Uniondale Mini Cinema

886 Jerusalem Avenue,
Uniondale, NY 11553

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Showing 1 - 25 of 109 comments

robboehm
robboehm on October 11, 2013 at 8:03 am

Sounds like there were maxi times at the mini cinema.

batsdude
batsdude on October 11, 2013 at 7:28 am

I worked there, hell, lived there practically for about 3 years. Always wondered what ever happened to my coworker buddies Jeff (mgr-cough cough)and his wonder dog (our mascot),Donna, Kevin, Heidi, Josh, Michael(the tall frizzy haired jewish one- NOT O’D – thats me), Spyder, and Dennis who was the mgr before Jeff H.

They were some killer times. And whoever made the comment bout lightin up in the house, yeah. We had to stop it sometimes. Th NCPD were making a heavy presence toward the end of my time there (i quit when I stupidly got married. DUH!) But the way we usually handled it was when cops’d show their badges to get in, we’d buzz Tom the full time projectionist so he’d wait for a flashlight signal from in front of the screen, where he’d stop the film, bring up the lights so that we could make the speech,“ Ladies and gentleman, if you’re burning something illegal, please put it out! There are badges in the audience and no one wants to go to jail. Thank you”. Whereby Tom would restart, the audience would cheer, the PD would get pissed off and leave, and the staff would go back to drinkin Heinekin. We had zero probs with partyin as long as there weren’t needles involved. Liquor, beer, and wine were also welcome.

After the last shows(towards the end there were always midnite shows, tho earlier on it was only Fri and Sat nites), we used to lock up, crank up the stereo (we had 2 voice of the theater altecs up front, and 2- i think they were epi- sound towers in the rear, which two rows of seats were removed for in ‘74 or '75. A LOT of power for basically a large projection room!), and walk all the rows scouring for dropped goodies, AND THERE WERE A LOT OF DROPPED GOODIES!!! All kinds of alcohol, weed, blotter, mesc, peyote, psilocybin, uppers, downers, screamers, and laughers. Amazin we ever made it outa there sometimes. Actually, sometimes we’d find things gift wrapped- true!– so hard sayin things were dropped all the time. WLIR jox used to come by a lot, and we’d sometimes go to their studios where much incoherance occurred after 2am. Good collaborations. oh yeah. Hey DeBella- I did snag that mic! Lol.

If any of the old crew are still out there, “Hey! It’s mike on the Peugeot!”. And if Carlton (Stein) Israel H. or Heidi’s Max are still around, “HEY!” If any of the old crew read this write me if you’re still kickin. Peace.

tudderj
tudderj on April 20, 2012 at 11:54 pm

I was a musician with a day job at B&H Instrument. We made the Christy Electric 35mm projector. All the new machines got their checkout in the booth at the Mini. I remember watching Rocky Horror and many other classics. Great Memories!

DC1
DC1 on December 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Julie, hi this is D.C. I am still in touch with some of the old crowd from the Mini. Send me your email address. I like knowing how we all turned out.

julito59
julito59 on December 20, 2011 at 2:39 pm

I don’t know what made me want to look up the mini cinema so many years later, but today I did! Such memories. I saw old footage with Jeff and – OMG- April Thompson. Amazing. Rocky Horror was such a big part of my life in the 70s. I even remember the first poster here – DC. I actually had an intimate nighr with him. What can I say, we were all pretty looped in those days. I am now 52 and super conservative, but I wouldn’t give up my mini memories for the world. I was so sad when it closed. – Julie

RichD
RichD on March 31, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Oh, and by the way, a related story…Does anyone remember the store “Movie Things”, which was (I think) also in Uniondale? It was at this memorabilia shop that I first heard about the Mini Cinema, by picking up a copy of “Sam”, their newspaper-like schedule. Man, I still have just about everything I ever bought in that place, including an old theater seat from some defunct movie palace. The fellow at the store who sold it to me did not know what theater it came from. Can anybody answer THAT question??

