Overlake Cinema I & II

NE 20th Street and 148th Avenue NE,
Bellevue, WA 98007

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Grand opening ad

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This cinema opened as a twin-plex circa 1974, and the larger auditorium was split into two a few years later. The architecture was simply suburban cinder block (cheap), but the lobby extended forward with a lower roof height for a pleasing effect. It was located in a small strip mall called Sternco Center between downtown Bellevue and Redmond at the SW corner of NE 20th Street and 148th Avenue NE.

The original large auditorium had about 600 seats, the smaller had about 400 seats (my memory fades a bit). The screens had black masking (not movable) and did not have the traditional General Cinema shadow box. There were no curtains, but it did have the blue screen lighting during intermissions.

The split job was terrible, an undecorated blue wall was put down the middle, and the seats were not even re-aligned to point to the centers of the screens (the seats near the new wall actually were oriented toward the wall). The wall did not match the wall on the other side anymore, and the effect was of being in a tunnel with a tiny screen. A terrible, terrible butcher job by General Cinema. Movies were generally first run (“Murder by Death”, 2Earthquake", “The Deep”), but they had trouble booking this cinema properly, and a lot of under-performing movies (“Bobby Deerfield”, “The Christmas that Almost Wasn’t”) were played, making life tough for the staff of a twin-plex.

The projection room originally had two Century 35mm projectors for each auditorium, with Christie lamphouses and had automatic changeovers. Lenses had to be changed manually. When split, platter systems were added. Union projectionists (IATSE)were employed, and the staff also unionized within a year or two of opening.

Contributed by Dave Ewing

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

TomMobileMovie
TomMobileMovie on November 14, 2008 at 8:18 am

When DavyDuck says the spilled drink went all the way to the front, he kids not. I remember many times at Renton Village being on hands & knees scraping that nasty stuff off the floor along with all kinds of candy and popcorn mixed in. Once you were done that task, you didn’t eat the stuff for weeks! It was fun to work at Overlake, I remember doing some late deposits at the bank after closing along with the manager. I also remember replacing the seat covers all the time, because of smokers leaving live cigs on them. I also remember a night where we had to take a seat out of Cinema I because it was still burning. Fun times!

ericrising
ericrising on November 24, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Loved working there. Except having to pop popcorn upstairs! awful.
My favorite time was when we had American Graffiti in Cinema 2 and The Sting in Cinema 1.

ericrising
ericrising on November 24, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Does anyone have any pictures?

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 2, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Hey,I want to be a part of a GCC society I worked for them as an assistant in two GCC theatres in Augusta and Athens Georgia,both on CT.

PopcornNRoses
PopcornNRoses on April 8, 2011 at 10:54 am

Don’t know if anyone here has been there, but there’s a Tulsa site that pays homage to GCC, complete with jingle and policy trailers:

http://tulsatvmemories.com/gccvill.html

Thought you might want to check it out, seeing as you’re starting a GCC society and all…heh heh heh…

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 8, 2011 at 11:50 am

Thanks popcorn and roses.missed the part above earlier where the staff was unionized at this GCC.Bet, that was fun for and overworked,underpaid theatre manager.

PopcornNRoses
PopcornNRoses on April 9, 2011 at 5:59 am

While I’m over here, I hope someone can help me. I’m trying to pin down EVERY theater I’ve ever visited, and one of those is in Bellevue. My aunt lived here in the mid 70s, and we came to visit her in the spring of 1978. while in town, she and mom took me to see Disney’s “Return From Witch Mountain”. I know the theater we went to wasn’t that far from her house (don’t ask me the address, I can’t remember at all) and it was a twin, with the theater we were seated in being rather large – I remember commenting to my mom that I had only been in one other theater that was even larger, and that was the SouthCenter Cinema in Tukwila a couple years earlier. Could this have been the theater?

Anyone who might be able to help me shed some light on which cinema this might have been, I would be most appreciative and my theater list will be that much closer to being complete!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 9, 2011 at 4:51 pm

That is quite a task,Popcornroses to track down every theatre you visted,Good luck.

rivest266
rivest266 on January 21, 2012 at 1:55 pm

February 13th, 1973 grand opening ad placed here.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 10, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Good looking ads.

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