Werba's Brooklyn Theatre

409 Flatbush Avenue Extension,
Brooklyn, NY 11201

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robboehm on May 18, 2015 at 8:00 pm

Photo as Crescent from Brooklyn Pics uploaded.

robboehm on May 18, 2015 at 6:57 am

Turns out that the New Montauk never showed movies and does not qualify for CT.

robboehm on May 17, 2015 at 7:44 pm

Added three photos of the theater being moved. According to one source it was due to be torn down because of the traffic approach for the new Manhattan Bridge. Accordingly, the owners purchased land on Livingston Street at Hanover Place for the New Montauk theater in 1904 and opened the New Montauk on Christmas 1905.

InesitadaSilva on December 16, 2010 at 6:32 am

Many thanks Tinseltoes! I agree, but I guess my grandmother was stood before her own theatre poster ;–) I have continued the line of enquiry regarding Keeney’s in the context of Loew’s Melba Theatre over at: /theaters/4149/ Thanks again and Best wishes, Inesita

InesitadaSilva on December 15, 2010 at 1:19 am

An interesting discussion thread above, which I picked up on when googling ‘Keeney’s Theatre Livingston St. Hanover Place.’ I have a photo of my grandmother and her Vaudeville troop outside a theatre poster, it maybe the theater too, from roughly 1925. It is posted here: View link
Could anyone verify for me whether she’s outside the theatre itself? Comparing with the 1905 snap of it here: http://www.shorpy.com/node/4906?size=_original it wouldn’t appear so. Thanks,Inesita (of interest?: View link)

TLSLOEWS on May 19, 2010 at 11:10 am

Its pretty amazing they could move a theatre like they did back then.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 17, 2010 at 6:58 pm

They were going to tear down the FOX in Atlanta for a office building like New york and Atlanta need another high rise.

Profjoe on January 30, 2009 at 9:15 am

Difficult to believe that such an extraordinary theater (judging from the lenghty description in, “Colonel Sinn’s Montauk Theater Souvenir” program) should last what amounts, really, to just a brief period of time.

DavidZornig on December 22, 2008 at 1:40 pm

Correction, it was the “Marx Brother’s Scrapbook”. An extensive late life pictorial history compiled by Groucho. Which I’ll try and find, and help identify the theatres when I can.

DavidZornig on December 22, 2008 at 1:37 pm

The last post reminded me that the Marx Brothers would do a similar exercise, even after they were established film stars. But their trial-runs were mini tours deliberately designed to retool material for use in their then upcoming films.
Since they came from a live stage/ Vaudeville revue background, they were at ease testing out jokes to a live audience. Then change up whatever got the bigger laughs there, before the new routines were subsequently used in films.
I seem to remember reading they did this up until Irving Thalberg’s death. After which the fun had gone out of making pictures for at least Groucho according to his book “Why A Duck” I believe. It’s the only autobiography I once read by just him.

Not sure what various theatre’s this practice was done at, by I think they went back to New York from Hollywood to do so. If anyone can connect them to specific New York theatres, maybe they could post it here first.

frankie on December 22, 2008 at 1:07 pm

In 1928 Bette Davis played a pre-Broadway try-out here in her play “Broken Dishes” !!! I was so excited to find that out !

jflundy on November 15, 2008 at 1:21 pm

Correct the date of photo on previous entry to copyright 1906, taken October 1905.

jflundy on November 15, 2008 at 1:19 pm

Here is an excellent large scale photo of the Montauk Theater at Livingston Street and Hanover. It was taken in 1906.


erikf on September 1, 2008 at 5:17 pm

Your earlier entry on the Columbia seen here was the later Alcazar Theatre.

The info above could be added to that listing.


jflundy on September 1, 2008 at 10:06 am

Thanks Erik, a great wealth of information !

boerumhill1849 on August 31, 2008 at 7:54 pm

This photo was taken near the corner of Tillary looking south down Washington near the corner bowling alley. On the left is the Washington Street entrance to the Alcazar Theatre, which was just renamed from the Columbia Theatre the year before. See the note near the end of this NY Times article.
View link

The full theatre was on the corner of Tillary and Adams. It was eventually demolished around 1930 as the Post Office seen here was extended back. The area was redeveloped later as seen in this 1994 NY Times article.
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Adams Street was massively rebuilt after WWII to improve traffic flow with the building of the BQE.
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You can see the area in 1907 at the upper center of this Bromley map.
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Hope this helps!


jflundy on August 30, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Erik, do you know anything about the Alcazar Theater shown in this photo from 1906, It seems to be located near the Post Office and Eagle Building:

boerumhill1849 on June 3, 2008 at 7:35 pm

Cheers! I’m writing a book on the history of the brownstone Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn, NY so, this stuff is right up my alley!


