Cinema Shoppers World

1 Worcester Road,
Framingham, MA 01701

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Showing 1 - 25 of 71 comments

optimist008
optimist008 on March 7, 2017 at 2:10 pm

It was actually invented in the early 1950’s by Ben Schlanger. Google it’s official name : RCA Synchro Screen.

DENNISMAHANEY1
DENNISMAHANEY1 on March 6, 2017 at 11:23 pm

So right about the shadow box the patrons love it I being with G.C.C. since 1959 but the focus or aptitude was now as good and when you go to a plate picture really was not as clear as using masking I alway felt and most of the union men I know the masking help give a sharp look

DICK3570
DICK3570 on March 6, 2017 at 1:49 pm

The Cinema II screen installed was sometimes called a “Shadow Box Screen” General Cinema started using it in all of its new theatres in the sixties. Both theatres in the new Peabody Twin had them. Showcase Cinemas used it when they took over and re-modeled the Cleveland Circle when it was still a single house. It was simple to install and eliminated curtains and masking but made filing the projector aperture plates very difficult.

mwresinski
mwresinski on March 6, 2017 at 8:10 am

This site has also dredged up a fond memory of the GCC bumper shown before the “Coming Attractions” and “Feature Presentation”. Animation of letters running around the GCC logo like film threading through a projector accompanied by a jazzy high-hat cymbal and bass line.

mwresinski
mwresinski on March 6, 2017 at 7:30 am

I can remember approaching the theater while “Earthquake” was screening and could hear the Sensurround a few hundred feet away in the parking lot! Big Cerwin Vega speakers! When Cinema II opened (not because of splitting – it was a completely seperate house in the same building as David W. said. The date seems correct. I saw Dr. Z. in ‘65) – it had one of the worst designs ever! The screen took up most of the end of the house and, to either side, the walls curved outward to join the side walls of the house. I guess it was supposed to give the feeling of drawing you into the picture except the curved walls were white and reflected the light from the screen. It must have been an experimental design because I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere else.

rivest266
rivest266 on May 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Also uploaded the ad for the twin on May 20th, 1964.

rivest266
rivest266 on April 26, 2013 at 10:11 pm

October 4th, 1951 grand opening ad has been uploaded in the photo section for this theatre.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on December 25, 2012 at 11:55 pm

You have a good memory! I had photos of the addition of Cinema III and IV being constructed in 1974, but don’t remember exactly when the split of I occurred. I remember the Sensurround being constructed (large plywood panels in the corners of the large auditorium.)

ErikH
ErikH on December 25, 2012 at 7:19 pm

The split of Cinema I occurred no earlier than 1976. I remember seeing “Jaws” in the non-subdivided Cinema I in the summer of 1975 and “Murder By Death” in the same auditorium in the summer of 1976. The auditoriums that were initially named Cinemas III and IV opened before Cinema I was twinned—-I think those auditoriums opened in mid-1974. I recall seeing “Godfather II” in the larger of those two auditoriums in late 1974—you would have thought that “Godfather II” would have been screened in the (much larger) Cinema I at at that time, but “Earthquake”(with its expensive Sensurround equipment) was still playing in Cinema I. In early 1975, I saw “Murder on the Orient Express” in Cinema II and “Earthquake” was still rumbling along in Cinema I.

Cinema II wasn’t subdivided until the early 1980s. The last film I saw in the non-subdivided Cinema II was “Annie” in the summer of 1982.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on July 18, 2012 at 9:00 pm

The split of Cinema I didn’t happen until about 1974, so it probably wasn’t the first split house either. However, I’d suggest that the addition of Cinema II in 1963, could be called a new design with a changed configuration to the lobby as well as a completely new auditorium to the north side of the original building.

da_Bunnyman
da_Bunnyman on July 18, 2012 at 2:58 pm

In “George Lucas’s Blockbusting: A Decade-by-Decade Survey of Timeless Movies Including Untold Secrets of Their Financial and Cultural Success” it’s m,entioned that this was the first mall cinema ever built and also that it has a claim to being the first multiplex. The claim against it is because it was not designed originally as a multiplex. This would mean it was the first split house but that’s not a thing it would want to be remembered for.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on February 15, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Who knew about asbestos dangers back in the fifties? The Kent micronite filter had it! My description of the panels was based on what we could see when damage occurred, either a delivery truck backing into an area, or kids vandalism while leaving down the balcony exit ways.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on February 15, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Mr. Schlanger’s role in a number of theatres in New York, DC and presumably this one was usually that of a consulting architect, advising the architect-of-record only on the technical aspects unique to a motion picture theatre. Specifically, things like acoustics, sight-lines, seating layout, floor and balcony pitch and arc, projection and audio equipment, electrical and space requirements for the projection booth were his expertise.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 15, 2011 at 2:08 pm

The October 4, 1952, Boxoffice article about the construction of the Cinema is now online here, at the magazine’s own web site.

