Loew's Royal Theatre
15 Willoughby Street,
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The Royal Theatre was the very first Loew’s theatre in Brooklyn and one of the circuit’s earliest anywhere. It started life in 1903 as Watson’s Cozy Corner, which included a vaudeville theatre and a downstairs drinking saloon. It rapidly deteriorated into a notorious burlesque house and place for gents to meet hookers.
In 1907, Marcus Loew wanted to expand into Brooklyn and found the Cozy Corner’s downtown location ideal for his purposes. He purchased it cheaply, renovated the interior, increased the seating capcity to about 2,000 seats, and re-named it the Royal Theatre. Because of the site’s bad reputation, Loew feared that “nice people” might stay away, so he first leased the theatre to an Italian opera company for a short season. It opened in October, 1907, as Teatro Italiano Royal, featuring a company of 25 under the management of Antonio Maiori. In those three months, the theatre became regarded as classy and respectable.
In January, 1908, it emerged as Loew’s Royal Theatre, with so-called “family vaudeville” and movies at a ten-cent admission. In its first year, the Royal Theatre earned $60,000 in profits and helped Marcus Loew to expand rapidly in Brooklyn.
In 1922, Loew’s Royal Theatre had out-lived its usefulness and was closed forever, eventually to be demolished.
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