Friday, January 21, 2022

Poitier onstage at the Bedford

 

The Brooklyn Eagle, August 12, 1951


The Brooklyn Eagle, August 2, 1951:
“Loew’s Bedford Theater announces the booking of two Broadway stage plays with all-star, all-Negro casts. First of the stage hits is Sidney Kingsley’s dramatic ‘Detective Story,’ starring Sidney Poittier [sic], star of the film ‘No Way Out,’ which premieres at the Bedford Wednesday, Aug. 8, for six days. Reserved seats will be scaled at one-third of the original Broadway price."

“Somerset Maugham’s ‘Rain’ starring Nina Mae McKinney, will open at the Bedford on Wednesday, Aug. 15.”


Loew's Bedford, Tax Photo 1939-1941


The New York Age, February 2, 1918:
“…there has been a growing tendency to be less liberal in the treatment of colored patrons in some theatres and public places since the court declared that a colored man has no right of recovery against a saloon-keeper who refuses to serve him.
     “Two days after word came from Albany relative to the Court of Appeals opinion the management of the Bedford Theatre, Brooklyn, adopted the policy of excluding colored people from the first floor, although prior to the court’s decision colored patrons were permitted to sit in any part of the house.”


Loew's Bedford
1372 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn

Sidney Poitier



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.
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 seeking funding for “Editing & Formatting” the first three volumes of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, 3rd Edition

Goodreads

Medotcom   

Monday, December 6, 2021

The Brooklyn Theatre Fire, December 5, 1876

 With the loss of at least 278 lives, the Brooklyn Theatre fire is number three on the National Fire Protection Association's list of "the deadliest public assembly and nightclub fires in U. S. History."






 The Syracuse Daily, December 7, 1876:
"J. W. Thorpe, stage manager, states that the fire caught from a burner, the jets of which extend downward and conveyed fire to the drapery."

From an interview with Kate Claxton, Oswego Daily Times Express, December 19, 1885:
"By this time sparks were falling all over the stage and the fact that there was a fire behind the scenes could no longer be concealed from the audience. Still we continued the play. By the time I said 'You may beat me if you please, but you shall find that my will is stronger than your violence and I shall beg no more,' a panic had broken out in the auditorium and we saw that it was useless to attempt to proceed." 

Claxton did not escape over the heads of the audience as mentioned in the card above.

The greatest loss of life occurred in the upper gallery and along the stairways leading down. 

The testimony of G. A. Wiseman who "assisted in getting people out," Auburn Morning News, December 8, 1876:
"There was two separate stairways leading up there. As I got up to the first flight of stairs a lady coming down got her leg caught in the banister, a large man fell over her and others falling over him made a heap on which those in the rear piled. There were fully fifty or sixty persons packed in this heap at the front of the second flight of stairs." 

Excerpts from Fire Marshal Keady's "investigation," the Daily Register, Hudson, New York, December 15, 1876:
"If the audiences had been notified when first noticed by the stage hands, they could have escaped, and that the request of the actors to the audience to sit down, although well meant, was disastrous in its consequences."
"That the means of exit from the gallery was not good enough."
"That the fire was caused by a border scenery taking light from the border lights."

On December 8, 1876, 104 bodies were buried in a common grave at Greenwood Cemetery.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 8, 1876:
"There was a tremendous crowd assembled at Greenwood. As the cortege passed through the gate the bell of the tower tolled mournfully. On either side, along the pathways, on the hillsides and invading private plots, the people were there by hundreds and by thousands." 

Four years later a monument placed over the grave. 

The Herald, Pine Plaines, New York, November 24, 1880:
"The citizens of Brooklyn have erected in Greenwood cemetery a handsome monument to the memory of the victims of the Brooklyn theatre fire. One hundred and five unrecognizable bodies were buried in one lot in the cemetery." 




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.
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 seeking funding for “Editing & Formatting” the first three volumes of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, 3rd Edition

Goodreads

Medotcom   




Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Now Playing at Your Local Century Theatre

 Flyer for the Century Theatre circuit, 1958




The above theatres exist now only in memory, demolished or closed and converted to a new use. 




