Showing 301 - 325 of 326 comments
Roger and dave-bronx, I think readers may be enjoying the anecdotes, at least I am.
Roger, I hope you’ll post some information about the Ezella under that theatre’s listing. Were there other theatres you’d care to share some stories about?
It was owned by the Mullen & Pinansky Chain, of 60 Scollay Square in Boston. There were 1400 seats. The other theatre in Haverill also owned by M&P was the Paramount. It was gone by the late 1950’s, so a bit of research is necessary. Maybe an old telephone book at the library could pin it down.
Is this the same Strand Theatre of South Boston, listed in the Film Daily Yearbook of 1934 as being owned by Phil Smith’s Theatrical Enterpises?
I’d love to receive a scan as an email attachment, but don’t see a memberlist email feature here. I can be reached at
The link has changed. It’s a part of http://natickmass.info/
I believe the Royal was owned by Theatrical Enterprises, owned by Phillip Smith, founder of General Cinema. In 1934 it’s listed in the Film Daily Yearbook as having 1340 seats.
The pictures are beautiful, but I question the need to plant several cars, people, birds and airplanes in every single picture. There were a few books in recent years showing “realist” style watercolors of diners, and the artist usually didn’t feel a need to put people or several cars in most. An occasional touch like that is interesting, though. I enjoy the differences in sky and lighting, and like the spotlights seen in The Pantages. In that one, the vehicles and people serve a purpose for a premier. The Star Theatre would look better with two people and removal of the Nash on the right. Others may like the additional details, and I hope I’m not being too critical.
The late ‘80s remodel was done by Cambridge Seven Associates, who believed in darker lobbies, and even darker auditoriums, a complete opposite to the original GCC red white and blue everywhere, where every speck of dirt would be obvious. Coincidentally, it was around this time that ushers began cleaning auditoriums between shows, which was unheard of in the Boston area through the '60s and '70’s. (fill and spill, with emphasis on turning over larger crowds, which wasn’t the case in most of the country.)
To mrpibbles, yes, AMC runs it now. GCC went bankrupt. (so much for the volume business…..)
General Cinema declared bankruptcy, and sold the chain to AMC. I don’t think Richard Smith has much emotion about the failure of his family to be successful in running the business started by his father, Phil Smith, so many years ago.
“The Exorcist” may have been one of their highest grossing engagements. The back corner of the parking garage was the site of the Cocoanut Grove on Piedmont St.
I would suggest the Quincy tax department, which must have an owner’s name and contact information.
I drove by the place about a week ago, and it looks like it would be a neighborhood treasure. The only question would be parking.
This theatre was used as a display/prototype for the Cambridge 7 Design that General Cinema started using for their upgrades in the late 1980’s. Dark walls, tivoli lights everywhere, darkened lobbies, and dark grey and blue seats replacing the white metal. I have a vague memory of visiting this one on a tour once, to show off the new design.
I’d love to see someone post a list of all the M&P Theatres on this site, or at least post the ones known under their name. It’s a nearly forgotten chain, like the E.M. Loews Theatres. Does anyone have photos of any of the theatres they’d care to share via email?
Does anyone have a photo (inside or out) they’d be willing to email to me?
When this theatre opened in 1975, it was the first GCC with stadium seating. White walls, and a mirrored ceiling above the circular concession stand, along with a lot of red and white formica, and red velvet seats in the lobby made for a gaudy lobby. It was one of the first to be remodeled in the late eighties, with a gray and dark blue paint job, and backlit concession graphics.
Anyone have a photo they could email to me?
I visited the theatre once, during a tour of the Cleveland Theatres with General Cinema must’ve been just before it closed.
The opening day festivities were described in the Natick Bulletin of December 6, 1929. Here’s a link to the complete story.
Check the main page, natickmass.info for stories about other theatres in the Framingham Natick area.
When sensurround was installed, we were a little nervous about the possibility that there would be damage to the building. (maybe the vibration would cause cracks, or even a danger that the balcony would collapse!) After the first couple of shows, along with a few phone calls to our other Theatres, we realized it was just a great sound effect. The studios put in a lot of money to build the plywood boxes in the four corners of the auditorium, which made the audience feel like the building was shaking.
http://www.natickmass.info/chapter2.html is a link to a history of the Gorman, written in 1970 by Virginia Lucier for the Framingham News.
I think the Stewardesses in 3D was actually shown at the Music Hall Theatre, owned by Ben Sack. (I saw it there) The Paramount was a General Cinema in it’s final few years, and that chain was known for publicizing it’s “family fare”. The Paramount couldn’t stay in business with the strip clubs and adult theatres all around it, in Boston’s “combat zone”.
The “big white box” was made from panels of a straw and clay mixture, and bolted to the steel girder frame. General Cinema (known as General Drive In at the time) wasn’t sure the Shopping Center Cinema concept would be a success, constructed the building to be easily taken apart, and booked film only during the winter of 1951, 1952, and 1953. During the summer months, the theatre ran summer stock with actors like Marlon Brando appearing live on stage.
I remember Ed Rendon as the Manager of the Warwick Mall Cinema for many years.
The St George was a General Cinema, aka Smith Management, from the late 1940’s until it closed.
The Colonial belonged to the M&P Chain.
Was the Loews State nearly next door to Symphony Hall?