Friday, November 13, 2015

Brooklyn Theatre Index on Sale at City Lore, New York

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

On Sale at the City Lore Store
November 12,  2015-March 13, 2016

In conjunction with the following exhibition:


Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three volume history of borough theatres. The first two volumes chosen "2010 Outstanding Book of the year' by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently updating the Brooklyn Theatre Index,Third (and final) Edition. 

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2015-2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Now selling on Etsy and Amazon

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Baby Peggy in person at the Loew's Oriental



Born October 26, 1918, Diana Serra Cary is the last remaining star of the silent screen.

While other actors survive from that era, they were not stars like Baby Peggy. She signed a 1.5 million a year contract at Universal in 1923.

Two years later, her father's quarrel with producer Sol Lesser over salary brought her film career to an end.

She was enjoying success on the vaudeville stage when making this "personal appearance" at the Loew's Oriental, 1832 86th Street, Brooklyn.



Above: Exhibitor's Herald and Moving Picture World, February 18, 1928







Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three volume history of borough theatres. The first two volumes chosen "2010 Outstanding Book of the year' by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently updating the Brooklyn Theatre Index,Third (and final) Edition. 

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2015-2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Now selling on Etsy and Amazon

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Walker Theatre, 6401 18th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture Word, September 1, 1928:





Excerpts from the New York Times, March 30, 1988:
“With one final C chord on its mighty Wurlitzer, the Walker Theater in Brooklyn ended a 60-year run yesterday, distinguished as one of the most enduring neighborhood movie palaces in New York and one of the city’s most briefly lived landmarks.


“The last pictures were shown at the theater in the Bensonhurst area earlier this month. Now, demolition crews are at work on the interior—a fanciful blend of French Renaissance, classical Greek, Roman and Italian styles—preparing the building for conversion to discount clothing stores.”

“In September 1984, landmark status was given to the Walker by the City Landmarks Preservation Commission, which said that the building has ‘that essential quality of transporting the audience to a special place far away from ordinary surroundings,’ the surroundings in this case being 18th Avenue between 64th and 65th streets.

“Four months later, the designation was overturned by the Board of Estimate at the urging of Borough President Howard Golden of Brooklyn.”


Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three volume history of borough theatres. The first two volumes chosen "2010 Outstanding Book of the year' by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently updating the Brooklyn Theatre Index,Third (and final) Edition. 

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2015-2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Now selling on Etsy and Amazon


Friday, September 11, 2015

At the Berkshire: Mrs. Leo Durocher Stars in "Mr. Lucky"

Berkshire Theatre, 5911 Eighth Avenue.


The Elmira Star-Gazette, January 27, 1947:


Laraine Day


Mr. Lucky

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three volume history of borough theatres. The first two volumes chosen "2010 Outstanding Book of the year' by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently updating the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Third (and final) Edition. 

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2015-2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Now selling vintage on Etsy.



Monday, August 24, 2015

Park Theatre, 2082 Cropsey Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Excerpts from Motion Picture News, June 5, 1915

“One of the cleverest pieces of theatrical architecture near to New York City is that at Cropsey avenue and Bay Twenty-sixth, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, where a beautiful little community theatre has been combined with an airdome in such a way that the summer capacity is thirteen hundred seats and the winter three hundred.

“Under the advice of J. H. Hallberg, Thomas Lewers, who owns the Bensonhurst Hotel, decided to make use of part of his unimproved property so that it would render him an income. The result was the Park theatre and airdome. The question was how to build to accommodate the large summer crowds without wasting space in winter, thereby keeping down coal, lighting and other necessary bills.





“The theatre which seats three hundred patrons is separated from the airdome by a collapsible wall which runs back upon itself..."

"This rolls up when the airdome is in use, fitting in a speci
al box above the opening in the roof. This opening is necessary because the same projection room is used for the theatre and the airdome, with the exception that the lenses are changed.”

“There is another very important point which should not be overlooked and that is that business goes on rain or shine because it takes but half a minute to close the airdrome from the theatre and to drop the curtain into place.”


Theatre capacity 300, with summer airdome 1300 


Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three volume history of borough theatres. The first two volumes 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 2015-2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Now selling vintage on Etsy.








Monday, August 17, 2015

Cobble Hill Cinemas,265 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231



Opening in 1925 as the Lido:



From the Brownstoner


The Brooklyn Standard Union, “Help Wanted-Female”, March 27, 1925:
"Girl wanted for confectionary store and selling in theatre. Must be refined and neat appearance. Experience necessary. Lido Theatre, Court and Butler sts., before 7 P.M." 

The Brooklyn Standard Union, “Help Wanted-Male”, October 22, 1925:

“Young man to usher and relieve the pianist. Lido Theatre, 265 Court st.”

Later the Rex and now Cobble Hill Cinemas


Photo: Ken Roe



Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three volume history of borough theatres. The first two volumes 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 2015-2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Now selling vintage on Etsy.




Saturday, July 25, 2015

Vogue Theatre, 1451-1455 Coney Island Avenue

Completed editing and updating Coney Island Avenue.



Opening as the Manor on October 15, 1925, it became the Vogue in 1937.

New York Post, March 8, 1947:
“Century’s Vogue Theatre, Brooklyn, is now showing foreign films and documentaries as its regular policy.”


The above photo dates from that time period with both films released in 1946.




