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More Photos of RKO Keith / Past Local Movie Theaters / Hollywood in Richmond Hill / History of Jamaica Ave.
RKO Keith's Movie House

This Theatre was built in the 1920's and is still located at the same location on Hillside Avenue next to Jahn's Ice Cream Parlor. The movie house no longer shows films but is now used as a bingo hall and flea market.

1939 Photo of RKO Keith's by Jamaica Studios
1939 Photo by Jamaica Studios
Courtesy Nancy Cataldi

It appears to be a "Grand" Opening celebration for the movie "Grand Illusion", which was nominated by the Academy Awards for Best Picture of the Year (1937) French Version, "La Grande Illusion", and the American Version came out in 1938. Although, from the look of the marquee, the movie appears to have won Best Picture.
The people in military uniform are from the Richmond Hill Post American Legion. This photo truly captures a moment in time in Richmond Hill when the residents all shared a sense of unity due to the impact of this powerful film, "Grand Illusion"
This "anti-war" film was directed by cinematic great Jean Renoir, son of the famous impressionistic painter Pierre Auguste Renoir, which depicts WWI as the "grand illusion" for the characters who are French prisoners held captive in Germany by an aristocratic officer, played by Erich von Stroheim. The master copy of this film was lost for many years when the Nazis occupied France and later taken by the Russians. Not until recently has the original film been released again.
In 1939, the film, "Wife, Husband and Friend" was released. This romantic comedy starred Loretta Young, Warner Baxter, Cesar Romero, and Binnie Barnes. Wife (Young) hopes to be a great singer and is encouraged by her scheming teacher (Romero). After she flops her husband (Baxter), encouraged by an amorous professional singer (Barnes) tries opera and also flops. Through all this, wife and husband remain together finally realizing their foolish adventure.



Thanks to Cezar Del Valle, Theatre Historian from the New York Council for the Humanities, for the following Richmond Hill Theatre History- 

Do you remember these Richmond Hill Theaters? 

From the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory:
Amus Palace, 2818 Jamaica Avenue 
Crescent Theater, 2125 Jamaica Avenue 
Dreamland Theater, Oxford & Jamaica Avenue 
Garden Theater, Jamaica Avenue 
Liberty Square Theater, 304 Lefferts Avenue 

From the Film Daily Yearbook 1941
(no address given, sc=seating capacity) 
Casino sc. 1000 
Garden sc. 980 
Jerome sc. 887 
Lefferts sc. 1613 
RKO Keith sc. 2226 
Willard sc. 2300

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