University Theatre

33 W. Fordham Road,
Bronx, NY 10468

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Brandt Theaters, Island Theater Circuit

Previous Names: Fordham Theatre Picture Playhouse, Bandbox Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Located in the Fordham Heights district (today renamed University Heights) The Fordham Theatre Picture Playhouse was opened in late-1916. It was renamed Bandbox Theatre in 1928 when it was equipped with a Kilgen 2 manual 3 ranks organ. It was renamed University Theatre in 1934. It was still open in 1952, but had closed by 1955.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

kencmcintyre on July 19, 2008 at 8:16 pm

A White Castle is at this address now:

Here is a photo from Google maps:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 19, 2011 at 4:25 am

Boxoffice of January 19, 1935, mentioned this house in its “Theatre Notes” column: “The University, formerly the Band Box, West Fordham Road, Bronx, is now operated by Devoe Theatres, Inc., Alfred Goldreyer in charge.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 16, 2017 at 8:14 pm

The January 21, 1922, issue of Real Estate Record had an item about a theater that must have been this house:

“Fordham Theatre in New Hands

“Samuel Wood, president of Wood’s Business School in Harlem, purchased from Thomas Ward property known as ‘The Fordham Theatre Photoplay House,’ having a seating capacity of 600 and the 1-story brick taxpayer, adjoining, containing nine stories [sic], known as 25-37 West Fordham rd., and the 2x2-story frame dwelling, with garage, north of Fordham rd., known as 2458 Davidson av. This property covers 120 feet on Fordham rd., taking in the northwest corner of Davidson av. with 128 feet on the avenue. Property was held at $225,000, which transaction was for all cash. Armstrong Bros, were the brokers.”

The “2x2-story frame dwelling” and garage were probably soon replaced by the standard 6-story brick apartment block now seen on Davidson Avenue, but I suspect that the theater and “1-story brick taxpayer” survive, and satellite view shows the shop building still abutting the theater on two sides.

The new owners might have changed the theater’s name to Bandbox at this time, to avoid confusion with Keith’s Fordham Theatre (later the RKO Fordham) which had opened nearby in 1921. We know the name change to Bandbox took place no later than 1928, as that is the year a Kilgen organ was installed.

The Fordham Theatre Photoplay House was in the planning stage in 1916, according to this item from Motography of June 3 that year:

“Irving Judis as president of Creston Building company, will build a one-story moving-picture theater, with stores, 117.5x65.10, on the northwest corner of Davidson avenue and Fordham road, New York.”
This was not Irving Judis’s first theater project. In 1915 he had built the Concourse Theatre at Grand Concourse and Fordham Road. Architects for that project were Herman Gronenberg and Albert J. H. Leuchtag. It’s possible that Gronenberg & Leuchtag also designed the Fordham Theatre Photoplay House, but I haven’t been able to confirm this.

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