Imperial Theatre

869 Halsey Street,
Brooklyn, NY 11233

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Bway on April 20, 2009 at 7:11 am

What year did this Imperial stop showing movies?

Bway on June 8, 2006 at 4:02 am

Here’s an aerial view of the old Imperial Theater, which now has been altered into a church. It’s right across from Saratoga Park.

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Bway on June 8, 2006 at 4:00 am

Judging by the building, it was never that large of a theater to begin with.

alicia on November 8, 2004 at 4:10 pm

Yes I would also like to find out more about Our Lady Of Lourdes Church on Aberdeen St. I went to there school and I was a graduate of the class of 1969.
posted by alicia Nov 8th 2004

deleted user
[Deleted] on October 24, 2004 at 11:46 am

The Imperial theatre “Halsey” opened 1930 and closed in 1945

PeterKoch on September 23, 2004 at 1:41 pm

Thanks, Bway. No, I don’t know the name of that church that became a nightclub. However, I have heard of a nightclub in Manhattan called “The Library”, which looked like one, and know of a “Seminary Coffee Shop” at Lincoln, Halsted and Fullerton, in Chicago, near several blues clubs.

PeterKoch on September 23, 2004 at 1:36 pm

You know the whole thing by heart, lostmemory ?

Bway, the Imperial must have closed well before “The Exorcist” opened in NYC the day after Christmas 1973.

I am both awed and horrified at the thought of how “Exorcist” would have looked and sounded at Loew’s Valencia in Jamaica. I have read on this site that it played in a similar theater, the now-closed State Lake in Chicago’s Loop.

Actually, some have said that “Exorcist” was a commercial of sorts for the Catholic Church, implying that its rituals were powerful enough to cast out demons. Then again, both priests died in the process, the younger, first possessed, then a suicide, then absolved before he died …

Bway on September 23, 2004 at 1:29 pm

Peter, they are at 75 Lewis Ave in Bedford-Stuyvesant. In their website they have a History Section that gives an all to brief history of them, and I can;t find any more information. In another section, they give a photo of the interior, which obviously is a “lower” church, or the main church with a “fake” drop ceiling.

Yes, I love those type of conversions, like the one in “Basic Instinct”. I remember the conversion in Greenwich village too. Is is still a nightclub, and do you know it’s name?

PeterKoch on September 23, 2004 at 1:19 pm

Thanks, Bway. According to my aunt, this was the original Brooklyn location of St. John’s University.

What is the address of this St. John the Baptist RC Church ?

I’ve been in the church and rectory of St. Jean Baptiste RC Church at 74th and Lexington on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. That was late 1980 and early 1981. My best friend was studying for the priesthood at the time and had stayed there.

It would be interesting to research the history of Our Lady Of Lourdes R.C. Church, which once stood on Aberdeen St. between Bway and Bushwick Avenue. It was demolished between 1972 and 1976.

You might recall the uproar in the late 1980’s over the conversion of a Greenwich Village church into a night club, and the scene showing that in L.A. in the 1992 film “Basic Instinct”.

Bway on September 23, 2004 at 1:15 pm

I wonder if it closed before the early 1970 release of “The Exorcist”. The irony of playing that in a theater that is to become a church.

Bway on September 23, 2004 at 1:10 pm

Hehe. Anyway, at first I didn’t thing this was the theater, but if you look at the side, you can tell the front has been resurfaced with a new brick vanir at one time, giving the look it has now.

I know this is off topic to theaters, but one post should be fine.
Speaking of Churches and theaters, I finally drove by the church I had always seen boarded up from the Myrtle-Bway station el platform. I found out it is “St John the Baptist RC Church” church, and is still open, although boarded up. What a beautiful building, a shame.
I looked on their website, and it shows a photo of their sancuary, and it is not what you would think with the high ceiling. It has a low ceiling. Either they have a “lower” church (like some other large Catholic churches) and the upstairs sits empty, or they put a a “drop ceiling” in the church to save maintenence costs, and then boarded up all the windows upstairs to protect them, as you can’t see them anyway from the interior. ALso, they sold their “Great lawn” in front of the building and homes are built on it, so now the “front” of the church is an alley. Very sad for a beautiful building.
Maybe someone should do the opposite, convert the church into a theater…..
Here’s a link to a photo of St John the Baptist

I would love to find out more about what they did. Obviously the main church is either unused, or has a “fake” low drop ceiling.

PeterKoch on September 23, 2004 at 1:10 pm

Which version ? Silent or sound ? There were also silent and sound versions of “Ben Hur” and “King Of Kings”.

The sound, Heston version of “Ten Commandments” (1956) is probably closest to when the Imperial closed :

“So let it be written. So let it be done !”

(old windbag !)

PeterKoch on September 23, 2004 at 12:59 pm

I see “Thomasina Aquinas” is on-line. Perhaps this lady (?) named after the learned doctor of the medieval Roman Catholic Church, can be of help here. She could consult her greatest work, her magnus opus, “Summa Theologica Et Cinematicus”.

I have read in it that most medieval films were in Latin, with vernacular subtitles, particularly those of Chaucer and Bocaccio.

PeterKoch on September 23, 2004 at 12:55 pm

Glad you liked that ! Not only “Oh God !” but any religious movie. “The Next Voice You Hear” and “Between Two Worlds” come to mind, as they are older films, 1950 and 1947, respectively. In the latter, God is a character called “the examiner”.

PeterKoch on September 23, 2004 at 12:47 pm

Pun intended ? “Converted” to a church ?

Will the ACLU, and conservative, puritanical anti-theater sects get up in arms about “separation of church and theater”, and a fall from grace into Godless entertainment, respectively ?

I agree with Bway that a church is probably the best post-theater function of a building originally built as a theater, as it tends to be the “friendliest” towards the preservation of the interior.

My one visit to Loew’s Oriental in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, was late February 1987 when it was already a triplex. One friend I was with, not knowing about the grandiose and ornate design of old movie palaces, thought it had once been a Muslim mosque, because of the tiles, arches and vaulted ceilings !

PeterKoch on September 23, 2004 at 12:03 pm

Bway, thanks so much !

Bway on September 23, 2004 at 11:48 am

The Imperial Theater is now a church, like so many of these other theaters. The front has been resurfaced, however the sides of the building appear to be original bricks, with pointed windows cut into the sides. (You can tell they weren’t the original windows because there are newer bricks around the windows.

Click here for the photo