Boise Stadium 22 and IMAX

7701 W. Overland Road,
Boise, ID 83709

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OCRon
OCRon on November 20, 2014 at 3:39 pm

A few years ago, I was on vacation in Boise, during the summer. While at the Edwards Theatre, I casually asked an usher how many people show up for the Thursday night premieres. Expecting him to say a few hundred, he said about a thousand or more. This was when I realized how big the Boise/Nampa/Meridian market is.

Anonymous40X80
Anonymous40X80 on December 6, 2011 at 1:52 am

You’re right Mike, someone should and is commenting about James Edwards, founder of Edwards Cinemas. :)

I had the privilege of working for the Edwards family and being one of their “go-to” employees during the 80s. The Edwards, in particular “Mr.(James) Edwards”, were and are very generous people and family oriented.

“Senior”, a nickname we used to distinquish between him and his son Jim (III), were always customer service driven to provide the ultimate in cinematic experience. They truly strove to make sure customers left feeling with a memorable experience; not just hopping in the car to a show and then ho-hum. Rather, something on par of a sporting or concert event.

And the Edwards also bent over backwards to make their employees feel just as important and welcomed- regardless of the employees' positions; everyone was equal, top to bottom.

The reputation Edwards had as an employer was known far and wide and not just through out the NATO (National Association of Theater Owners) trade organization. Often working at Edwards Cinemas was compared to working with the L.A. Dodgers. For those not in the know, back in the day, the Dodgers were considered one of the best family businesses, and businesses in general, to work for in America.

The process owners Walter and Peter O'Malley used to operate their businesses and interact with employees was positively spoken of by their hired hands, as our employees; young, out of college or veteran management and our “bookkers” off of Robertson near Beverly Hills.

But… W. James Edwards II, who Ron interviewed, was best known for the following comment: “A man is only as good as his word.” Every employee knew that at the end or their interview or prior to signing the employment application. And, thus, was the line all employees towed and the basis of their future at Edwards Cinemas and perhaps their future actions in life.

Mr. Edwards was FIRM, but FAIR. No one, from employees to his picture licensing/lease agreements to real estate leases, for land his theaters and drive ins sat, ever got a “raw” deal. He was a man of his word. He was respected and the studios always took his calls.

This was best displayed at his service when all the studio chiefs attended the memorial; Something never done before and not since.

Jim did “stand door” and take tickets. He was never too good for any job; even sweeping! He never ostracized anyone for serving the customer and encouraged asking when in doubt. He believed in his employees, their inititive and encouraged participation so he could reward them with promotion as early as possible (fostering more employee pride and vested interest in the business). He believed in self worth and genuine values/high morals.

People like myself, and there are many who engaged Mr. Edwards, don’t do and think about something daily that isn’t attributed to our blessed, fun and rare experience, from working with the Edwards family and former co-workers. Those times and qualities are rare and cherished.

Trivia: Yes, Edwards was the pioneer of the multiplex; The Big Newport had the largest indoor screen West of the Mississippi, for a long time: 40 x 80 feet; Slogan: Edwards Cinemas, where the best pictures play; And the Monterey was Edwards first purchase, because he was turned down for a job at age 16 by the, then, owner who ended up working for Edwards in 1930 at the close of the sale!

Mr. Edwards was self-made and had several businesses prior to theaters, including Edwards Auto Parts which he started from scratch and sold within a year or two for profit.

He was a multi-faceted man of talent. Many of the motion picture exhibitor agreements of today have language/concepts created by Jim Edwards from days gone by.

His creativity was passed to his children: son Jim and daughter Joan began experimenting with new foods and beverages in addition to traditional concession.

Coffee, gourmet food and pizza kiosks, and lounge areas were introduced to complete the movie experience as a “one stop shop”. What worked at one theater didn’t always at others. But provided the customers convenience, kept their business at the venue and gave them more options, personalization and awareness to their tastes and needs.

Also, leasing the auditoriums out for business, social and educational events during the day, provided stronger bonds within the community and awareness outside the area for future marketing events.

I’ve been wanting to visit the Boise and Houston, TX theaters since the blueprints were created. Hopefully I’m supposed to be in those cities in a couple months. Many of us working here in So. Cal. never had the opportunity or made time to do so. Even Fresno, I never visited those!

Thanks for a great article on a man with an imagination only limited by the size of his heart. A heart that was limitless.

So long and “We’ll see ya' at the movies!”

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 24, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Thanks Ron.Great writing.Someone should comment,Not crazy about these Monsters,but I know times change.