Okay, the origins of this trip started back on December 9th, 2011. That’s when I saw a link on the fine blog, One More Folded Sunset about the last porn theater in Brooklyn, The Kings Highway Cinema. From what I read in addition to straight and gay porn in two of the smaller theaters, it also shows classic movies in the larger 200 seat theater. This allows them to stay open, since 60% of their theater is devoted to “mainstream” entertainment, they can show porn in the two smaller theaters. The place intrigued me and One More Folded Sunset suggested I go out there. This theater has some history behind it. It originally opened up as The Jewel Theater in 1937 and one of the patrons enjoying foreign films back in the day was none other than a young Woody Allen.
After a fire in the 1960’s the movie theater went from foreign to porn and it’s been that way ever since. Porn theaters are a dying breed, so today I’m going out to document the last one in Brooklyn. I have to admit I’m a little nervous, I’m sure cameras aren’t welcome there, so this is going to be an undercover mission. One More Folded Sunset warned me it might be a bit too daunting of a task to undertake and that was just the challenge I needed to get me obsessed over going there and doing a post on it. I took it as a well-meaning challenge. Hopefully I won’t get thrown out before I get some photos, but we’ll see soon!
Okay, time to hit the road. It’s sunny and warm out today, I’m always glad when January and February are over, they’re the two most depressing months of the year for me.
Downward into the subway we go into the depths of the subway.
After about a five minute wait, the Q train finally shows up. All aboard!
And after many stops, the train's next stop is King’s Highway in Brooklyn.
Okay, we’re here on King’s Highway. It’s funny, I thought it would be an actual highway and thought it might be difficult to get there on foot, it appears to be a main street in this part of Brooklyn. I’m learning so much as I venture out of Manhattan!
It’s quite a hike to the theater. The first store I saw that had a street sign was 1154 and the theater is located at 711 Kings Highway.
No, not that 7-Eleven Kings Highway!
I love some of the old school signs and stores out here.
And here it is, in all it’s shabby, run-down glory, The Kings Highway Cinema!
This is the other side of the sign, but there’s no information on movies playing here on it.
It looks like it might be closed. I swear to god if this is the case, I’ll go nuts for not having gone earlier. I’ll be crippled with obsessing over how I missed going to the last porn theater in Brooklyn. Let’s see what the sign says on the window.
Box office inside, okay, looks like we might be in business after all!
So it's through the doors we go!
Alright, I went inside and there was a guy behind a pane of glass reading a newspaper. He was an older, Spanish guy and I stood there in front of a turnstile a good minute before I finally said, “How much is it to get in?”
Slowly, as if in a Valium haze, he looked up from his paper and slowly said, “Twelve dollars.”
I gave him a twenty, got my eight bucks change and went through the turnstile. I walked into the lobby of the theater and it was cast in a magenta hue, the lights were red in there. After adjusting my eyes I saw a soft drink vending machine against the far wood-paneled wall and to my left were video games. Standing separately in different corners of the room were three men. Two of them I glanced at and the third one kind of freaked me out. He was tall, medium build and had a shiny bald head. One thing I noticed is that he was glaring at me. Our eyes met and locked for about four seconds and it really creeped me out.
I looked the other way and saw a black door marked XXX to my left, next to the video games. I went over opened it up and it was a tiny screening room with about 15 movie theater seats in it. I slowly walked into the darkness and saw about six middle-aged and older men sitting in various seats in the back. One guy who was in his middle or late 60’s with long gray hair that was done up in the same style as when Nick Nolte got busted for falling asleep at the wheel shot a toothy grin my way. I wanted to run out of there, but I thought this might be the only place to get a photo and document my time in there. I turned away from the men in back and looked forward and it was then I noticed the smell in the room. It smelled like a combination of 99 cent store aftershave, Lysol and a grandfather who hadn’t showered in a few weeks.
I took a seat in the second row where no one was seated and fished my camera out of the pocket of my jacket. I made sure the flash was off and pointed it at the screen and took a photo.
Here’s the first shot I got of the screen in front of me.
After took the photo, I first got a glimpse of the film playing in here. It was blonde woman in a pair of white panties masturbating. Elvis would’ve loved it...in fact the Weekly World News claims he’s still alive, so maybe he was in the room! I also noticed there was no sound. Only one word can describe sitting in a dark room watching silent porn with about a half a dozen pervy senior citizens seated behind me: Skeevy! Skeevy to the nth degree. Skeevy squared. Skeevy Wonder. Okay, I’ll stop.
I held my camera up to get another shot and then I looked over and who’s in the far corner of the little theater room but the bald creepy guy. He was staring at me and I quickly put the camera back in my pocket. I walked to the lobby and he followed me out there. I felt like leaving, but wanted to get more photos. I saw some steps to my left and went down them. Baldy didn’t follow me.
I got down and the room had theater seats around the walls, I took a photo, but the room was dark and my flash was off, so it turned out like shit. I spun around and saw there was a TV set on the ground.
I took this photo and then heard someone coming down the stairs, I put my camera in my jacket and expected it to be Baldy, but to my surprise, it wasn’t.
It was some fat guy who looked mildly retarded, kind of like Junior Samples from Hee Haw. I only looked at him for a second and then stared at the TV and hoped he’d go away. He didn’t. He came over and stood right next to me. I continued to stare at the TV which appeared to be tuned to a Spanish station and the sound was off on it too, this was too much. I had to get out of there. It was starting to feel like a third-rate Quentin Tarantino movie and I wanted leave there the gimp came out! I walked up the stairs and who’s at the top but Baldy. And he’s got his arms outstretched on either side of the wall so I can’t get around him.
When I get nervous I sweat like crazy, I always liken it to Albert Brooks in Broadcast News. So I’m at the top of the stairs and Baldy’s blocking it and sweat is rolling down my face. My stomach is in knots.
“What are you doing in this place?” He asked training his beady eyes on mine.
“Nothing,” I said, “I’m just trying to get out of here.”
He didn’t move.
“Are you some kind of investigator or something?” He asked, I noticed he kind of sounded like Clint Eastwood but squeakier and a little more high pitched. His voice was just as creepy as the rest of him.
“No, I had read about this place and was just curious,” I answered back, wiping the sweat off my brow.
He stared at me and I just stared back. After a minute or so of playing stare-down, he moved to the side and I walked past him and towards the front door.
“Hey,” he barked out as I was just about to open the door.
I looked back towards him and he said, “Don’t come back here.”
Without answering I shot out the door and headed back down Kings Highway towards the subway station, looking over my shoulder every now and again to make sure he wasn’t following me.
As I got on the Q train back to Manhattan I checked my photos and was proud that I had gotten them, even if they aren’t the best quality. If the place closes next week, I’ve got inside shots of the last porno theater in Brooklyn.
I went home and took 12 showers and drank six beers...or did I take six showers and drink 12 beers? Well, whatever, I was far away from Skeevyville and glad to be done with this mission! And the little obsessive man in my head is glad that I got to document and show some scenes from the last porno theater in Brooklyn.