850 Monroe Street,
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This theatre was once one of the most important in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn but is virtually forgotten today. The entrance was on Monroe Street, near the intersection of Broadway and Howard Avenue. Built and owned by realtor William J. Buttlings, it first opened as the Sam S. Shubert Theatre in October, 1910. With Shubert bookings of plays and vaudeville, the theatre was a big success until competition arrived a year later with the openings of the nearby DeKalb Theatre and Bushwick Theatre.
In 1913, the Shubert Brothers sold their lease to Marcus Loew, who installed movies along with vaudeville, although the Shubert Theatre name remained. In 1915, Loew took over the larger DeKalb Theatre and arranged for Leo Teller to take over the Shubert Theatre. As part of this deal, Loew also acquired Teller’s Broadway Theatre and turned it into a movie house. The newly named Teller’s Shubert Theatre reverted to plays and vaudeville, but by the 1920’s also started presenting “road shows” of major movies simultaneously with or directly after their Broadway engagements.
In 1928, Leo Teller retired at age 69, and a new management took over the Shubert Theatre. Changing the theatre’s name to Century Theatre, they tried various policies of vaudeville and/or movies, but could not compete successfully against what had become the area’s leaders, the RKO Bushwick Theatre and Loew’s Gates Theatre. By 1937, it was presenting burlesque shows like “Girls From The Follies” until a police crack-down forced a return to late-run double feature movies. The Century Theatre closed and re-opened several times, and may have undergone another name change to the Symphony Theatre before finally being shuttered forever in the early-1940’s.
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