City Line Cinema

1114 Liberty Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11208

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Brandt Theaters, Meyer & Schneider

Functions: Retail

Previous Names: City Line Theatre, Earl Theatre

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City Line Cinema

This late-run “nabe” was situated near the Brooklyn-Queens border in the City Line district. Originally known as the City Line Theatre, which opened in 1921. From 1937 to 1970 it was known as the Earl Theatre. In 1972 it became the City Line Cinema and ended its days as an adult theatre, closing around 1979.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 32 comments)

jedweber on December 14, 2007 at 2:25 pm

The building is still there, looking as it does in the 2005 photo, though with a different crappy discount store as the occupant.

If the 1939 photo is the same building, the el would be the old Fulton Avenue line, and this portion would have been replaced by underground service in 1956. (The rest of the el from 80th-Hudson Street in Queens is still used by the “A” train.)

Deaconjms on March 4, 2008 at 7:27 pm

I remember going to the Earl on Saturdays in the early ‘60s. For 50 cents you could see two movies, cartoons and a race (they gave out tickets for the race, which was on film, and if your number won, you got a prize.)

Jorge on October 14, 2009 at 3:46 pm

I was born in Brooklyn in 1974…and have a VERY GOOD recollection of my mom taking me to see the 1979/Frank Langella version of DRACULA at this theater…so it surprises me to read they were showing XXX movies at this location because my only memories were standard Hollywood fare my mom used to take me maybe once every two weeks (then again, I was only 5 or 6…so my memory is very fuzzy??) I remember walking by the theater the day after the fire & seeing a little bit of the inside & thinking I saw a BODY fused to the seats…what a vivid & borderline “sick” imagination I had! I also recall being saddened as this was the ONLY theater within true walking distance from where I lived (corner of Belmont Ave. & Autumn Ave in Brooklyn)…my next closest one was the Crossbay UA in Queens!

I can also confirm an ‘Odd Lot’ 5-&-dime type store opened in the same location shortly after. My mom recently went back a fwe weeks ago (we live in Florida now) & states there is now a Modell’s in the same spot.

GaryCohen on November 18, 2009 at 7:45 pm

The Earl was located on Liberty Avenue in the area known as “City Line,” the borderline between Brooklyn and Queens. I was there with my father only once in 1964 to see an MGM double-feature of “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” and Elvis in “Viva Las Vegas.” The only thing I remember was that it was the smallest theater that I had ever seen. Since that time, I can only think of possibly 2 smaller theaters: The Trump in Brooklyn and the various auditoriums that make up the Film Forum in Manhattan. But boy, the Earl was small.

FatMan1059 on January 31, 2010 at 6:58 pm

I went to the “City Line” in the 60’s and 70’s and remember it as the City Line it is amazing that it had two names. I remember taking the “12” bus to get to it. I also remember the pizza shop across the street. It’s a clothing store as I write it. It was a small place.
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I remember going there while my friend David’s mother went to the Bingo on Atlantic Avenue and Crescent. We then took the Atlantic Avenue Bus.

Jorge on February 1, 2010 at 9:52 am

Thanks for that google link fatman…I think my mother got confused between the Crossbay UA (which is now a Modell’s) & the old location of the Earl (per my incorrect post above)…hitting ‘terrain’ is the EXACT location of where the theater once was…in fact, the building looks exactly the same & resembles a theater building. I see the ‘Musique’ music store that used to be across the street (Lincoln Ave) is no more…used to be my source for buying all those old-school Freestyle records growing up. :o(

capofeny55 on January 13, 2011 at 3:39 pm

The pizza place accross the street is where my friends and I used to hang out, and then go to boldocs bar down the block next to John’s bargain store on liberty and sheridan ave

garenson on June 24, 2011 at 1:35 am

I lived on 78 ST off 101st Avenue from 1956 thru 1976, went to PS64/JHS210/John Adams. As young teen me and my friends used to walk over to City Line and go to the Earl, John’s Bargain Store, etc. I remember the Earl showing cartoons, the races (which I won at least once) and 2 movies. I don’t remember it being itchy and scratchy. Remember Aldos, Meats & Treats, Bohacks and the A&P? I even walked to the Lindenwood Diner, besides to Woodhaven and Forest Park.

RobertR on January 27, 2013 at 5:40 pm

1978 as Cityline not the Earle

FatMan1059 on January 28, 2013 at 11:31 am

@Jorge, I bought most my records from from A- appliance on the northwest corner of Berriman and Pitkin on the other side of the corner of the Kinema theater. Then when TSS opened went there. I did buy maybe one or two Musique also.

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