RichD
RichD on March 31, 2011 at 2:40 pm

WOW…I wondered if the Mini Cinema would be on this website, and it sure as hell is! I was only there twice, in my very early high school days. As you can imagine from reading some of these posts, it really wasn’t a kid-friendly place to go. Since I lived too far away (in Elmont) to get to the Mini on my own, my attendance there depended on the adults in my family.
The first time we ever went there was to see “The Creature From The Black Lagoon” and “It Came from Outer Space” in glorious old-fashioned red-and-green-glasses 3D! The only other time I was there was another sci-fi double bill, “Invaders From Mars” and “The Thing From Another World”! Oh, MEMORIES!!

Bloop
Bloop on March 18, 2011 at 11:49 pm

P.S. I CANNOT FIND THE YOUTUBE posts you all spoke of !!!!!!!

Bloop
Bloop on March 18, 2011 at 11:48 pm

OK, I have read about 2000 posts on Cinema Treasures; and goodbot-that was THE best story I ever read here! Thank you! I was hanging on every word! I was at the Mini Cinema only once, 1979 with my high school girlfriend for Rocky Horror. They showed the Tim Curry “music clips” before –“I Do Thee Rock / Paradise Garage” Nobody mentions the classic Rocky Horror buttons sold at the concession stand.These were the 2" black & white & red ones-(not those large color ones) The night we were there there were samples pinned to the wall. One of which (I guess the “rare” one of Columbia that I had never seen before—but had all the others) I asked the girl behind the counter (she had red or light brown curly hair??) that I wanted to buy one. She looked and they were all out of it, but she sold me the display one which had a dent in it. I have that button till this day and whenever I go through my junk drawer and see it —it reminds me of the Mini Cinema!~

thxleo
thxleo on February 22, 2011 at 6:49 pm

I doubt they will see this, but if BobT or TerryP read this, how would I be able to contact you guys? The reason I ask is because I’m working on a book about one of the films that UFDC produced back in the 80’s. I saw from some of your posts that you both worked there. I would love the chance to speak with you and see if you could help me with my research for the book.
Thanks!

