General Cinema Galleria Five

13350 Dallas Parkway,
Dallas, TX 75240

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: General Cinema Corp.

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Galleria Theater ad for January 2, 1983

This theater was a five screen General Cinema theater that opened on December 17, 1982, soon after the Dallas Galleria had opened. It was built into the mall at the ice rink level and you could very easily miss it if you didn’t know it was there.

Despite not living near the mall, would come to see shows there as didn’t have a lot of alternatives for those living in far north Dallas, Farmers Branch and Carrollton at the time (now we have more theaters than we know what to do with). I remember that it was an unusual design as the box office was a four side desk similar to a mall security or information desk stuck way out between the lobby and the ice rink. The lobby itself was down several steps, no elevator here and definitely not handicap accessible by today’s standards. The auditoriums were traditional box like auditoriums, very small and lined with perforated metal. Often wondered if anyone would ever find us alive if something bad happened as I would occasionally think about how the entire mall was on top of these little auditoriums.

I wasn’t there for the closing on October 17 2000. Remember it was a very hole in the wall type establishment as far as location (very nice though), so it had a really hard time being successful and then the megaplexes started to come online. Simple GC decor for the mid-1980’s.

It was boarded up for years, only fans knew it was there. Then when the Galleria expanded and renovated years earlier, it was finally gutted and turned into concession and restaurant space.

Remember if you made the last show, if you didn’t come in through the Westin hotel, you could come into the Alpha Road entrance and they’d leave a door open with a bypass that took you around whatever store was there at the time and into the mall common area as everything was already closed. Then after the show there never was any security to force you out, so you’d have the run of the mall until/unless you caused trouble. Embarrassed to say I saw “Waterwold” there….

Contributed by k blanco

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

jamesdj on June 26, 2014 at 1:06 am

I worked at this cinema for 7 months in 1985. We never had the good movies, the only big movie I remember having was 1984. The design was not done very well for having people exit the theater and having people waiting to get into the theater. But it did have handicap accessibly right by the stairs that went down to the concession stand there was a door and the hallway ran all the way to the end of the theater and sloped down so that when you got to the end you were at the theater level down by the emergency exit doors. There was also a bathroom on the theater level that was for handicap people. In 1985 none of this was marked because if you went that way you bypassed the ticket taker. When we would sale tickets to handicap people you would call the manager to escort them to the handicap entrance. We would stay after closing and the projectionist would run films for us to watch, we would hang out and drink, party, watch a little of the movie. I spent the night at this cinema many, many, times. For all us kids that worked there in 1985 and we were all friends from before we stated working there it was one big party all the time. The managers were blind to all the things we did there. I have great memories of this place, the mirrored walls in the lobby and the benches with the padded red vinyl covering that were along the walls. The room there we pop the pop-corn. We would pop pop-corn for hours and put it in bags to be used later. (GCC did not use fresh pop-corn then it could be as much as 2 to 3 days old) That was the easy money sitting and popping corn all day. In my opinion it was not managed well and need more oversight from someone outside of the theater. Wow how this has brought back some memories

CaptainRob on December 16, 2015 at 2:18 pm

I worked at this theater from November of 87 until April of 90. Mostly as Assistant Manager. Just went over to the Galleria Mall last week. The theater isn’t so much as demolished as entombed. The Bennigans next door is gone and the entire space that was in front of the theater entrance is now part of the food court. But the outside marque is still there. Although covered over and all black. I had come from the UA Prestonwood Creek. Which had been the busiest theater in their circuit. And expertly run as well. The Galleria was totally different. I believe that the GM, Bob Rogers had only started a couple of months prior. And the previous GM was Kevin Moore. He had left to open the GCC Collin Creek in Plano. And then got fired just because the DM didn’t like him. Galleria didn’t have any discipline at all and was a total mess. The Turkish Assistant I replaced was probably insane. he got moved to Caruth Plaza. Or second GM, Greg Attaway, told us that he’d had heard alot of wild stories about the guy. While I was there he had an old guy that worked for th phone company come in on Thursday nights and pop popcorn for the entire week. And then take some guys out and change the marquee. He’d smoke cigars while popping and occasionally we’d find a cigar butt in the popcorn. The company made all of the theaters display signs that said that their popcorn was popped fresh. It just wasn’t served fresh.

victor_m on February 13, 2016 at 7:14 am

Does anyone know the film projectionist at GCC Valley View ? Or anyone that worked there in 1984 ?

Roy Jenkins
Roy Jenkins on February 28, 2018 at 2:13 pm

victor_m, I worked briefly as Chief of Staff at GCC Valley View in late 1983. One of the projectionists there at the time was David Roberts, who became a good friend of mine. There was an older union projectionist, as well. Searching my memory, I think his name was Roland Cross.

