Palace Theatre, 133-135 Essex Street, New York

palace

Photo:  P. L. Sperr, March 13, 1932

Opened by Charles Steiner, in 1914, the Palace replaced an earlier theatre on the site.

The Evening Telegram, January 18, 1908:
“Plans have also been filed… for remodeling the stable at No. 333 Essex street for occupancy as a moving picture exhibition, the change to be made for Markowitz & Elliot. L. C. Maurer and Steiner & Weiss are the architects.”

The Evening Post, September 1, 1908:
“Plans have been filed for remodeling the moving picture amusement show at 133 Essex street into a concert hall with a stage. The change of occupancy being made for  Steiner & Weiss, lessees, and D. Felix Towns, as owner.”

Beyond the Screen: Institutions, Networks, and Publics of Early Cinema, 2016
“A pivotal figure in this M & S circuit was Charles Steiner, who had started out in 1908 around the corner from Golden Rule Hall. In 1914, his old Essex Street nickelodeon gave way to the brand-new Palace Theatre (133-135) Essex) which seated six hundred.”

Despite what appears to be posters in the above photo, the marquee advertises  Loyal Furniture (“Shop Here!”).

In 1959, the building became the first Kosher-Chinese restaurant in New York, Bernstein-on-Essex Street, “where kashrut is king and quality reigns.”

essexkosher

New York World Telegram and Sun, April 22, 1966

 

 

Since 1997 theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle, has conducted a popular series of  theatre talks and walks, available for  historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Walks also available at Local Expeditions

Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres.

The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

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Taft Theatre, 37-11 Main Street, Flushing, NY

taft_pe_pe_pe

Photograph: Percy Loomis Sperr, 1935

The Film Daily, January 18, 1932:
“The Taft, formerly the Flushing, has reopened under the management of the Kesena Amusement Corp.”

Excerpts from the Queens Chronicle, August 24, 2006:
“Following the death of William Howard Taft in 1930, the Kissena Amusement Corporation opened a movie theater in downtown Flushing to honor the memory of the 27th President of the United States.”

“Entrepreneurs David Rosenzweig and Micheal Kay were president and vice president of the Kissena Amusement Corporation. The movie theater managed on a day to day basis by Edward Sachs.”

“Following World War II, the Taft Theater was squeezed out by its competition, the RKO Keith’s and the Prospect Theaters, and was the first Flushing theater to close its doors. The site was quickly taken over by the W. T. Grant Department Store.”

 

ladies

On the marquee:

No More Ladies

Now or Never

 

Since 1997 theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle, has conducted a popular series of  theatre talks and walks, available for  historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Walks also available at Local Expeditions

Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres.

The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

AboutMe

Goodreads

Medotcom

 

 

 

Brooklyn Theatre Index Volume III

Announcing  publication of

The Brooklyn Theatre Index Volume III
Coney Island including Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach

Available on Amazon* or from the Author

coneyThe first two volumes chosen 2010 Outstanding Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society

*For those in the UK

Cezar Del Valle is available for theatre talks and walks in 2014-15: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

 

Paris Theatre, 4 W. 58th St., New York, NY 10019

Paris Theatre

Excerpts from the Architectural Forum, January 1949:

“Manhattan’s first new postwar motion picture house is, besides an excellent design, an uncharted venue in real estate and movie merchandising.”

“Sponsored by the French Pathe syndicate in an effort to up its U.S. take (now lower than in South America’s pint size Columbia), the cinema restricts its fare to special films, caters to an uptown audience of the cultivated and well-heeled.”

tumblr_lnptzgmm7w1qg5w2e“Fifth Avenue Association, fearful of garish Broadway lights, dictated modest sign front.”

wallpaper“Steinberg mural wallpaper showing scenes of Paris adds interest to simple room.”

auditorium“Series of curves provides top visual and acoustical performance. Upholstered seats are spaced 35-40 in. between rows.”

Paris Theatre

Photograph, Paris Theatre June 8, 2011,  copyright Betty Sword, all rights reserved.

Architectural Forum article part of the Theatre Talks Collection

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the year by the Theatre Historical Society.

He is available for theatre talks in 2013-2014.

The Birth of A Nation at Brighton Beach

“When the history of motion pictures is written, ‘The Birth of a Nation‘ must head the chapter of the first great development in film productions” (  The Brooklyn Eagle, July 3, 1915).

In 1915, William H. Kemble, manager of the Brighton Beach Music Hall, bid $65,000 for the “next set of films” of Griffith’s Civil War spectacle, inching out a theatre in Philadelphia  by $2,000. Theatrical circles considered it a coup for Kemble since the  film was still playing to capacity in Manhattan and theatres in all the big cities of America were bidding for it.

When the film made its début as The Clansman at Clune’s Auditorium, in Los Angeles, an “augmented orchestra” of 70 provided accompaniment. William Kemble arranged for a “special orchestra of fifty” led by Louis Reinhard, musical director for B.F. Keith’s Orpheum Theatre. Reinhard, in turn, engaged George May, the musical director of Hammerstein’s Theatre in Manhattan, to assist him.

The Birth of A Nation made its Brooklyn début on the evening of July 2, 1915, with the Twenty-Third Regiment of the Old Guard of the Civil War Veterans and the Officers of the Ninth Coast Artillery marching pass the Brighton Beach Hotel.  Mayor John Mitchell and Borough President Lewis H. Pounds were suppose to review the troops but both failed to show. This left Public Works Commissioner Edmund W. Voorhries to represent the city at the special performance. Setting the martial tone for the evening, the troops filled the Music Hall balcony and marched out in unison at the end. An audience of “considerable distinction” gathered afterwards at the Brighton Beach Hotel for a reception and dance arranged by the Music Hall management.

The Brooklyn Eagle, July 18, 1915The Brooklyn Eagle, July 15, 1915

The Brooklyn Eagle, July 3, 1915, lavish in its praise: “It is the first picture to place the work of the camera on a plane where it commands consideration as a distinct art, combining the essentials of dramatic and pictorial art, and revealing possibilities almost unbelievable a few years ago.”

The racists overtones of the film were not lost on the Eagle, commenting on the Klu Klux  Klansman in their “spotless robes” and spreading the “sins of a portion of blacks over a whole race”. “The ends of civilization and of justice are not to be served by perpetuating ignorance.”

They felt that D.W. Griffith could  “largely be absolved from blame.” The fault rest with the original play by Thomas Dixon and was “impossible to completely overcome.”

The Birth of a Nation played to packed houses that summer, extra trains and free parking added to accommodate a crowd willing to pay up to $2.00 for an evening ticket, an extraordinary  amount at that time.  By mid-July, the Music Hall was selling tickets “four weeks in advance.” Telephone reservations could be made. Tickets ordered through the mail or purchased at several Brooklyn locations. Originally scheduled to end in the beginning of September, it was held over to October 4th. People returning from summer holiday requesting to see the film. The motion picture had moved on beyond the storefront nickelodeons and the one-reeler, in the words of the Brooklyn Eagle “revealing possibilities almost unbelievable a few years ago.”