Northpark West 1 & 2

1100 Northpark Center,
Dallas, TX 75225

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Showing 1 - 25 of 51 comments

stevencday
stevencday on May 29, 2013 at 8:58 am

Growing up in the 80s in South Dallas, every major film that was released I saw with my Dad at Northpark. I will never forget, I was 7 years old, and I was sitting on an aisle seat when the amazing words, “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” came on the screen. The theater erupted in a standing ovation. It was my first step into a larger world, and what a privilege it was to have gotten to have all those amazing experiences at such an incredible theater…

DonE
DonE on February 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Having been something of a movie nerd as a teenager, I often saved my ticket stubs. Two hard-ticket (reserved seat) attractions I attended at Cinema II at Northpark — Dr. Zhivago and Oliver (about three years apart) — I noticed recently when going through some old memorabilia were tickets for the same seat. What a coincidence. I loved that theater — both auditoriums. The last movie I saw there was Platoon (Cinema I), I still distinctly remember the fantastic sound system.

Mr_PN_Guin
Mr_PN_Guin on June 24, 2012 at 5:05 pm

I hate that I missed being able to see a movie here but I didn’t move to town till the end of 1998 and before that I never ventured much past Mesquite.I do enjoy the movies at the Northpark 15 now though.

Refman67
Refman67 on May 26, 2012 at 5:32 pm

I saw a lot of great presentations of films at the Northpark during my time in Dallas in the ‘90s, some first-run; others one time only presentations—TOP GUN, TERMINATOR 2, ALIEN, ALIENS, GIANT, DUNE, SPARTACUS, APOLLO 13, and SCHINDLER’S LIST, among others. A few I’ve listed were even shown in 70mm. I saw JURASSIC PARK there when it first opened and will never forget the sound of the t-rex attack-at-night scene.

My favorite memory of this theater though was seeing STAR WARS and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK there on May 27, 1993(all three films in the original trilogy played). It was, without a doubt, the best presentation I’ve ever seen of the original film. In early 1997 I also saw the Special Edition of STAR WARS there as well, playing to a sold out audience.

The best presentation I ever saw there though was TITANIC in 70mm. As with all of Northpark’s films, it was in razor-sharp focus, had a very bright image, and, of course, sounded spectacular, which brings me to one final thought. The above article claims that the Northpark never had a presentation flaw during it’s history. Not true. During my third viewing of TITANIC there in early ‘98, the music track went out on the reel when Jack is sketching the portrait of Rose. I don’t think most of the audience even noticed, particularly those seeing it for the first time. I informed the manager, and as the audience exited at the end of the film, the employees handed each person a voucher for a free popcorn and drink on their next visit. That’s the kind of classy place it was. Every presentation mattered.

barakepstein
barakepstein on April 20, 2012 at 12:30 am

this was indeed the best theater in Dallas during the 80’s and 90’s in terms of presentation. Were making some strides down in Oak Cliff to try and get close! www.thetexastheatre.com

Logan5
Logan5 on February 20, 2012 at 12:52 am

According to the book Future Noir: The Making of “Blade Runner” by Paul M. Sammon, the 2nd sneak preview of “Blade Runner” was held at the Northpark on Saturday, March 6, 1982. Other sneaks were at the Continental in Denver the previous night (3/5/82) & the Cinema 21 in San Diego (5/8/82).

rivest266
rivest266 on December 10, 2011 at 6:29 pm

I uploaded an 1965 grand opening ad with an picture to the photo section of this theatre.

thebrat
thebrat on December 10, 2011 at 5:40 pm

I wish somebody can rebuild this place to its original splendor. I’ve never been to this place before, but it sounds like it was just amazing. That’s that.

Favorited.

jamestv
jamestv on September 19, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I was the projectionist on the night of the “Beyond The Poseidon Adventure” premiere; the movie was pretty bad. Irwin Allen was there and came up to the booth before the show to check on everything. I was threading up the first reel when he opened the door and came in. He didn’t see me but I saw him; so being the jokester I am, I started exclaiming “Warning—-Danger Will Robinson!” (which was a line the robot in “Lost In Space” said in practically every episode). Needless to say, he was a bit startled but then a wide grin came on his face! Two things quite noticeable about him—-he was a small man and he wore white cotton gloves like film editors wore! Ah the good old days.

