Franklin Square Cinemas

989 Hempstead Turnpike,
Franklin Square, NY 11010

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Franklin Square Cinemas

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Operating prior to 1941, the Franklin Theatre was a 955-seat neighborhood house showing a mix of second run with the occasional first run. The previous owners made it a quad and went first run.

Acquired a few years ago by Clearview Cinemas and made into a six-plex. In June 2013, Bow-Tie Cinemas took over as it took most Clearview locations.

Contributed by RobertR

Recent comments (view all 27 comments)

robboehm on November 27, 2009 at 9:19 pm

The original marquee was a half circle like the Manhasset, the Suffolk, the original Amityville and others.

Mrmarkus on June 19, 2011 at 3:02 am

I believe I can help out with the history to an extent,since I have worked there on and off since 1985.A tip of the hat to MrMarketing,for giving me recognition… First,yes the same owner as the North Babylon Twin,and several other theatres was a partner with a few independent owners who formed Southland,which was a private small chain,unlike UA,Loews,National Amusements.He was not a part of GG (I saw the newspaper clipping,notice the GG ads from top to bottom do not match the printed style of the ones to the right.Levittown was owned by Jay Levinson,one partner). They used a man who does bookings for independent owners,Lesser.Prior to his ownership,it was a Century Theatre (I have proof,a couple of bulletins from the company).He closed North Babylon,after he split from the other two partners,brought the equipment to Franklin Square (hereafter noted as “FS”)closed the theatre for a month to convert to a quad.The upstairs theatres 5&6,had 65 and 70 seats,respectively.That summer had some great movies,Back To The Future among them,which,in fact ran there the longest (7 months and 3 weeks)since it was still pulling in money.He owned a theatre in PA and three in FL at that point. He co-owned the Hicksville Twin for a while. The movies “Krush Groove” and “Nightmare On Elm Street”,on opening day with long lines caused a brief fight,yes,someone did get thrown into the beauty supply store plate glass window.The theatre had security guards for weeks after that one. He opened Cinema Five Video,sold it,bought it back and converted it to another screen.In the early 90’s he closed it for three weeks to move the main auditoriums front to make room in the back for another screen,bringing the total to 6.He bought the closed Squire Cinemas from UA when they were dumping small theatres for desperately needed cash.Needless to say,he converted that theatre from three screens to six,then shortly after that when a store next door closed,he converted it to screen 7,moved the box ofice. A few years later Bud Mayo made him an offer to buy it from him,along with Squire,a very good cash offer,so he sold them.He left to build Seaford Cinemas with a partner.Clearview Cinemas home office people were a mix of people from other theatre chains,notably Loews,since at the time when they merged with Cineplex Odeon,they downsized the home office when a new owner bought both companies.the Cineplex home office people were retained,and Loews execs were out of a job,several wound up at Clearview.They changed the sound in 2 screens to the newer digital system (Dolby Digital and DTS,along with surround sound,leaving the other auditoriums the old mono sound).The company was sold to Cablevision in the early 2000’s (the current SVP/GM has “rewritten” the history to “eliminate” the traces of Bud Mayo’s ownership in an employee handbook).I have pictures of some stages of the theatre’s interior and exterior as a quad,and five screens,and a few booth shots.In 2005,they upgraded all the sound systems and all auditoriums had surround sound (Ultra-Stereo systems).I have seen a lot of things happen there and can regale some good stories, and can tell you as of today,the theatre was renovated again,with new leather seats with moveable armrests,which has reduced the seat counts in each auditorium even more,and 5&6 now have 50 seats each.They also removed the 35mm equipment and installed digital projectors,along with a library management system for the shows.Hencewith,the home office people felt they no longer needed me as a projectionist there.So FS is run by the managers,so if the shows ever go down,or they mess up,just complain to the company,let them know how you feel.FS has been fun,but its rather bittersweet today.

Mrmarkus on June 19, 2011 at 3:23 am

@ Ligg,yes they used to run shows even if it was empty in case someone really came in late.I know it didn’t make sense,adding more wear and tear on the equipment and using electricity.They did abandon that practice in lieu of a 10-minute rule,which a show didn’t start if no one showed up.After 10 mminutes,the show was cancelled,in order to avoid a late start of the next show.And strangely enough,there were some people who showed up 12,15,even 20 minutes late!Only to find out about the cancelled show,so they came for the next one or just came back another time. The independents got more first run movies in part because of Sumner Redstone’s lawsuit against the studios for more control over the first run picks,as explained in his book.Nevertheless,independents used the same booking agent,Lesser.By twinning,triplexing and quadding,you add more choices without bbeing stuck to a single film.That’s what happened to just about all the single screen theatres,before multiplexes grew to what they are now.You can count the number of single screens on LI on one hand! And of course,the drive-in became extinct! Yes,the stage/platform upstairs was structurally sound,it passed the Town of Hempstead Building Code.Touching the screens is a big no-no-oil from hands has an effect on picture quality,and the screens get chemically cleaned every 6 months. Also,Local 640 IATSE has some old pictures showing the curved marquee before it became rectangular.

robboehm on June 19, 2011 at 7:21 am

Would like to see some of those photos on CT since most of us are not privvy to union material

robboehm on June 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Yeh, Google finally got the front of the building.

willstan on March 6, 2013 at 3:27 pm

In 1954, Franklin, then a Century property on a particular day ran “Casanova’s Big Night” with Bob Hope, Joan Fontaine, Basil Rathbone and Hugh Marlowe.

willstan on March 9, 2013 at 3:18 pm

No. I do NOT have anything with which to co-oborate. I attended the screening then. I deeply regret that I did not meet the requirement of proof.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 11, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Willstan, that’s pretty cool that you can remember seeing that movie so long ago. I saw a movie there a couple of years ago, but I have no idea what it was!

robboehm on March 11, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Movie going was different in the 50’s. There was only one screen and most people only went to their local theatre. Mine was the Bellerose. I could count on the fingers of one hand the movies that I saw in the adjacent villages, Queens Village and Floral Park.

robboehm on March 26, 2015 at 8:14 pm

Upload a photo of the current façade. Would be nice to see one with the original marquee.

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