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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.
Architect - David Rockwell
There were three Boyes Theater buildings. Gerald MacPerhason opened this third and final location on November 6, 1948 at 96 Boyes Boulevard. The old Thomas Organ that had been situated in the previous theater - it having launched May 20, 1925 - was placed here and remained until it was sold in 1961. The original theatre appears to have opened in 1918.
The New Boyes Theatre was converted to widescreen in 1956 to present CInemaScope titles. Alton W. Finlay took on the theater along with two Petulauma theaters. The Boyes Theatre drew the ire of the community becoming a long-running adult theater beginning in 1971 during the height of the porno chic era of movie exhibition. The theatre closed in style with “Deep Throat” and “The Devil in Miss Jones” at the end of its thirty-year lease on April 30, 1978. In October of 1978, the theatre was converted to a Western Auto retail store.
And finally - and mercifully - the former theatre was razed in March and April of 2023.
This final chapter in movie exhibition history - and one hopes it will be a lengthy chapter - will be challenging to witness for theatre aficionados. At the same time, it’s equally worthy of recognizing the efforts of those facing insurmountable odds to keep their theaters going as long as they can or could. Well done, Regent / New 400. We salute you.
The Elvis Arvada location closed on March 16, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic along with Elvis Cinemas other two locations. The Arvada showed outdoor movies on the face of the building as a drive-in during the pandemic before reopening late in the year. The location then switched to a first-run house and was completely reseated in 2022. However, it was permanently closed along with many movie theaters due to dwindling audiences in the streaming era on February 28, 2023. The other two Elvis locations had also closed - the Elvis Tiffany Plaza Movies 6 in December 2022 and the Littleton Elvis Cinemas Kipling 6 in February of 2023 - ending the fledgling circuit.
Closed as the Elvis Tiffany Plaza Cinemas 6 on December 4, 2022
The Temple announced its final day of operation as June 29, 2023.
Manos Quality Theatres Enterprises opened this as the Mercer Mall Cinemas 8 as an outparcel building to the Mercer Mall in Bluefield, West Virginia on November 16 1990 with a benefit screening. It replaced an interior mall cinema that reportedly had launched when the Mercer Mall opened in 1980. On November 19, 1993, Carmike Theatres bought out the 1912-founded circuit started by Michael Manos - then operated by Ted Manos. The venue became the Carmike Cinemas 8.
In 2016, AMC bought the 1968-founded circuit started by C.L. Patrick and named after sons Carl and Mike (CarMike / Carmike). AMC rebranded all of its locations as one of three designations AMC Theatres, AMC CLASSIC, and AMC Dine-In on February 28, 2017. The majority of inherited - and especially older - locations including Carmike and Kerasotes locations - were given the Classic designation that included the Carmike “C” logo distinction. The Mercer Mall 8-plex was among the vast majority of Carmike locations rebranded. It became knows as the AMC CLASSIC Bluefield 8 on March 1, 2017.
The AMC CLASSIC Bluefield 8 closed on March 16, 2020 along with most other hardtop theaters in the U.S. due to the COVID-19 pandemic. AMC reopened its CLASSIC Bluefield 8 on September 4, 2020. In the streaming era, the circuit closed the AMC CLASSIC Bluefield 8 on February 26, 2023 at the end of a leasing period.
February 28, 2023 is the final date. A burst pipe and argument with the City of International Falls seems to have been the final straw.
Eugene Phalan’s $100,000 new-build Allis Theatre was announced in 1925 as a replacement for the existing Allis. It launched for Phalan’s Allis Amusemements Co. on September 4, 1925 with Motiograph projectors, a Barton pipe organ and Stafford seating.
The Landmark returned to operations in the Fall of 2022 apparently with little to no leasing payment obligation and just on weekends. Decisions were made during the week as to whether to reopen on the upcoming weekend making planning a visit challenging. Sunday nights were the most difficult with the Mall locked at 6p and an unmarked entry in a loading dock area being the only chance of finding your way to a Sunday evening showing.
Landmark threw in the towel and removed the cinema from its website ceasing operations on January 24, 2023. Final screenings using just four auditoriums were “Puss ‘n’ Boots,” “Avatar: Way of Water,” “M3gan,” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
Likely because the Orpheum had a well-publicized Barton organ at its 1922 launch, the Columbia inaugurated its pipe organ music with a Barton instrument on April 26, 1923 (ad in photos). The Columbia Theatre had closed as a silent house on May 23, 1929 with Mary Carr in “Some Mother’s Boy.”
Tracing the history of the instrument, it was sold to a private individual in 1929 “very cheap” through a classified ad. That individual, Mary Dillenback, then donated it for its next installation at the Lake Geneva Methodist Church in 1932.
Tracing the post-Columbia Theatre, it was transformed to the Hub Grill, a venue that had live bands, dancing and dining from 1930 to 1942. In 1942, it became Tony Ambrose’s Keyhole Club. In 1953, it became Ambrose Fine Foods and Bar.
Demolished in February of 2023 to be replaced by a new casino to be built on behalf of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe.
Hound’s Drive-In Theatre closed for its seventh season on Nov. 26, 2022 with “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” Prior to its new season opener, the management announced on February 19, 2023 that the closure would be permanent.