matt54
matt54 on September 17, 2011 at 2:17 pm

I was gone from Dallas by the time “Beyond The Poseidon Adventure” premiered and I have never caught the film (I am a fan of bad movies, the REALLY bad ones) but I have heard of this particular event from a friend who was present and his story jibes with yours, egcarter. Wish I’d been there. Shades of “Meteor” and “Rollercoaster!”

egcarter
egcarter on September 17, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Having lived about 2 minutes away from this venue back in the late 70’s, I recall my team from TI attending the opening night of SUPERMAN at the Northpark II (600 seats, I think) on 12/14/78. The presentation was flawless, but it was indeed a 35mm print. The labs were way behind schedule with the 70’s on that one due to the late delivery of the final cut. NY and LA got the 70’s from day one, ‘natch. The house was upgraded with a 70mm Dolby Six-Track split-surround print about a week or so later. I did go back!

I also recall when Northpark I was upgraded with Dolby Stereo (big 1100 seater) and attended the opening day of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS there.

I did also attend the notorious, big splashy preview “premiere” (complete with searchlights) of BEYOND THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE. The packed audience literally laughed it off the screen. The horror. WB was already writing off the investment…

matt54
matt54 on February 27, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Right you are; the greatest design feature of I&II, IMO, was no shared wall between auditoriums.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on February 27, 2011 at 7:24 pm

You doggone right,something lacking in these monster 30 Plexes.

matt54
matt54 on February 27, 2011 at 3:58 pm

@MikeRogers:

It really wasn’t. No inspiring architecture, absolutely nothing to look at if the movie was bad (it usually wasn’t). It just had flawless projection, incredible sound, a fantastic concession stand/staff, high presentation standards, excellent comfort, and usually ran movies everyone wanted to see…oh, wait…I think that all means it WAS one heck of a theatre.

kmurdock40
kmurdock40 on January 15, 2011 at 12:18 pm

I saw every big picture there was at this theatre from that late 60s until it’s demise. I remember attending a one day screening of the Star Wars Trilogy on May 25, 1985. I believe that was the first time all 3 films were screened together. I skipped college that day to stand in line all morning to get tickets. I got a really bad sunburn on one side of my face much like Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters, but it was worth it. The Fox studio reps handed out buttons and posters to the first 200 in line. I still have both. I drive by Northpark everyday on my way to work. It makes me sad to know it’s no longer there. Most modern theatre just aren’t the same. Thank you to all the folks that worked at the Northpark I & II over the years that helped make it such a magical movie going experience, and for sharing your stories on this site.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 3, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Keep these stories coming the Northpark must have been a heck of a theatre.

Mark_L
Mark_L on July 25, 2010 at 12:43 pm

The Northpark was considered to be one of the very very best theatres in the country. I regret I never was able to see it in action. It’s one of the most tragic losses of this era.

BradMiller
BradMiller on July 25, 2010 at 12:46 am

Hi everyone. I will chime in here with a few corrections and answer any questions I can.

The projectionist team in the 90’s was Ron Beardmore, Jim Green and myself. Ron and I did all of the tech work and sound tuning ourselves. We also did a LOT of upgrades to the original sound system.

The shadowbox was painted with a flat black paint. There was no felt. There was also no masking for 1.85 “flat” films, but Northpark was generally booked with “event” movies and the majority of them were scope.

For the record, we ran Raiders a couple of years prior for a midnight show.

The final day of operation to the public was October 21, 1998. The movies shown were A Night at the Roxbury in Cinema II and Simon Birch in Cinema I. I was the projectionist that night.

Ron was the gentlemen who gave tours behind the screen that final night of the “private invite only” double features. I was busy disassembling the prints in the booth at that time.

Ron has since moved on to working with film archives and gave up on exhibition once the Northpark was closed. Jim got out of the business altogether and sadly I have not seen him since. I continued in the industry, formed Film-Tech in 1999 and continue to provide technical services to this day along with my crew.

The initial sound system design was by Tomlinson Holman. It was one of the only three he installed himself. As I stated above, Ron and I gave the system lots of upgrades from there. We also re-calibrated the sound system for each movie…literally every single one. That was our policy and is largely why this theater was so well known for its sound system.

The stage speakers, Dolby processor and THX crossover system from the Northpark Cinema I sound system ended up going into my private screening room in my Rockwall house. There are pictures of it on www.film-tech.com listed as Film-Tech Screening Room, and there are also pictures of the GCC Northpark on the site, including the projection booth. I have since moved from the Rockwall house, but the speakers, Dolby processor and THX crossover system are very much intact for a future buyer of that house (although it will most likely be converted to a blu-ray screening room by a future owner).

