Kingsway Theatre

946 Kings Highway,
Brooklyn, NY 11223

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Showing 51 - 75 of 109 comments

DeskGuy on June 17, 2008 at 9:46 pm

I grew up in that area in the early 1980’s, attended PS 238 and saw countless movies at the Kingsway, a theater which I loved. Among the movies I attended at that theater were Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Rambo, Ghostbusters, Superman II and many others, including such “classics” as Blood Beach and Seems Like Old Times. I recall seeing Staying Alive (with John Travolta) in the rear, separate theater with my day camp during a rainy day.

My friends and I had a great time at the Kingsway because although we were significantly under the minimum age, it was quite easy to “sneak” (I use that term loosely) into a rated R movie.

Yes, now that I think back, I recall the staircase located on each side of the theater and the concession stand on each floor. I remember the bathrooms on opposite sides of the second floor as well. And, I vaguely recall the mural that was previously discussed in this forum. I think there were also arcade games at the entrance, if I remember correctly.

If I’m not mistaken, I recall the separate theater in the rear with a mural as well. I’m not sure. I do recall some paintings on the exterior wall by the fire escape, I think.

It would be great if someone can post some photos of the interior.

An earlier poster also referenced Crawford’s which was a few blocks down along Kings Highway. I know this is not the appropriate forum for this kind of question, but I don’t know where else to go. If I remember correctly, I could have sworn that when I was little kid (in 1977/78, I was 5/6 years old) I had purchased records from Crawfords (no, not Music Factory across the street). Can someone confirm that Crawfords sold records at one time? I recall buying several there, including the themes to Star Wars and Close Encounters, and Lookin' for Love by Johnny Lee.

Broadwaychris on May 25, 2008 at 4:10 am

What a thrill it was to go down this road.
Like BdwyPhil, I too worked there in the late 70’s, early 80’s as an usher, I ‘barked’, was ‘head usher’ and had the time of my life there. Someone who commented about seeing “old costumes” from the backstage area being tossed into dumpsters is talking out of their tukkus- there were no ‘old costumes’ anywhere in that theatre- I was there through two renovations and personally combed every inch of that theatre from backstage to the projection booth. A shame was the loss of the Western Electric 300B tube amplifiers and remote controlled pipe organ that we actually got to work and drunkenly played after closing at night.
It had drums, cymbals and brass pieces throughout the auditorium. We had so much fun there, I wouldn’t even know where to begin to share the many stories. We worked at The Avalon, The Walker, The Brook, The Midwood, The Duffield (downtown)– nothing but good times. Like the world itself, the charm, the beauty, the history and fun just sort of evaporate. The Kingsway was a great place to grow up.

Piert1025 on July 8, 2007 at 10:46 pm

I grew up in this neighborhood and it was my childhood theater. I admit that I miss the Kingsway. I used to go to the movies a lot more when this theater was opened. Now, we are forced to go to the UA in Sheepshead Bay with all the pre-slutty tweens and slutty teenagers. I believe the last movie I saw at the Kingsway was Titanic. I can remember that we went on a class trip from PS 238 (2 blocks away) to see Schindler’s List. When I got older, I can remember sneaking smokes in the back of all 5 theaters. Ushers would always come by to try to bust me and my friends but the theaters were so big, that we never got caught!

vedder611 on October 12, 2006 at 4:05 am

yea that picture of the redone kingsway building is tough to look at….in the late 80s and early 90s this theatre was admittedly a bit scary but in the best kinda scary old movie theatre kinda way…it had the fire escape type exit up high on the side of the building whcih was always the most fun way to exit, it had the cool old chandeliers, and with that extra theatre on the side you sometimes had to buy your concessions in the front lobby and then go back outside and walk down the street to get into that part of the theatre…big fun on a stormy night carrying your big bucket of popcorn down that block in the rain or snow

bdwyphil on August 8, 2006 at 3:47 pm

An article in the Hollywood trade papers sparked my memory of the Kingsway. I worked as an usher between 1956-58. It was my first movie industry job. We had lockers and changing rooms in the old vaudville dressing rooms. We wore uniforms of maroon and blue with gold trim, bow ties, plastic collars and shirt fronts. On Friday and Saturday nights, I was assigned to the front of the theatre to “bark”. I would announce in my strongest voice to all of Kings Highway and Coney Island Avenue, the time of the next show and what seats remained available. In the winter, I would wear this incredible navy blue wool cape. It was the time of “Roadshow Engagements”. I would be working the balcony and loge during a matinee performance of “Guys and Dolls”, learning the lyrics and if the house was fairly empty, singing and dancing along. I haven’t been back to the neighborhood for over Fifteen years and felt a twinge of sadness and nostalgia to learn that the old house was gone and with it some of my personal history.

