RKO Madison Theatre

54-30 Myrtle Avenue,
Ridgewood, NY 11385

Unfavorite 21 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 1,251 comments

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on January 24, 2024 at 10:42 am

I photographed what’s left of the Madison six years ago. RKO Madison Theatre at After the Final Curtain

stickball on January 21, 2024 at 10:03 am

I saw the movie Slave of the cannibal God there!!

Willburg145 on January 30, 2020 at 5:48 pm

I went to Liberty yesterday (1/29/2020). Was the theatre gutted to the bricks or does anything survive of the old theatre?

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on November 10, 2019 at 3:46 pm

Long Island now has another Madison Theatre, located at Molloy College in Rockville Centre. News article here

davidcoppock on May 25, 2018 at 7:51 am

The theatre building is now Liberty Department Store.

davidcoppock on May 25, 2018 at 7:49 am

The Three stooges film was “The Three Stooges meet Hercules”(1962). Hercules was played by Samson Burke. The three stooges were Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Curly Joe DeRita.

Texas2step on April 21, 2018 at 6:43 pm

The opening movie at the RKO Madison in 1927 was “Underworld” with George Bancroft.

MarioManzini on November 2, 2017 at 9:26 pm


MarioManzini on November 2, 2017 at 9:25 pm

Mario Manzini here. I performed at the RKO Madison Theater on stage with my Escapology show on May, 1966. It was the first RKO Theater that I ever performed at. Many others followed. To promote my stage show there I did an escape from the old Ridgewood Court House Jail cell which made the Ridgewood Times and all NYC newspapers. Houdini’s brother Theo Hardeen had his stage show at the Madion Theater in 1946. Right after the show he was taken to the hospital where he died from Esophagus Cancer.

StBrigidkid on July 31, 2016 at 10:24 am

I was born on Madison Street a block away from the Madison Theatre and Ridgewood Theatre, cost 50 cents and I saw 2 movies, coming attractions and cartoons, they used to put cardboard posters outside, and there was always photos of the current movie to get us in, anyone remember that?

Jeff M.
Jeff M. on June 26, 2016 at 12:39 pm

To Ed Solero and his question from Sept. 13, 2007 regarding theatres used in the making of both the 1933 and 2005 King Kong movies. I was researching the now gone Ridgewood Theatre and, from there, looked up the RKO Madison when I spotted your question in the comments. Anyway, if you haven’t already found this out you were correct in that the Shrine Auditorium was used in the 1933 film. In the 2005 version the Civic Theatre (1929) in Auckland, New Zealand was the theatre auditorium that King Kong destroyed. Also, in the early 1960’s, the late Carl Weiss restored and played the RKO Madison’s 3 manual 15 rank Wurlitzer theatre organ for intermissions. He really loved how that organ sounded in the auditorium.

johndereszewski on June 13, 2016 at 6:49 am

I think it was the one with Hercules – the guy who played Hercules appeared with them. A few years ago, someone noted the date of these appearances at a number of theaters. If you search this thread, you may find this reference.

BigBennyD on June 11, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Does anyone remember when The Three Stooges appeared there in the late 50s /early 60s, and which movie they were promoting?

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on February 17, 2016 at 7:32 am

The current retail tenant now has a website, with not much in visuals but offering plenty of bargains: www.shopliberty.com

cinsal47 on February 6, 2016 at 7:54 pm

The manager of the RKO Madison in my day (50’s-early 60’s) was a school mate, Paulette Polina’s father. This made Paulette special not to mention she was really cute with this great beauty mark and her initials, P.P., also got a lot of attention from silly kids. It was a magnificently beautiful theater. Huge! Two balconies! They wouldn’t let us kids sit up there…Wonder why?…It had a fantastic wide “CinemaScope” screen. I saw the five Oscar winning (Best Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design, Original Score, Adapted Screenplay)DOCTOR ZHIVAGO there, and it remains my favorite all-time movie. I sure would love to see a movie like STAR WARS on a screen like that! It was the most expensive of the three theaters in Ridgewood. And there was no misbehaving in there- they would literally throw your ass out! There was a great Chinese restaurant next door. As a young adult after a fraternity party, we would got there late at night and have chicken chow mien. And we’d get a free scope of ice cream! Ridgewood was a great place to live and grow up in with its three great movie theaters.

