Monday, December 3, 2012

Farragut Hall, "A Popular Brooklyn Theatre"

Operated by the Oetjen Brothers, Farragut Hall opened 1910 at 1371 Rogers Avenue in the Flatbush section of  Brooklyn, New York.

Excerpts from Moving Picture World, December 10, 1910:
"Farragut Hall is one of the most beautiful, inside and out, as well as one of the most adequately equipped and best conducted places of amusement in that exclusive residential section of Brooklyn, where perfect moving picture theaters abound and where to excel it is necessary to reach the top notch. In fact, it seems as if Flatbush were trying to corner all the perfect ones in Brooklyn."

"The [exterior] color scheme is worked out in shades of green and the windows are of panels of stained glass. The two suspended lights are Adams & Bagnell flaming arc lights of 1,600 candle power each. Over the ticket booth is the rewinding room, the operators booth being projected inside the main auditorium. At presented the management are constructing a plate glass storm front directly under the large outside arch, thereby giving the place a kind of lobby or vestibule."

 "The main hall is 110 feet long by 33 feet wide, giving a total floor space of 3,630 feet. The interior colorings are varying shades of light and dark green pleasingly harmonized, and one of the features is the lighting. There are eight handsome four-light side fixtures, four ceiling Tungsten lights, and in addition to these are four large dark green globes a foot in diameter mounted on tall brass pedestals on either side of the rear entrances to the aisles.  These can be plainly seen in the picture as well as the heavy brass rail which divides the seating space from the 825 square feet of standing room in the rear."

"The seats are hardwood stained dark green and highly polished. The floor is hardwood polished smooth, sloping to the front, with heavily carpeted aisles. A $1,000 Fischer grand piano is the only musical instrument."

'The place is steam heated throughout, special care having  been taken to place a radiator in the ticket booth, which is unheated in so many places, leaving the ticket seller to shiver and often resulting in an illness with a fatal termination. Four steel beams do away with all center supports.

"Last but not least is the operator's booth which is one of the best features of Farragut Hall. As can be seen in the picture this projects out over the standing room space and is supported at the outer corners by steel braces. It extends eight feet and is six feet wide. It is entirely of steel, with a ventilator in the ceiling. The floor of the booth is eight feet above the floor of the auditorium and the booth itself is ten feet high. It is equipped with a Model B Edison, with a Fort Wayne Compensarc. Back of the operators booth and directly over the ticket booth is the rewinding room. This is five feet by six feet, and eight feet high.

"The running staff of the place consists of seven."

"Every patron of the matinee receives a coupon bearing a number. Every Wednesday afternoon the patron with the lucky number is presented with a piece of cut glass of really excellent quality. As most of the matinee patrons are ladies, the idea of a new piece of [article cuts off in mid-sentence]."

Farragut Hall closed with the opening of the Farragut Theatre, at 1401 Flatbush Avenue, in 1920.

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society.

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