Showing 301 - 325 of 329 comments
The new Braintree theatre tenplex was built on the hill across the highway, overlooking the old South Shore Drive In, and the original Braintree Cinema was renovated into a Circuit City. The new theatre on the hill was designed by Cambridge Seven / Bob Luchetti in the late 1980’s.
The original Braintree was the South Shore Cinema, built in 1966. It eventually was split a couple of times to become Cinemas I,II,III,and IV. This theatre was one of General Cinema’s best grossing houses in the Boston area, especially when it played Disney films. It was managed by Izzy Strier from about 1967 until 1975 when he moved up the Home Office theatre in Chestnut Hill. I followed in his footsteps, running it from 1975 until 1977, and again from 1983 until 1986. Some great engagements included Herbie the Love Bug, the World Premier of With Six You Get Eggroll, Jaws, Star Wars, Return of the Jedi, Freaky Friday, Grease, and many others. One of the most interesting things about running this theatre, was the opportunity to do some fantastic paste ups for the ads in the Patriot Ledger. I used to try all sorts of special things, like reverse type inside the oval, with a slim white seperation. Those who used to take special care in paste ups, might remember stuff like that. The South Shore Cinema had a fine reputation in the town of Braintree, working with the Town Clerk, on charity shows, and an annual Safety Patrol kiddie show. In addition, we were right across the road from the South Shore Drive In, and the ushers and candy girls enjoyed the benefit of going to both places to see free movies.
You prompted some memories with that one! I had almost forgotten Timmy. Chestnut Hill had 3 screens, stadium style, which made pickups between shows a little harder. We couldn’t sweep the stuff forward under the seats. We were allowed more time between shows at Chestnut Hill, sometimes 4 shows a day instead of 5, in order to maximize concession time, and this gave us more time to clean, although the lobby would sometimes back up when it was busy. It also took longer to exit the crowds, as they took longer to come down the stairs.
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.