Restore the RKO
Dec 12, 2017 | 3071 views | 0 0 comments | 122 122 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dear Editor,

As a life-long movie buff amnd former patron of the RKO Keith's in Flushing, I support Forest Hills resident Richard Thornhill's effort to restore this landmark site to its original function as an entertainment center.

Preserving the foyer and ticket lobby is not enough, and turning it into a 269-unit condominium development is excessive. Flushing needs more condos the way Donald Trump needs more tweets.

The Keith's opened on December 25, 1928, as a vaudeville and film theater soon after the advent of "talking pictures." Stage performers over the next two decades included Bob Hope, Jack Benny, the Marx Brothers and Judy Garland.

It became a movie-only venue in the 1950s and was one of the first Queens theaters to show films in the widescreen Cinemascope format. Three more screens were added in the 1970's, turning it into a multiplex.

Other film palaces like Jamaica's Valencia vanished, ending an era when moviegoing was a grand experience, not something folks do while checking their smart phones.

It's time to revive that era in Flushing by restoring the Keith's to what it once was and should always be: a dazzling showcase for new movies & talented live performers.

Sincerely,

Richard Reif

Kew Gardens Hills
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