White City Cinemas

White City Plaza East,
50 Boston Turnpike,
Shrewsbury, MA 01545

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White City Theatre seen in background of crew race on Lake Q, spring 1967

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White City Cinemas in Shrewsbury was mentioned in a post by a longtime projectionist about a theater in Worcester, so I looked it up. The number is disconnected and was in the White City Plaza East. On this website about the resort and amusement park, Lake Quinsigamond, http://www.geocities.com/Athens/2088/quinsig.htm, there was a mall and movie theater complex located at the plaza on those grounds.

Contributed by Dave Bonan

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

Coate
Coate on January 16, 2007 at 5:04 pm

Minor correction: A few posts back “dwodeyla” wrote that “The Sound Of Music” ran at WHITE CITY for six months. My research reveals it ran for 53 weeks, which would actually make it a 12-month run. Whatever the duration, it was a very successful engagement by any standard.

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Coate
Coate on January 17, 2007 at 4:01 pm

“2001: A Space Odyssey” was not the third movie to play at WHITE CITY. In fact, “2001” didn’t play at all at WHITE CITY. Several postings suggest there is some confusion between this theater and the SHOWCASE CINEMAS.

WHITE CITY was located on the Boston Turnpike in Shrewsbury. SHOWCASE was on Main & Southbridge in Worcester. The SHOWCASE was previously known as Loew’s Poli. “2001: A Space Odyssey” had its first-run Cinerama engagement at the SHOWCASE.

Here are a couple of links to articles that offer some clarification.
http://www.cinerama.topcities.com/scw.htm
http://www.in70mm.com/news/2004/2001/release.htm

CGobron
CGobron on February 2, 2007 at 5:36 pm

I worked at the White City Theatre (later named White City Cinemas) from 1967 through 1978. As was stated, the late 60’s saw lengthy runs of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. Doctor Dolittle, Hawaii, Funny Girl, Hello Dolly, and others enjoyed long engagements as well. Reserved tickets were sold and we learned how to “dress the theatre” making sure we distributed tickets evenly around the large orchestra and 325 seat loge. The number 1097 sticks vividly in my mind, but I can’t remember if that was the total seating of the complex or just the orchestra!

The theatre was run by Stanley-Warner and later by RKO Stanley Warner. I remember the home office being in Wilkes Barre, PA.

Sometime in 1976 or 1977, Showcase Cinemas took over the operation. I recall the theatre being closed and then reopening as White City Cinemas. In June 1977, we opened with Star Wars in Cinema 1 and I believe New York, New York in Cinema 2. The sell out crowds for Star Wars made the summer of 1977 fly by. I cannot believe that was thirty years ago.

I am sorry the the cinemas were demolished. Many happy memories remain, however!

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 13, 2007 at 12:36 pm

Listed as White City Shopping Center Theater in the 1970 IMPA. It was part of the RKO-Stanley Warner chain at that time.

bulzi
bulzi on October 14, 2007 at 4:55 am

In response to Michael Coate’s statement that “2001: A Space Odyssey” never played at White City Cinema in Shrewsbury, Ma. I need to reply that no matter what the newpaper advertisement states, the fact is that the movie never played at Showcase Cinemas on Southbridge St. in Worcester. Perhaps there may have been a bidding war happening at the time of publication and White City Cinema won out over Showcase. I’m sticking to my guns on this one because I was there.

jeanneclaire
jeanneclaire on January 11, 2008 at 1:14 am

It’s gone? How sad. The last picture I saw there was “Forrest Gump”.
(I’ve been out of MA for awhile) :–)

Coate
Coate on January 11, 2008 at 2:23 am
**In response to Michael Coate's statement that "2001: A Space Odyssey" never played at White City Cinema in Shrewsbury, Ma. I need to reply that no matter what the newpaper advertisement states, the fact is that the movie never played at Showcase Cinemas on Southbridge St. in Worcester. Perhaps there may have been a bidding war happening at the time of publication and White City Cinema won out over Showcase. I'm sticking to my guns on this one because I was there.**

bulzi…you’re not a nutcase, are you?! You’re starting to remind me of budyboy100 and joker1. :–)

There are plenty of verifiable sources to support my claim that in its original first-run, reserved-seat Worcester engagement “2001: A Space Odyssey” ran at SHOWCASE CINEMAS and not at WHITE CITY. Here’s one reference. Here’s another.

Also consider that “2001” was initially released exclusively to Cinerama theaters (as this article details), of which SHOWCASE CINEMAS was the only such venue in Worcester.

Another verifiable fact is that the third movie to play WHITE CITY, (despite your insistence it was “2001”) was “Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?” which began on 06/29/66 and followed “The Sound Of Music’s” 53-week run. (At this point in time, “2001” hadn’t even been made!)

Dude, just deal with it, you’re simply misremembering what occured. What you probably are remembering is a re-release or return engagement that took place years later. It’s human nature and not uncommon to misremember details, especially those from several decades past.

Logan5
Logan5 on February 25, 2012 at 8:48 pm

There’s an interesting – and entertaining – article about one family’s experience seeing “The Graduate” (1968) here on this website: http://www.dickwhitney.net/dickwhitneyautobiographyTheGraduate.html

lewiswardell
lewiswardell on February 26, 2013 at 11:14 am

I was the manager at White City from ‘75 to '77 and worked with Charles Gobron and Kathy Blake as my assistants. The theater was really beautiful, but like many of the huge houses was pretty hard to fill. We did screen a week of “1776” for school groups, and that was about as full as it got. I remember the ushers changing the huge marquee in the winter with wind just blasting off Lake Q – it was brutal. We screened “Nickelodeon” for Christmas in 1976 and as a promotion the studio only charged a nickel on opening night. It was predictably frigid, though, and the theater was only half full. A few days later I arrived to open and found a bunch of suits from Redstone inside. They had bought the theater and no one from RKO had even told me. I worked for them a week and transferred to the RKO Merritt in Bridgeport, CT. I miss the wonderful kids that staffed the place – they were a lot of fun.

DanAxtell
DanAxtell on February 15, 2014 at 3:53 pm

As family-authorized caretaker of my late father-in-law’s slide collection, I’ve uploaded a 1967 photo of the White Cinema Theatre in the out-of-focus background of a crew race on Lake Quinsigamond. I do this as a thank-you to the CinemaTreasures.org website for helping me identify the photo. The guidelines for this website in 2014 say I should upload only if I’m the photographer, but I am following the spirit of that restriction. The unseen, in-focus foreground is an excellent photo. If you people celebrated privileged teenage white males good at propelling tiny boats, I would have uploaded the whole picture. Upon reading that last sentence, never mind. The fuzzy background theater is a more enduring memory than the in-focus foreground.

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