Loew's Bijou Theatre
26 Smith Street,
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Previously operated by: Loew's Inc.
Firms: J. B. McElfatrick and Sons
Previous Names: Bijou Theatre
The Bijou Theatre opened November 13, 1893, as a playhouse under the direction of H.C. Kennedy. The opening production was “Adonis” starring Henry Dixey. Seating was provided for 2,000 with 700 in the orchestra, 500 in the balcony and 800 in the gallery. The proscenium was 36ft wide and there were 14 dressing rooms.
Due to its convenient location in downtown Brooklyn, the Bijou Theatre proved an instant success and soon became one of the most profitable theatres in the entire USA. When the ailing Kennedy retired in 1900, he sold the Bijou Theatre to Hyde & Behman, which operated it for a time and then leased to the Spooner Repertory Company. In 1908, Marcus Loew, encouraged by his success of his first Brooklyn theatre, the Royal Theatre, took over the Bijou Theatre and converted it to movies with vaudeville. Architect Thomas Lamb carried out some alterations in 1912.
The Royal Theatre and Bijou Theatre became second-run situations after Loew built the much larger and grander Metropolitan Theatre in the same area. Loew’s Bijou Theatre operated until 1929, when Loew’s replaced it by taking over the better equipped Keeney’s Theatre and re-naming it the Loew’s Melba Theatre. Loew’s Bijou Theatre was demolished in 1930 and a 30-story office block was built on the site.
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