Why this Blog Exists

To make the case for expanding the Park Slope Historic District

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Annals of Espionage: Prospect Theater

According to theater historian Cezar Del Valle, whose fascinating lecture on Brooklyn Motion Picture Theater history we were privileged to hear this evening at the Brooklyn Public Library, Park Slope's Prospect Theater played a bit part in the Cold War, when Alger Hiss was introduced to his Soviet handler in the mezzanine there.

Prospect Theater in 1966
image: Brooklyn Public Library

The only evidence we have found to support this claim appears to have been authored by Mr. Del Valle himself, in a volume of essays entitled The Brooklyn Film, edited by John Manbeck and Robert Singer. Unfortunately the citation lacks a footnote:

Pete Hamill cites the same tale here. Who knows if it is really true, but it is a great story.

UPDATED: Mr. Del Valle provides evidence supporting the account in the comments section. Thank you!

1 comment:

Cezar Del Valle said...

The Brooklyn Eagle, June 6, 1949:
“Each time, the perjury consisted of suppressing the espionage role he [Whittaker Chambers] accused [Alger] Hiss of playing after he introduced Hiss to a Soviet spy chief in the United States in the mezzanine of the Prospect Theater at 9th St. and 5th Ave. in January or February of 1937, he admitted under the battering questions of defense council Lloyd Paul Stryker.”