goodbot
goodbot on February 12, 2011 at 10:06 pm

I remember once going to the Mini in the summer of 1977. The ticket salesman was whispering to all the young ticket purchasers like me “no toking inside tonight… only outside!”… Once inside, my buddies and I were really startled to discover that no one inside was lighting up. We started asking the other young strangers around us in the dark “what’s going on?, why no smoking?!?” The hushed replies came rolling in “kool it man!, the place is crawling in under-cover fuzz!”. This was way odd… the authorities had never hassled this crowd at all, and suddenly they’re here? I couldn’t tolerate this ban, and a half hour later (I don’t remember now what was playing), I went out front to smoke some weed… there were three other young guys like me smoking, a worker of the cinema, and two plain-clothes (misplaced disco-looking/obvious undercover cops) milling about out front… The other young guys were smoking weed in the presence of the cops, so I lit up also. Soon all of us tokers were gathered together, questioning one another as to what was going on. Buzzed (by this time) as we were, one of us smart guys thought up the brilliant idea of approaching the plainclothes cops (with the dobies in our mouths) and just asking them what was going on. I’m the smart guy, I do the talking: “Officers, excuse me… my friends and I were wondering about your presence here tonight… the place is crawling in plainclothes guys working like you guys… but no action yet… what’s going here, what are you looking for, what are you waiting for?” Maybe the cop was pissed with my up-frontedness, or the dobies (a la “lack of respect for The Law”, etc)… he acted really annoyed with us, with our toking in front of them, with his inability to take out his nightstick and wack us a few… He points to an empty storefront on the totally opposite end of the deserted mall (easily 1000 feet away)… there’s a second story window opened, not boarded up like all of the other deserted storefronts. He says “There’s a police marksman in that window with a high powered snipers rifle pointing directly at us right now… he can kill any of us at a moments notice”. Either as a move of self-preservation, or my innate sense of good humor, I quickly position myself in front of the officer so that I’m protected by his body between me and “The Police Sniper”. The stoners catch my move and all start laughing, but the cop is clueless. He moves… I move again to shield myself from the unseen sniper. Eventually the cop catches on, and also laughs. I’m around 20 at that time, and my eyesight is better than excellent. The cop pleads with us “I’m honest about the sniper… just look over there… but not too obviously, like just be kool about it…” I focus over the cops shoulder (he’s still guarding me from a direct line of fire), and like sht! There’s a frigging guy up there in that window with a big frigging hunting rifle with a scope on it (in an upward non-focused-on-us position)… At this revelation… my buzzed head is totally spinning… What The Fck is going on here at The Mini Cinema?!? Plainclothes cops all over the place (in misplaced disco attire and gold chains)not busting anybody for toking weed… and a Police Sniper in a nearby deserted storefront with an easy bead on any of us young kids standing out front!?! I imagined that there was an impending military takeover of the central government that these guys were in on… and at the word that The President(Jimmy Carter) had been “removed”… my new buddies and I standing in front of The Mini Cinema toking our weed were the national priority to be Number Two in line… The plainclothes cop discerned my obvious stress… “You young guys don’t need to worry about us or our marksman… we’re here to protect you…” The other young guys and I were speechless. “we’re here to protect everyone tonight from Sam, from The Son of Sam… that crazy guy killing the young people all over the area? Our intelligence informed us there’s a very good chance he’ll be here tonight looking for his next victim… but we’re prepared, we’ll get him this time!” Time for my next move! “Thank you officers! Thank you very much… good night!” I scuddled back inside to find my friends that I’d driven in. I told everyone (me +5) that there was an emergency, and that we had to leave the theater quickly. I guess the whole scene with the no-smoking, and undercover cops all over the joint was enough for them not to question me, but to get up and follow me out to my car quietly, quickly. Everyone was relieved to get in the car and light up. As we were driving out of the lot, I told everyone about the plainclothes cops up front, the sniper, the Son of Sam… everyone was laughing that this was an outrageous stoner story that I had just made up… we drove a few miles away to a deserted area we were familiar with out on the Parkway to Jones Beach, and we pulled off the main road. My buddies and their girls started smooching, etc… but I couldn’t do it with my girl… the Son Of Sam WAS still lurking out here in this neighborhood, and we WERE his type of targets! We survived those days… we did better than our beloved Mini Cinema… I guess her needed demographics disappeared with our generation… scurrying off (as we did) to other more important things in our lives… or was it the VHS (and the wide-spread VHS rental shops) that bought her down? Hmmmm…

tmadd
tmadd on October 10, 2010 at 9:04 pm

i loved the mini-cinema. such a cool reflection of the innocent/ blissful period of sharing joints and pipeloads with total strangers who became instant friends. i remember one night staring up at the stooges from the front row… back when lsd was actually fun, mind you… and those old black and white movies became color..lol.

i do miss that wonderful time and those wonderful people.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 31, 2010 at 4:54 am

Great theatre Stories.Wish some of my old theatre people would get on CT.

DC1
DC1 on June 9, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Hey thanks for doing this blog. I worked for the Mini in the late 70’s I would love to get back in touch with some of the old guys. I worked with Mel,Kathy,Lew(who also went to the same High School),Terry (who I trained),Billy, Josh,Mark, Jeff,& Lillian. I was the best time of my life. My name is D.C. Billings. I was an usher for over 400 Rocky Horror Shows and Greatful Dead show. I also worked on SAM, did phone recordings and radio spot on WLIR. I remember when the Good Rats performed live at the Mini. I also remember performing a mock wedding. What I time. If you worked with me please reachout. I am on facebook.

Smokeycampbell
Smokeycampbell on March 1, 2010 at 10:07 am

WOW… great memories come flowing back from the oasis!! I worked as the candy girl in 1980-81. Terry I remember you and your puppy KOMOmo! You will never know how much you helped me through the darkest period of my life.:o}
This place was LI saving grace, truely remarkable.(perfect that it turned into a church) It certainly saved me!
thanks!

tisker
tisker on December 23, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Goodbye 2009. Have a wonderful Holiday Season and Happy 2010!

