Closed vintage theater poses a hazard - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Closed vintage theater poses a hazard

Judy Rubano Judy Rubano

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

KAIMUKI (KHNL) - It's an eye-sore and a hazard to people who walk by it. We're talking about the Queen Theater in Kaimuki. It's been closed for more than 20 years.

In this "Talk Story" report, KHNL/K5 News learns that as it deteriorates, it poses more of a danger to people there.

The Queen Theater opened its doors in 1936. It hosted lavish movie events and is Oahu's last vintage movie house. But the once-neighborhood theater began showing X-rated films. Police raided it and closed it down for good almost 25 years ago. More recently, it's caused another concern for people in this area.

"This marquee needs to come down before it comes down on its own and hurts somebody," Concerned resident Judy Rubano said. "Behind me you have a couple 2x4's holding up the panel and they're loose, I mean I could bump against them and knock them down."

Rubano feels this small problem may become a bigger one if it's not taken care of soon.

"The minimum that needs to be done is inspecting it and remove anything that appears to be unsafe, that could fall on people," she said.

Rubano's pleas are heard. The City and County of Honolulu's planning and permitting department tells us it's looking at it on Friday.

"In addition to the building being an eyesore, it appears now that there are safety issues, there may have been safety issues for some time, but if you look down, the paneling that underlies the marquee looks like it could fall at any moment," she said.

But there are others who want nothing done to it. They feel it needs to be preserved as a historic place. Either way, keeping it safe is one thing people on both sides agree on.

About two years ago, the city got a complaint about the Queen Theater's marquee. It issued a notice of violation to the owner, Narciso Yu, who later fixed it. For this recent issue, we couldn't find him.

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