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. Private walks also available.
Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres.
Currently seeking funding for “Editing & Formatting” the first three volumes of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, 3rd Edition

Goodreads

Medotcom   

Monday, October 18, 2021

Fabian Brooklyn Theatres

 Motion Picture Herald, July 24, 1937



Simon Fabian

Fox Theatre

Paramount

Strand




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. Private walks also available.
Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres.
Currently seeking funding for “Editing & Formatting” the first three volumes of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, 3rd Edition

Goodreads

Medotcom   

Friday, September 24, 2021

Prospect Hall

 263 Prospect Ave, Brooklyn



Prospect Hall was a building of historical and architectural importance. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it was not landmarked in New York City.

The Hall closed at the onset of the pandemic with owner Michael Halkias succumbing to COVID-19 two months later in May 2020.

In mid-July 2021, Prospect Hall was sold "as part of an assemblage"  to Angelo Rigas through his company Gowanus Cubes for 30 million.

A few weeks later Rigas filed permits  to demolish the properties including Prospect Hall.  

Local activists started a petition to save the building and a stop work order was placed on the demolition.

In September, the Landmarks Preservation Commission decided that  Prospect Hall had undergone too many architectural changes since opening in 1903 to qualify for preservation. They also noted that Angelo Rigas had already gutted much of the building's interior. 

Realtors and developers often move quickly to demolish a building in order to avoid landmarking.



Prospect Hall in the 1940s when it was the largest Polish National Home in the United States.


Ballroom, Prospect Hall, part of my 2007 walking tour of Park Slope theatres
 for the Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment and Open House New York.



The ballroom, Gothamist, September 2, 2021



National Register of Historic Places

The Real Deal

Crescent Film Company




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. Private walks also available.
Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres.
Currently seeking funding for “Editing & Formatting” the first three volumes of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, 3rd Edition

Goodreads

Medotcom   



Sunday, September 12, 2021

Loew’s Kings, 1027-1031 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn

 The Kings was one of the five "Wonder Theatres" built by Loew’s Inc. and named for  Robert Morton ‘Wonder Organ Installed in each. Four were constructed in New York City and one in Jersey City.

 
On January 7 1929, the Loew's Valencia, Jamaica, Queens,  would be the first of the Wonder Theatres to open its doors.  The Loew’s Kings was a joint-second, opening the same day, September 7, 1929 as the Loew’s Paradise in the Bronx.



Motion Picture News
, September 7, 1929:


Auditorium towards left, rear


Left proscenium wall



Proscenium and Stage


"Marking another significant advance of the major type motion picture playhouse into the neighborhood districts of large cities. This palatial cinema, with a seating capacity of 3, 900, styled in the period of the Italian baroque, is luxuriously equipped with every patron-convenience and apparatus for presentation of elaborate stage spectacles and sound motion pictures.--C. W. & Geo. L. Rapp, Architects [Loew's Kings]"



Interior 2019, Copyright Betty Sword. All rights reserved



Daily Mail, February 3, 2015:
“A once gilded Brooklyn movie palace that’s been crumbling for decades, with pigeons infesting its stage, is back-- again a glittering gem from the 1920s. Diana Ross headlines Tuesday’s opening night in the 3,200-seat Kings Theatre in the Flatbush neighborhood where a teenage Barbra Streisand spent afternoons enjoying double features.

“After a two-year, $95 million dollar renovation, every detail from its jazz age 1929 incarnation has come to life amid computerized sound and LED lighting. The theatre that first opened weeks before the Wall Street crash is now the largest in New York’s biggest borough.”














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. Private walks also available.
Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres.
Currently seeking funding for “Editing & Formatting” the first three volumes of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, 3rd Edition

Goodreads
Medotcom   






 

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Meserole Theatre, 723 Manhattan Avenue

 The building that one housed the Meserole Theatre has been demolished. After closing as a cinema it became the Greenpoint Roller Palace from 1979-1986. After briefly serving as a discount store, the former theatre was an Eckerd Drug/Rite Aid, 1990-2020. An unsuccessful attempt was made to save the building.


1940 Tax Photo

Moving Picture World, November 12, 1921:
“The Meserole opened October 25, with the latest Power’s Type-E projectors and equipment as fine as money could buy. The house seats about 2,700 and the opening announcement of the management is interesting enough to warrant repetition. ‘There has been but one thought in the minds of the management of the Meserole Theatre—to present the finest productions of cinema-art, in deluxe surroundings at a price within the reach of all.’” 


Newspaper ad reproduced in Exhibitors Herald & Moving Picture World, March 3, 1928.


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. Private walks also available.
Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres.
Currently seeking funding for “Editing & Formatting” the first three volumes of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, 3rd Edition

Goodreads
Medotcom