Objective Brooklyn!

31 Jul

Grabbing breakfast this morning at the Brooklyn Water Bagel Company in Boca, I noticed the following 3′ x 3′ image. It’s a WWII era photo of the College Theater in Brooklyn, on the southeast corner of Flatbush Avenue and Glenwood Road. I can perrsonally attest that Flynn was HUGELY popular in Brooklyn, along the lines of a superhero – something touched upon in My Favotite Year.

— Tim


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  1. Tony

    July 31, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    It’s always nice to see a little of Brooklyn’s past because I live in Brooklyn and I’ve seen it change dramatically over the years.

    The movie theaters of years ago were a sort of magical place where from time to time the kids from the block would make a pilgrimage in mass. On a Saturday afternoon we’d pile into a row of red velvet seats, walking on sticky floors, and smelling the sent of popcorn in the air. Then we’d settle down to watch the action, always keeping an eye out to see a shiny black gun, or shapely woman’s leg appear on the screen.

    Then after the movie, on the way home and all night long we’d make believe we were that hero on screen with the shiny gun, and the sexy girl.

    • Gentleman Tim

      July 31, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      As you know, Tony, Brooklyn has had a very significant role in movie history, and long before Saturday Night Fever!…

      (In fact, it’s the history of Vitagraph having been in Brooklyn that led to my grandfather’s cousin (Paul Kelly) becoming a notable child star, and later a much lesser adult star – even once in a film with the Great Flynn himself!)…

      P.S. My neighbood’s theater was just like the one you describe – gum, aroma and all!

      • Tony

        July 31, 2017 at 3:30 pm

        Nice video Tim.

        You may find it interesting to know that the Three Stooges grew up in my neighborhood. They used to play pinball near me at Ulmer Park, a competitor of Coney Island. Some of their first work was at a theater/restaurant type place called The Captain’s Pier, a few blocks from me. They hung around the Vitagraph looking to get into films.

        When Moe got married he tried to get out of the business so he could stay close to home. Their mother was in the real-estate business so the brothers bought some land through her and tried to build a few houses on it. The brothers worked with the contractors to try to save money on the construction. A few of the houses are still standing. One house is a little odd looking, and you’d almost say to yourself “this looks like it was built by the Three Stooges”. It was.

        The mother and father lived in a building across the street from me until around 1930. Up until then the brothers used to go visit them there. After 1930 the brothers moved their mom and dad out to California.

        • Gentleman Tim

          August 1, 2017 at 10:50 am

          The Three Stooges of Brooklyn, including Stooge One, where Moe befriends Ted Healey!

          Getting off the backed up Belt, I just drove by pretty close to Ulmer Park, doing a Brooklyn food tour – including dogs at Coney and roast beef at Roller Rooster. Didn’t know that’s where the Horwitz/Howards were from, always thought Bensonhurst. Great info and would love to see that Stooge-built house! As the Olde Dutch of Gravesend used to say: Forgetaboutit!


          • Tony

            August 1, 2017 at 1:08 pm

            Tim, The Three Stooges grew up in Bath Beach, which most people just call Bensonhurst. The houses they built were right behind Lafayette High School, and two or three of them are still there (last time I looked). I’ll see if I can find you the address for the houses so you can look at them on Google Earth if you want to. I’ll also take a look at the building across the street and give you the address of where their mom and dad lived. Moe was playing a pinball game at ulmer park and slipped and cut open his chin. His dad took him to a doctor to get him fixed up right so there would be no major scars. But they couldn’t pay the doctor because they were broke, so Moe’s mom paid him by giving him a nice set of copper pots and pans that they had.

          • Tony

            August 1, 2017 at 2:08 pm

            Tim, This web sight has pictures of the houses that they built, and a bit of a story that goes with them:…

            Moe’s mom and dad lived at 69-83 Bay 29th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11214.

      • Sergio

        August 1, 2017 at 12:21 pm

        Very cool Tim-Brook on your family connection to Paul Kelly – I thought he played tough guy roles great. Although not a big part in the flick “The Roaring Twenties” w/James Cagney – he played the role of Brown excellent. I especailly like the part when he is eating his spaghetti at the restaurant and never gives Cagney the satisfaction of looking at him while he turns him down on the offer, and his Wiseguy remarks; definitely upstages Cagney in that scene and I am sure Cagney knew it. Kelly had an interesting life to say the least…

        • Gentleman Tim

          August 1, 2017 at 4:38 pm

          Thanks so much for telling me about The Roaring Twenties, Sergio! I love that movie, but haven’t seen it in I don’t know how many years – at least twenty. Another awesome Raoul Walsh film. Forgot completely that Paul Kelly was in it.

          My grandfather didn’t say much about Paul Kelly, except that he was a nice guy who “got mixed up with the wrong crowd” after his success as a child star at Vitagraph and then on Broadway. He was supposed to be a quite talented stage actor. I don’t believe my grandfather (who was about seven years or so younger) ever saw him after he left for Hollywood.

          After his staycation at San Quentin he played the warden! Talk about making lemons out of lemon aid!! I think he’s a good villain aainst Flynn in San Antonio, too.

