Pleasant Family Shopping and General Cinemas
March 9, 2009 12:46 PM   Subscribe

Vintage photos and a history of General Cinemas. Before the 1960s, concessions were rare at movie theaters, but GCC introduced them widely and even launched their own exclusive drink: Sunkist soda. Also part of the GCC experience was their feature presentation bumper.

General Cinemas was sold to AMC in 2002, but here is their now abandoned site.

This blog also has some awesome old photos of Kroger's (2, 3, 4) and malls.
posted by mattbucher (15 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks for this, if for no other reason than this looks like an outstanding blog.
posted by evilcolonel at 1:17 PM on March 9, 2009

Unfortunately, you could argue that concessions have downgraded the quality of movies. As the movie studios share less of the profits with the movie theaters, the theaters care more about the mark-up on the concessions than the films themselves. The result is that the movies most theaters want are precisely the movies that appeal to a dumbed-down teenage audience that buys the most industrial sized tubs of popcorn. The term "popcorn movie" to refer to a movie of little artistic or intellectual value is not a coincidence. Sometimes, I think that the only way a real arthouse cinema circuit could be revived in the U.S. is if Starbucks were running the concessions.
posted by jonp72 at 1:17 PM on March 9, 2009

I was hoping for the snack-time bumper, which The Sunset Drive-in still plays between movies (it's a drive-in double-feature show, though their movie selection seems to be random at times).

Thanks for this post - this blog is impressive, in a weird field of nostalgia.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:19 PM on March 9, 2009

Concessions and popcorn at the movies has been around since the nickelodeon. It's popularity in the '20s a cheap snack actually brought concession stands into the movies, pioneered by Samuel M. Rubin.
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 1:20 PM on March 9, 2009

I think it dates me that when I saw the words "General Cinema," I immediately started doot-doodling that jazzy 'bumper' song. Wasn't it their later version that featured floating gummy bears?

Thanks for this. Looking forward to going through all of it.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:20 PM on March 9, 2009

i would like to submit that bumper to the pile of unintentionally phallic logomarks.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 1:24 PM on March 9, 2009

If you grew up in the St. Louis area back in the day, you are probably familiar with Weherenberg Theaters. And you are probably humming the theme song right now.
posted by chillmost at 1:26 PM on March 9, 2009 [3 favorites]

I was sick and came to work anyway. And I got a lot done! But I still felt bad. So I was sick, but I had finished everything, and I was looking for something to read and then WHAM. The blog of my dreams. Thank you, Metafilter. 90 minutes to go.
posted by GilloD at 1:35 PM on March 9, 2009

The General cinema closest to me was bought out by Gold Circle. They kept the same logo and changed the name to Gold Circle Cinema, second run 99 cents per movie.
posted by Mick at 2:22 PM on March 9, 2009

Fantastic post! Great find! I love that blog. This totally cheers me up today.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:33 PM on March 9, 2009

1983 HBO in Space trailer > GCC trailer, to this child of the 80s. The theme is indelibly burned into my brain.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:18 PM on March 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

When I was visiting my mother with a friend, he embarrassed her by offering to buy the can of Kroger's cayenne right out of her spice rack, as an antique. Must have been 40 years old.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:21 PM on March 9, 2009

chillmost: I'm always singing the Weherenberg theme song. Not the new crappy one, mind you. What's that crap?

posted by gc at 6:54 PM on March 9, 2009

The best thing about the Internet is the forgotten websites of companies still living in 1996, those that still believe maintaining an Internet presence isn't worth the trouble. GCC may be dead, but either they paid for a 20-year hold on that domain name, or some management intern is diligently writing cheques every few years to keep the memory alive.

Another example: Cozzoli's Pizza is very much still in business, as I eat at the downtown Austin spot all the time. Five year-expired coupon, anyone?
posted by spamguy at 9:28 AM on March 10, 2009

Molte grazie for the trip down memory lane. I worked as an usher at GCC for 3 summers in college, wearing a blue polyester blazer and clip on bow tie, absolutely comatose on my feet half-tearing tickets until the movie started. The "dssss-dt-dt-dssss-dt-dt-dssss" of the signature trailer was the trigger for action: close the propped-open theater doors, sweep the lobby, then find out if the stand needed candy, ice, or popcorn (that was popped the week before and stored in trash bags until reheated in the display case).

That was the usual drill, but if it was the weekend midnight movie gig, that sound cued the rent-a-cop to head into the theater showing Rocky Horror to find people to throw out, and I could pull the flask of Bacardi Dark stashed in the ticket stub box to maintain the buzz started at my 10:30 break and wait to head down to the front before the Time Warp started to stand there like secret service agents to make sure no one touched the screen.
posted by buzzv at 10:07 AM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

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