Cedarvale Cinema 1 & 2

3994 River Valley Way,
Eagan, MN 55406

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Jerry Lewis Cinemas

Previous Names: Jerry Lewis Twin Cinema.

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No theaters found within 30 miles

The Jerry Lewis Twin Cinema in the Cedarvale Shopping Center was the first of what was supposed to be multiple Jerry Lewis franchised cinemas in the Twin Cities area in the early-1970’s. But the circuit was a failure nationwide and the franchisees grew disenchanted with their experiences. The story of the Cedarvale is fairly typical of the Lewis experiment that went very badly.

In August of 1965, plans for the Cedarvale Shopping Center were announced in a tract of farm land near Eagan, a growing community south of St. Paul and just five miles from downtown Bloomington. The delayed center opened theatre-less in 1968. Eagan’s population grew over 200% from 1960 to 1970. The Shopping Center announced a major indoor expansion in 1969 which would immediately bring outparcel buildings for fast food and other destinations and would eventually lead to a two-level enclosed shopping mall, the Cedarvale Shopping Mall.

A group of businesspersons decided it was perfect for a new theatre - a franchise of the also fast-growing Jerry Lewis Cinemas. The Jerry Lewis Twin Cinema in Cedarvale Shopping Center seemed well-timed. It was located at the former 3994 Cedarvale Drive and between the Applebaum’s Grocery Store and Ben Franklin anchors. The automated theatre pledged only family-friendly fare for Eagan. As only one of two multi-level malls operating in the early-1970’s, the center was a destination for the Twin Cities.

The Jerry Lewis Twin Cinema opened with fanfare on October 1, 1971 with the films, “Lawman” with Bert Lancaster and “The Anderson Tapes”, starring Sean Connery. Top 40 WeeGee (WDGY) Disc Jockey Johnny Canton spun records and gave away records as the warm up act. But following the festivities, trouble was ahead for both the shopping center and the theatre.

Within a year and a half of the theatres opening, Jerry Lewis Cinema franchisees were suing the Circuit and its parent company, Network Cinema Corporation for improper pricing and most were experiencing problems with the “one button” turnkey operations which made running the cinemas challenging. One advertisement for the Cedarvale location simply said all shows on a Monday were “sold out” - likely indicating technical issues. Network Cinema and Jerry Lewis filed bankruptcy and moved to dissolution as other lawsuits were piling up in 1973.

The silver lining for the Cedarvale location was that it hadn’t apparently paid its final franchise fee installment primarily because they felt that Network Cinema had skimmed money and charged inflated prices for equipment and supplies. On January 11, 1973, the theatre re-emerged Lewis-less as the Cedarvale Cinema 1 & 2. Meanwhile, the Cedarvale Mall would have its own problems when a new highway was built cutting off vision of the mall from the highway and causing a labyrinthian path for potential shoppers just trying to get from one side of the highway to the shopping center.

Cedarvale Cinema 1 & 2 closed on February 8, 1976 with Peter Haskell in “The Legend of Earl Durand” and Alain Delon in “No Way Out”. The theatre had company with six other fast food restaurants going out of business around it. The Mall would struggle into 1988 with a major wave of large stores closing demoting it to “greyscale” status - a term akin to a “dead mall. The mall somehow limped along to early-2007 when it was mercifully closed and has since been razed in favor of an outlet mall.

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters
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