GCC Northeast 4

Roosevelt Boulevard and Welsh Road,
Philadelphia, PA 19115

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Showing 1 - 25 of 63 comments

rivest266 on October 8, 2016 at 12:15 pm

December 25th, 1965 and November 9th, 1973 grand opening ads in the photo section.

Moviemanager on June 1, 2016 at 9:37 am

I managed the Northeast Cinema 4 from the early 1980’s into the 90’s with Fontana, Frank Casino, Rafferty, and Fred Buffum. I also first met my wife there. I also opened and managed the new 4 Orleans Theaters opened behind the old Orleans Theater wich was co-managed by Wayne Agnew. I additionally managed the Baderwood in Jenkintown for the last year it was owned by General Cinema and also co-managed the Andorra theater in Roxborough. I have since worked for a credit union for a few years and now work for a city utility for the last 28 years. There was no job to compare with my time working at the movie theaters, so many good people, so many good times. A special thanks to the core of the Northeast employee crew, Edna Knowls the long-time box office girl who worked there for years, Marty Marizzio the weekday afternoon usher, and Florence(Flo) the Monday through Friday afternoon candy girl. Projectionist Marty King, Fred Asterito, and Russ Ward. And noone will forget the long-time maintenance man Joe Zuck who worked for the theater up until the very end. I sat in the parking lot after the building had been burned out and I admit I cried, the memories, the joys, the relationships, thanks for remembering.

TheALAN on December 30, 2013 at 3:04 am

GCC Northeast closed in 2000. On May 1, 2004 the theater building was badly damaged by fire. After extensive rehabilitation in 2008, the Social Security Administration opened offices on one side of the building. Star Career Academy now occupies the other side of the building.

TheALAN on December 30, 2013 at 2:32 am

TheaterBluff1: It seems that every comment you post has to have a political spin. Boring! Let’s get back to movie theaters and let’s skip your personal views on politics!

rockerreds on April 16, 2009 at 4:53 pm

I grew up four blocks from the site of The GCC Northeast.It opened in 1965,not 1955.I saw many great films(e.g.,Chinatown)there and a few bad ones too.I lived in the area until May 1982 and probably saw my last film there in the early 90s(my mother still lived near there).I was quite saddened whem I read of its closing in a Daily news article-lots of great memories there.

qpat00 on December 29, 2008 at 6:38 am

in the 80’s and early 90’s we used to go to the GCC at blue star shopping center in berkeley heights, NJ on route 22. The theatre was always packed, i think they had 4 or 5 screens. Big front foyer with tall glass, quadruple ticket booth outside. good movies had lines of people across the access road that went to back of the building and stretched donw the sidewalk fronting other mall stores. In the 90’s they had promotions of ticket books where you pay $25 and got maybe 10 tickets for the movies. (i think that was the cost) that worked out to about half price. i think movies were $5 in the mid 90’s. i went there all the time, more often then the westfield or cranford cinemas.

In mid 90’s it just suddenly disappeared, i always wondered what happened, because there was no competition around for quite many miles. It was suddenly renovated into additional stores for the mall.

kencmcintyre on September 27, 2008 at 11:21 am

I saw Paul Newman in “The Verdict” at this theater in 1982. Rest in peace.

TheaterBuff1 on May 23, 2008 at 10:54 pm

Eddie Jacobs, if you can make sense of the current politics governing Northeast Philadelphia, enough so as to bypass its corruption, raising the money needed to restore that available space as a neighborhood theater once more shouldn’t be a problem. Er, unless in addition to that money you’d also have to come up with other money to pay off certain shady people regularly, in which case no matter how much money you raise would be sufficient. But if you know how to cut through all that crap, you certainly would grab the market of what right now is a huge void — most especially now that the AMC Orleans is [ahem] gone.

Eddiej1984 on May 23, 2008 at 9:15 pm

No understaning on that, someone with the money can do that, lol

TheaterBuff1 on May 20, 2008 at 10:00 pm

Eddie Jacobs, are we to understand that you might have interests in acquiring that available space that was part of the GCC Northeast and remake it a movie theater once more? If so, I think that’s great news, and I wish you all the best with you’re endeavor! Let us know how it progresses!

Eddiej1984 on May 18, 2008 at 10:13 pm

It looks ok from when I see it on the bus (route 14).

TheaterBuff1 on May 17, 2008 at 10:48 pm

As “available space” goes, is it still a burnt out shell looking like it’s on the brink of collapse? Or did they clean it up some?

Eddiej1984 on May 17, 2008 at 11:43 am

The unused portion of the building actually now says “Space Available”

TheaterBuff1 on May 8, 2008 at 11:02 pm

Ah, so that’s what the latest is, though it’s weird that SS would move into one half while leaving the other half a complete mess. Maybe with the SS now being anchored there, it might be safe for somebody to take over the other half and put something new in that. On the good news from, aside from sentimental value, the building itself was of no historic value, not even in the realm of cinema treasures. Architecturally, there was simply nothing to it, at least going by the outside. I wasn’t able to get in to see more. Architecturally, the AMC Orleans had been a bit better, but not much. Still, it’s a shame there aren’t any theaters around that area now at all. But given Northeast Philadelphia’s current political climate I don’t see how there could be. Farther north there’s still the United Artists Grant Plaza Cinema 9, plus the AMC Franklin Mills, but how much on solid ground they are at this point is hard to say. For so far Philadelphia’s new mayor, Mayor Nutter, has shown he’s no friend to the Northeast. So who knows?