LewStowe
LewStowe on June 1, 2009 at 5:14 am

Strange how we treasure these memories.// TerryP. don’t know if you remember a skinny guy, brown hair, frameless glasses. That was me, Lew. Used to be Asst.Mgr at the Mini until Randyman hired me away to work at the Cine-Capri.//Randyman: in the unlikely event that you return here, I hope this finds you well. I don’t recall if we parted well, but it was 32 years ago. I stay in touch with Mel. He’s fine. Lives in the Village, though I don’t recall you knowing him. Kathy Geller married, moved to Costa Rica. Would love to contact her but it’s improbable. I live in Australia, long-time remarried. Best to all.

TerryP
TerryP on January 5, 2009 at 12:55 pm

thanks for posting. this is great. there was another poster done around 1980, which I must have somewhere. so funny seeing some of these people again, and that circular bench in the lobby.
Josh was manager at the Mini after Billy, and then went on to manage the Flick in East Meadow. Hard to make out Mel Wertzel, but assume he is there somewhere. He was Assistant manager of the mini, and then went on to run the Flick when they bought that (before Josh went there).
Ralph Donnelly is in the lower left above the audience shot.
the guy who did this poster, and Sam, was Jed I think, and yes that is him in the lower right!

flickhead
flickhead on January 4, 2009 at 2:48 am

Gary Stanley (a/k/a Ashley Stanhole) was the projectionist, at the top grinning with his eyes closed.

Paul Wise is directly above where it says “Harold & Maude” and “Taking Off”.

The late David Franklin is at the bottom left with his head cocked, appearing as if he’s drawing from a bong; looking over at him in profile is Steve Dwyer, a/k/a Wazoo.

drbmbay
drbmbay on January 3, 2009 at 10:40 pm

and now I have names to faces. remember billy and randy, josh and jeff.

drbmbay
drbmbay on January 3, 2009 at 10:34 pm

okay, just under the E in fillmore moving left is a group of five kids. I’m the 2nd one from the right. the rest are friends from high school. there’s a 2nd picture which I’m not sure where, but maybe just along that same line to the left of spanky, two kids – me & my brother, I think. I’m the one drinking the beer. but not sure about that one.

thanks for the memories.

if you get around to taking some close-ups, that would be scary fun.

flickhead
flickhead on January 3, 2009 at 7:57 pm

BTW, MANY thanks for posting the poster!

flickhead
flickhead on January 3, 2009 at 7:57 pm

Yikes!!! Every face, every stoned grimace looks like…ME!

Randyman
Randyman on January 3, 2009 at 5:23 pm

OK, the infamous poster is back. Now let’s start the task of seeing how many of these people can be identified (though certainly that would be none of us if matching against today’s photographs!). I am sure on some and will guess on others, welcoming corrections if necessary. The big photo at the 4 o'clock position is Billy Contin (left) and me (Randy Warren) during our regime as manager and assistant manager respectively. I am guessing the bottom right corner is the fellow who designed each month’s program (“Sam”). Bottom, just left of center, is Tom, who was assistant manager just before me. Don’t remember his last name but he rode a Triumph motorcycle with 10-inch extended front end. I trashed it for him. I think that is his girlfriend just below. Directly below The Mini Cinema logo, with hands behind his back, is Jeff (Hauser?), who was manager just before Billy. The toilet bowl was part of our in-house lore, of the time that a customer came running through the front door and right into the men’s room, with a narc in hot pursuit (remember the NORML benefits?). Supposedly the customer was able to flush something down the toilet just before he could be visited. Upper left of the toilet is Donna, box office cashier. Upper left from Donna is I-can’t-believe-I-forgot-her-name, whose boyfriend was the late great staff member Spider. Far left, the big guy in light colors looks like Dave Figger, who installed audio systems in cars back then. Just below Divine is Josh, who was also asistant manager at one time before leaving for Colorado. And I can’t be sure with this angle but very top and just left of center, with the big grin, looks like Gary, the projectionist who replaced Tom (not shown). And of crouse, the Egg Lady.

formerprojectionist
formerprojectionist on January 3, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Ok folks,
I took two pictures of the poster, one with flash, the other without. Here’s the links, ENJOY!
View link
View link