Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Kent

Ok, so the other day my son wants to see some new movie called "Astroboy". And it's really not playing anywhere close to East Fourth street, well, except for the Alpine in Bay Ridge. Yes, the Alpine in Bay Ridge is still there folks and my wife takes both my kids there every so often when they have a day off from school.

So anyway, determined to find another place closer I look on the internet and check out all the movie houses in Brooklyn playing this thing...Court Street, UA Sheepshead Bay, Alpine, The Kent.

The KENT???
The KENT???
The KENT???

I thought this place closed after they played
the last Death Wish 5 movie or Rocky 12
back in the early 80's?

The KENT is still here?
Still showing movies in Brooklyn?

Holy Shit!
The Kent never closed after all!

So I tell my son we're going to see Astroboy at this place called the "Kent" on Coney Island Avenue.

"Hey Dad, is this place nice?"
"Because mom usually takes us to the Alpine,
and the Alpine is really nice and clean"

Well, I didn't want to tell my son that when I reviewed the "Kent" some people claimed they were bitten by rats there. Because I just chalked that up to some disgruntled customers who probably thought the seats were too small.

So we fire up the Quest, drive to Midwood and find a spot on Avenue I. We make a left by the gas station and walk down Coney Island Avenue towards where I think the Kent should be.

"Hey dad is the Kent really here because I don't see anything"

I look way down Coney Island Avenue and don't see the marque that I remember as a teenager, but do see this strange overhang thing that looks like it belongs to some "Mandee Shop" in Paramus New Jersey. White plastic with a blue stripe on the side that's just screaming: "Sucker, the KENT closed over twenty years ago and the internet never updated it's records." "Sucker" "Sucker" "We fooled you!!!"

And just as I'm expecting to see some dresses and shoes
in the window instead of the old Kent, I see a small ticket
booth with a person inside of it.

Holy Shit, the Kent is actually still here!
Now this one is hard to believe!
For once something is still here since I was a kid!
Wow, this is really something!

So I tell the guy in the window "two tickets for Astroboy",
I hand him a twenty and he gives me ten dollars back.

"Is my son free?"

"No, first show is five dollars each"

Five dollars?

I think the last time I paid five bucks to see a movie was when I saw "Christine" at the Fortway back in 1983 with my first wife Jessica along with Pete, Ketty, Robert and Maria. A triple kind of date thing you know. Holy shit, did that movie give me the creeps. And mind you I was one of those guys in love with my Plymouth too, except it was a Barracuda rather than a 58 Fury.

But back to the Kent.

So we go inside and the place is broken down into a triplex.
Still the same old stuff inside and probably the same seats from the 70's as well. The room that we're inside of is no bigger than my cubicle at work, but still, you can sit in the back row and be real close to the screen.

I check out the walls, the wood molding, the floor, the fire exit and all looks well. The screen is not stained or anything like the one at the Beverly used to be, well, you know Steve McNally threw that egg at the screen, but thats another story for another time.

So we sit, sit, sit. My son asks me every thirty seconds what time it is and finally the movie starts. And this is the part that gets me. The Kent still runs a projector! Yes the vertical lines are running through the film like some "Planet of the Apes" movie at the Beverly, and you can clearly hear the sound of the projector's gears and the film running by the hot bulb inside.

I'm just waiting for the film to get jammed and the frame to melt like when we used to project porno movies on Neil O'Callaghans house across the street, but once again another story for another time.

So as we're watching the movie I can't help but notice that the upper portion of the movie is clear while the bottom of the frame is blurry. Along with the constant vertical scratches running through the film. I feel pretty bad because I know this place is no "Alpine" where they probably show the movie on a computer screen or something.

But then I turn and look at my son.
He's smiling, laughing and having a
wonderful time seeing "Astroboy".

Yes, just like the old Beverly when we never cared about the scratches in the film or the picture being slightly blurry. My son is just being a kid and overlooking those stupid little things that annoy us adults. Yes, kids see the world in another way, and I'm sure happy they do.

No the world is not perfect and neither are movie houses.
And I'm sure glad the Kent is still here in 2009,
just like it was in the Brooklyn of my youth.

Yes, such a long time ago,
when we didn't care either.

Ron Lopez


Anonymous said...

I thought that place was long gone, I figured it would have been replaced by a 28 story condo, or a Halal meat store by now. Thanks for posting this, I usually have to go on Google earth to see whats changed back in Brooklyn,Will

Anonymous said...

Astro Boy is a great film. Took my kid to see it and to my surprise, I loved it too. Best cartoon movie we've been to all year. Can't imagine why it isn't doing better. It deserves to.

Joy said...

I haven't been to the Kent since the days when it only cost a dollar for a daytime showing.

Elliot James said...

Wow, I thought the Kent closed 25+ years ago. Amazing it didn't go the way of the Kingsway. The three theaters I went to the most were the Culver, The Beverly, and the Carlton, closed in 1980, demolished in 2004.

Faride said...

Great story about Kent. A few years ago, I took my wife (from California where everything is nice, clean and new) to the Kent. I may not have impressed her, but I certainly created memories... I could not have asked for more!

Elliot James said...

Do you remember a bowling alley on Coney Island Ave and Newkirk. Leader Lanes. It closed in the 80s. I wonder what's there now. I used to bowl there with my buds.