For the record, I worked at GCC in many capacities in the 1980s and 90s, starting as a concessionist at the Galleria shortly after it opened. Also worked at the Prestonwood IV as Assistant Manager, Park Plaza in Arlington as Manager, and then much later on at Galleria and Collin Creek in Plano as projectionist. —Roy Jenkins

victor_m on March 1, 2018 at 9:40 am

Thanks Roy….Jim Massoud my brother knew David back then. Jim has muscular dystrophy now . Jim was a drummer in a jazz trio at a Regal Row hotel at that time. I apologize for asking but Could I meet you and or David to talk very briefly about the VV. Cinema and the people who were there ?

CaptainRob on March 1, 2018 at 11:23 am

Hey Roy. I (Robert Murphy) worked with you at the Galleria from 1987 to 89 when Bob Rogers was GM. Then I got shoved over to Valley View in 90. After Valley View closed I got calls for a few years from “Brother” Bill Whatley checking up on me. It’s ashamed that the only way you can tell there was ever a theatre at Galleria is the old blacked out marquee on the NorthWest corner of the mall property.

Roy Jenkins
Roy Jenkins on March 1, 2018 at 1:37 pm

Victor, David and I are not in close contact at the moment, but you are welcome to email me at roy (at), and I can fill you in on what I know.

Robert, I remember you well. It’s amazing how much the ice rink level at the Galleria has changed in appearance. It is a struggle to even visualize where the theatre was.

Brother Bill Whatley was something of an odd icon. I knew him well since I was a 16 year old usher at Northtown 6 Theatres. Finally verified that he died some years back. My very good friend Kevin Moore also died about 10 years ago. He was only 47.

Roy Jenkins
Roy Jenkins on July 9, 2023 at 9:11 am

Recently, on a Facebook GCC group, I saw some actual photos of the interior of what used to be the Galleria Cinema. They were taken by a mall employee. It’s kind of sad…completely gutted. The backs of the restaurants encroach on what used to be the front of the theatre. The sloped floors of the auditoriums still exist, but all the dividing walls have been knocked down. You can still see where the screens used to be, but most is hard to recognize. That area is used for mall storage, mostly of the giant Christmas tree and other decorations.

dallasmovietheaters on July 18, 2023 at 7:35 am

The Galleria Cinema I•II•III•IV•V operated for nearly 18 years by General Cinema Corporation (GCC). It launched December 17, 1982 - within two months of the Dallas Galleria’s launch on October 30, 1982. It would miss its leasing expiry with General Cinema Corporation (GCC) in economic freefall closing on October 17, 2000 just prior to the chain’s departure in Chapter 7 bankruptcy a year later. The GCC Galleria Cinema I-V venue operated in the Mall’s basement and was simply boarded up and used for storage. Many years later, the former theater’s lobby space was finally redesigned for restaurant usage. Its sloped floor auditorium space was not recaptured for usage as the Mall’s high vacancy rates in its upper floors proved much less costly to redevelop.

When the Galleria took Houston by storm in the 1970s, its developer, Gerald D. Hines, was ready to follow up his mall’s 1977 Galleria II expansion with a Galleria in Dallas, The original concept for the Galleria had been announced by George Poston in 1974 and, upon combining with Hines in 1977, looked to be a “go” and a sure-fire winner. The Poston-Hines’ Galleria was ready to feature high-end retailers Sakowitz, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue as anchors. Its proposed location would eventually be where the Galleria was built. But the Poston-Hines concept was scuttled in 1978 when the Prestonwood Mall was being built a mile north of Valley View Mall - itself, just blocks from the proposed Galleria.

General Cinema operated a twin-screen venue in the Valley View Mall opening in 1973 and operating there for about 20 years. Neiman Marcus had bolted to the new Prestonwood Mall and Sakowitz couldn’t wait any longer and opened its store in Sakowitz Village about a mile away in 1979. Each of those facilities would house cinemas. The Sakowitz Village was placed at Belt Line Road and the Dallas Parkway and in 1979, GCC created its Prestonwood Cinema IV there. Meanwhile, AMC opened an exterior cinema at the Prestonwood Mall.

In 1981, the Hines’ Galleria plan was back on following a short recession in the area. GCC had announced plans to add a single “Northpark III & IV” styled-auditorium as its “A” screen to become the GCC Montfort V. That project never occurred as Hines signed GCC to his Dallas Galleria concept late in 1981 with the chain turning its attention to its Galleria space that it had acquired that same year. Gyo Obata of the firm Hellmuth, Obata & Kassebaum were the main architects for the Galleria project including the cinema.

Newspaper accounts of GCC’s Galleria development promised an experience between the North Park I & II and the Northpark III & IV concepts. It sounded as swanky as the impressive Galleria Mall. The Galleria Mall opened in October 30, 1982 retaining Saks Fifth Avenue as an anchor and now joined by Chicago-based Marshall Field’s and San Francisco-based Gump’s. GCC was supposed to have opened at that time but wasn’t quite ready. However, it did launch within two months of the center’s start date opening on December 17, 1982 following a gala opening the previous night with the film, “Best Friends.” Two additional screens were ready for opening night with “Still of the Night” and “Kiss Me Goodbye” joining as opening attractions. But the venue was anything but a home run never achieving the grandeur of the Galleria’s ambitious mall design, the magic of the neighboring skating rink or even GCC’s promise to be more Northpark III/IV and less like a lesser mall theater.

