Baederwood Stadium 4
1615 The Fairway,
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General Cinema Corporation opened this theater as the Cinema, a single screen theater in the 1960’s at the Baederwood Shopping Plaza at Route 611 and The Fairway in Jenkintown, a suburb north of Philadelphia in Montgomery County. The shopping plaza was a suburban strip mall with a large parking lot.
A large two story lobby with soaring glass walls greeted patrons. After the entrance, but before the main lobby space, was a vestibule with an enclosed ticket sales counter on the left. All seating in the auditorium was on one floor. Reportedly, a curtain was never used before the movie screen.
The Cinema was twinned, during or by 1975, by dividing the auditorium down the middle with a wall. The seats had previously been set so views would focus on the center of the screen, but they were not adjusted, so some sightlines were awkward. Each auditorium had 500 seats and decently sized screens, at least 30 feet wide for scope movies. GCC continued to operate the Cinema 1 and 2 until at least 1983. Eventually, the Sameric Corp. of Philadelphia took over operation. After buying the Sameric Corp. theaters in 1988, United Artists operated the theater.
The Baederwood was closed circa 1997 to 2000. Suburban Philadelphia movie operator Greg Wax then began to operate the theater. Wax then also ran the Narberth Theatre and Bryn Mawr Theatre, also in Montgomery County. Wax built a canopy with an awning from the front of the theater to the parking lot. Wax installed surround sound in each auditorium and showed slides before the movie presentation began.
In 2003 the theater closed for eight months for renovations. The theater reopened in December 2003 as the Baederwood Stadium 4 with the former main auditorium reconfigured with stadium seating, all new seats and surround sound. Two auditoriums had 260 seats each with 40 feet wide screens. Two auditoriums had 140 seats each with 30 feet wide screens. The side walls of each auditorium were lined with red fabric of the type often used for screen curtains, and was interspersed with vertical sections of white fabric. On the white fabric were sconces. “The House of Sand and Fog” was one of the movies that reopened the theater. Plans were considered for eventually adding more auditoriums onto land behind the original auditorium.
The Baederwood was the focus of controversy covered by the evening television news and other news media during the 2004 presidential campaign. On October 19, 2004, “Stolen Honor” filmmaker Carlton Sherwood appeared along with many people to attend a special screening of the documentary. Due to telephoned threats of boycotts, lawsuits and violence, the screening was canceled at last minute.
The Baederwood Stadium 4 closed in the end of June 2006, as the owner of the shopping mall proposed to demolish the mall and replace it with new development. The mall owner’s proposal to raze the mall did not succeed, and the closed theatre was converted into a gymnasium.
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