General Cinema Essex Green I-III

5 Rooney Circle,
West Orange, NJ 07052

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Located behind the Essex Green shoping center, off Prospect Avenue in West Orange, the cinema had three screens.

A standard General Cinema style design, its main auditorium featured THX and an enormous screen (in the “picture screen” style). Two other theatres (Which, I presume were add-ons) were directly to the right of the large house. The roof proudly displayed the ‘CINEMA’ sign that was GC’s signature.

The location closed a day before their all new location, up the hill, actually in the center of the outdoor shoping center opened, the Essex Green 9.

Contributed by John J. Fink

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 30, 2009 at 10:06 pm

The original Essex Green Cinema opened as a single screen house seating about 1000 in 1966. The October 10 issue of Boxoffice that year ran a brief article about the new General Cinemas house. It said that Maurice D. Sornick was the architect.

The April 10, 1972, issue of Boxoffice reported that the theater had been renamed the Essex Green Twin Cinemas on the opening (March 29) of a second auditorium accommodating and additional 800 seats.

The June 4, 1979, issue of Boxoffice said that General Cinema’s Essex Green was slated to reopen as a triplex on June 15. The conversion was accomplished by splitting the second auditorium in two. The original main auditorium remained open during the conversion.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 30, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Correcting my comment above: The 1966 issue of Boxoffice used a variant spelling of the architect’s name. It should read Maurice D. Sornik.

misterrick on June 1, 2010 at 11:23 pm

I was employed by the GCC Essex Green Cinemas from September 1987 to September 1988 and enjoyed working with a lot of the people there. BTW does anyone happen to know what became of our two projectionists Jimmy Heckle and George (I can’t remember his last name).

moviebuff82 on August 10, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Right across from where Essex Green was (now a shop-rite) its successor will become a fork and screen theater.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 2, 2011 at 1:03 pm

thanks Bill Great 2001 ad.My friend Nick in Tampa sent me a copy like that from the Tampa paper.don’t see ads like that anymore,Heck don’t see ads much at all and quite frankly most movies stink today anyways.

misterrick on October 3, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Just a where are they now moment, John Monsport the longtime manager of the Essex Green I-II-III and his wife who was the manager at the Rusty Scupper restaurant (now a Courtyard by Marriott hotel) now run the AmericanPlace Movies on Route 202 in Flemington.

misterrick on October 3, 2011 at 9:06 pm

and BTW the Essex Green I-II-III address was not Rooney Circle, at least when I worked there all our mail came to a Prospect Avenue address.

lizakovach on October 23, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Head projectionist Jimmy Heckel, opened up the booth at the new location. I worked with him for about the first year. I don’t know where Jimmy went to after that. I opened that theater as a manager and stayed until after AMC took over.

moviebuff82 on May 17, 2015 at 10:29 am

Was this General Cinema’s flagship theater in NJ at the time?

markp on May 18, 2015 at 3:08 pm

Their so-called flagship theatre, ( you must remember we are talking about the 60’s and 70’s) was the Menlo Park Cinema in Edison NJ (one screen ‘60 –'76, two screens '76 –'91)

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