Belair Twin Theatre

209 W. Merrick Road,
Valley Stream, NY 11580

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Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on October 26, 2016 at 1:32 pm

The Belair was designed by Louis Liberman, with John J. McNamara as consulting architect, according to a news item in the 7/01/63 issue of Boxoffice Magazine.

robboehm
robboehm on October 26, 2016 at 11:19 am

Would be nice if someone could find and post a photo of the theater.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on October 26, 2016 at 11:13 am

The Belair originally opened as a single screen cinema with 600 seats on June 26th, 1963. Located in the Belair Shopping Center, it was built for B.S. Moss Enterprises at a cost of $250,000, according to a report in Newsday. Films were first-run for the area, starting with “Divorce Italian Style.”

Jbloomrosen
Jbloomrosen on March 22, 2016 at 5:53 am

Okay. The facts. My grandparents owned the luncheonette next door to the Belair Movie Theater when they both opened, I believe in 1963 or so. I was only four, but spent many a day there. My grandparents were friends with the owner of the theater and my brother and I would get in for free.

I recall two major events there. One was the premiere of The Batman Movie, where Adam West and Burt Ward both appeared live, to introduce the film. I was obsessed with them at this point, and recall this clearly. The second event that I recall, first hand, and which changed my life, was The Dave Clark Five appearing at The Belair to accompany the opening of their film, “Catch Us If You Can,” also in 1965.

Contrary to what was written previously, the band DID perform. Or, let’s say, they tried to perform. Their equipment was set up on stage and the band came out and played one song, possibly, “Glad All Over,” (I was only five, sorry I don’t remember!). The stage was being guarded by an entire phalanx of policemen, standing in front of the stage, holding hands creating a human barricade. By the second song, the screaming teenaged girls stormed the stage, and the band was whisked off… immediately.

Order was restored, and the movie was shown. Afterwards, I recall a girl, mascara running down her face as she cried and bawled, “I touched him… I’ll never wash my hand again… I touched him…” in my grandparents' luncheonette. My little Jewish grandmother was trying to calm her down, to no avail. It was at that moment I knew I’d end up working in Show Biz, in one way or another. I also ended up shooting many rock bands that I grew up listening to. Never the Dave Clark Five, though 😢 If inclined, you can see some of my work at: www.jbloomrosen.com

formerprojectionist
formerprojectionist on March 4, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Hey, thanks for confirming this. My friend was quite confident he saw them there, but most of the reactions on this board were that my friend was wrong. Anyhow, you put this to rest, thank you!

youtwofan
youtwofan on March 3, 2015 at 10:50 am

I just came across this site while doing research to try to find the date I saw The Dave Clark Five at The BelAir. Yes you read that correctly. They did not perform, they were there to promote their movie, but my friend and I were at the front of the line and got great seats. I may not remember what I had for breakfast these days but that is a day I will never forget.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 5, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Hey Ed… You’re probably right about the two photos (which I took and posted), but at least they indicate where the theater once stood. The street view for this theater is entirely off the mark, pointing the view arbitrarily in some residential block behind Valley Stream State Park! And you are dead on about the Belair being utterly undistinguished! Nothing remarkable about the place at all, at least form a physical standpoint. Believe the last movie I saw here may have been “Doctor Detroit,” in 1983 or so.

fred1
fred1 on January 4, 2013 at 5:52 am

This theater opened by B.S. Moss

Ed Miller
Ed Miller on January 4, 2013 at 1:06 am

The photos displayed here should really be removed, because they have nothing to do with the Belair. The theater was in the mall that was previously on this property, but it was totally demolished and rebuilt. The centerpiece of the old mall was Hills supermarket, with the Belair adjacent. It was built in the very early ‘60s, and was not initially a twin. As a matter of fact, the last time I was in it, in the late '70s, it had yet to be twinned. There was nothing distinguished about the Belair, inside or out. It was just a plain auditorium, no more and no less.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on July 9, 2011 at 6:26 pm

There is a current photo for the CM Performing Arts Center in Oakdale, Long Island, that is very reminiscent of what the Belair Twin looked like, with it’s L-shaped shopping center location. The only thing I seem to remember is that the Belair was tucked a bit further into its corner than the CM is. Imagine the CM entrance moved a bit to the right in the photo and I think you have a very good approximation of what the Belair was like.

RichD
RichD on March 31, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Yep…unremarkable. But what I do remember about it was that the very few pictures I saw there were ones that did NOT appear at any of the other theaters in my town and/or surrounding areas, hence my going to such a small, plain movie house to begin with. Those films include “Godzilla vs. Megalon” and Cornell Wilde’s “Shark’s Treasure”.

Ed Miller
Ed Miller on March 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm

You’re 100% correct, Ed. The Valley Stream had been a vaudeville venue, and if I recall correctly, it even had an orchestra pit. I’d guess that its seating capacity was twice that of the Belair.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 7, 2011 at 5:18 pm

A more likely venue for a Dave Clark Five appearance would be the larger Valley Stream theatre on Rockaway Avenue.

