Uniondale Mini Cinema

886 Jerusalem Avenue,
Uniondale, NY 11553

Unfavorite 7 people favorited this theater

Showing 101 - 109 of 109 comments

flickhead
flickhead on September 28, 2004 at 2:02 am

A couple of the original owners of the Uniondale Mini Cinema opened a second theatre, the Cine Capri, in Old Bethpage. Both the Mini and the Cine Capri changed bills on Wednesdays and Sundays. Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays they showed slower (“art”) movies; while the Wednesday through Saturday schedule catered to concert movies, drug films and the like.

I recall some adventures at the Mini in part three of my article, “An Unbearable Likeness of Being”:

View link

br91975
br91975 on August 24, 2004 at 1:46 am

The closest contemporary theatres seem to come to the type of bookings joints such as the Uniondale Mini Cinema used to offer on a consistent basis are the chances some of the better-known art houses scattered throughout the country – the Sunshine on Houston Street, the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, Ma., and the Nuart in West L.A., to name just a few – take with their weekend midnight programming. The last attempt I know of in NYC to take a full-fledged run at the deliberately non-commercial programming which was the norm at the Uniondale Mini Cinema was a few years ago when a guy who operated an underground moviehouse in Seattle moved all his theatre’s property – seats, projectors, and all the films he owned – cross-country on a flatbed truck and rented what had been a beauty-supply warehouse on or near Rivington Street on the LES and converted it into a cinema. His operation lasted only about 6-8 months, and even though I’m not sure what it was that drove it out of business, I imagine it was one or both of two possibilities: the lack of an audience my age (i.e., the 25-to-34 bracket) far more willing to catch some buzz-worthy, ‘hip’ option at the Angelika or Film Forum (and I’m certainly culpable – I never made it to his theatre) than something a bit more quirky in a non-traditional atmosphere and property values that make maintaining such an operation as dicey a proposition as ever.

RobertR
RobertR on August 23, 2004 at 4:11 pm

The days of single screen theatres have sadly ended for the most part, but I always felt this kind of programming could exist in a complex where one screen could be totally off-beat. Imagine one screen of a plex where the outside of the auditorium doors and wall were made to look like a small neighborhood cienema. It could have a mini marquee and even its own candystand. The confines of a plex would keep the costs down and the theatre could take alot of chances with bookings. The Westbury would make an interesting house like this, since it is large enough to quad and keep its gothic flavor intact. I guess the owners never got their live theatre idea going, although the exterior still seems well maintained.

snapolit
snapolit on August 20, 2004 at 3:28 pm

It’s a damm shame that places like the Mini don’t exist anymore — even in NY City. The Film Forum and other venues in NYC show some interesting stuff, but its all so damm serious. People trying to show how sophisticated their taste are and what wonderfully intelligent people they must be. The Mini was about going to to the movies and having fun. It will always be a treasured part of my memories of growing up on Long Island and, believe me, those great memories of Long Island are few and far between. It really harkens back to an era where people weren’t afraid to let their hair down for a few hours and let themselves go. There will never be another. Maybe somewhere in the great USA there are theaters like the Mini still packing the kids in. Eraserhead or El Topo, anyone?

br91975
br91975 on August 6, 2004 at 12:09 am

I suppose the greatest irony of all is that the Uniondale Mini Cinema apparently became, of all things, a church. There used to be a venue similar to the UMC, the Off-the-Wall Cinema, in the Central Square section of Cambridge, Ma. I only went there once, as a 10-year-old for a two-part Warner Bros. cartoon festival in May of 1986, but I remember the programming was highly eclectic – filmed concerts from the 1950s through the ‘70s, 16mm prints of foreign flicks along the lines of '8 ½’ and the original ‘Breathless’, and old classroom instructional films, among other offerings – and the atmosphere was more akin to that of an underground coffeehouse than anything traditionally resembling a movie theatre. Much like apparently the UMC, the Off-the-Wall space is now used for something that couldn’t be farther removed from its exciting, rebellious heyday: a senior citizens' center, of all things.

RobertR
RobertR on August 5, 2004 at 9:46 pm

My friend recently found a flyer from a 24hr Russ Myer festival that played here in the 70’s. Where did those fun days go?

snapolit
snapolit on July 15, 2004 at 3:16 am

Loved the place. Saw every damm thing they showed, as it was walking distance from my house. Saw world premiere of Rock n Roll HIgh School. Todd Browning’s Freaks many times. Blood Sucking Freaks. Eraserhead. Asparagus. El Topo. Rust Never Sleeps. Pink Floyd at Pompeii. KIng of Hearts. I could go on and on. Birthday Parties for the place where they just strung hours of stuff together. If you were getting high, the ushers would join you for a hit. Want to bring in booze? Never a problem. Beer bottled rolling up and down the aisles. What a place. Never saw an unpleasant scene in 10 years. Just the height of cool. There will never be another.

bruzer
bruzer on June 1, 2004 at 4:51 am

It was a trip !! we would go for the three stooges festivals .
where else could you buy Rolling papers and munchies at the same counter. You would get a Contact High just driving past the parking lot . those were the days ,,good old mini cinema

nhpbob
nhpbob on November 15, 2003 at 11:32 pm

The unassuming Mini Cinema, set back in a bland suburban parking lot, (it is now a church I believe), was supposedly only the second theater in the US to play “Rocky Horror Picture Show” after its groundbreaking new life started at Manhattan’s Waverly. (Creator and co-star Richard O'Brian visited once, watching the film in front of the rock-concert-sized speakers in the rear corners of the auditorium.)

Run by counter-cultural types, this theater had its own four-page monthly schedule you could pick up in colleges and record stores all over Long Island, (much like NYC’s Film Forum does, though on newsprint), and it was nicknamed “SAM” after the Marx Brothers' father (yes, all the Marx Bros. films showed there too.) And the place showed every cult, classic, and hoping-to-be-cult/classic film throughout the 70s and early 80s. (It was where i first smelled pot, during a showing of “The Harder They Come”.)

Truly the only theater i’ve ever been to, where the hippie manager’s dog walked around with a kerchief around its neck in the lobby, and there was a Dannon yogurt dispenser!