Cinema I & II
330 Bowden Drive,
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Previously operated by: Carmike Cinemas, Cineplex Odeon, Interstate Theatres Inc. & Texas Consolidated Theaters Inc., Plitt Theatres
Previous Names: Cinema Twin
Located in Waco, Texas this small twin screen theatre went by the name Cinema I and II. Each screen had 400-seats. It opened December 25, 1974 with Al Pacino in “The Godfather: Part II” & Roger Moore in The Man with the Golden Gun". Each screen had 400-seats. Simple operation, another run of the mill twin theatre built to view a movie in and nothing more.
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Cinema 1 & 2 was opened by ABC Interstate on Christmas Day 1974 at 330 Bowden Drive. To show how the balance of theater-going had changed in Waco, the original Godfather played for months downtown at the Orpheum. Now the “Godfather 2” road show was the grand opening film for the suburban twin screener. Meanwhile, ABC Interstate would close its downtown Waco Theatre on Dec. 15, 1974.
The theatre was run by 40-year Interstate theater veteran Claude C.H. Stewart of Interstate’s 25th St. Theatre and Lake Air D.I. — as well as the deposed Waco. The 12,300 facility had identical 400-seat auditoriums for a total of 800 seats. Resplendent in red — from the wall-to-wall curtains, acoustic wall treatments and high back upholstered lounger chairs — even the leather seats in the waiting areas were red.
This was another of the twin-screen theaters by Interstate that had the turnstiles at the entrance in which patrons had to drop tokens to enter. The theater featured a Century Projector with Xenon lamps. The long-running “Jaws” was such a smash that the theater said it could have sold twice as many tickets per screen on some nights. From 1976 to 1980, the theater was advertised as Cinema Twin. This theater was supposed to become part of the 57-acre Sunset Mall. That delayed project wouldn’t open until 1980 then called the Richland Mall. With ABC-Interstate now in control of Plitt Theatre Circuit, Plitt would launch the Cinema 3 & 4 in Richland Mall at 6001 W. Waco Dr. And the Cinema Twin would return to its original name of Cinema 1 & 2.
Information about the I & II goes as follows:
In living color, the theater’s structure is concrete and steel surrounded by spacious well-lighted paved free parking areas, and exterior features include massive concrete walls with embedded native rock in panel form highlighted by bronze cylindrical light fixtures and a centrally located entrance with a large overhanging canopy of white marblecrete supported on columns. In the center of the theater’s front is the dual-window’s box office. On each side of the office are separate entrance doors for each auditorium, with screen #1 being led at the right, and on the left is screen #2, with 400 seats each in both screens in total bringing a grand total to 800 seats. The I & II opened with a road show engagement of “The Godfather Part II” at Screen #1, and “The Man With The Golden Gun” at Screen #2. Entrances lead into spacious lobby areas which serves the auditoriums with the lobby separated by a striking custom-made concession stand, lighted from above. The lobby area features a terrazzo floor, acoustic ceilings on two levels, Brazilian rosewood paneled walls and black formic covered doors. Adjacent to each auditorium entrance is a carpeted waiting area with red leather seats along the walls. The end of the lobby contains lounges for both genders and contains a bi-level drinking fountain on a black formica background at the center of the wall. Both auditoriums were identically the same size with the entry areas, aisles, and lobby seating areas are carpeted in all wool. Drapes of red damask material adorn auditorium walls, extending from ceiling to floor and from the entrance to the wall0and-wall screens. The seats were set in fully upholstered form-padded high-back lounger chairs covered in bright red nylon fabric, and set on the specially engineered red cement decks in a staggered pattern with wide spacing for maximum viewing comfort and easy ingress and egress without disturbing seated patrons. In the mezzanine out of sight is the nerve center of both auditoriums is the projection booth and equipment room.
The I & II was eventually part of the Sunset Mall, an enclosed shopping center being developed by Jack Jacobs & his company of Chicago, being located on a 57-acre tract and 730,000 squared feet.
It was later operated by Plitt, then Cineplex Odeon, and finally Carmike.