In a comment near the top of this page, dwodeyla said that the walls of the Cinema were built of “…panels of a straw and clay mixture…” The Boxoffice article says that “…the exterior of the theatre is no more than a thin skin of asbestos board held in place by thin aluminum strips.” The clay-like substance was probably some form of gypsum, and would have been used to hold the asbestos fibres in place. I hope dwodeyla didn’t discover the fibrous nature of the material by scraping at it.

Theater designer Benjamin Schlanger would not be the one who chose to use the asbestos panels in this building. That would have been Ketchum, Gina & Sharp, the architectural firm that designed the structure itself.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on June 25, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Actually, I’m looking at the picture in the Harcourt book with a magnifying glass and it quite clearly says ‘Thick Cabinets’. It’s a different photo than the one in Boxoffice, it is a photo of the building with signs on the edge of the roof. Is that another term for Frappe? For instance, carbonated soft drinks, i.e. Pepsi, in the midwest is called ‘Pop’, in NYC it’s called ‘Soda’ and my relatives in Worcester MA called it ‘Tonic’. I thought this might be another regional term that goes by other names in other areas.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on June 25, 2010 at 6:41 pm

The sign actually says Thick Frappes. Those are like milk shakes. The sign is clearer in Boxoffice Magazine of Oct 4, 1952, link above. You have to go back to page 121.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on June 25, 2010 at 6:11 pm

dwodeyla, in a photo of Richards Drive-In in the Harcourt General book, the sign lists their specialties: Fried Jumbo Shrimp, Chicken-in-the-basket and Thick Cabinets. I guess it’s a New England thing, but what are Thick Cabinets?

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on June 25, 2010 at 5:27 pm

If you check back in that issue, there’s also a nice article about the Cinema sign on the building, as well as a picture of the sign for Richard’s Drive In Restaurant, which was in Cambridge somewhere. Richard’s was Richard Smith’s restaurant venture. To Dave-Bronx, I don’t know about the use of Cambridge Seven, but the time frame sounds right. I wonder if Paul Delrossi has an answer?

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 24, 2010 at 1:51 am

Dean W. Working for GCC had one draw back for this Georgia boy,NO COKE PRODUCTS.I drank a lot of LOTTA LEMON in my years at GCC.

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on June 23, 2010 at 11:04 pm

View link

This link is to the October 4, 1952 issue of Boxoffice where the construction and acoustic panels of the Cinema Shoppers World is discussed. There are some photos.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on June 17, 2010 at 9:04 pm

dwodeyla, do you know if the change from the company’s long-time architectural firm, Riseman Associates, to the Cambridge Seven group was due to the retirement or passing of Riseman or Joe Saunders (just speculating – I don’t know exactly when, in the scheme of things, those events happened.) or was it a ‘out with the old – in with the new’ type of decision once Paul Del Rossi ascended the throne?

Do you know approximately when Riseman became involved with the company? I see he isn’t credited with this theatre, the original architect here is Ben Schlanger. Mr Schlanger was a consulting architect on the Cinema I – Cinema II in New York (theatre #1075 on this site), opened in 1962. That theatre had the same ‘shadow box’ screen surrounds, the upper cinema was lit red, the lower cinema lit blue, and the gray Alpro paneling on the walls, elements used by General Cinema through the 1960s and 70s.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on February 6, 2010 at 4:53 am

Dean, your Father was a General Cinema legend. Not only did he invent the “Lotta Lemon”, he was also the originator of the “Straw Vote” which predicted every Presidential election from 1972 until the Company declared bankruptcy. It was a great run while it lasted.
(I remember you coming to the movies with your Dad back in the ‘70s.)

DeanW
DeanW on January 13, 2010 at 10:48 pm

My father, Stanley Werthman was VP in charge concessions at General Cinema during the late 1960s when he came home one night and was working on the name of the new lemon drink at GCC. I blurted out out “Lotta Lemon”, and that was that.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 28, 2009 at 1:34 am

An article in the October 13, 1951, issue of Boxoffice said that the Cinema in Framingham had opened on October 4. The building was designed by Ketchum, Gina & Sharp, architects of the shopping center, and the theater architect was Benjamin Schlanger. An additional article about the theater, with two small photos, appeared in the October 4, 1952, issue of Boxoffice.

sporridge
sporridge on August 15, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Some background information about the Shoppers World Cinema that (on a quick glance) has gone unlinked here (save for a couple photos):

http://generalcinematheatres.com/

Click on the “Shoppers World/Where it All Began” logo.