On the morning of October 22, 1998 we ran an advance screening of Meet Joe Black for the movie studio, which was for film buyers only. I am pretty sure it was Jim that ran that show, but it might have been Ron.

Later that night, the day after we closed to the public, we did indeed run a private double feature of Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark to the staff and close friends. I was the projectionist that night as well. Everyone at the Northpark couldn’t bear to have the final memory as Simon Birch / Roxbury, so we unanimously decided to delay the tear-down of the equipment one day so we could all have that one last final memory and went out with a bang. Words cannot describe how difficult it was for me to shut that douser for the last time though. I don’t recall seeing anyone get up when the credits started and I would guess it was also about 10 minutes before anyone finally got up out of their seat once the credits were over. Everyone just sat there in silence knowing that was it, forever.

On March 7, 2001 the demolition began on Cinema II. On March 9th, Cinema I was knocked to the ground.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 21, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Wonderful Stories.

jamestv
jamestv on June 4, 2010 at 1:01 pm

William it probably was a Dolby CP-200. After 27 years, not all memory comes back!

William
William on June 2, 2010 at 6:44 pm

James do you mean a updated Dolby CP-200, not a CP-250?

jamestv
jamestv on June 2, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Another break! Here’s the wrapup.
In ‘83, we showed Table For Five, Bad Boys, Tender Mercies, Return Of The Jedi in 70MM, War Games in 70MM, Brainstorm in 70MM, The Right Stuff not in 70MM!, Yentl, Star 80, Silkwood and Max Dugan Returns (Matthew Broderick’s debut).
Return Of The Jedi trivia: As mentioned in an above missive, we were one of the first theaters to install the brand new THX system before Return Of The Jedi. In mid-late May on a Sunday night, we finished a shortened run of Max Dugan Returns ready to begin installing the new system. First the screen was removed and rolled up, then the three speakers behind the screen were removed. Then a scaffolding system was put in to hold the five stage speakers and the sub-woofers for the low end. Then a brand new screen was installed to complete the effect. Then in the booth, the original Dolby CP-100 for 70MM-originally put in for Star Wars in '77-was replaced with an updated CP-250 with the THX crossover system installed. This was all supervised and set up by MR. THX himself Tomlinson Holman with the aid of Dolby’s crack tech Clyde McKinney. We were set to rock and roll!!!
In '84, we ran The Buddy System, Romancing The Stone, Sixteen Candles, Rhinestone, Streets Of Fire in 70MM, Places In The Heart, Mrs. Soffel, Greystoke The Legend Of Tarzan not in 70MM!, Gremlins in 70MM, Police Academy and The Killing Fields. At Christmas, another all 70MM fest with 2010 and Dune.
Dune trivia: we screened a 35MM Dolby Stereo print for the local critics as the 70MM prints weren’t quite ready. However, when it came time to open the regular run, the print still wasn’t ready so we had to make due with the 35MM for the first week despite the fact that the ad for the first few days said 70MM!
In '85, we ran Mask, Ladyhawke, Brewster’s Millions, Goonies in 70MM, Back To The Future in 70MM, Fletch, A View To A Kill, Mad Max:Beyond Thunderdome in 70MM and American Flyers in 70MM. I took my leave of Northpark and Dallas in September closing out my run with Back To The Future (still going strong after 2 ½ months) and American Flyers.
Since I only moved down the highway to Shreveport Louisiana and my folks still lived in the Metroplex, I came back many a time to see them and catch up on movies (Shreveport being a relative cinema backwater at the time!). But I didn’t set foot in Northpark until '92 to see Matinee-later followed by Jurassic Park in new DTS sound, Schindler’s List and, of course, Titanic in 70MM DTS.
So that’s the story of my Northpark years-hope it didn’t bore you. More on other theatres in Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Little Rock and even Shreveport! Until then, happy remembering!

