Looking Back at the Many Lives of RKO Proctor’s 125th Street Theatre




RKO Proctor’s 125th Street Theatre. Image via MCNY


The RKO Proctor’s 125th Street Theatre in East Harlem was built as a playhouse by Oscar Hammerstein, and opened on October 11, 1890 with a production of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.  Located at 112-118 East 125th Street, the theatre was sold in 1899 to F.F. Proctor with a change in focus to vaudeville.  The 598-seat theatre then moved on to films in 1908, becoming the RKO Movie House.  After a brief closure in 1960, it was used as a church until it was severely damaged by fire in 1985, and finally demolished in 1987.  This location now houses a rehabilitation and nursing center, which recently sold its adjoining empty lot to the Durst Organization.


Inside Proctor’s 125. Image via MCNY


Marquee at Proctor’s 125th in 1923. Image via cinema treasures.org

It is also worth noting that on the site across the street from Proctor’s 125, stood the two-story Harlem Strand Theater, later renamed The Harlem Grand Theatre. This spot is now occupied by La Sinagoga Pentecostal Church.

The Harlem Grand Theatre, located at 117 East 125th Street. Image via cinemtreasures.org


An interesting photo taken in 1904 of the Harlem Grand, which was the Majestic Hall located 117 East 125th Street. Image via cinema treasurers.org