The venue opened on June 6, 1928 with William Haynes in “Telling the World” supported by an Andy Gump cartoon and both regular organist Buddy Noll and guest organist Jack Hertell took turns at the new Barton pipe organ. The Golden Voiced Barton Organ, itself, cost $25,000 and was advertised as being as loud as a 75-piece orchestra. On May 9, 1929, the theatre installed Vitaphone to play talking pictures with Dolores Costello in “The Glad Rag Doll.”
G.F. Kelliher built the Plaza Theatre in downtown Burlington in 1927 and completing it in early 1928. Just prior to its launch, Kelliher sold it and the Grand Theatre in East Troy to Community Theatres Inc. Community launched here on February 15, 1928. Prior to its 60th Anniversary, the threatre was converted to a quad-plex relaunching with a grand reopening at 1928 prices on June 7, 1987.
Appears to have closed after the March 15, 1985 double feature of Julia Parton in “Pleasure Zone” and Sharon Thorpe in “Overnight Sensation.”
According to the local phone directory and newspaper, the Bijou was located at 21 North Augusta and was replaced by the Camp Shooting Gallery in 1910 before, itself, going out of business.
The Bijou opened September 5, 1907. “Ben Hur (1907)” was a big hit for the venue. E.F. Hoover was the last operator closing permanently on December 29, 1909. The “for sale” listing hit the local paper’s classified section the very next day running through January of 1910.
The Staunton Shopping Center was announced in 1963 and built in 1967/8. The Plaza Cinema Theatre was announced as an original tenant during the 1967 construction stage with a scheduled opening in early 1968. That opening did occur, albeit 15 months later on July 18, 1969 with “Oliver!” In advertising “Theatre” was often truncated. In 1978, R/C Theatres took on the venue dropping “Cinema” in favor of the Plaza Theatre moniker.
In November of 1985, the plaza announced that it would have a grand opening as the Staunton Mall in Fall 1986 in an expansion. In November of 1988, the venue was renamed Mall Movies as it was readying a transition to a multiplex. The full transition occurred on December 16, 1986 with R/C’s Mall Movies launching with “Land Before Time,” “Scrooged,” “Ernest Saves Christmas,” “My Stepmother was an Alien,” “Twins” and “Working Girl.” Regal purchased the location from R/C with its nameplate leaving on May 30, 1996 and becoming the Regal Staunton Mall Cinemas 6 the next day.
In 2010, the Mall was purchased by a new owner and there was a mutual agreement that Regal would vacate the property in favor of mall ownership as the Staunton Mall 6. The mall operator identified a new operator as Nova Cinemas on December 17, 2010 operating. Nova ankled the location on March 27, 2011 likely dreading a digital conversion.
That conversion would take place after a six year hiatus when Robert Harrison on December 15, 2017 as Legacy Theatres on a discount, sub-run policy. In 2017 and 2018, the mall slid into greyfield status - a term akin to a “dead mall.” It was a quick descent with the entire mall closing and being demolished. The theatre hung on until the announcement late in 2020.
The Arlington Theatre was located across the street from the Alhambra Theatre. It operated in a commercial district that was outside of downtown though highly accessible using the Arlington streetcar or the Market streetcar lines in the 1910s. The Arlington Theatre was another of the handful of theaters opened and operated by female owners. Margaret F. Manross had begun her career in the box office of a downtown theater back in 1911. The 25-year old learned the industry deciding to open here on February 4, 1916 with Lon Chaney in “Father and Sons.”
Manross would sell out to Carl Fish. Mr. Fish had operated the North Hills' Pastime Theater in 1917 and took on the Alhambra. He then purchased the Arlington to own both of the operations using the Arlington for exploitation and four-wall films, primarily. The venue appears to have been converted first to a grocery store and then to an auto parts store in the 1930s.
The nickelodeon period is fascinating with owners literally coming and going month to month trying to figure out how to make money in the industry. Others might get sued by Edison and the Motion Picture Patents Company for infringement. And some became successful exhibitors for decades. Wild times.
The local paper reports that the Staunton Grocery Company vacated this building at 23-25 North Augusta in 1909 and would be replaced by a new theatre first called the Arcadia followed by its naming as the Savoy and the Princess. The Arcadia launched here April 29, 1909 as a nickelodeon that featured Miss Coffman at the piano accompanying the films and slides.
The Arcadia closed in August of 1910 and was replaced by the Savoy Theater which was luanched by the Beverly Amusement Company (of the local Beverly Theatre, as well) on September 5, 1910. The venue played Biograph and Vitograph films and was a nickelodeon that competed (or didn’t) against the Wonderland and the Lyric .
Then A. Mack Mitt bought the Savoy in 1916 relaunching here as the Princess Theatre on November 25, 1916. Staunton Amusement took on the venue on September 1, 1918 and likely did so to remove competition. They quickly shuttered the Princess Theater here in October of 1918. A month later, the Salvation Army moved into the retrofitted space.
The aforementioned Wonderland opened March 22, 1907 and operated into 1911 before being offered for sale or lease. It was converted in 1911 to a printing operation for McClure Company at 27-29 North Augusta. It has its own Cinema Treasure page.
The Bijou opened September 5, 1907 and the New Lyric Theater (which has its own Cinema Treasure page) opened November 19, 1908 also on North Augusta.
The New Lyric opened here on November 19, 1908. It had 230 seats at that time with both an Edison projector and a Lubin player. Operator G.W. Mooney left the industry and the - then - Lyric Theatre was auctioned off on October 3, 1911. Auction ad in photos.