Photograph part of the Theatre Talks Collection. Acquired in the 1990s, we cannot recall the source. It was not Brooklyn Pix which has a close-up of the same scene.

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three volume history of borough theatres. The first two volumes 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 2015-2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Now selling vintage on Etsy.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Clinton Theatre, 595 Clinton Street, Brooklyn



Editing and updating the Clinton Theatre


Across from Red Hook East, “the largest part of the largest development in Brooklyn,” the 33.34-acre complex completed November 20, 1939 by the New York City Housing Authority.






Excerpts from Showmen’s Trade Review, February 3, 1940:
“One of the country’s most widely heralded housing developments has created a new residential section which makes what is practically a town in itself, and it is natural that a theatre in the most modern style should be one of the most important elements of the famous Red Hook section of Brooklyn, N.Y.”


Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three volume history of borough theatres. The first two volumes 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 2015-2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Now selling vintage on Etsy.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Flatbush Theatre, 2207 Church Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Still editing and updating Church Avenue.

While the following photograph is not the best quality, it does give some indication of the impressive signage of the Flatbush Theatre in the 1910s.


Motion Picture News, April 7, 1917:


"At night the front of the theatre is as bright as day, being well illuminated by several five-lamp electric posts, a number of arc lamps and two huge electric signs, one of which measures about 250 feet in length; the other is a vertical sign and measures ninety feet in height. The use of electric signs is one of the most effective ways of attracting the attention of passerby.

"A glass-covered marquee adds greatly to the attractiveness, lending the finishing touch to the front of the house." 


Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three volume history of borough theatres. The first two volumes 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 2015-2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Now selling vintage on Etsy.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Beverly Theater 111 Church Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Now editing and updating Church Avenue, beginning with the Beverly.


 Motion Picture News, September 11, 1920:


"Realizing the possibilities of a high class motion picture theatre in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, Mr. Theodore Schneider and Mr. J.J. Framers formed the Beverly Amusement Corporation and the Beverly theatre at Church and Gravesend avenue *, pictured in the accompanying photographs is the result of their efforts." 

 *In 1933 Gravesend Avenue became McDonald Avenue


Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three volume history of borough theatres. The first two volumes 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 2015-2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Now selling vintage on Etsy.
 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Brooklyn's Broadway

Brooklyn's Broadway has been edited and updated for the third edition of the Theatre Index.

Excerpts from Real Estate Record and Builder's Guide, July 24, 1915:

"In this section, during the last few years, two distinct groups of buildings devoted entirely to amusement purposes have sprung up. Broadway, where Howard avenue and Monroe street converge, has been the scene of greatest activity. At this point three theatres have been erected and another is now under construction.


"The first theatre in this part was built some years ago by the Shuberts, from plans by Harde & Short, architects, 3 West 29th street, Manhattan. This structure occupies a plot in the south side of Monroe street about a 100 feet west of Howard avenue and runs through the block to Madison street. When first opened this theatre staged only the best Manhattan productions, but they were not properly supported. The house is now operated by Marcus Loew, as one of his circuit of vaudeville and moving picture theatres."   

Monroe Theatre, 4 Howard Avenue (see below for additional information)

"At the corner of Broadway and Howard avenue, is the Bushwick theatre [1], seating 2,500 and operated by the Keith circuit. Adjoining this building is a one-story, modern moving picture theatre [2], running feature films exclusively. This house seats 450 people.   

"The newest project in this section is the one herewith illustrated. This building will be a high class moving picture theatre, seating around 500, and will have a Japanese restaurant on the second floor.

The building is owned by M. Minden [3] and is being erected by John Auer & Sons, general contractors, 648 Lexington avenue, Brooklyn, from plans prepared Harde & Short, architects, 3 West 29th street, Manhattan."


"Another section, which has seen its development  in the last two years, is Halsey street, between Saratoga avenue and Broadway. Almost an entire block is devoted to amusement enterprises of various sorts.

"The Halsey Theatre, seating 2,500, was the first operation started. This was followed by the 'Arcadia' Dance Hall. and later by the Broadway Sporting Club. These buildings were all designed by the same firm of architects." 

[1] Major vaudeville house
[2] Madison also operated by B. F. Keith's
[3]  Purchased before opening by Keith's


Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three volume history of borough theatres. The first two volumes 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 2015-2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Now selling vintage on Etsy.



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Introducing the Index

The Brooklyn Theatre Index is an illustrated three volume history of borough theatres by Cezar Del Valle. The first two volumes chosen 2010 Outstanding Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society of America. The final volume published in September 2014.



The amount of source material, available on the internet, has increased considerably  since I first started research back in 2007 with libraries, archives, microfilm and to some extent the world wide web.

With the availability of this additional source material, a second updated edition of the first two volumes was published in 2013. Internet research used extensively for the third and final volume.

I mentioned this at my talk for the Coney Island Museum on January 10, 2015. Afterwards I decided to check the first volume with what was currently online, finally deciding to publish a third edition of the first two volumes.  

August 29, 2010: The official launch of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, an illustrated talk at the Coney Island Museum

The Brooklyn Theatre Index website transformed into a blog tracing the development of the third edition. Contact the Index if you have a family history with any of these theatres and would like to contribute that information to the third volume. If the submission is chosen, you will receive credit and a free copy.

Those who have previous copies of the first two volumes, can get the new third edition at a discount and for a few lucky ones free.






Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two volumes 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.

New selling vintage on Etsy.