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

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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.

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Parthenon Theatre, 329 Wyckoff Avenue, Ridgewood

The Moving Picture Weekly, April 16, 1921:

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“For the initial showing at the new $300,000 Parthenon Theatre in the Ridgewood section of Brooklyn*, N. Y., the Universal-Jewel, ‘Outside the Law,’ starring Priscilla Dean, was selected as the feature photoplay. The theatre is owned by Herman Weingarten and is one of the newer playhouses in Brooklyn.

“The theatre, which is located on the corner of Myrtle and Wyckoff avenues, has a seating capacity of 1600 people, and was opened for the first time to the public on February 26th.

“The general decoration scheme of the new playhouse is gold and old rose. There are large rest rooms for the women patrons, writing rooms and smoking rooms for the men, telephone booths and a promenade. A perfect view of the screen may be obtained from any seat in the house.”

Outside the Law 

*Situated on the border of two boroughs, the Parthenon was actually located in the Ridgewood section of Queens.

2013 theatre

The Parthenon building in 2013 (photo: Ken Roe)

Cezar 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.

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

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc

Now selling  on Etsy and Amazon

 

Fred & Ginger Dance Their Way Into The Alden Theatre, Jamacia, Queens

“From a fabulous and beloved era near enough to be warmly remembered” comes the biopic of Vernon and Irene Castle, the last RKO film for Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Showmen’s Trade Review, June 17, 1939:

fredginger“The above display was arranged by Manager RKO’s Alden Theatre, Jamaica, N. Y., as part of an extensive campaign for the RKO Radio film, ‘The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle.’

“Utilizing black velvet for a backdrop, cut-out letters were strung together with cutouts of the stars. In the foreground is shown a table, on which revolved a display of stills depicting dances from the picture. Hidden from view under the table was a phonograph playing the film’s song hits.”

From The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle,  Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing to “The Last Waltz.”

The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle

Cezar 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.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2015: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc

Now selling “vintage” on Etsy.

Ridgewood Theatre 55-27 Myrtle Avenue, Ridgewood, NY 11385

Exhibitors Herald, February 19, 1921:

Ridgewood THEATRE“The dominant advertising thought among Brooklyn exhibitors is for the advertising of the theatre primarily, the attraction being given second place in the majority of cases.

“S. L. Whiting, manager of the Ridgewood theatre, shown in accompanying illustrations, gave evidence of this tendency in his 4th Anniversary Week, in progress at the time the photograph was taken.

“Though ‘The Mark of Zorro,’ Douglas Fairbanks’ most recent United Artist production, was the attraction, the theatre and the anniversary were brought most prominently into the foreground in practically all publicity efforts made.

“The policy is thoroughly commendable in almost every respect. There lies in the adoption of such a policy a single danger, the possibility that an attraction of unusual merit may be given less than its due amount of advertising and the engagement therefore yield less than its potential profit, but that danger is one which should not give pause  to the man who realizes as every man should realize that it is by his theatre rather than by attractions exhibited therein that he must succeed or fail.

“The possibility is easily avoided by an extension of budget limitations to accommodate extra advertising for the theatre itself rather than pay for it out of the general advertising budget.

“Brooklyn exhibitors display sound showmanship in thus focusing attention upon their theatres. Theatre thought of the day evidences a remarkably unified movement toward improvement in that direction. The service of the leaders in this movement is a genuine one which should not be permitted to pass unappreciated.”

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Douglas Fairbanks, Creator of Zorro

We Love Ridgewood Theatre

After the Final Curtain

NY City Lens

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

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2014-15, historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.