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on May 8, 2008 at 5:45 pm

A good portion of the former Cinema I & II (GCC Northeast 4) is now in use as a Social Security Office. This office is in the portion of the building that used to be Cinema II (Later Screens #3 & 4).

The portion of the building that was Cinema I (Later Screens #1 & 2) is still burned out from the fire that occured 5 to 6 years after this theatre closed.

markp on May 7, 2008 at 10:27 pm

Points well taken.

TheaterBuff1 on May 7, 2008 at 9:20 pm

I was paraphrasing John Wayne in the movie RIO LOBO when I used the term “unhealthy” in this instance. What I was getting at was that something very strange was behind this theater’s demise and the subsequent fire, but whatever that strange thing is, it’s the kind of thing you could end up getting killed over if you ask too many questions about it.

I haven’t been over there to see it since the last time I took a series of photos of it — heeding my own advice as it were — but I assume it looks very much the same as it did the last time I saw it. Just rotted away a bit more. For seriously, given the unresolved mysteries that still surround it, and “nobody knowing anything,” a “Cold Case” type situation if you will, would you want to try introducing anything new in that same spot? No offense, but with your residing in what some now refer to as the “Soprano State,” is this all that hard for you to understand?

When it comes to where Northeast Philadelphia, which this theater was named after, stands at this point in time, keep in mind it’s no longer the northeastern extension of Philadelphia with rural areas outside it in all directions the way it once was. All those onetime rural areas just outside it have been heavily developed, meaning that anything that Northeast Philadelphia tries to do now get shot down by those heavily developed areas outside it. By rights, and by law, those onetime rural areas outside Northeast Philadelphia were supposed to have been kept rural, America needs to protect what farmland it has. But it didn’t happen for whatever reason, and now Northeast Philadelphia is falling victim to that, along with other outlying parts of the city. Any efforts to try to get it back up its feet again — and well-run theaters in Northeast Philadelphia would certainly help in this regard — get quickly shot down. And right now the mayor of Philadelphia is such (Mayor Nutter) that if he gets any demands coming at him from Northeast Philadelphia combined with demands coming at him from the intensely developed areas outside it, the only demands he heeds are those coming from those intensely developed areas outside the city which aren’t even part of the city, while giving Northeast Philadelphia the full invisible treatment, just to drive home what type of a mayor he is.

So yes, under those conditions, would you want to try starting up anything new — theater or otherwise — in that spot where the GCC Northeast was? If so, all I can say is be my guest, while you better have plenty of back up that you know you can absolutely count on when the chips are down. The last owner/operator of the GCC Northeast obviously didn’t.

markp on May 7, 2008 at 6:25 am

I remember in my early years with GCC when I did the jobs on the floor, and later after I joined the projectionists union, always hearing from my DM about Northeast. He would always tell us how this theatre was one of the better grossing theatres in the entire circuit. Being here in N.J. we were in the same division, and I can say, this theatre was always the talk. It sounds really sad to hear what has become of it. Is it really so bad that its unhealthy to be near? And if so why do they leave it, or has it since been demolished and put to rest.

TheaterBuff1 on May 6, 2008 at 10:12 pm

Dave, the last batch of photos I shot of the burnt-out hulk of what had once been the GCC Northeast — taken in 2006 or so — the theater looked so awful, believe me I don’t think you’d want to see them! The GCC Northeast and what befell it is a classic case of, the laws are there to protect you except when you really need them. For as you poke around the ruins of what had been the GCC Northeast you can only ask, what happened the hell happened here, exactly? You see the remnants of what had been a bike stand out front, the front entrance itself vandalized beyond all recognition, the creepiness of those who reside or run businesses around there now, and the only thing you’re compelled to feel is, just get away from this, just get away from this, you didn’t see this, whatever happened here you’re better off not knowing, just letting it go, get away from that thing. Either that, or try to frustratingly make sense of all the meanness you encounter when you try to get to the bottom of what really did happen there. And unless you’re an on the up-and-up fed with plenty of backup, I would suggest that wouldn’t be very healthy…

dave-bronx™ on May 6, 2008 at 8:06 pm

So does anybody have any photos of the Northeast Cinema they can post on flickr or photobucket?

TheaterBuff1 on March 28, 2007 at 6:41 pm

There’s already some other type of creepy governmental operation near to the former GCC Northeast building which, as you say, is being converted to a creepy Social Security center. It might be called PATH, but I’m not fully sure, only that it’s all very creepy.

