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The bank has been there forever. We had to walk a whole twenty feet from the front doors of the theatre to drop the deposits in the night drop. The restaurant (macaroni grill, if I remember correctly from my last drive past) is actually on the site where the theatre stood.
Thanks, Bob! (best supervisor I ever had, folks)
Is AMC paying out on GCC pensions? I figured some day I’d get enough to buy a cup of coffee each month.
Hope you are well!
Okay, let me revise my earlier statement. I am 100% certain this Movies 4 was NOT a GCC house. I managed both the GCC Six Flags Mall Cinema (5)and Arlington Park Square (8) in the late 80’s. GCC also operated the Park Plaza twin, not far from the Movies 4.
The Movies 4 was an independent discount house. Nothing in the architectural design or decor suggested that it had been built or operated by GCC at any point in the past.
The information souce(s) you and Chuck are using is not correct on this theatre.
Forgot to mention the location…I believe the theatres stood at the NW corner of Lakeside Shopping center, between a parking garage and a grocery.
The following is all from (hazy) memory, and is only offered because no one else has posted any info. Corrections welcome…
GCC Lakeside 1 & 2 opened in about 1968. 1000+ seats in each. One of the houses was twinned at some point, probably in early seventies. A second building was subsequently erected immediately next door, with two more screens of maybe 500 seats each. Sometimes the theatres operated with dual management teams, sometimes with a joint team. I believe that a single projectionist walked back and forth between the buildings, but I could be wrong on that also.
Cinema 1 had 70mm THX Dolby surround, and played exclusive New Orleans engagements for many films, including ‘90s rereleases of Fantasia, Star Wars, Lawrence of Arabia, and others.
GCC operated the theatres until the mid/late 90’s, and they sat empty for several years. I saw a wrecking ball doing the last of the dirty work on Cinema 4 & 5 during a visit around 2002.
A minor correction…I’m pretty darn sure the refreshment stand is/was directly behind the box office, in the center of the lobby…not to the left. Behind the refreshment stand is a hallway connecting the two wings of the V shape. The restrooms were centered behind the refreshment stand.
If this property is empty and available for lease, it could make a good dollar cinema or art house. I imagine the entire facility is still in pretty good repair.
The correct and advertised name for this GCC location was, I believe, Northwest Plaza Cinema, and it was located at the western-most side of the shopping center.
If I remember correctly, the original auditoriums were not twinned by adding walls down the center from rear to front. Rather, they were split from side to side. Because they were very steeply graded, this created two upper houses and two lower houses, with two separate projection booths – the original booth at the top of the upper auditoriums and the new lower booth essentially behind the screens of the upper auditoriums. Unusual. The projectionists walked countless miles up and down the aisle stairs from booth to booth many times each day.
Northwest Plaza Cinema was a strong performer for GCC in it’s day, with a very strong manager, Dave McCann, in charge during the ‘80s. He ran a very clean theatre, with a friendly and helpful staff.
During the run of “The Million Dollar Duck”, someone climbed up onto the Lindbergh Blvd pylon sign one night, removed an “F” from another title, and used it to replace the “D” in the last word. It had a lot of passing motorists laughing the next morning.
I am pretty certain this Movies 4 was not a General Cinema location. In the Arlington area GCC operated the Park Plaza, the Six Flags Mall Cinema (not currently listed on this site) and the Arlington Park Square.
I believe the original opening date was 1964. Cinema 1 was twinned in the early 70’s, with the two new screens given the numbers 2 and 3, and the original screen 2 renamed to 1. The theatre operated as Cinema 1,2 & 3 until about 1982 when the orignal screen 2 was twinned, making a 4-plex. GCC was unable to finalize agreements with the landlord to add a wing for additional screens, and the theatre was doomed as the mega-plexes began to proliferate.
Ian, it was and probably still is a fun business for a lot of people. Glad to hear you’re enjoying it. I left because I found I could no longer support the overall direction of the film industry (ever-increasing violence, sex, drug use, etc). I still miss it, as evidenced by my finding this site.
I remember when GCC sent out a memo to all theatres (around 1979) with a dollar bill attached, celebrating the chain’s average “per person” concession average reaching that lofty plateau. What is it in theatres now, about $4?
Theatre cleaning varied from market to market and theatre to theatre, as it does now. Some managers didn’t clean at all, and others picked up trash, swept and even spot mopped. In some you would lose your shoes walking down an aisle because the floors were so sticky, and in others I’d have eaten off the floor because they were so clean.
Overall operations improved when GCC’s new (about 1987) President, Paul Del Rossi began the “Reel Excellence” program. It detailed 108 operating standards, including cleanliness, maintenance, customer service, picture and sound quality, popcorn and drink quality, etc. Theatres were evaluated by secret shoppers, area managers, and home office personnel, and theatre teams could reach Bronze, Silver, or Gold award levels.
You want advice? Keep the auditorium temperatures comfortable, the popcorn fresh, the auditoriums clean, the spitwads off the screen, the babies crying in the LOBBY, the concession lines moving FAST, the major showtimes separated to spread out guest arrival, etc, etc. You know it all already, I’m sure. Hire good people, spend as much time training them on what you expect as you can, show them you appreciate their efforts, and have a good time!
General Cinema’s Arlington Park Square 8 opened January 12, 1985, welcomed by several inches of snowfall! It was one of the first Cambridge Seven Associates architectural designs. It was also a one-of-a-kind floorplan, because GCC was reportedly sued for using a floorplan too similar to a copyrighted blueprint. The lobby and auditorium halls were in a V shape, allowing a manager to stand at the front doors near the box office, and be able to view all auditorium entrances, concession stand, and box office activity.