          If one was an Irish kid in Brooklyn back when Kelly was born, one was very likely to have a ton of Irish cousins. Such was the case in my grandfather’s family, whose mother’s family owned and ran old time theaters in lower Manhattan, and was later significantly involved in the Stage Handlers Union. Kelly was related to that side of the family. In 1886, one of Gene Tierney’s family (a great uncle or second cousin, I believe) was best man at my maternal great-grandparents’ wedding. He was a distant cousin of some sort to my grandfather also, but the Tierneys later became relatively rich and prominent, leading them to become pseudo-blue bloods in Connecticutt. My grandfather never knew Gene, who was born into money in 1920, fifteen years after my grandfather’s birth in 1905.

          As far as The Roaring Twenties go, I was born in a seaside Irish enclave in Brooklyn populated by many rum runners during the 20’s. I grew up with the children of a lot of Irish families who had former Roaring Twenties bootleggers in the family. Vannie Higgins was a big wheel in that world, a world Kelly and Cagney would have known very well.

          • Sergio

            August 3, 2017 at 12:31 pm

            That is very cool family history connection. Too bad your grandfather did not stay in touch with PK after he got to Hollywood, who knows, maybe you would have born into Hollywood royalty and ended up being the Steve McQueen?

            So do you live in Soflo or still Brooklyn (NY)?
            You know when we first came into this country in ’62, we moved straight into Jersey right off the boat.
            I remember my mom and dad after getting a little situated taking me and my older brother to Brooklyn many times. My dad had a cousin living there and we used to visit her many times a year, while there it was boring as she lived in an old apartment building upstairs and they would not allow my brother and I go outside – to rough of a neighborhood I guess. Many years later I would go into Brooklyn just to clear my head from the Manhattan nuttiness of the recording studios and just walk around going into some small mom and pop deli type shops, etc. -also I used to get a kick out of showing some of the other lads around NY that never bene there, especailly some of the Brooklyn area(s) of where the famous French Connection chase happened under the Stillwell EL, I believe was on 50th ST; that was by far the best car chase ever! Although McQueen is the man ( after Errol of course) the chase from Bullitt was fantastic, but “Connection: was by far greater..
            Anyway Brooklyn is definitely special when it comes to NY; it stands all on its own in my eyes….

            • Gentleman Tim

              August 3, 2017 at 4:43 pm

              Thanks, Sergio. Must say, though, I have never had the looks, talent, interest, or personality to make it big in Tinsel Town!

              I live in Florida these days, but visited some of my old Brooklyn friends and haunts while in NY for Errol & Fidel. Had a blast and love my old ‘hood, which is really unique, even for Brooklyn. It was a paradise for kids – a peninsula with endless fun and other kids to play with. It was much like the Jersey Shore, down your way, when I was a kid. It’s changed quite a bit since then, especially after Sandy wiped out many of the original beach cottage like homes, which cannot be rebuilt under the new building codes.

              Patty Smyth was a neighbor and recently made a video at the local VFW in tribute to Viet Nam Vets. She’s a great songwriter and person, but some of her relatives were terrors! And the current female world champion bantam weight boxer, Heather Hardy, lives there, too(!) Betty Grable used to visit way back to meet her boyfriend/codancer on my block. Everybody loved her I heard. Shelly Winters had a boyfriend in the neighborhood, too. Everybody hated her.

              “Errol” made it to Brooklyn too, in My Favorite Year.


              Interestingly, Flynn did own some boxers, something I will post about soon.

            • Tony

              August 4, 2017 at 7:25 pm

              Sergio, I remember the filming of the French Connection chase very well because part of it was shot down the block from me. It took a very long time to film. The shot where the car almost hit the baby carriage was at 86th Street & New Utrecht Avenue.

              • Sergio

                August 5, 2017 at 3:20 pm

                Tony – Wow that must have bene pretty cool to see all that crazy driving (in a good way) under the EL tracks. There was an actual accident during the filming, although no one was seriously hurt. A man on his way to work and not knowing filming was being done pulled out in the middle of a scene and one of the cars of the chase, don’t remember which, actual hit the guys car. The film company paid the man for the repairs of the car.

                Wonder what ever happened to that car?

                Me, I would have held that car in a garage until now, and put it up for auction; “The car that was hit in the French Connection” LOL.. I would asked a couple hundred thousand for it. Hey who knows right?
                You know what Barnum said; “There’s a sucker born every minute”. or was that WC Filed, ahh yesss…

  2. David DeWitt

    August 4, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    When my daughter Erin was in film school she took the train from Btooklyn to Manhattan every day. Usually an N train but sometimes a D train from the 62nd New Utrecht Station. If we got off the D train we often took those same steps up or down to the street. It took me the longest time to recognise those steps! The block beside the steps looks remarkably the same today. I took a few shots of Erin there one day.





    • Tony

      August 5, 2017 at 1:40 am

      David DeWitt , very cool!

    • Gentleman Tim

      August 12, 2017 at 7:55 am

      Very cool indeed, David!

      Per this great interview of Bill Friedkin: if not for 40 Grand, a one way ticket to Jamaica, and some Jack Daniels, it would have never happened!…