Cinema I & II

1600 Deerfield Road,
Highland Park, IL 60035

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General Cinema built a number of rather bland twin theatres. This was one of them. It was located in a shopping center off of Illinois Route 41, on Deerfield Road in Highland Park. A Toys R Us was situated next to it, so plenty of Disney fare was shown.

It was not one of the most profitable theatres in General Cinema’s chain and was closed in the early 1980s. The former theater was purchased by Conn Music Center. One auditorium was converted into a piano showroom, the other remained and was used to teach music lessons. The lobby retained its original paint/carpeting but the concession stand was removed.

In the late 1990s or early 2000s it was demolished and the property redeveloped into a Jewel-Osco.

Contributed by Hermie, Sus Frumin

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on May 30, 2006 at 5:00 am

So then there were 2 theatres named Highland Park? The one on Central Ave. and the one on Deerpath Road? Obviously they were not related.

Hermie
Hermie on June 1, 2006 at 6:49 pm

I made a slight error on the street name. It’s actually Deerfield Road, not Deerpath. I was thinking of the Lake Forest theatre I also used to go to. That one was on Deerpath.

Technically, the theatre was called Cinema I & II, but GCC theatres were usually refered to by their locations (Lakehurst, Randhurst, Deerbrook, etc.).

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 1, 2006 at 7:38 pm

I grew up on the North Shore and I can’t remember this place. When did it close and when was it torn down?

alexgor23
alexgor23 on June 28, 2006 at 11:30 am

The theater was stand alone on the north side of a large lot. I don’t recall when it closed, but for a long time after it was a huge piano store with the same plain white exterior. A few years ago the shabby Jewel further east on Central Ave. in Highland Park closed and moved to the location where the theater once stood. I believe they leveled the former building.

This was a great spot for kids movies in the 70s. I’m not sure if it was exclusively family films, but this is where all the Disney live-action movies like Witch Mountain, Gus, and the ilk played. Across the lot was Bargain Town, which was the precursor to Toys R Us (old school HPers still call the still in business Toys R Us, Bargain Town). There was also an awesome candy and ice cream emporium across the lot with an old time decor and a huge sundae called the Kitchen Sink, which was delivered with all sorts of fanfare.

PearlPhotography
PearlPhotography on October 29, 2006 at 10:52 am

After its closing in the early 1980s, the theater was owned and operated by Conn Music Center…they sold mostly pianos/organs and taught music lessons in one of the two old theaters.

In the past 5-10 years, it was demolished, along with the old gas station/garage behind it on Old Deerfield Road, along with the junkyard that once sat behind it. (incidentally, it was discovered that the junkyard was a former Native American burial ground…bones were discovered that dated to 1000 years ago!)

A Jewel-Osco now sits where the General Cinema I & II once stood.

ALSO – the Toys R Us is still located in its original location, across the parking lot from it…and the cinema was the only part of the shopping complex that was demolished for redevelopment.

GCCguy
GCCguy on June 4, 2008 at 5:43 pm

I helped out at this cinema for the opening week. I am guessing it would have been around 1974.

I believe it was a Farrell’s Ice Cream parlor across the parking lot.

timberrockranch
timberrockranch on August 15, 2008 at 12:10 am

Anybody know what happened to the Community House Theater in central Highland Park? Rather primitive seating. I recall seeing a lot of the British Comedies there in the late ‘50’s and '60’s. Seating was probably only a couple hundred or so.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 8, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Gcc Guy “you Helped out” did you get transferred from another GCC location.I know you didn’t come off the Street to “help out”

GCCguy
GCCguy on June 20, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Mike Rogers,

Not exactly transferred. In the mid 70’s I oversaw construction of several new cinemas around the area. I started out at Ford City as an usher, was an asst mgr at Harlem-Cermak and Randhust. I coordinated the building of Fondulac Wisc., this one in Highland Park, the one in Hanover Park called Tradewinds Cinema, helped with the split of Harlem-Cermak, Ford City, Carpentersville, and Mt. Prospect. I would only stay around at the grand openings or reopenings for a week or two to help train the staff and then be off to work on another one. I left the company in 1975.

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