LugosiResearch on December 29, 2012 at 8:38 pm

On Tuesday 27 February 1951, Bela “Dracula” Lugosi presented his in person Horror and Magic Stage show at RKO Madison. Currently I am conducting research on all things Lugosi; if anyone out there actually saw this show and/or has memorabilia (poster, handbill, photos) related to this show, please contact Bill at Thanks in advance for any assistance!

Bway on November 12, 2012 at 3:14 pm

jgraif, Cypress Ave is not the Brooklyn-Queens border. The Madison is and always was in Queens. The Border has been in a zig-zag line since the Madison was built. The Brooklyn Border traces Cypress Ave from Newtown Creek to Menahan St. It then zig zags down to St Nicholas Ave. It then precedes to Gates Ave. At that intersection, it then goes down to WYckoff Ave. It then Traces Wyckoff Ave across (and behind the Madison) to Eldert St where it goes down to Irving St, whichg then traces it through the Cemetery of the Evergreens.

johndereszewski on November 12, 2012 at 10:01 am

The fact that the Ridgewood theaters were listed in the Brooklyn movie directory does not mean that they were in Brooklyn. This was a situation where the old Brooklyn zip code lines trumped the actual borderlines. With regard to the old Ridgewood, the movie clocks still did not get it right even after the zip code lines were changed to reflect the borough borders.

johndereszewski on November 12, 2012 at 7:46 am

With all due respect jgraif, the Madison has always been situated in Queens. The current Brooklyn-Queens boundary has been situated since 1925, east of Gates Ave., on Wyckoff Ave. (Cypress Avenue ceases to be the boundary at Menahan Street.) Prior to that time, the boundary veered a little closer to the Madison but did not not place the theater in Brooklyn. It is the Parthenon that changed boroughs as a result of the border change. Also, while the old zip code arrangement, which did include portions of two zip codes in both boroughs, certainly was confusing, this changed in the early 1980’s when the zones were redrawn along the borough lines ……. On other matters, I would still love to hear your comments about the two saloons on Wyckoff Avenue. Talk soon.

jgraif on November 10, 2012 at 10:41 pm

with respect to all, the theater is actually in brooklyn. ridgewood is located in both queens and kings counties. the theater is south of the border (cypress avenue) despite what the post office has done over the years to completely screw the whole thing up! best reference? any 1960’s era subway map you can find. the border is drawn just below the seneca avenue stop of the myrtle avenue el. the theater is south of that and squarely in brooklyn. best to all.

johndereszewski on October 20, 2012 at 8:10 am

Hello jgraif and thanks for your fond memories about the old Madison …….. When I worked in the area during the 1970’s, there were two bars on Wyckoff between Gates and Palmetto – one at the Gates corner and one mid-block. Which was the one that your father and uncle operated? I guess by the early 90’s both had been converted into something else …… By the way, the old Parthenon, which served as a Bingo parlor after its bowling alley days had ended, is now being converted into a 24 hour health facility ….. Hope to hear from you soon.

jgraif on October 20, 2012 at 12:56 am

oh…the poor rko madison. the exquisite rko madison. i hope my recollection will spark some enjoyable memories. i was born in ridgewood on 12 march 1954. the madison was located on myrtle avenue less than one block from the intersection of myrtle and wycoff avenues, the “crossroads” of ridgewood, where the “el” met the subway and nearly a dozen bus lines terminated. it was a “busy” place! my father and uncle operated “graif’s café”, a bar and grille located on the other side of the intersection on wycoff avenue. other theaters were clustered around the intersection as well, like the “parthenon” which, of late, had become the “parthenon lanes”. across from the madison were two, top notch restaurants, kollety’s ice cream parlor and gottlieb’s delicatessen, both of which operated well into the evening to accommodate the madison’s patrons. i have many fond memories of patronizing both with my mother and older sister (while my father was working down the street). myrtle avenue was awash with the flickering of the madison’s marquee while we enjoyed hot fudge sundaes or hot corned beef sandwiches. that theater far exceeded what was usually dedicated to a “neighborhood”. its presence elevated the intersection from a crossroads to a “mecca”. of course, at the age of 5 to 10, i had no understanding of the significance, etc., most especially the organ, which i will address tomorrow. thanx for “listening”.

Panzer65 on February 17, 2011 at 3:03 pm

This photo really exemplifies what a stunning palace the Madison was, thanks for posting Bway.

Bway on February 17, 2011 at 11:47 am

Here is perhaps one of the best interior photos of the former palatial lobby of the RKO Madison that I have seen to date. It just boggles the mind that they decided it would be a good idea to destroy this beauty in the 1980’s:

View link

Click below for the full page on the Madison:

View link