Lehigh Valley Cinemas
740 Lehigh Valley Mall,
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The theatre opened in 1976 as a triplex. Robert F. Klaas, a former theatre owner in Maplewood, New Jersey, was hired as its first manager. It was a very high volume unit, that was expanded to five, and then later eight screens in two renovations in the late 1970’s and early 80’s.
Klaas was quite a showman, who was constantly committed to promoting the theatre in the Lehigh Valley. It was most known for its highly successful midnight movie series, but it also excelled at concession, VIP ticket sales, Ladies Day shows, and the rental of individual auditoriums for corporate presentations. All of this was largely based on Klaas' efforts. Over time he earned the distinctions of being awarded the Regional Manager of the year at various times, as well as once the Manager of the Year of the entire circuit. It was General Cinemas busiest theatre in the Philadephia Division, as well as one of the busiest in the entire circuit.
Klaas left the theatre in January of 1986 to become the Division Manager in Cleveland. When General Cinema eliminated the role of the DM, Klaas became an Area Manager, working out of the Brigewater Commons 7, in Bridgewater New Jersey. He retired before General Cinemas bankrupcy.
It was one of the large complexes in the company that began to employ the new leadership model of Managing Director-House Manager-Assistant Manager-Assistant Manager, in 1987 or so. Glenn D. Schattan was the Managing Director, and Mr. Santangelo was the House Manager. Later House Managers were Robert L. Wheatley and John Toner.
It was sold to AMC theatres at the time of the bankrupcy. But, unfortunately, AMC rather quickly closed it, as there was another AMC 14-plex nearby, and felt an 8-plex was becoming obsolete in the new millenium.
It could be used as another business today, or demolished. I haven’t been to the mall for some years.
It was truly an extremely elegant and grand theatre, and it is sad to see that it is no longer open. I’m not sure that 8-plexes are obsolete in this day and age, but that supposes whether or not they can be expanded, and what kind of competition might they currently have.
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