Northwest Plaza Cinema

Northwest Plaza,
St. Louis, MO 63074

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Chris1982
Chris1982 on August 22, 2014 at 3:31 am

This theatre was actually located in St. Ann, MO.

Coate
Coate on July 29, 2013 at 4:17 pm

mrhineha: “Star Wars” did not play at this theater in its original release.

mrhineha
mrhineha on July 29, 2013 at 3:08 pm

I remember going with my parents to see Star Wars (the original movie) in 1977. I also remember my friend worked there in the late 80’s before it closed and she gave me the button she wore to advertise the U2 movie “Rattle and Hum” (She went with me to see it after she was off for the day and she fell asleep)…I was a HUGE U2 fan. I know I saw other movies there, but these are the only two that I remember.

I also remember the bathrooms were in the basement of the building and the women’s room was fancy like the 1950s style with a long room full of mirrored dressing tables and individual stall doors. I was in awe when we went down there after the movie.

jmiller
jmiller on January 15, 2013 at 4:01 am

That is super cool that there are two photos of this cinema! I so wish that I had photos of some of these great places myself. I first saw my favorite film here, “2001: A Space Odyssey.” I was so young that all I remember was that it was an incredible light show!

PrezGAR
PrezGAR on October 28, 2012 at 12:01 am

The first time I ever went to a movie by myself was there. The Empire Strikes Back. Not it’s inital theatrical run, but a 1982 re-release. I didnt want to see The Last Unicorn.

Friardb
Friardb on August 2, 2011 at 5:52 pm

when they torn down the old cinema i went up there and grabed 2 of the chairs. they used to recline out. i repainted them leaving the old gum in place..i use these chairs in my own movie basement

fpisarkiewicz
fpisarkiewicz on July 15, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Yes – great photo there, Chris. Good to have. Funny story: you mentioned that it opened in ‘69, and while I was working there (in 1981) I had the pleasure of knowing the projectionists that worked there. One of them worked there the day it opened – 12 years earlier. Those guys -and they were all well over 60 years old – they had to walk ALL the way up those steps to get to the booth on the top level. Some were heavy smokers and so it was not unusual to see them sitting in an aisle seat – taking a rest – as they made their way up.

Kyle Muldrow
Kyle Muldrow on July 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Thank you for the picture! I don’t care if it’s a little grainy…THAT is the Northwest Plaza Cinema I remember!!

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on June 7, 2011 at 10:10 pm

I made an errors in this theatre’s info when I submitted it to CT years ago. 1. The city needs to be changed/updated to St. Ann, MO (instead of St. Louis). 2. The theatre opened as a single screener in 1969 (see JAlex’s post for more detailed info).

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on February 3, 2011 at 11:42 pm

GREAT STORY about the seats! Heh…my mother actually took me to a matinee of “The Big Fix” there when I was a kid. LOL!

fpisarkiewicz
fpisarkiewicz on February 1, 2011 at 5:11 am

I worked at NWP from ‘79 to '84 and it really was a treasure of a place. In fact, my wife and I had our first date there in '78 (The Big Fix with Richard Dreyfuss). My brother-in-law was one of the last managers there, and with his help was able to salvage two seats from the balcony (along with a wide armrest table with a floor light). And with much restoration (and a lot of gum to remove from underneath) I have a nicely-restored pair of seats that I believe are the very two from our first date. Ah the memories.

Kyle Muldrow
Kyle Muldrow on June 4, 2010 at 12:12 am

I second the comments by Chris. This theater was HUGE!!! They probably could have gone to six screens in that building and it still would not have felt cramped. Too bad this one got torn down. Favorite memories of this place are seeing Jungle Book, Chariots Of Fire, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade at this theater. Thanks for the memories, NWP!

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on March 9, 2010 at 11:37 pm

WOW! So hard to believe that building held just 1 screen! Even when they converted it to 4 screens, accomodations were never…EVER…cramped!

Looks like there’s room enough for 6 screens in there!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 21, 2010 at 10:45 am

All the early reports about this theater in Boxoffice do indicate that it opened as a single-screen house, and a very large one at that. The announcement of the June 25, 1969, opening appeared in Boxoffice of June 30, and said that the Northwest Plaza Cinema had 1,700 seats. A slightly longer item in Boxoffice of July 14 included a small photo of the theater, though it looks like it was taken before the building was completed, as there’s no signage.

