Brooklyn Collection, April 28, 2010

My recent talk at the Brooklyn Collection garner positive reviews in two blogs.

Save the Slope found the talk “fascinating” but had some doubts about Alger Hiss being introduced to a Soviet spy chief in the mezzanine of the Prospect Theatre. The only support they could find for this claim was my essay in The Brooklyn Film, edited by John Manbeck and Robert Singer. Save the Slope also mentioned that Pete Hamill  “cites the same tale.”  They thought it was a great story but was it really true?

I added as a comment the following from the Brooklyn Eagle, June 6, 1949:

“Each time, the perjury consisted of suppressing the espionage role he [Whittaker Chambers] accused [Alger] Hiss of playing after he introduced Hiss to a Soviet spy chief in the United States in the mezzanine of the Prospect Theater at 9th St. and 5th Ave. in January or February of 1937, he admitted under the battering questions of defense council Lloyd Paul Stryker.”

Richard Grayson at Dumbo Books “learned an awful lot” at my talk while having “a great time with a charming, knowledgeable and funny man who seems to know more Brooklyn theater history than anyone in captivity.”

Thanks Richard and HDEC at Save the Slope.


Interior: Prospect Theatre 1919

When it opened in September 1914, the Prospect Theatre, with 2400 seats,  was the largest vaudeville house in Greater New York. A large section of the upper interior still survives above the C-Town at 327 Ninth Street in Park Slope. Prior to climbing up a twenty-foot ladder to see the remains, an excited stock boy told me with a great deal of glee “it is like the mummy’s tomb up there!”

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