow——It’s bedtime for me….Too many damn pills—-lol—-Joe From Forida—-sasheegm

Bway
Bway on April 24, 2005 at 2:20 am

Lost, thanks so much for that link! The building next to the Starr is still standing, as you can see from my current photo of the Starr site linked way above in this thread.
So, what do you think guys? Is the Starr theater demolished or just totally resurfaced by comparing the above linked photo with my current photo? Hmmmm, it could just be remodeled, and resurfaced, and be the same building, as the building appears to be the same height.

sasheegm
sasheegm on April 24, 2005 at 1:13 am

Thanks lost memory——What a mess———and from what I understand, much of the area of Willoughby Ave between Central and Evergreen is all leveled……I lived at 997 Willoughby Ave….It was a 3 story cold flat with 4 railroad rooms——I was told that the apartment was one of the oldest, being built in the 1870s……..They had added electricty & indoor plumbing in the 1900s….and in the celler were stalls that were originally for horses——and as a kid living there from 1946 to 1959, I could swear i smelled horses everytime I went down to the celler…….Other appartments in the area only had one toilet for the two families who lived on the 4 floors……It was old and fairly poor section when I grew up there…..and the Starr and the Rivoli, along with the Parthenon, Ridgewood, Williamsburg, Colonial were all decent and clean…..The local “Itch” as they were called were the Rogers & the Decatur theaters, with the chain theaters (RKO & LOEWS) being palaces….and the others I mentioned like the Alba, Williamsburg, Empire, falling somewhere in between——-When I went to the Rogers or Decatur, my Mother used to tell me to wash very good……She grew up on Marcy Ave during the 20s, and the only two theaters she ever went to were the Marcy & Loews Gates…….Never was allowed to go to the Rogers——and thats back in the 20s!…..but for a kid the Rogers & Starr had the B-Films we all enjoyed as kids; especially the westerns——when we got our first televison set, one of the first Indie stations was channel-13 Watv out of Newark, N.J. and they showed Westerns all day long at first….and eventually caused the demise of these old movie houses……Thanks lost memory for the memories——Joe From Florida—-sasheegm

sasheegm
sasheegm on April 21, 2005 at 2:46 pm

I grew up in the late 40s and 50s on Willoughby Ave, between Central & Evergreen Aves…….Three blocks from me, was the Starr theater….In the photo that BWAY took, a Candy Store Newspaper stand stood on the corner…..Knickerbocker Park is what you see with the Trees on the other side……The Starr was right in the middle, with sall shops on each side of it between Starr & Troutman……….The Starr showed Third run features & Minor Studio films when I was a kid there circa 1948 to 1955……A typical weekly program would have shows Sun & Mon——Tues and Wed…Thurs & Fri….& Saturday only for the kids….many times the Saturday show would be 21 Cartoons plus three 3 stooges shorts, and a weeks coming attractions….a flyer was always at the ready when leaving a showing to let the patron know what was coming the following week…….Like the sister theater, the Wyckoff, the Starr showed re-releases and small Company films from Monogram, Eagle-Lion……..It was one level with three sections as I recall…..Two side sections, with one for smoking, the other for children…and the center rows of seats….The lobby was small and the concession stand inside just as small……and the lobby always had one sheets & lobby cards of the next attraction———-One vivid memory I have regarding the Starr theater occured in the early 1950s, and it involved Buster Crabbe……….I believe it was in the Summer, but don’t remember the day………Universal had re-released the two feature versions of the first two Flash Gordon Serials in the neighborhood——-The old Colonial theater on Broadway near Decatur St., was the first house to show them……Then they went to the Starr……..Buster Crabbe had his own local TV show at the time showing his old PRC movies and others…….Well a new modern Meat Market was opening on Knickerbocker Ave next to Knickerbocker Park and Buster Crabbe was to cut the ribbon for the opening…….At the same time on early TV in the New York City area, the Serial Theater show was on 5 afternoons a week….and at this time they were showing all 3 Flash Gordon serials——So here was the Starr theater showing “RocketShip”-1936, feature version of the 1st Flash Gordon serial with “Mars Attacks the World”-1938, the feature version of the 2nd Serial, and Buster Crabbe with a horde of kids trying to get an 8x10 signed photo of Buster, cutting the ribbon for a new Meat Market on Knickerbocker Ave….He had his own Tv show, Serial theater was running the 3 complete serials of his, and he was opening a Meat Market only 1 block from the Starr———-Buster Crabbe day n Brooklyn, NY—-No I never got close enough to even see him….but then I started working Part Time when I was 10 years old in 1951 sweeping out Pauline’s Dress Shop on Troutman St, between Central & Evergreen Aves. for $1.00 a week—-3:30pm to 6pm mon through Friday 5 days a week…….It gave me movie money!……and I hope to give some of my memories of other movie houses in the old neighborhood such as the Rogers, Parthenon, Sun, Alba, Rivoli, Ridgewood etc etc—-oh yes, the beautiful chains also—-Ciao, Joe From Florida—-sasheegm

kdudon
kdudon on December 4, 2004 at 1:06 pm

I lived on Starr Street around the corner from the theater [1942 – 1967] and spent many a saturday afternoon with my fiends watching 2 features, cartoons and a serial. I worked on the corner Nat’s candy store during the ‘50’s – i see where 'Bway'has some photo’s – i would love to see them – KJD

Bway
Bway on September 28, 2004 at 8:53 pm
  • I do have a photo taken in the late 60s of a closed and vandalized Starr Theatre. *

Would love to see it. Can you post it somewhere?

cjdv
cjdv on September 28, 2004 at 8:49 pm

I’m not totally sure when the Starr opened. The earliest listing I have is 1927. This date would agree with Warren’s information posted above. According to one source the theatre closed in 1968. The Knickerbocker Casino and the Knickerbocker Airdome were both closed for more than a decade when the Starr opened. Don’t think they would have had any influence on the name. I do have a photo taken in the late 60s of a closed and vandalized Starr Theatre.

cjdv
cjdv on September 28, 2004 at 8:37 pm

In 1912, the Hudson Motion Picture Co. is listed at 207 Myrtle Avenue. Most likely this is the Hudson Theatre listed in 1915.So the space may have been in operation a year or two before 1912. The seating capacity is 500. Circa 1920, this became the United. At the end of the 1920s, seating for the United is listed at 1,600. Warren mentions above that the Brooklyn Heights Theaters, Inc. was in the process of building the United in 1926. It would seem likely that this earlier theatre was replaced by a larger structure. In the mid-1930s it is often listed as the New United Theatre. In any case the site was taken over by the NYCHA in July 1942.

Bway
Bway on September 28, 2004 at 7:09 pm

While on this subject, in Warren’s message above from Sept 5th, he mentions “Heights Theaters, Inc. ran the Glenwood, Irving, Parthenon, and Wyckoff theatres, and was in the process of building the United and Knickerbocker."
Could the mysterious "Knickerbocker” theater that no one ever heard of and keeps coming up over and over in various theater sections here be the one other mysterious theater at 326 Knickerbocker Ave that keeps coming up? We solved the mysterious Mozart theater was really the Irving, and I even photographed the building the other day that still exists (see the Irving Theater )section. Now it’s time to solve the Knickerbocker.