Ward Theatre

1546 Westchester Avenue,
Bronx, NY 10472

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Ward Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This theatre, which opened in 1927, is still standing, with the lobby being used as a store. I don’t know if the auditorium is being used for anything. The front part of the building, a two-story section, has a Spanish-style cornice. The auditorium, which can be seen from the elevated #6 train at the west end of the Elder Avenue station, is covered with graffiti.

In 2015 the marquee is still over the entrance which is being used by a Rainbow store.

Contributed by dave-bronx

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

OnslowKUA
OnslowKUA on March 26, 2006 at 2:17 pm

In the early 1950’s when I was attending P.S. 77, which was a few blocks from the Ward Theater, I recall getting a series of tickets at school for Saturday morning shows with features especially suited for young children.

RobertR
RobertR on January 22, 2007 at 5:14 pm

A family double bill in 1964
View link

MartinGross
MartinGross on February 10, 2007 at 1:27 pm

The Ward Theatre was part of the Skouras chain. Spyros Skouras was also president of a major studio — either 20th Century Fox or Paramount.
Apparently in its early ears, it was also a vaudevillel theatre. There still remained a magnificent electric organ — however, its wiring had long ago been yanked out and sinister-looking cables were still draped like tentacles over the massive 3-manual keyboard, which looked like one of the awesome gadgets featured in the science fiction serials which made up part of the Saturday Afternoon menu.
On Saturdays, for 12 cents, later an inflationary 25 cents, we saw a double bill, a Western, a serial, animated cartoons ranging from primitive black and white to sophisticated Disney and Lantz creations, coming attractions, the newsreel and a public service short, in those war days, generally a War Bonds appeal, with the lights going up at the end of the movie and volunteers from the AWVS — the American Womens Volunteer Service— going up and down the aisles trolling for contributions.
One of my most enduring memories was of the Saturday afternoon when my best friend Vinnie and I were enjoying a Western when the lights suddenly went up and the PA system announced that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. Encouraged by the uniformed matron, Katie (“K-K-K-Katie”), we unwillingly shuffled out as though we were in a fire drill at PS 93 or PS 77, kids who looked upon it all as some sort of adventure.(I seem to recall later being issued a plastic disc ID— dogtags, as it were. But that may have been much later, as part of the Cold War.)
The Ward occupied most of the front of the block on Westchester Ave, with stores — on either side of its entrance. There was a two-story-high office building attached to the Ward Theatre, where an optician and several other small businesses had kept going during the Depression.
I recall fire exits backing up on both Ward Ave. and Boynton Ave., where I lived (further down the street near Watson Ave.), from 1939 to the early ‘60’s.
ProfMarty

bazookadave
bazookadave on September 23, 2008 at 9:53 am

Found a page with some memories and an etching:

View link

club36
club36 on February 25, 2012 at 1:59 pm

to martin gross weekdays was .12 cents sat was.16 cents sun was.25cents on sat. you would see 3 movies a chapter &10 cartoons the vigalante on some sat. you would have a yo yo contest on stage cheerio/duncan the time frame 1944 to 1952 buying candy in theater was a option but candy king & woolworth 5&10 were the real deal club36

TRose
TRose on March 13, 2012 at 11:00 am

Grew up on Manor Ave between Westchester & Watson, one block from the Ward. I went to PS47 on St Lawrence Ave,my brother went to PS77 on Ward, then both of us went to JHS123 on Morrison Ave, during the 1960’s & 70’s. Spent many Sundays at the Ward theater. At that time it was part of the Pozin’s chain.

Markiebee800
Markiebee800 on September 17, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Grew up in the Soundview Area & went to C.S 152 back in 81-83 but I remember the Marquee after it closed. Last time I been past there it was a Cookie’s Department Store…

NittyRanks
NittyRanks on September 15, 2015 at 9:42 am

This just appeared over in the Facebook group “Old Images of the Bronx”

Ray_Silverstein
Ray_Silverstein on January 6, 2016 at 11:04 pm

When I was six and seven, some of the first movies I ever saw were scary ones at the Ward Theatre: Dick Tracy’s Dilemma (1947), where the villain was The Claw with a prosthetic hook, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), which was a very scary movie that included Dracula and the Wolfman. My friends and I hid under our seats for some of the scarier scenes!

RDeSoto
RDeSoto on April 17, 2016 at 2:14 pm

Major part of my childhood, from the 1960’s to mid 70’s. I tell people all the time I would see these films, great one unedited. This was the place. I also feel it had a great sound system, It was shabby but comfortable. Saw The Wild Bunch, Little Big Man, Vault of Horror; the list goes on, really good films there, Not new releases and sometime they just played anything, The Grasshopper was one. Lets just say the age issue did not apply. They would also play the holiday specials like The Ten Commandants Easter weekend, people would go because it was big screen and unedited. Does anyone remember Miss Bellinie and her 6'8" son. She kept over 1000 kids in line, or in their seats every weekend for years. Later in the mid 70’s Black exploitation and Kung Fu movies had taken over, but thanks to the owners, I was able to see many classics I see on TCM today and can relive them as the director wanted it to be seen.

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