Nautilus Theater

946 W. Beach Street,
Long Beach, NY 11561

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Island Theater Circuit

Previous Names: West End Theater

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Nautilus Theater

Located at the corner of W. Beach Street and Tennessee Avenue. Opened around 1921 as the West End Theater, by 1950 it was operated by the Island Theater Circuit. Later renamed Nautilus Theater, it was destroyed in a fire on October 12, 1971. Housing has been built on the site.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

RobertR on October 18, 2006 at 3:05 pm

Sorry meant to post the above as a URL

robboehm on August 12, 2012 at 6:31 pm

According to the Long Beach, NY Historical Society the Castle Theatre was specifically built as a performance venue for dance couple Vernon and Irene Castle. They say it was only used for live performances until it was converted into a bathhouse and later burnt down.

However, since the text of the trade report refers to a “picture” being shown, the name of which appears on the marquee in the photo, I tried, unsuccessfully to find a reference to a 1929-1930 film of that title. I contacted the Historical Society representative, referring him to the article and requesting that a further check be made.

Incidentally, many years ago I saw a reference to a theatre in Long Beach which was near the boardwalk (none of the three currently on CT). No name was given. I wonder if it was the Castle. Don’t have a Long Beach map to check that out.

Eaglo on March 10, 2013 at 6:05 pm

As mentioned above, the Castles Theater was indeed a third Long Beach theater not listed here. It was located in the middle of town on the boardwalk between Edwards (then Jackson) and National Boulevards. The venue was formally used as a dance hall owned by Irene and Vernon Castle.

I believe it burned in the late 1930’s or early ‘40’s.

FormerNYCJim on March 11, 2013 at 2:53 pm

as an early teen, I spent a few summers in Long Beach, 1962-4, I think. The West End usually played a repertory of older films, usually a double bill, and would change the films every few days. It was dirt cheap, and I actually got to see a lot of great films from the late 50’s and early 960’s there.

Fredhadley on July 24, 2015 at 10:28 am

I worked as a projectionist in late 1966 at the Nautilus Theatre which had a Beech Ave. address and was at the southwest corner of TENESSEE and Beech, not the Vermont Avenue adress erroneously listed. The door for the Projection Booth was on Tennessee Avenue and there was no access to the theatre except by going outside and entering the lobby’s Beech Ave. entrance.

I worked Mon-Thursday from 7-midnight and Sat-Sun from 1pm – midnight.

The pay was $3.25 per hour, or nearly three times my usher’s minimum wage of $1.25 per hour.

The owner at the time was Irwin Knohl, son of so-called Long Beach entrepreneur (& rumored gangster) Larry Knohl. I recall a man named Sydney Fuchs who may have co-owned the joint with a fellow named Cinetar before Knohl took over.

The booth had two 35 mm Super Simplex heads with RCA Soundheads and Brenkert Enarc carbon arc lamphouses. When I started working there a few weeks shy of my 18th birthday, I lived in Woodside, Queens and had no car so it was quite a schlep: GG from Northern Blvd. to Roosevelt, E or F to Sutphin, shoe leather to the LIRR Jamiaca Terminal for the Long Beach Line to the last stop. Finally the stick-shift piloted municipal bus to Tenessee Ave.

At night, i would hop a cab to the LIRR for the midnight train. Confession: sometimes if the show ran too close to midnight, I might cut 5-10 mins. out of a reel by making an early changeover in order to make that midnight train to Queens😉.

I had heard that the predecessor to the Nautilus, the West End, was moved to the Tennessee Av. location.

By 1967, Charlie Washburn, the Business Representative for Local 640 IATSE, the Nassau- Suffolk projectionist union, moved me out of the “shitcan,” as fellow projectionist Joseph Scherer dubbed the Nautilis, into the Ocean Beach Theater on Fire Island where a drunk was fired from the booth.


robboehm on January 14, 2017 at 9:11 am

Captfxco has posted early photos of the Nautilus (West End). He suggested this may have been a building from Camp Upton since a number of buildings from there were relocated to Long Beach. While I agree it looks military it is not the actual theater which was at Upton, a postcard image of which I have uploaded.

Captfxco on January 14, 2017 at 12:55 pm

The information I have, from a family member of the third owner, is that the building did come from Camp Upton in 1921. It was not the actual Camp Upton theater itself, but a barracks building (possibly more than one) that was re-purposed for use as a theater. If you look closely at the marquee in the fire photo the top line reads “Woody Allen in Bananas”..when it was filmed one of Long Beach Fire Depts. engine companies ironically had a cameo appearance in that film, Engine 4. They spent many hours fighting a theater fire that was showing a film in which they appeared !

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