Ed Miller
Ed Miller on May 26, 2010 at 9:07 pm

There’s a lot to reply to here, but I can’t cover everything. I lived in Valley Stream for the first 25 years of my life, and I remember very well when the Belair opened in the early 60s. It was in a brand-new shopping center that housed Hills Supermarket, and it did NOT start life as a twin. It was an art house for many years, with an occasional revival, like the 1939 “Wuthering Heights” It was still arty/indie in the late 70s; I saw Bergman’s “Autumn Sonata” there, with subtitles, and it still hadn’t been twinned that late in the decade. They also had the occasional first run studio movies, like “Julia”. If anybody thinks they saw the Dave Clark Five perform there, they’re mistaken.

formerprojectionist
formerprojectionist on January 12, 2010 at 6:49 pm

I remember seeing William Friedkin’s “Cruising” there, and it was kind of a big deal that they were showing it because it was meeting will all sorts of protest in Manhattan. I saw a few things there, must have closed around ‘85. They turned it into an office building, since then they tore the building down, completely redid that parking lot and you’d never know a theater was there. The late Kevin Radigan, who worked at Get With It video which was right across the street, swore he saw the Dave Clark Five perform live at that theater in the early sixties, they might have been touring with their movie at the time.

robboehm
robboehm on February 21, 2009 at 10:54 am

I remember the seating of the original single screen theatre as odd. The usual “legs” on each seat were absent. It was like the whole row floated.

RobertR
RobertR on September 25, 2006 at 2:45 pm

Christmas 1969 Russ Myer re-released Vixen (again) to ride the popularity of Curious Yellow
View link

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 31, 2006 at 6:04 am

Here’s a follow up to the ad from 1980 that I posted yesterday… The movie clock in the NY Post from just two days later (a Thursday, by the way) lists the Belair as being “closed for repairs”:

NY Post 12/11/80

In several editions of the Post and Daily News I have from March of 1982, I can’t find the Belair listed at all in any of the ads or in the movie clocks. I’m positive it was still in operation, but perhaps it only ran ads in Newsday. The other B.S. Moss house in the ad I posted yesterday, the Central Triplex in Cedarhurst, is listed in the ‘82 papers and still showing first run films. Was the Belair a Moss house to the end? Or did it go independent and discount sometime in the early-to-mid '80’s?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 30, 2006 at 5:07 pm

The Belair Twin advertised its fare in Newsday on 12/9/80 alongside its sister theater the Central Triplex in Cedarhurst.

$1.50 First Show Sat & Sun

Both theaters still appear to be first run at the time.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 9, 2006 at 8:19 am

Those old links don’t work – not that anyone checks this particular theater page – because I reorganized my photobucket album. Here’s a new link that ought to work.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 25, 2006 at 6:52 am

Oops. Not that it matters much, but here’s that Dairy Barn shot:

View link

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on February 25, 2006 at 6:51 am

I took some photos the other day of the former Belair Shopping Center where this small twin was located. I think the center was anchored by Hills Supermarket. I’m not sure if anything that is currently on the site was part of the original mall, but the basic configuration remains the same – though it looks much larger now. The center was an L-shape running along the right side of the parking lot (as it does now) with the theater tucked into the corner of the L (where the white truck is shown parked in the 2nd photo below):

Former Belair Shopping Center
White Truck marks the spot

And just to show that old movie theaters aren’t the only things to fall prey to the march of time, here’s a dilapidated relic across the street from the shopping center:

[url=http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b110/GuanoReturns/Nassau%20Theaters%202005/IMG_1689.jpg]Abandoned Dairy Barn[//url]

I saw a number of movies here, but the one that I seem to recall the most was the Dan Aykroyd comedy “Doctor Detroit” back in ‘83 I think.
[url=

KatCoconut
KatCoconut on September 20, 2005 at 3:31 am

It didn’t start out as a twin. In the early 60’s, you could go in at noon watch a bunch of shorts, then watch TwistnShout followed by another film, and stay for the whole thing all over again. In ‘68 they got in trouble for show X movies, specifically when they showed a coming attraction for the swedish flick 491 at 7 pm Saturday night when families filled the theatre.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 8, 2005 at 4:22 pm

P.S. The status should definitely be changed to Demolished.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 8, 2005 at 4:21 pm

CConnolly is right. On the north side of West Merrick Road somewhere between Fletcher and Central Avenues. The theater was back in the corner of an L-shaped shopping plaza (I believe it was called the Belair Shopping Center). Currently, the configuration of the shopping center has been expanded north of Merrick Road with a big King Kullen and Pet Supplies Plus outlet serving as anchors. The address for the King Kullen is listed as 227 W. Merrick Road and he pet store is 225 W. Merrick. I saw a number of movies here while it was a twin in the late ‘70’s and early '80’s, since I lived in nearby Laurelton over the County border in Queens. I don’ believe there was a balcony, just an auditorium divided down the middle into side-by-side twins. Completely unremarkable in every respect.

With competition from the Century’s in Green Acres Mall (which was triplexed not too long after the opening of the neighboring Sunrise Multiplex in December 1979) as well as the much larger Valley Stream on Rockaway Avenue and the quad Lynbrook futher east on Merrick, this dinky little place couldn’t have stood much of a chance. I don’t know when it closed, but I’d be surprised to learn if it survived the ‘80’s at all.