Hollywood Cinema

Parklane Shopping Center,
Wichita, KS 67212

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CJ1949
CJ1949 on May 24, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Yes this was a Jerry Lewis theatre. And it may have been the ONLY triplex Lewis theatre. They were all singles and twins; this is the first one I have found that was a triplex. An article from the Wichita Beacon of Oct. 1, 1971 says three Lewis theatres were about to open or be constructed: 1) a triplex in the Parklane Shopping Center “expected to open Nov. 1 [1971]”, “Lewis will probably attend the gala opening.” 2) a single screen of 350 seats “begins construction this week at Central and Tyler Road, across the street from Westlink Shopping Center.” 3) a single screen 200-seater “will begin operation Nov. 15 [1971] in the El Paso Shopping Center in Derby.”

There was also “The Movies!”. Quoting the article, “Manager David Heller plans to open ‘The Movies!’ the week of Oct. 17. The 200-seat twin theatres at West Elm Shopping Center are under the aegis of Mid States Theatres Inc. which holds the Kansas-Missouri franchise from American Automated Theatres Inc. of Oklahoma City, OK.” “The Movies!’ franchisors give their licensed exhibitors a 15 year right to use the name, with a two-year renewal option, and help in getting located, designing and constructing the theater. A material broker for the Oklahoma headquarters, Cooper Burks, commented, ‘with our turnkey package, the franchisee doesn’t have to know anything about the movie business. For his franchise fee he gets all projection booth equipment (installed), training and consultation in all aspects of theatre management, film bookings, complete manuals, all equipment for auditorium and lobby, and a standardized interior and exterior decor.”

Actor Dale Robertson was involved with the Oklahoma theatre franchisor, and there was a third company called United General Theatres in Los Angeles that had Glenn Ford, Agnes Moorhead and Debbie Reynolds involved. Ford is quoted in some news articles of this same period (circa 1971) – so their involvement may have been as investors or spokespersons. Were there any other theatre franchisors besides Network Cinema Corp./Jerry Lewis Cinemas, American Automated of Oklahoma City and United General Theatres?

A Boxoffice magazine article from 7-5-71 said a “Movies!” twin theatre had opened in Salina, KS. “it is the first franchise theatre in this area to be set up by American Automated Theatres of Oklahoma.” An article in Boxoffice about Dale Robertson joining the advisory board of this company was in the 8-7-72 issue. In that same issue was a full-page ad for United General Theatres.

The Wichita Beacon article of 10-1-71 quoted above said Jack Burns was the “area director” who purchased a territory from Network Cinema Corp., the franchisor of Jerry Lewis Cinemas. Burns’ company was called Movie Showcase, Inc., per the article. The article did not say how large the territory was, but they were typically an entire state or half a state, or a metro area, etc. Those franchisees bought the rights to build in that territory and could sub-franchise to others within that territory. These larger-scale buyers of territorial rights to the Jerry Lewis Cinemas franchise were called “Area Directors”.

kwilkin1962
kwilkin1962 on January 13, 2013 at 2:10 pm

I believe when this theatre opened it was called the “Jerry Lewis Cinemas”.