Island Theatre

203-11 Hollis Avenue,
Hollis, NY 11412

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Viewing: Photo | Street View

This was a late run Prudential house that usually played the same feature as the Park Theatre. Closed in the late-1950’s or early-1960’s.

Contributed by RobertR

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

JKane on January 25, 2007 at 5:41 pm

Thanks, Warren, for the 1932 Press clip. I didn’t attend the Island till the mid-50s or so but it still looked very much like those photos as I recall it. A fun, funky “nabe.” And better a church than a parking lot.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 26, 2007 at 3:45 am

When the Island first opened in 1932, its air-cooling system was a major selling point. According to the story in the Long Island Daily Press: “An important adjunct to the comfort of patrons is the cooling system, a feature that few other theatres on the island can boast, one of them being the Laurelton, operated by the same concern. Fresh air is drawn from the outside, the vents being placed upon the roof as added safety against impure air, by noiseless suction fans and forced over a system of refrigerated coils and ice water, washed in the process of all dust. The cool air is carried by a system of ducts to small hidden openings throughout the theatre. Additional openings serve as exhausts for the spent air. By this method the volume of air in the theatre is changed every few minutes without the slightest draught. The temperature is governed by an automatic thermostatic control system that maintains an even degree regardless of outside conditions.”

JBaisley on March 17, 2008 at 3:34 pm

The church where the island theater used to be is putting together a journal to commemorate their 50th aniiversary. If anyone has any pictures, information of the actual theater please let me know. Thanks.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 29, 2008 at 8:51 am

A new direct link to an image posted above on 1/24/07:
View link

JBaisley on March 31, 2008 at 3:53 pm

I can’t thank you enough. This will really help!

MarkieS on June 18, 2009 at 7:27 pm

My mom, now 81, always tells me about movies like “Intermezzo” that she saw at this theater as a child, which even then, not long after it opened, people referred to as “the itch”.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 18, 2009 at 10:09 pm

I can only find a couple of mentions of the Island in Boxoffice Magazine. One from September 18, 1954, says that it was being taken over by Laurelton Amusement Co., an affiliate of Interboro Theatres run by David Katz, former managing director of the Roxy Theatre. Katz planned a renovation of the house and the installation of a CinemaScope screen.

The Island was being run by Interboro Theatres itself when the January 12, 1952, issue of Boxoffice reported the success of a promotion by the circuit in which a cinematographer took films of kids at local schools, and the films were then run at the circuit’s various houses during Christmas vacation. “Look kiddies. See yourself in the movies and see your friends” read one ad reproduced in Boxoffice.

Such a thing seems almost quaint in this day when kids routinely put video of themselves on the Internet, but I’d bet that any theater that tried such a promotion now would provoke all manner of hysteria from parents and from various official and unofficial, self-appointed Guardians Of The Children.

lynnjav on July 22, 2012 at 2:32 pm

I lived ½ block away on 203rd Street from 1943 to 1970. This was definitely our neighborhood theater. I saw “The Attack of the Crab Monsters” and one called (I think) “The Americano” and I fell madly in love with Glenn Ford. (JKane – my last name at the time was Kane.) It became the AME church while we still lived there. We kids fondly called it “the Itch”.

dashley on December 31, 2012 at 9:09 am

I lived on 203rd St. between 109th and 104th avenues from 1938 (birth) to 1958.I remember the"Itch" fondly. Saturday matinees with a serial (like Batman)and the matron, dressed in white, who patrolled the isles, flashlight in hand keeping us kids quiet, not an easy job.I saw my first movie ever there!The original box office was inside in the lobby and then was moved outside at the entrance.A commentator also mentioned the Bellaire. I believe that later became a bowling alley.

robboehm on January 1, 2013 at 9:43 am

Yes, the Bellaire did become a bowling alley, split level. This struck me as odd because I seem to recall them having flooding issues.

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