And to think that whole area had been refreshingly part of the modern world at one time. And now it’s like it is today — totally creepy in the middle of broad daylight and God knows what it must be like around there at night. And these days is there any sort of rule of law around there other than fear itself? I wish I could learn more about some of the things that went down right before that theater went under. Today the modern world races to and fro by that once fully up to date section of Northeast Philadelphia along always-busy Route 1 but nowadays always steadfastly oblivious to it. I’d be surprised if penetration of those who do stop ever goes beyond Chuck e Cheese itself. And the Burlington Coat Factory that now occupies the former E.J. Korvette’s building just doesn’t seem like it would be much of a draw. But, I suppose it’s just how a certain group of people like it. Passing motorists on busy Roosevelt Boulevard won’t veer off into areas that don’t look very interesting.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on March 27, 2007 at 4:38 pm

Lostharvestmovie, the Chuck e Cheese is still at the Northeast (Korvette’s) Shopping center. the former GCC Northeast 4 (Cinema I & II) Theatre is being conveted into a Social Security center

TheaterBuff1 on March 22, 2007 at 7:55 pm

What’s really surreal is if you venture over to where the remnnants of the GCC Northeast is now and you have memories of when that was a really classy suburban mall, which it was in the beginning — late 1950s-early 1960s. The mall itself, originally called E.J. Korvettes, stood for “eight Jewish Korean war veterans,” and was the concoction that eight army buddies dreamed up. In the beginning years there was a plaza-like area between the E.J. Corvettes department store itself and where the theater rose up — called “Cinema I & II” at the outset — that had a large outdoor birdcage as its centerpiece filled with colorful tropical birds. And the theater itself, with its simplistic streamlined design, was all very novel at the time. And every aspect of the complex held up very beautifully for a long stretch of time.

But then I don’t know what happened. It just all went south in one foul swoop it seems, perhaps more symbolized by the birdcage itself then anything else. I remember looking in that birdcage one day and it was just dead within and fully neglected. I don’t remember seeing dead birds, but the exotic plants inside had all given way to the everyday weeds of that area. And yes, it was creepy.

But why did this happen? For the location of that mall complex was good. It was right on Roosevelt Boulevard (Route #1) a major U.S. highway, after all, had more than ample parking, and so on. You can’t say it couldn’t compete with the malls because it was a mall. And you can’t say the GCC Northeast Theatre couldn’t compete with the multiplexes because it was a multiplex. But something between the late 1950s ideals and its strange demise went really weird. And that’s been a weird weird place around there ever since. Yet so strange, given how it is right alongside the busy Boulevard. They always say “location location location,” while this was location, and still is, really.

I don’t know, really bad politics, I guess. What else could it be? And though I haven’t been back over that way for a long time now, I guess that theater’s still the burned out hulk it was when I saw it last and shot some photos of it. It just looked so hopeless when I saw it last that I took my photos and then got the hell away from there…er, that is, before the dreaded sundown had a chance to settle in. And you’re right, I think back now and it was creepy.

But it wasn’t always…

lostharvestmovie on March 22, 2007 at 6:19 pm

The GCC was always a little strange; i thought it was on the verge of closing since I started going there in the early 70s… man, did I see a lot of movies here… snuck into Return of the Jedi on opening day when I was broke in 11th grade…. weird area, crappy mall.. is chucky cheese and that lousy pinball/ pool arace still in that mall? The last flick I saw there was either Event Horizon or The Arrival… I never saw The Town That Dreaded Sundown but I remember the poster hanging outside (creepy poster) in that neat poster display cases they had… me and my buddies used to go see the midnight showings of The Wall or Romero’s zombie movies… it was the second time that I went to see Night of the Living Dead… they were pretty good with the midnight shows in the early 80s… Scarface… I even caught a neato double feature (1976) of War of the Worlds and When Worlds Collide at the ‘ol Gcc Northeast… sad but time marches on…. check out my free weird philly area based fiction: www.lostharvest.com

TheaterBuff1 on August 28, 2006 at 6:26 pm

I saw “The Devil’s Brigade” there soon after it opened in the mid-60s and was under a different name, while I’m pretty sure the last movie I ever saw there was “Carrie,” which was likely sometime in 1974 or ‘75. And at the time it was up and running it was a pretty good theater. Though not a palace, in a streamlined sort of way it did have some class to it. I can remember seeing its green neon sign at night when passing by on the Boulevard which always was very inviting. But when it folded, and I never understood fully why it did, whatever class that theater building had went with the management when they vacated it. And the last time I went to see it, at that point a burnt-out hulk, I found it all but impossible to even begin to match up how it looked at that point with what I remembered it to be in the mid-70s. For what I saw wasn’t sad, it was far beyond anything sad. In studying its architecture I had hoped to pick up at least one or two good ideas. But I remember how very let down I was. For what inspirations are to be found in looking at very basic cinderblock walls? Still, why did it fold, why did it fold, when it seems it had been a very well managed theater? They always say of older theaters that they can’t compete with the newer multiplexes. But in this case it was one of the newer multiplexes! So clearly something strange had to happen there to cause it to fold the way it did, some strange thing that politicians and other sinister types of today tell us we have no need to know about. Still, I would like to know what exactly forced it to fold so abruptly. Just for reference sake that is.