Rugby Theatre

823 Utica Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11203

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Brandt Theaters, Rugoff & Becker

Architects: Eugene DeRosa, Harrison G. Wiseman

Functions: Retail

Previous Names: Rugby Twin

Nearby Theaters

1974 photo credit Gary Weinstein.

The Rugby Theatre stood on Utica Avenue just north of Church Avenue. It opened in 1926 and was designed by architect Harrison G. Wiseman. It was equipped with a Robert Morton 2 manual 3 rank theatre organ. It also had a roof garden theatre which seated 722. Alterations were carried out in 1932 & 1933 to the plans of architect Eugene DeRosa. By 1943 it was operated by Rugoff & Becker, who were still the operators in 1950.

Later operated by the Brandt Theatres chain, it was taken over by the Golden Theater chain in the early-1970’s and operated as a dollar theater. Then it went showcase run, before being twinned in 1976 by seperating the balcony.

Eventually the neighborhood around it got rough and the theater went XXX on one screen and kung fu double feature on the other, before closing in 1986. It now houses stores.

Contributed by philipgoldberg

Recent comments (view all 37 comments)

jedweber on December 4, 2008 at 9:10 pm

Pic of the Rugby on

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PaulKupperberg on August 8, 2010 at 6:52 pm

The Rugby most DEFINITELY ran XXX movies. I worked at the Granada a couple of miles up Church Avenue, run by the same owner from 1973 to about 1975 or 1976 (Max Schiering, or Schering). After the theater was twinned, it became a porn house, at least for a while. I spent a lot of time around Church and Utica Avenues and remember it well; there were several candy stores and newsstands my friends and I frequented weekly for the new comic books, and my grandmother (a former movie theater cashier) lived around the corner of Linden Avenue…plus the aforementioned pizza place next door!
Paul Kupperberg

techman707 on October 5, 2011 at 8:58 pm

PaulKupperberg-Max Schering owned the Oceana, Granada and Rugby. Golden Theatre Management first took over the managment of the theatres with Max remaining as a partner until Golden bought him out around 1975. About 1976 he was going to manage the newly tripled Fortway Theatre for Golden, but after a short time he decided to retire and moved to Florida. I installed the projection equipment when the Rugby, Beverly, Oceana, Fortway, Benson and Alpine in Brooklyn and the Olympia and Quad Cinema in Manhattan were multiplexed, as well as servicing and repairing them from 1972 until 1987. In 1988, Golden Theatre Management sold the theatres that were still operating to Cineplex Odeon Theatres.

PragmaticGuy on January 31, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I used to go to the Rugby back in 60s and 70s. Saw Hard Days Night and Help there and I remember my folks taking me to see numerous movies there when I was a kid. By the 70s it was showing XXX rated films there and I do remember seeing a few at that time.

RonnieU on February 10, 2012 at 3:48 pm

I just found this site. I worked at the Rugby from 1970-1974. The pizza place next door was Little Venice and had incredible pizza. There was a deli across the street – I believe it as called Victors. I worked there before and after the conversion to a twin theater. The was a bowling alley next to Little Venice..

clifford on May 30, 2012 at 6:45 am

Hey PragmaticGuy,

That'sfunny because I remember seeing that horrendous Sgt. Pepper movie at the Rugby, the one with the BeeGees in it!

robboehm on May 18, 2015 at 7:35 pm

Photo from Brooklyn Pics uploaded.

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