Trained eyes can pick out former theater buildings pretty readily. This is the former RKO Prospect Theatre, which was home to vaudeville shows and then films from 1914 until 1967. It has housed a number of supermarkets in recent years. The rear end is now condominiums.
Constructed on the site of a former synagogue and three apartment houses, the Prospect attracted the biggest stars of its day, including The Marx Brothers, Burns and Allen, Fanny Brice, and Bert Lahr. Ted Healy began an act here in 1925 that involved three hecklers who would interrupt his act and fight with him and with each other. Though Healy went on to some theatrical and motion picture success, the brothers, who included Moses and Jerome Horwitz of Bath Beach, went on to become the Three Stooges under their stage names, Moe, Curly and Shemp Howard and Larry Fine. The Horwitz brothers had been building contractors in Bath Beach, but few of the homes they built survive today.
In 1970 the lobby, and orchestra sections were gutted and converted into a supermarket. Gary Rosen and Jacob Bouganim, two Brooklyn developers, bought the 16,000-square-foot stage area as well as the lot beneath it for $500,000 in 1986. They converted it into 15 condominiums. They were interested in the building because it’s much high than most of the buildings in the neighborhood, and has unobstructed views of Manhattan. The balcony is all that remains of the original Prospect Theatre. –After the Final Curtain