Beacon Theatre was located one block from where I lived on 74th Street
& West End Avenue. The theatre was built in 1926 and showed silent
movies(before my time). It maintained its ornate and gilded look through
This was our neighborhood movie theatre and we
loved going there. We watched all the Bob Hope movies as well Abbot
& Costello comedies.
My sister Joan and I would go to the
Saturday matinees by ourselves and sit in the separated children's
section. This area was overseen by a stern matron with a strong
flashlight. One false move and you were out in the street. Regardless of
her devotion to quell even the tiniest sound from our area, the
children's section was in constant motion and giggles.
always a double feature and it was a great way to spend a rainy or snowy
afternoon. During the intermission there was an organ player followed
by the manager selling plates on the stage. During the war years there
was always a canister passed around for donations to various charities,
mostly Red Cross.
Every theatre ran at least one cartoon, usually
Mickey Mouse, Popeye or Betty Boop. Our favorite candies were of course
Peanut Chews,Goobers,JuJubes &,Mary Janes . No popcorn no drinks.
Uncle Herman(Dad's brother), lived in the attached Beacon Hotel. It was
always a treat to visit him. He was a divorced, very dapper gentlemen
with a very cool bachelor pad that catered to my 13 year old fantasies.
It was The Esquire Magazines with the famous scantily clad "Esquire
Girls" paintings that brought me back to visit time and again. The
magazine prepped me for Playboy many years later.
As we got older
Joan and I gradually elevated our theatre venues to the two theatres on
81st & Broad- way. RKO and Loews. This was the gathering place
through High School. If those balconies could talk it would be XX rated.
The hottest babe was Barbara Siegel, daughter of the infamous Bugsy
Siegel. She lived across the street from me. If all the "balcony"
stories were even half true, they were savory indeed.
All of this
was left behind after entering college. The BeaconTheatre declined and I
think was closed for a long spell. It was great to see that landmark
revived to its original splendor as a popular stage show theatre and
Don Herzog ‘45
P.S. 87 1945