Gulfgate Cinema I & II

7400 South Loop East,
Houston, TX 77087

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GCC Gulfgate Cinema IV

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The Gulfgate Cinema I & II was one of three new General Cinemas twin indoor theaters that opened on April 14, 1965 at 7:30 p.m. Its sister theaters were the Meyerland and the Northline. The premier feature on all screens was "Mister Moses" with Robert Mitchum and Carroll Baker. Mitchum was slated to appear in person at all three theaters, and the Gulfgate Cinema was his first scheduled stop. All three theaters boasted "modern hi-fi transistor sound."

A foot bridge spanned Loop 610 between the Gulfgate Cinema and its namesake mall. A storage facility and a Metro bus stop now stand on the Gulfgate property, but the foot bridge still remains.

Contributed by Bob Machann

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

sepiatone
sepiatone on June 17, 2010 at 1:22 am

The Meyerland Plaza 8 lists William Riseman and William Riseman Associates as the respective architect and firm for that theater. Was that also true of the Gulfgate? Can anyone confirm?

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 17, 2010 at 1:30 am

How in the World did they ever get Bob Mitchum to open a theatre.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on June 17, 2010 at 4:44 am

Riseman designed all the General Cinema operations from about the early to mid-1950s through the late-1970s, when he either retired or passed. In the early days Smith Management/General Drive-In/General Cinema operated bowling alleys, Amy Joy Donut Shops, Peter Pan Snack Shop, Richard’s Drive-In restaurants as well as the drive-in and indoor theatres, everything built by the company, or remodeled after acquisition from others was the work of the Riseman firm, located in Boston. Riseman also did a lot of theatre work for Sumner Redstone/National Amusements, also headquartered in Boston.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on June 17, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Thanks dave-bronx.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 17, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Thanks,dave-bronx,from this old GCC dawg.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on June 18, 2010 at 12:21 am

You’re welcome. Another old ‘GCC dawg’ here, too!

BTW, I should have mentioned above that those other operations of the company were located primarily in the northeast and midwest. I remember as a kid the Peter Pan Snack Shops were, in the pre-McDonald’s era, comparable to Bob’s Big Boy or Denny’s without the in-car service. While there were none around me I’ve seen photos of Richard’s Drive-In and it appeared to be an early fast-food type of place – the sign says Fried Jumbo Shrimp, Twinburgers, Chicken-in-a-Basket and Thick Cabinets – whatever that may be.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 18, 2010 at 7:38 pm

I had a friend on CT somehow DVD a GCC Feature Presentation Trailer for me.I guess he got on the GCC theatre site and found how to tape it.I ain’t much of a computer whiz so I couldn’t tell you how he got it.but It Brought back memories,Dave-bronx. Hey, Did you guys have to read the gas meter every week and send a form to Boston?I couldn’t believe I had that has one of my Assistant Manager duties,After awhile we just added numbers.I don’t think they ever looked at them.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on June 19, 2010 at 12:25 am

Yes – we read the gas meter and electric meters – every day – during the so-called energy crisis in 77-78. That year we had a big blizzard, snow several feet deep, wind 100 mph – transportation was at a standstill – the theatres didn’t open – all the managers in the area got a call at home from someone in the home office telling us to go to the theatre and shovel the snow off the roof. Apparently there was a theatre someplace where the weight of the snow made the roof cave in. I told them they were out of their minds, that everything was covered with ice and the wind was 100 mph, and I’m NOT going up on the roof. I was told I didn’t have to, just put a couple of ushers up there. I hung up on them. I figured the building was insured by the mall. Not only did the roof not cave in, when the blizzard subsided I did go up there and found very little snow, because the heavy wind had blown it all off.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 19, 2010 at 2:31 pm

man, I love that Story thank goodness Georgia only gets a rare dusting of snow.I can’t believe someone read those readings.I got a couple of guys I worked with a GCC Russell Smeak{he’s a member on CT and Barry Morrison who said he was logging on to CT .but hasn’t both Managers i will tell your story if Russell hasn’t read it.“JUST SEND THE USHERS UP THERE!” outta make T-Shirts.

Rebstock
Rebstock on January 18, 2012 at 12:26 am

Hi, My name is Philip Rebstock , I worked for General Cinema as a manager from the beginning of 1973 to 1980. I was hired as a manager trainee at Gulfgate in 1973 , for the life of me, I can’t remember the Managers name. I was transfered to Meyerland the next week. The Gulfgate manager developed a heart condition and later transfered to the Austin Twin cinema, which was the duplicate to the Quail Creek Cinema I later ran. Fred Riley ran the Meyerland and was from Florida and came with WJ Wilson, the district manager. They came at the time the original three theaters were being built. Fred was very talented and later left GCC and started an advertising agency in Houston. WJ Wilson, had been in the theater business all his life. He started in Florida as an usher, I believe in the late 1920’s or early 1930,s barely in the teens.He was gruff, but I liked and respected him. I was only 24 at the time I started at Gulfgate. Clay Flueker was at Northline. He was in charge of newspaper advertising for the city. I went there to train. On the wall of his office were picture after picture of him with Movie stars of the 1940’s and 1950’s. When I got into the business , it was at the tail end of actors promoting their movies away from Hollywood. Clay was responsibele for arranging any of these promotions. I later became Assistant at Galleria under John Foster. Clay arranged with Fox to bring in the “Soylent Green” girls to promote the film. He could’t get Charlton Heston. Later when I returned to Manage Galleria during Star Wars, there was another film with Burt Lancaster, that Clay arranged for him to come to town. Clay arranged some promotion and had a sit down dinner where all the GCC managers would attend up by his Northline cinema. Clay talked about how common place it was for Stars to travel the movie circuit in the 1940’s and even 1950’s. Even in smaller places ,like Shreveport, La. What a great time that would have been to live thru.

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