As an aside, this was a favorite theater for me, personally. But the shortcomings abounded. First, the location within the Galleria was just off. While it was located in a high visibility mall near the bustling skating rink in the Galleria’s basement, it could easily be missed. It was challenging to view the cinema even peering down from the busy mall’s main floor. In-mall wayfinding and advertising was slight. As has been noted by commenters, rest room access was not well thought out and accessibility was even worse.

A second - and even more damning problem - was auditorium design which that proved to be much closer to the GCC Prestonwood than anyone anticipated with long, “shoe box” designs instead of the promised Northpark III & IV design. Further, Sunday night screenings were very challenging to navigate as the Mall was ostensibly closed at 6p on virtually all Sundays. Having a private show on Sunday night was one of the great joys of the GCC Galleria. And posts by employees on the site, Fickr, showed bored employees taking naps when all five screens were empty on Sunday late nights.

For General Cinema, having three theaters in such close proximity could have been viewed as a luxury were it not for GCC’s vastly superior locations at Northpark Mall (Nothaprk West I & II) and Northpark East across the highway (Northpark East III & IV). Those two locations were far more economically advantageous, had far better auditoriums and technology, and were destination venues. The three North Dallas locations were for convenience and not destination locations. Further complicating the profitability of all three North Dallas GCC locations were superior locations built by AMC with its Prestwood V (opening May of 1980) and United Artists with its UA Prestonwood Creek V (December 1980) each just two miles away. The majority of moviegoers selected the AMC and the UA as destination points for major films in that part of town. It was a zone within Dallas that had become the second most economically viable next to its Central Zone.

But with leases signed, GCC decided to keep all of the locations going until finally dumping its Valley View twin screener on January 5, 1992. General Cinema’s fortunes faded quickly thereafter as its aging multiplexes were being decimated all over the country by AMC, United Artists, and Cinemark - amongst others - building megaplexes in the 1995-2000 time range that featured 12 to 30 screens. In Dallas, the Cinemark 17 was built in 1995 less than four miles from the Galleria and the Loews Keystone was just five miles away opening in 1997. They, too, were destination locations for major films. The GCC Prestonwood / Montfort theater stayed afloat only by shifting to discount status somehow lasting to its ending on August 20, 1998 and, according to GCC, well beyond its profitability.

In a period of just a few months in 1998, GCC would additionally shutter the majority of its DFW locations including the Carrollton VI, Redbird V-X, Northpark III&IV, Town East VI, Town East V, White Settlement, and Collin Creek. Another wave of closures for the circuit took place on October 5, 2000 when four of the remaining seven DFW locations were closed. The company announced its Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan and the good news is that it said it was confidence of continuing as a leaner operation with its three complexes in DFW. It was such a small number of venues that it would have seemed impossible in the DFW marketplace less than ten years prior.

GCC gave the Galleria a vote of confidence not only saving it from the October 5th closures but in promoting it during its October 11, 2000 filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The Galleria, the Furneaux Creek, and the newly-built Irving Mall 14 (reopening there in 1998) as part of GCC’s active and leaner 73-venue portfolio. But to highlight how badly positioned General Cinema was, that the sleepy and poorly designed Galleria V was viewed as one of its three most viable DFW locations moving forward spotlighted that General Cinema’s survival to industry experts had gone from a long shot to impossible.

And, within two weeks after it had gotten its vote of confidence, GCC rethought the plan as it was struggling to get bookings and to pay for advertising. GCC wisely, though sadly, quickly closed the Galleria and Furneaux Creek on the same date of October 17, 2000. “Space Cowboys” appears to be the last film shown. That evening’s showtimes - though posted and with employees - were not run despite a couple of patrons showing up. The Wednesday and Thursday posted shows were also not presented. Those with gift cards were directed to the only remaining DFW GCC in Irving Mall. That facility would operate through GCC’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy announcement one year later in October of 2001 to AMC’s December 2001 takeover of GCC locations.

The Galleria I-V theater space was expensive to convert and was simply boarded up and used for storage for a lengthy period. In late 2002, an architect re-envisioned the space with a plan that would turn the basement area into a restaurant court. Parts of the theatre - especially its lobby - were later retrofitted for the small restaurants. The auditorium spaces, due to their sloped floors, still remained in the 2020s as the Galleria struggled to remained viable with vacancy rates rising especially post-COVID 19 pandemic. The Galleria Mall did have the distinction of outlasting the Prestonwood Mall which was demolished in 2004 and the neighboring Valley View Mall which was demolished in 2023. And its Cinema did have bragging rights as being one of the final three locations for General Cinema in DFW.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on October 28, 2023 at 11:15 am

Whatever became of “dallasmovietheaters?” The comment above, made on July 18th of 2023, appears to be their final contribution to Cinema Treasures.

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