jamestv
jamestv on June 2, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Had to take a break! Here’s more.
After starting here and wrapping Star Wars 70MM in june, some of the pictures I ran included Heaven Can Wait, Damien-Omen II, Interiors-Woody Allen doing Bergman!,Eyes Of Laura Mars, Magic.
Christmas ‘78-Superman The Movie in 70MM in Cinema II and finally, Cinema I was installed with Dolby Stereo for Invasion Of The Body Snatchers!
'79-The Deer Hunter, A Little Romance, a sneak preview screening of Beyond The Poseiden Adventure (with Irwin Allen in person!), The Main Event, Just You And Me Kid, Breaking Away, Lost And Found, More American Graffiti, The Seduction Of Joe Tynan, Yanks, The Rose, Monty Python’s Life Of Brian (with the requisite attendance of the local Monty Pythoniacs!) and Disney’s Sleeping Beauty in 70MM! Just as I was leaving my first hitch there, they were preparing to open Kramer Vs. Kramer and The Black Hole in 70MM.
In May of '80, GCC and Fox decided they were going to do right by The Empire Strikes Back so they completely exchanged the entire projection chain between the cinemas-Cinema I had the 70MM Dolby and Cinema II had the 35MM Dolby!
My second hitch started in June '81 and we showed Outland in 70MM, Endless Love, Arthur, Body Heat (we had the AC on high and it didn’t help!), Prince Of The City, Rich And Famous, Absence Of Malice, Rollover, Buddy Buddy, Time Bandits, Zorro The Gay Blade and History Of The World Part I.
In '82, we started out with Chariots Of Fire and On Golden Pond. But the die was cast when in May Northpark Cinema-both screens-became 70MM houses, along with Christie platters and each cinema getting one of the two Century 70MM projectors first put in in '65 in Cinema II and of course Xenon lamps! We had one of the world premiers (I think there were 5 or 6 tied in with local PBS stations) of Annie in 70MM followed by E.T. in 70MM-both houses showing 70 (we ran E.T. all the way to Christmas!). Also showing were Fame in 70MM (a return run) and Pink Floyd The Wall in 70MM (and loud!!!) At Christmas, we played Still Of The Night and Sophie’s Choice (what a downer Christmas!).
Blade Runner trivia: while Northpark East III & IV played Blade Runner first run, earlier in the year we had one of the two pre-release studio sneaks (the other in Denver) in 70MM! The ad had no mention of the title but everyone seemed to know as we had a full house! The air system upstairs in the offices and booth was quite noticeable so anytime the booth door opened, we felt it. Well, the door opened and in walks Han Solo himself-Harrison Ford. After intoductory pleasantries, he proceeded to sit outside on the booth balconey to watch his movie (both sides had this balconey-a clear floor with no seats usually used for storage) But we had a couple of padded chairs to put on either side. If you want to see this pre-release cut, check out the 5-disc DVD and Blu-Ray set. While the music for the regular release was by Vangelis, this print had Fox library music including a number of cuts from Jerry Goldsmith. More to come.

jamestv
jamestv on June 2, 2010 at 4:21 pm

As stated earlier, Northpark opened in 1965; the large screen Cinema I had 35MM mono, the smaller screen Cinema II had 70MM 6-track stereo for select roadshows. Didn’t really start attending until 1970 when I started at SMU; saw many a film there although very little 70MM (Nicholas And Alexandra and Young Winston not in 70!) Later became a projectionist and started work there in 1978. The theater had not changed appreciably except for the addition of automation in 1970. When it opened, both theaters had shadowboxed screens-what General Cinema called windowboxing (a window to the world!). This was the type of screen built into every GCC house until the early 70’s when they went to regular masked screens. Later after I left in 1985, they masked the shadowbox-probably didn’t want to have to keep it clean and pristine!
After starting there, we ran all first run-sometimes exclusively. When Star Wars opened in ‘77. it played on the big screen but in mono-Dolby Stereo was just catching on and this movie catapulted it into more theatres. It played exclusively all summer and then added more neighborhood theatres later. At Christmas '77, it finally arrived with a brand new 70MM print which was still playing when I arrived.
More local Star Wars trivia:(1)Northpark was the home of Sensurround having played Earthquake and Midway. Since before Star Wars opened, 20th Century-Fox and the exhibitors didn’t know what they had so GC booked the Sensurround run Of Rollercoaster in the big screen-Star Wars was moved to the small screen despite the fact it had been selling out consistently! While Star Wars kept selling out, Rollercoaster, needless to say, did barely half the business if that much. So, after two weeks, they switched sides-Sensurround equipment and all! (2)When Star Wars opened, there were so many people that the lines most times snaked around the theater-TWICE! The demand was so great that opening night, they had to schedule an unannounced Midnight show-and continued it for at least a month!

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on May 10, 2010 at 8:49 pm

Had the chance to move to Dallas and manage a new LOEWS quad in 1977,I turned them down looked up that theatre on C.T. and it has already been closed and tore down,even in Nashville 2 of the 3 LOEWS I worked at the buildings are still there.