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Remembering 'The Itch'

Bill Gaylor's Lyn Gift Shop located where Arcade Theatre once stood.

From the time he was about eight years old, Lynbrook resident Bill Gaylor remembers many Saturday mornings spent at the Arcade Theatre on Atlantic Avenue, where one could see a movie or some cartoons for eleven cents.

Today, Gaylor still spends his Saturdays — and every other day of the week — at the same location. Of course, he has to — he's the owner of the , where the famous Arcade Theatre once stood.

"Who would've thought back in 1949 that I would eventually own the building that housed this theater," said Gaylor, who is also president of the Lynbrook Chamber of Commerce.

The Arcade Theatre was open from 1913 to the mid-1980s. For eleven cents, you could see a newsreel, two movies, and two cartoons. The theatre was unique in that though it was one building, there were two storefronts on both sides of the theatre's entrance. If you faced the theatre, a candy shop was on its left, a small market on the right.

The theatre was known as "The Itch," reportedly due to its uncomfortable seats.

Gaylor said he recalls seeing several films at the theatre during his childhood, including those of Buck Rogers. He also has fond memories of the Whaldoff Kosher Deli next door, which he said made "the best pastrami and corned beef sandwiches in the world."

At his store, Gaylor pointed out how the back of the building widens, as that was where the movies were shown. When asked if there was anything left over from the old theatre, the Chamber president joked that he'd probably find some of the old brickwork if he started tearing down his ceiling.

"It brings back good old memories," Gaylor said of the theatre. "I enjoyed 'The Itch.'"

Kate Cosenza April 02, 2011 at 12:00 AM
Loved the article on "the Itch". When we moved from Manhattan to Lynbrook during WW II, we were amazed that this small town had two movies theaters. And since we lived on the south end we could walk to another movie house, the Criterion, in East Rockaway. Along with two 5 & 10s, W.T. Grant's and many supermarkets, it was a great place to shop. We even had a store that made wonderful candy. Some places of business remain- the shoemaker on Atlantic Avenue and White Castle. There was always a Chinese restaurant on Broadway, just the name has changed. I enjoy your articles on old Lynbrook!
Ed S. August 29, 2011 at 02:35 PM
I remember this as the Studio 1 theatre in the late 1970's and 1980's. Always a nice alternative to the UA Lynbrook on Merrick, which was split into 4 theaters at the time. Most memorably saw the original "Alien" here in 1979.
Richard Lorenz` December 20, 2012 at 08:53 PM
It was known as "the itch" because it was pretty dirty inside, which gave rise to the (incorrect, I believe) idea that it harbored mites and other insects.
A.F. February 05, 2013 at 08:03 PM
I have only only good memories of this theatre, which was known as Studio One in the late'60's and through the 70's. It was a little run-down, but nobody called it the itch. Saw so many classic movies there. It was only a buck most times to get in. For a movie crazed kid like me , it was my own "Cinema Paradiso"

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