Franklin Square Cinemas

989 Hempstead Turnpike,
Franklin Square, NY 11010

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Showing 1 - 25 of 26 comments

robboehm
robboehm on March 12, 2013 at 12:09 am

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.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 11, 2013 at 10:16 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!

willstan
willstan on March 9, 2013 at 5:18 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.

willstan
willstan on March 6, 2013 at 5:27 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.

robboehm
robboehm on June 19, 2011 at 10:29 pm

Yeh, Google finally got the front of the building.

robboehm
robboehm on June 19, 2011 at 8:21 am

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

Mrmarkus
Mrmarkus on June 19, 2011 at 4:23 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.

Mrmarkus
Mrmarkus on June 19, 2011 at 4:02 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.

robboehm
robboehm on November 28, 2009 at 12:19 am

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

robboehm
robboehm on March 3, 2009 at 11:38 pm

It’s odd that an earlier posting should say this theatre was identical the the Baldwin. The Baldwin was just a simple rectangle. The Franklin had a multisurfaced facade with the auditorium jutting out from the side, like the Alan.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on December 19, 2008 at 3:03 am

You know, I have worked at so many unions from Hollywood to Long Island. So Many. Local 640 has got to be one of the best, period. Mark Escorcia, the projectionist here, is one of the best around. The man is huge but his heart is huge too. If you see Mark, say, “Hi Brother.”

LJS
LJS on April 26, 2008 at 4:56 am

This theater was the site of one of the infamous brawls that resulted from “Krush Groove” screenings. I believe someone got thrown through a window here, but that may be local urban legend.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 24, 2006 at 10:36 pm

I was in the area tonight and snapped these two evening shots of the illuminated marquee:

Franklin Square night 1
Franklin Square night 2

Not the greatest shots, as there is no light around there but that of the marquee and I didn’t have an SLR on me. What typically bland and crappy marquee signage, eh? And the facade above the marquee is now painted royal blue. I’ll go back for a couple of day shots, but I’d love to find a vintage image of the exterior when this was a single nabe.

Ligg
Ligg on August 31, 2006 at 11:38 am

I am posting this here, because this is more relevant to questions about the Franklin Square Theater, but was part of the discussion about GG Theaters about the Herricks Theater.

In an old Newsaday clipping, it lists that Franklin Cinema was part of the GG cinema group, which anyone who went there would find hard to believe simply by the way the theater was run. It was no Loews, from their “Quading” to playing movies without audiences. Here is a link to the newsday advertisement that list both the Herricks and Franklin as part of the GG theater group. I spent a lot of time at the Franklin as a kid, and again, I find it very hard to believe that this theater before Clearview was a “corparately run” theater. I always thought it was an independently owned and operated theater.
(I AM POSTING THE NEWSDAY LINK TO THE GG ADVERT AT BOTTOM OF POST)

What were the GG Cinemas anyway? One owner, owner affiliation to get bookings of the first run releases, co-op etc? Though I went to both the Herricks and Franklin growing up, both GG theaters, I never felt they were coporate or even franchised, just independent theaters just by the way they were run, the management “Decisions” made. I am using the Franklin as an example, because I spent the most time there and find the most bizarre decisions, from construction to running films without audiences there!

Was GG renamed Clearview when it was bought by Cablevision? When I was growing up, it seemed like the Franklin which my friends and I used to go to at least on day a weekend, seem to be more of an independent theater. Could I be wrong about that? Was GG just a sort of “Co-op” of theaters to book movies so they can get first runs against the big chains or was it an actual corporation? The Franklin I know was never an RKO, a Century, Loews, Sony, etc. but I never remember it ever being a GG theater or even advertising any kind of chain affiliation except in the paper.

It seemed so too, it was independently operated the way it was run, and also the way it quaded. They just took the two small balconies and made theaters of them.

