Hollywood Cinema

1710 Harrison Street,
Hollywood, FL 33020

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Hollywood Cinema, Hollywood, Florida - December 1974

Viewing: Photo | Street View

There was a Hollywood Theatre at this location as early as 1934. Seating was provided on a single level. In 1956, it was remodeled by the architectural firm Start & Moeller.

This may be same building that became the GCC Hollywood and closed in 1996 after a period as a discount independent and a shot at Bollywood. Does anyone know?

Contributed by Al Alvarez

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 10, 2011 at 6:19 am

One of the names in the “Firms” field above is currently misspelled. Architect Donald H. Moeller’s biographical listing in the 1962 AIA Directory says that the Hollywood Theatre remodeling was a 1956 project. The senior partner in the firm was named Cedric Start.

CLReece
CLReece on August 7, 2011 at 9:30 pm

I worked at the Hollywood Cinema from 1972 until 1975 when it was a General Cinema Corporation theatre. I have two pictures of the theatre from about 1973 when the theatre hosted a World Premier of the Towering Inferno as a fund-raiser for the Starting Place, a local drug treatment facility. Hollywood firefighters were in attendance and there were spot lights tilted towards the sky and a fire truck with its red lights flashing as patrons made their appearance in semi-formal to formal attire. One picture was of the marquee and fire truck and the other was of the inside where patrons where enjoying a reception for the event of champagne and hors d’oeuvres.

It was an old, but grand theatre with, if I recall, either 1012 or 1013 seats in the house (the house was sold out on numerous occasions). The inside of the building was repainted in 1973 by the theatre manager and the staff who were working for the theatre at the time (including myself). Behind the concession stand, there was a thick vinyl black strip of wall paper about 12-15 feet wide and it went all the way up the wall to the top of the high ceiling. This strip of vinyl was painted a cerulean blue (AKA General Cinema Blue). There was a also a bright red, recessed, wooden telephone booth with a telephone just off the lobby and just off the bright red carpeted walkway to the theatre entrance. Possibly installed in the 1956 renovations of the theatre. I recall it was considered an old and novelty telephone booth in the 1970’s. After work hours, it wasn’t uncommon for co-workers to all cram into the telephone booth to aggravate you as you were making a call!!

The movie projectors were the old carbon projectors and it wasn’t uncommon to see film melt as you watched a movie. If I recall the projectionist had to switch between projectors about every fifteen minutes. If the projectionist wasn’t paying attention and didn’t catch the visual indicators that a reel was about to end, the film would stop playing and patrons would be out the door telling whomever was in the lobby about it.

The concession stand drink dispensors were from the 1950’s as well. One had to stand on a step ladder and pour concentrated soda syrup from glass gallon jugs into the top of the dispensor and connect the CO2 dispensors for the fizz. There were rarely any more than two concession attendants to serve sold out houses with everyone served before the movie started. Something I have never seen occur at theatres in Florida since that time! We actually ran to grab popcorn around the end of the counter and filled the drink order as we added all the items sold to a customer in our heads!! By the time we set a drink down, the customer knew what they owed and were handing us the money and we were making change. Concession items were counted nightly and if the drawer was short, it came out of your pay. It was rarely short. There was only ONE cashier to sell the tickets and it wasn’t uncommon for managers to remove the cash in a trash basket as one could take in thousands of dollars every two hours. Tickets were $3.00-$4.00 in the evening.

About 3-4 years ago, I was in the area and stopped by to reminisce. The theatre was still there, but the sad part is that where the theatre once supported the recovery of drug addicts in the 1970’s, it was being used by homeless addicts as a night time place to sleep (not officially). The glass exit doors were painted over and had loose chains, but it was still possible to see inside the theatre. I was surprised to see that the inside had not been repainted in 32-33 years! The cerulean blue backdrop to the concession stand was still there!!

Hollywood, Florida recently re-developed the area where the theatre was located (the Young Circle Band Shell), so hopefully, it was restored as I did see a sign on the doors that spoke of renovations.

According to the History of Hollywood (1929-1950)by Virginia Elliott TenEick, published by the City of Hollywood and printed by McMurray Printers, Miami, Florida, 1966, there was a theatre built in 1924 at 1921 Hollywood Boulevard with Thomas M. McCarrel the contractor and Arthur Enos the owner-manager. Most of Hollywood, Florida at that time was a sand-lot as most of the trees were razed in the 1920’s photographs in the book. There was only one other building a lot away from the 1924 theatre and it was the Hollywood Furniture Company.

Charla

dpellarin
dpellarin on August 29, 2011 at 5:46 pm

I remember going to this theater when I first moved to Hollywood in the early ‘90s. I think admission was only a couple of dollars. The owner/manager who worked the box office used to have bonsai trees in the box office. He was an older gentleman and I used to talk to him about the bonsai. Sad to see it closed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 30, 2011 at 2:57 am

If you move Street View down 17th Avenue to the alley, you can see some glass block windows at the corner of the building. These would not have been installed as late as 1956, so they must be part of the original design. That indicates that the theater was probably built in the 1930s, when the streamline modern style first came into vogue. The upstairs corner windows with steel sash were also characteristic of the 1930s style.

If there’s a record of this theater existing in 1934, that’s probably the year it opened. A book called “A Guide to Historic Hollywood: A Tour Through Place and Time” by Joan Mickelson says that a Hollywood Theatre built in 1923 at 1921 Hollywood Boulevard was remodeled and reopened as the Ritz Theatre in 1935. Presumably the name change was prompted by the opening of this new house.

CLReece
CLReece on September 2, 2011 at 4:23 pm

I found and uploaded the photographs I had of the Hollywood Cinema in Hollywood, Florida and the December 2004 benefit premier of the “Towering Inferno'.

sporridge
sporridge on September 3, 2011 at 6:08 pm

CL Reece, thank you for the marvelous photos and recollections! Although I only visited once toward the end (GCC got my business at North Broward’s Pompano Cinema), I remember seeing the exteriors when my family drove through the area.

It appears some of the first comments were deleted during CT’s site conversion, so I’ll mention my one visit from c. 1995 again. The Hollywood Cinema was second run by then (I went to see “Powder”), and there was a five-minute wait halfway through for a reel change. A few remnants of the glorious past remained, especially the immense lobby and chandelier.

There were hopes that Hollywood Cinema would have new life with French films, catering to the Canadian/Quebecois winter population (the first played to packed houses for more than a month). After it closed, there were plans to convert the facility into a nightclub (the local press even showed renderings), in light of new activity to the west along Hollywood Boulevard.

Last time I was in the area (Art & Culture Center), I was panhandled even before I could step out of the car. Here’s hoping there may eventually be new life for the Hollywood Cinema.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on September 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm

The Ritz was a separate location opened in 1937 and closed around 1953. There was also an Arcade theatre operating somewhere in Hollywood from 1937 to 1959.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 13, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Pictured in this 1956 trade report: boxoffice

TivFan
TivFan on February 16, 2013 at 9:15 am

I have a postcard of “The Boulevard, Hollywood, Florida” which shows the Ritz Theatre located in the middle of the block. In the foreground, near the corner, is Lovett’s, and next door is a two-storey building which has a sign that reads “BOWLING”.

mmarovitch
mmarovitch on December 31, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I saw 2001 a space odyssey here in 1968. I think a saw a couple other films but don’t remember the titles. I remember it was nice looking inside

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