longislandmovies on July 16, 2006 at 5:08 pm

Garth was always good to me but i could see that crazy mind working all the time.

lennytone on July 16, 2006 at 5:01 pm

My favorite memory of the Kingsway (1960’s) was actually the Chinese restaurant next door and their great dish Shrimp Har Kew!

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 15, 2006 at 11:26 am

That is so wrong.

Not normally one to lament the passing of a neighborhood theatre.

But this was a terrible rehab job. Drab. Uninspired. No respect for history.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 15, 2006 at 9:04 am

Here is a recent(June 2006) photograph I took of the now much altered Kingsway Theatre:

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 15, 2006 at 7:34 am

I agree with longislandmovies. Cineplex Odeon helped theatres that were falling apart stay open for years by spending big money remodelling and keeping them up. The Kingsway had a rough going in it’s last few years because it was always being groomed for demolition and replacement by a purpose built multiplex, a event that never occured.

Although I have no particular love for Garth Drabinsky. He gave a new lease on life to the Metropolitan, Kenmore, Fortway, Alpine, Metro Twin, Regency, Olympia, Carnegie Hall, Waverly, Art Greenwich, Manhattan Twin, and Warner (Rialto) just when they were past their sell-by date and when no other chains were investing in non-multiplex buildings.

longislandmovies on July 15, 2006 at 4:49 am

I never thought CINEPLEX ODEON ever trashed movie houses ,they saved the movie theater industry from years of neglect !

keionm on July 15, 2006 at 3:52 am

You know it’s a shame that NY doesn’t treasure it’s historic theaters at all. I remember going to this theater in the early 80’s-90’s when it was still part of the RKO century chain. I can frankly say they keep it in good shape and intact. Cineplex Odeon has a reputation for trashing these glorious movie houses. I remember seeing Clue, Cocoon, Karate Kid II, Nightmare on Elmstreet III,IV, and V. She will be missed.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 2, 2006 at 4:24 pm

Gee that is unfortunate. I photographed the Kingsway around 1990, while passing through this section of the city. It lent excitement to the corner with it’s flashy facade and marquee. It sounds like it had been thoroughly chopped to pieces already. But I’m sorry they chose to modify the exterior. Other retail conversions have retained the marquee and facade, thereby retaining some of that excitement. Look at how drab that 2004 image is.

EcRocker on February 15, 2006 at 6:21 pm

I was in the Kingsway when it was a single screen and later when it was divided. Not for nothing but whenever i see or hear the name Cineplex Odeon I want to puke. This is a Canadian based company that ripped off the American public. I remember years back when i was in Montreal Canada I went to see a movie and it cost me $5 Canadian which at the time was about $3.75 US…That same movie at an Odeon showing in NYC was $8. why the $4.25 cent difference for the same movie? Seem like before the C/O Loews merger CO was always the first to start a price increase. They started the others followed.

overcertified on January 16, 2006 at 7:24 am

Actually, both original Crazy Eddie’s" stores were located a block away. The first real original store was on Kings Highway between Coney Island Avenue and East 12th street, a small hole in the ground. That was an outgrowth of the family business, which was “crawfords” on Kings Highway and east 14th street. Eddie, when he was a kid, grew up on East 10th street between Quentin Road and Avenue P, which was effectively around the corner from both the stores and the Kingsway.

Then, crazy eddie moved into the Coney Island Avenue location, which most people belived (incorrectly) to be the first store – which was directly across the treet from the theater. At one time, this was a TSS (Time Square Store), an old chain. The entire corner had burned down due to a alarm fire in fields brothers, that also took out the TSS. The entire block had to be redeveloped. I remember a drug store chain taking one of the stores on Kings highway and attempted to compete against Kings Pharmacy, which was across the street from the theater on the corner of Kings Highway and CIA. The genevose lost, closed down, and then Kings pharamacy moved into that store, and the old Kings became a bank.