A brief notice in Boxoffice of November 18, 1974, said that GCC had closed the house for twinning, and the reopening was scheduled for December 20.

JAlex
JAlex on August 20, 2009 at 5:28 pm

To boil it down: GCC opened the Northwest Plaza as a single screen operation in June 1969; converted it to a twin in December 1974; and into a 4-plex in April 1982.

In October 1989 it was announced Wehrenberg would take over GCC’s Missouri theatres 10/31. GCC closed the Northwest Plaza on 10/29, just two days before the Wehrenberg takeover date.

The opening of the Northwest Plaza 9 Cine occurred November 17, 1989.

Kyle Muldrow
Kyle Muldrow on August 15, 2009 at 2:44 am

I better rephrase the first part of my previous post…

JAlex, what I meant to say was it sounded like you said the 4-screen theater at Northwest Plaza closed just after Wehrenberg took it over from General Cinema. The point I was trying to make was that the 4-screener stayed open for a while after Wehrenberg took it over. I’m pretty sure of that, but willing to listen to other facts and/or opinions on this.

My apologies for any confusion I might have caused.

Kyle Muldrow
Kyle Muldrow on August 14, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Actually, I thought Wehrenberg kept the 4-screen outlot theater open for a while until the 9-screen theater inside the mall opened. I distinctly remember going to movies (one was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) at the 4-screen outlot and hearing the all-too-familiar Wehrenberg jingle. The 4-screener did close just before the 9-screener opened, but I don’t believe it was that soon.

Anyways, just saw a story today on the Post-Dispatch’s website saying Northwest Plaza will go into foreclosure on Sept 1:

http://tinyurl.com/n6ywjz

The demise of North St. Louis county continues…

JAlex
JAlex on June 12, 2009 at 7:20 pm

In mid-October 1989 it was announced that Wehrenberg Theatres had purchased the General Cinema operations in the state of Missouri.
On October 29, the Northwest Plaza closed, some two days before the effective date of the takeover. Wehrenberg a few weeks later opened the Northwest Plaza 9 Cine in the newly remodeled, now enclosed, mall.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on May 27, 2009 at 10:12 pm

My mistake for the error…which pales by comparison to the countless other errors about St. Louis theatres made by my accuser.

;)

JAlex
JAlex on January 31, 2009 at 3:41 pm

The retrofitting of the two-screener into four took place in April 1982.

JAlex
JAlex on March 18, 2008 at 4:14 pm

The original single screen auditorium was split into two in time for Christmas 1974 when the films available were “Towering Inferno” and “Island at the Top of the World.” At this time publicity said the original 1800-seat auditorium was now two of about 800 seats.

JAlex
JAlex on August 17, 2007 at 11:49 pm

As already noted, the venue opened as the Northwest Plaza Cinema.
Opening date was June 25, 1969. At opening, touted 1700 seats.

BlueDevilMN
BlueDevilMN on September 3, 2006 at 5:36 pm

My grandparents lived near to here, so I saw a lot of movies at this theatre, as well as the St. Ann. I believe the last movie I saw there was “WarGames.” I don’t remember much about the place, other than it was huge to a child’s eyes. To this day, seeing the General Cinemas logo reminds me of this theatre.

I also seem to remember that it was the site of the very first screening of “Flash Gordon.”

dscheifler
dscheifler on February 8, 2005 at 4:52 am

The correct and advertised name for this GCC location was, I believe, Northwest Plaza Cinema, and it was located at the western-most side of the shopping center.

If I remember correctly, the original auditoriums were not twinned by adding walls down the center from rear to front. Rather, they were split from side to side. Because they were very steeply graded, this created two upper houses and two lower houses, with two separate projection booths – the original booth at the top of the upper auditoriums and the new lower booth essentially behind the screens of the upper auditoriums. Unusual. The projectionists walked countless miles up and down the aisle stairs from booth to booth many times each day.

Northwest Plaza Cinema was a strong performer for GCC in it’s day, with a very strong manager, Dave McCann, in charge during the ‘80s. He ran a very clean theatre, with a friendly and helpful staff.