It was very strange how it was quaded, because first off, it looked to the naked eye about only 50 seats if that much, and then there was an area, the same size where no seats were, and then the screen. I do not know if it was structually unsound to put seats, but they did not have bars so you could not walk on them, and you could walk up and touch the screen as you sometimes did as “crazy teenagers.” It if was a corporate of theaters, I doubt they would have quaded the theater in this way, because the cost of rental against the number of seats, it really would seem, “what is the point?” if you only have 50-75 seats in the theater?

I even remember on a couple of occasions seeing a day, non matinee for another film, and walking into both the big theater and the small theater on seperate occasions and the movie was running but no one was in the theater. When I asked about that, they said, no one had come for the 3:30 showing on a summer weekday. I asked, “Why then, after a half hour, do you not just shut the film off? I was told, they keep in on just in case people come late! Well we know movies never start on time because of previews etc, and then after a half hour and no tickets sold? That does not sound like a corporate run theater.

For that reason it seems like it was some kind of independent theater that either joined the GG group for advertising and movie booking purposes or was bought and joined with Clearview when Cablevision bought it. Does someone have the history of GG, and how it evolved to Clearview and the purchase by Cablevision?

Needless to say, movies up there on the “living room theaters”, were always sold out on the weekends.

View link

hotaru
hotaru on July 17, 2006 at 11:37 am

Hey!
I had no idea! Thanks sooo much for the tip, Ligg!

Ligg
Ligg on July 15, 2006 at 5:03 pm

Here is something you all should know. I know the theater will never live up to what it used to be. But if you still live on Long Island and have Cablevision “triple play” digital cable, internet, and voice, got to www.optimumrewards.com and apply for a rewards card. With the card, Clearview Cinemas such as the Franklin, Herricks, Manhasset, Great Neck, Port Washington etc, check under www.clearviewcinemas.com, then you are entitled to this rewards card, that gives you free movie tickets for a family of 4 on Tuesdays(EVERY TUESDAY!) and $6 adult tickets, even on Saturday evenings throughout the week. It also gives you presales, to big concerts at MSG and Radio City.

This is not an advertisement for Cablevision. I HATE THEM! The control too much and speaking of old movie houses, for old movies they have kept Turner Classics and other networks that compete with networks like the defunct American Movie Classics, now American Movie Channel, in an unfair monopoly! At least get the reward cards and make sure you go to the movies on Tuesdays whenever you can can and use the discount card whenever you go to a Clearview movie theater. If you are going anyway, at least take money out of their EVIL CORPORATE POCKETS!

hotaru
hotaru on July 14, 2006 at 10:00 pm

I practically lived in this theater when I was 17 and my best friend worked at the concession stand. I remember thinking it was an oddly laid-out place until I realized that it had been a single screen house long before that. We came of age in the multi- and megaplex era, when the neighborhood theaters were either shuttered and in ruins, or being turned into offices, condos(!), churches(!!), and the like. Some had undergone sub-subdivisions, like the Franklin Quad, as it was known then. I remember going to a lot of these places as a kid when they were simply halved and called “twins”, but by the mid-eighties, twins were on their way out around here. That’s what I loved about the Franklin, that it managed to survive its subdivisions and remain a neighborhood hangout. I have fond memories of the upstairs balcony theaters, which on slow nights, were like private screening rooms. Bad weather was a super bonus, as far as “privacy” was concerned when the boyfriends were around and the upstairs became neckers' paradise. Even though the balcony theaters were tiny, they were great. I haven’t been back since they added 2 screens; God knows how small the screens must be now. I’ll have to go check it out.

RobertR
RobertR on July 5, 2005 at 8:55 pm

In 1977 as a Century’s house it opened “Tentacles"
View link

JakeGittes
JakeGittes on July 3, 2005 at 1:48 pm

I covered for this theatre one day in mid ‘79 when working for Century Theatres. This place was a small ONE screen operation. How did they get it to multi-screens?

RobertR
RobertR on June 15, 2005 at 7:45 pm

It seems in 1959 this was a Century’s house.