YMike on January 9, 2006 at 1:58 am

The original “Crazy Eddie’s” store was located about a block from the Kingsway theatre.

ectojedi1 on January 9, 2006 at 12:44 am

I use to go to this theatre when I lived in Brooklyn as a kid. I don’t think it was the theatre I went to most often because there was a closer theatre in walking to distance to my home on West 5th street. Yet it made an big impression on me. The beautiful murals painted on the front and side walls made this theatre seem larger than life to me. The only movie I can distinctly remember seeing here is the original “Jurassic Park,” though I’m sure I saw many 80’s classics here that just aren’t registering. I remember the theatre was swamped because this was a must see movie event. I also remember a comic store being right near there which I definitely went into prior to this showing at least. Does anyone remember if there was also Crazy Eddie’s across the street or in the immediate area? If I’m not mistaken there was one right by there.

ERD on November 12, 2005 at 5:30 am

The Kingsway theatre brings back many memories, but fast moving changes in technology are making movie theatres something from another era. At least with awareness, there are some theatres that have been (and hopefully others that will be) saved. It is important for our young and future generation to have a chance to see these beautiful buildings.

Louella on November 12, 2005 at 4:57 am

I have many fond memories of the Kingsway from the 40’s. I grew up on east 7th Street around the corner from the Jewel which was our regular Saturday matinee theater. The Kingsway was the “expensive” theater charging us kids as much as 25¢. The Jewel and the Claridge were the bargains ranging anywhere from 11¢ to 15¢ for the kids matinee. The Kingsway often ran Saturday morning “Kiddy Shows” featuring 50 cartoons. In those olden days before TV, this was a real treat and there were huge lines to get in.

My grandma would occasionally take me to a movie there and we sat in
the Loge so that she could smoke. I remember it being very elegant.
There were little lamps on small tables between the seats. They
charged extra to sit there.

Karl B.

RobertR on August 2, 2005 at 3:19 am

I wonder why they let this theatre go to hell, it was a busy theatre in a busy area?

longislandmovies on August 2, 2005 at 3:17 am

correct it should be listed as CENTURY , centurys highest grosser in 50s 60s . Kingsplaza since then ,

GeorgeStrum on August 2, 2005 at 2:28 am

Maurice Sendak, the 78 year old author of classic children’s books relates in an article in today’s, 8/02/05 Daily News how poor he was living in a terrible neighborhood and the only fun he had was at the Kingsway Theatre where he would watch a double feature and a cartoon usually a Mickey Mouse. This inspired him to draw his own cartoons and later became the artist and illustrator of books like “Wher the Wild Things Are” and “In the Night Kitchen”. Pity, the commercial speace there today leaves little to the imagination.

overcertified on July 31, 2005 at 8:27 pm

When Cineplex Odem took over, they had at least three main theaters left in Brookly: Kingsway, Fortway, and Alpine. This was BEFORE the merger with Lowes. All three theaters had AC issues. The Fortway and Alpine were rennovated at least more than once, if not twice, while the Kingsway never received any renovation. The seats were old and crappy, and the place was going downhill. I spoke to a manager once, and he said that they had big plans for rennovation, but that the theater was a landmark and they were having issues with permits – which I do not believe. Cineplex Odem was also a shit chain, they had this con job with popcorn butter where they asked you if you wanted extra butter (an extra 25 cents) and they kept getting you. If you said that you didn’t want the extra butter, they would put it in anyway (or not) and charge yoyu anyway. BIG SCAM, anbd it was hard to catch it becase unlike the other chains, they charged tax on the purchase instead of showing prices with tax included. This paractice (extra butter) finally ended with the merger with Lowes.

frankie on July 19, 2005 at 6:56 am

This was a great place to see the big musicals. I saw “Sweet Charity” and “Paint Your Wagon” here. frankie from Brooklyn

RobertR on June 30, 2005 at 5:20 pm

The Kingsway was the Brooklyn outlet for the first Premiere Showcase in 1962.

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