Woonsocket Cinemas

1900 Diamond Hill Road,
Woonsocket, RI

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Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on November 6, 2005 at 1:42 am

Jim, almost all these theatres you mention have pages here on Cinema Treasures. You should post your valuable memories for each of those places. I am very interested.

James Fisher
James Fisher on November 5, 2005 at 5:31 pm

UpOn A TiMe: I too was involved with the Woonsocket Cinema Centra as Assist Manager on that Opening Day November 17, 1989, Its true the Cinema had 8 screens 4 had double surround sound and on Opening night the cinema sold out 95% of its seat in all cinemas what a glorious cinema plaza this was this was Clems and Steve Pride Cinema yes Partners Stephen Menasian and Clem Desmaarais both men owned this cinema and ran it outside of there Corp name Melrose Enterprises of Boston which acquired the Triboro Cinema and turn the two plex in to a multy plex Clem owned and operated the Rustic Drive In and two cinemas in Newport the opera House downtown and the second one down the road in the shopping plaza which he worked nightly while Steve owned and operated his on the North East side Boston it was a pleasure to have worked for these gentlemen there were other partners Boston Concession had partnership in Melrose Enterprises and the Centra didn’t fold or close due to lack of Patronage it had its ups and downs when Clem had past away and his wife leaving the cinema to be run by his daughter she had already been running the Rustic Drive-In I have some footage of my past theatre I will add to my web page check back soon I had worked for a verity of Cinemas longest was the Union I worked for Attleboro Union Theatre, Belmont, Studio, Norwood Cinema, Dedham Cinema, Franklin Zoetrope, Cinema 140 New Bedford, Jane Pickens Newport R.I, Dalton Theatre Pawtucket R.I, Strand Theatre in Boston, Lonsdale Drive-In, Plainville Drive-In, Boro Drive-In, Bellingham Drive-In And Now I work for the entertainment Giant yup Walt Disney World check out my web for updated info http://www.freewebs.com/jjfisher

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 25, 2005 at 2:27 pm

The earlier Walnut Hill Cinemas and Cinema 4 (1971 & 1973) were each located on Diamond Hill Road in the same general vicinity. The Walnut Hill Cinemas had been located in Walnut Hill Plaza. The Woonsocket Cinemas were in Woonsocket Plaza. Cinema 4 had also been in Woonsocket Plaza, in a different spot. The two plazas are practically adjacent. At no time were the Woonsocket Cinemas operating when either the Walnut Hill Cinemas or Cinema 4 were in existence. In 1989, when the Woonsocket Cinemas were opened, the other two theatres had already been closed and/or demolished.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 25, 2005 at 9:17 am

Opening of the Woonsocket Cinemas

The 8-screen Woonsocket Cinemas opened on Friday, November 17, 1989, according to a feature in The Woonsocket Call announcing the event. It meant, for the first time in many years that city natives would be able to see first-run movies in their own town. The theatre was housed in the shell of the one-time Big G Supermarket, next door to Caldor.

The cinema was associated with Melrose Enterprises of Boston, which ran more than 100 screens in New England. Stephen Menasian and Clem Desmaarais were partners in the venture. Desmarais was also the owner and operator of the Rustic Drive-In on Route 146 in North Smithfield.

The conversion from supermarket to cinema complex had begun the previous May and the resulting cinemas had a combined seating capacity of 1680. Part of the decor featured tile from Brazil and Italian marble behind the snack bar. The lobby had an art deco theme.

The films that were shown opening day were Harlem Nights, Shocker, The Bear, Immediate Family, All Dogs Go to Heaven, Staying Together, Look Who’s Talking, The Fabulous Baker Boys.

The day after opening, a picture story in the same paper showed a photo of patrons who had lined up to get in. One was of Estelle Anger and her daughter Paula, both from Woonsocket, who were the theatre’s first two customers. Both avid movie fans, mom was treating daughter in celebration of the latter’s birthday.

There were 1,000 customers on that opening day. Look Who’s Talking was a sellout for two shows.
(Some of the above is paraphrased from Woonsocket Call material.)

Liamlunchtray
Liamlunchtray on August 24, 2005 at 5:20 pm

One other thing – I’m fairly certain that this theatre was run by the same people who own the Rustic.

Liamlunchtray
Liamlunchtray on August 24, 2005 at 9:41 am

Actually, to clarify further, the Walnut Hill Cinemas (aka Cinemas 1-2-3 and Cinema4) were not one in the same as the Woonsocket Cinemas that opened in 1989. Cinema4 was in the same plaza as woonsocket cinemas, but at the other end of the development.

Unfortunately all the other great Woonsocket theaters were long before my time. I grew up in Woonsocket, but I’m only 30 so the Stadium is my only memory of the beautiful old places. I used to love going there on dates when I was younger. It was only a couple bucks to get in and it had great ambiance.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 24, 2005 at 8:26 am

Liam, thank you very much for this much-needed clarification. The Providence Journal article I based the posting on said the Woonsocket Cinemas opened in 1989 without mentioning that it had been the Walnut Hill Cinemas as far back as the 1970s. I have vague memories of having visited the place under both names. Do you have any other information on in-town places like the Bijou, Olympia, Rialto, Laurier, Park? Of course, we have plenty on the beautiful Stadium.

Liamlunchtray
Liamlunchtray on August 24, 2005 at 8:08 am

To the best of my knowledge Cinemas 1-2-3 and Cinema 4 were one in the same with “Walnut Hill Cinemas”. Cinemas 1-2-3 were located in a lower level of Diamond Hill Plaza opposite across from the Bowling Alley. The were sort of underneath McCarthy’s Department Store. Cinema 4 was located down the road in Walnut Hill plaza, just to the right of Child World. After the Cinemas closed the 1-2-3 portion remained vacant for wuite a few years until they renovated that plaza. The Cinema 4 portion was used as various evangelical church’s until that entire portion of the plaza was raised a couple years ago and a Lowe’s Home Improvement store was built in it’s place. The last movie I remember seeing there was Popeye with Robin Williams.

The Woonsocket Cinemas were built in a former Supermarket next door to Caldor at the far end of the Walnut Hill Plaza away from Cinema4. The Supermarket site has been vacant for quite some time. When they first opened they were quite nice, and it was great for Woonsocket to have first run movies once again.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 11, 2005 at 3:04 am

I don’t rightly know either, but that information was taken from a Providence Journal blurb about the theatre and announcing its closing. The issue was September 8, 2000. I just re-checked it, and that’s what it said.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on July 11, 2005 at 1:32 am

If CMCI was a ‘Boston theatre chain’, it’s not one I’ve ever heard of. What else did they operate in or near Boston?

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 1, 2005 at 1:20 am

City directories from the 1970s and early 1980s also list a Cinema 1—2-3 at 1500 Diamond Hill Road and a Cinema 4 at 2000 Diamond Hill Road. Go figure. I am trying to sort it all out, as well as learn about a “Walnut Hill Cinema” that I know I went to, and whether some of these places were identical, underwent name changes, etc. C'mon, Woonsocketonians, help.