jflundy on June 3, 2008 at 2:27 pm

Once again Erik, thanks for the informative links and your insights on the Brooklyn Theater relating to the “1930” photograph. It would seem that the dating of the photo was an archivist’s error. Perhaps this old pre 1890 demolition photo appeared in a 1930 edition to illustrate some feature story in the “Eagle” on 24 November 1930.

boerumhill1849 on June 3, 2008 at 11:06 am

Here is a general blurb on the often chided H.R. Jacobs in the NY Times from the 1890s. He was not liked in the papers for his often “in your face” anti-labor tendencies.
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It seems he took over the lease in 1888 of the rebuilt Conway’s Brooklyn Theatre, which suffered the devastating infamous fire of 1876 taking nearly 300 lives. Here is a Brooklyn Eagle link to the event.
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The Brooklyn Theatre was located on the south side of Johnson Street between Washington and Adams with the original Clarendon . When Jacobs lease ran out in 1890, the building site was sold to become the new home of the Brooklyn Eagle.
June 3, 1890 Brooklyn Eagle
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March 26, 1890 comments about the Star Theatre on Jay Street being built to fill the demand for theater in the area:
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With all that said, why did the Brooklyn Eagle have a picture of the building in 1930? I think that Brooklyn Public Library copy was of the theatre before demolition in 1890. The Hotel Clarendon did rebuild on the north side of Johnson Street between Fulton and Washington Streets before the area was annihilated for the Brooklyn Bridge entrance improvements in 1936 and later part of the Cadman Plaza complex. Reviewing these four photos of the 1936 area demolition makes me pretty certain that H.R. Jacobs did not rebuild the Brooklyn Theatre as well. The new Clarendon was much taller and had the cupola which looks nothing like the “1930” Clarendon.
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But why doesn’t the “1930” Brooklyn Theatre" look like the photos after the 1876 fire?

My thoughts are that the three year rebuild of the theatre significantly altered it by the time H.R. Jacobs took it over in 1888. There is no mention in the Brooklyn Eagle of the Brooklyn Theatre or H.R. Jacobs in Brooklyn after the demolition in 1890.
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Erik in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn

jflundy on June 3, 2008 at 6:49 am

Thank you Erik for the additional information and links on the Montauk.

Have you come upon any information regarding the “HR Jacobs Brooklyn Theater” mentioned above ?

boerumhill1849 on June 3, 2008 at 6:18 am

The Montauk Theatre was in fact the theatre moved in the angelfire link above.

Follow the below link to the 1898-99 Ullitz/Hyde map, Pan and Zoom to the upper left and you will see the original Montauk before the Flatbush Extension.
View link

Here is the 1907-08 Bromley map after the Flatbush Avenue Extension was bulldozed through. Use the Pan and Zoom feature to zoom in on the lower center and you will see the now “Sagamore Theatre” on 464-470 Hudson Avenue.
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The start of the move is noted in the NY Times second from the bottom here:
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The reopening under the name the “Crescent Theatre” is seen here in the Times on the second page right column under “Brooklyn Amusements”.
View link

Quite an engineering feat with old technology!

It would be correct to add “Sagamore Theatre” to the “Also known as” list at the top of this entry, although I have little idea how long, if at all, it was known by this name.

Erik in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn

jflundy on April 27, 2008 at 3:42 pm

There is another Brooklyn Theater cited by the Brooklyn Eagle in the form of a photo dated Nov 24 1930 near the intersection of Johnston St and Washington Street. The marquee reads “HR Jacobs Brooklyn Theater”. The building appears quite old for that time, perhaps dating to the 1870’s. It can be viewed at the Brooklyn Public Library web site. It is classified as a movie theater in the description although obviously it was a legit house at one time.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on March 11, 2008 at 6:06 am


A Mighty WurliTzer Theater Pipe Organ, Opus 42, a 2 Manual/7 Rank was shipped to this theater on August 8, 1914. It is not known what happened to the organ, but the theater was demolished in 1940. If you know anything about the organ, please email us!

“Gee Dad, it "WAS” a WurliTzer!"

algae on September 30, 2007 at 2:29 am

I couldn’t find an exact address, but perhaps this helps.

Col. Sinn’s Montauk was known as “The Elite Theatre of Brooklyn”, built in strict conformity with the new building laws and “absolutely fireproof”.

Sterling Pianos was opposite the theatre at 536 Fulton St.

J. Franklin Bowie, where you could buy a perfect fitting shirt, adjoined the theatre at 589 Fulton St.

If you needed to, after the Saturday Matinee, you could head down the Street to 416 and get a full set of teeth for $5 at the Waterbury Dental Parlors… sounds like a tremendous value!