Ligg
Ligg on May 28, 2005 at 6:56 am

I remember as a 12 year old, they close for renovations to make it a quad. I remember it was close for quite a while to make the twin a quad. Like most of those kind of neighborhood theaters, they built the giant wall down the middle the theater to twin it. So they had two theaters each with a balcony. After smoking came out of failure in the smoking balcony as (well not just for young lovers to make out hot and heavy causing smoke) but the smoking area. It was very disappointing when it finally opened. Calling this a quad was an overstatement. The balcony was always small even as single theater so it fit 100 people tops, with quading they just close off the entire balcony on both sits and put in two screens. I always thought it would have been better as a triple because how much money can you make from 50 people sitting there for two hours unless, they really pushed the concession stand. 100 would have seen better and took the entire balcony to one theater. But anyway, since Clearview took it over, those small balcony theaters are stll there but now the all theaters have been halved. Mr. K is right the Franklin Square is a good neighborhood so that why theater stays in Business. As an MBA though, I agree with strong community, but I think the biggest issue is access. The next closest theaters are in Lynbrook, Herrick, Roosevelt Fld, or Rockville Center. The studios and distributors do have a 7 mile rule they try to stick with for theater owners that a movies unless huge like the new store wars will only play in theaters 7 miles apart. But for movies for West Hempstead, Western Garden City, Stewart Manor, Floral Park, it really is the “only came in town” for first run Hollywood Movies, a lot which is by default. A lot of problems with these local theaters was parking. Franklin Square has municipal parking lots all around the Franklin, so even though I grew up around the theater, I still believe it was saved the multiplex boom by multiplexing, granted kind of poorly, but also having he parking that could accomodate people as local downtown are main drags no longer were pedestrian zones, but care zones. The nearby Floral, long gone, so beautiful, like a great movie house, with beautiful inside archetecture that made it look like an old movie palace you would see in the city. But unfortunately, they had one small town parking lot across the street. So though I spent many my teenage years at the Franklin and have fond memories, I wish there was a way to make it bigger. Being the only game in town really this side of Nassau Boulevard and its, “quading” of the balcony and now the retail store taken over next store. It may have six theaters, but you are almost forced to go to Roosevelt Raceway on the first Friday and Saturday of a big movie, because it is all sold out. A limitation caused by a theater with 50 seats.

chconnol
chconnol on February 10, 2005 at 7:10 pm

I saw the terrible John Ritter film “Problem Child” in one of the upstairs “theaters”. Yep, you’re right: the place was tiny. But it was packed. The neighborhood, Franklin Square, is still decent and there are a lot of homes within walking distance not to mention the shopping district on Hempstead Turnpike is very well maintained with little vacancies. Thus I can see why this place is still open and doing well.

MrK
MrK on February 10, 2005 at 7:05 pm

In the early ‘80’s the Franklin Square Theater was purchased by the same gentleman who owned the Deer Park and North Babylon Theaters (see my posts for those theaters). He had sold the Old Bethpage and Levittown Twins and quickly twinned this theater. My father was GM for this gentleman’s theaters and I, as well as my entire family, worked many of the theaters. Eventually he turned it into a quad by splitting the balcony. The two small screens upstairs sat approximately 50 patrons at best (very, very small). At one point, around 1986, he picked up the store next door at made it a video store, Cinema 5 Video. I worked there as well for a spell in college. From what I’ve heard, the gentleman who owned it now has about two or three theaters way out in LI. For a while, in the early '80’s, he was huge with theaters throughout LI, Queens, Upstate, the Bronx and even Florida. There is nothing like the feel of these neighborhood theaters. Loyal patrons week after week and the local kids that worked there, what a way to grow up.

chconnol
chconnol on December 7, 2004 at 5:10 pm

This theater was virtually identical to the Century’s Baldwin EXCEPT that the balcony (which was removed from the Baldwin) was intact here. That’s the reason why I think the Baldwin closed and this one remained to be multiplexed. This one’s still sucessful because there aren’t many (any?) theaters in the area. The Argo in Elmont was about the only one that might’ve given it competition but the neighborhood declined and so did that theater…