On This Day in History, March 2: Talkies Come To Brooklyn

As 1930 rolled around there were 23,000 movie theaters in the U.S. Of those, 8,860 were wired for presenting talking pictures. Hollywood was grinding out so many “sound” films that by February of 1930 theaters not wired for sound were struggling to find enough silent films to fill their programs. In July 1930 RCA introduced Photophone, which enabled smaller theaters to convert to sound for as little as $2,500.

Judging from the theater page of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle of March 2, 1930, Brooklyn had more than its fair share of movie theaters featuring talkies and they made sure their ads exploited the fact.

The larger theaters still presented a stage show along with a feature talkie. At Loew’s Metropolitan at Fulton and Smith streets: “Norma Talmadge TALKS! in New York Nights” with a Loew’s “Ace” vaudeville program on stage.
William Boyd was in the “talkie thriller” Officer O’Brien at the RKO Albee on Fulton Street. On stage Fannie Brice was making her first personal appearance in Brooklyn in two years, singing “new hits and old favorites.” The ad for the Orpheum at Fulton and Rockwell Place announced “Talkies Only” and was screening the musical No, No, Nanette, “The Newest Song-Talk-Music-Color Girlie Hit!”

Smaller neighborhood theaters had begun giving out food and a double feature for the price of a ticket.