White City Cinemas

50 Boston Turnpike,
Shrewsbury, MA 01545

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rivest266 on April 29, 2024 at 3:19 am

Two screens on June 24th, 1977. Grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on April 28, 2024 at 11:46 pm

Invention only opening on January 28th, 1965, and to the public the next day. Grand opening ad posted.

MSC77 on August 9, 2023 at 1:14 pm

A chronology of the Worcester region’s 70mm presentations history has recently been published. White City gets several mentions in the article.

DICK3570 on January 7, 2019 at 11:48 am

Stanley Warner Theatres used this basic Theatre design in many houses that it built in the late 50’s and early 60’s. The Washington DC area contained many of the identical designs like the KB Fairfax circle, the KB Cinema 7, and KB Langley. The Cinemart in Hampden Ct. may have also been the same design.

The equipment installed in White City came from the old Warner Theatre in downtown Worcester that White City replaced.

OKCdoorman on May 17, 2017 at 12:56 am

If you go to the online recollection link posted by Logan5, you will note the White City spelled Katharine Ross' name correctly on the marquee, but misspelled it on the makeshift one-sheet display lettering next to the entrance as “Katherine Ross.” Perhaps the assistant manager was in a tizzy over the studio finding out.

DanAxtell on February 15, 2014 at 7:53 pm

As family-authorized caretaker of my late father-in-law’s slide collection, I’ve uploaded a 1967 photo of the White Cinema Theatre in the out-of-focus background of a crew race on Lake Quinsigamond. I do this as a thank-you to the CinemaTreasures.org website for helping me identify the photo. The guidelines for this website in 2014 say I should upload only if I’m the photographer, but I am following the spirit of that restriction. The unseen, in-focus foreground is an excellent photo. If you people celebrated privileged teenage white males good at propelling tiny boats, I would have uploaded the whole picture. Upon reading that last sentence, never mind. The fuzzy background theater is a more enduring memory than the in-focus foreground.

lewiswardell on February 26, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I was the manager at White City from ‘75 to '77 and worked with Charles Gobron and Kathy Blake as my assistants. The theater was really beautiful, but like many of the huge houses was pretty hard to fill. We did screen a week of “1776” for school groups, and that was about as full as it got. I remember the ushers changing the huge marquee in the winter with wind just blasting off Lake Q – it was brutal. We screened “Nickelodeon” for Christmas in 1976 and as a promotion the studio only charged a nickel on opening night. It was predictably frigid, though, and the theater was only half full. A few days later I arrived to open and found a bunch of suits from Redstone inside. They had bought the theater and no one from RKO had even told me. I worked for them a week and transferred to the RKO Merritt in Bridgeport, CT. I miss the wonderful kids that staffed the place – they were a lot of fun.

Logan5 on February 26, 2012 at 12:48 am

There’s an interesting – and entertaining – article about one family’s experience seeing “The Graduate” (1968) here on this website: http://www.dickwhitney.net/dickwhitneyautobiographyTheGraduate.html

Coate on January 11, 2008 at 6:23 am
**In response to Michael Coate's statement that "2001: A Space Odyssey" never played at White City Cinema in Shrewsbury, Ma. I need to reply that no matter what the newpaper advertisement states, the fact is that the movie never played at Showcase Cinemas on Southbridge St. in Worcester. Perhaps there may have been a bidding war happening at the time of publication and White City Cinema won out over Showcase. I'm sticking to my guns on this one because I was there.**

bulzi…you’re not a nutcase, are you?! You’re starting to remind me of budyboy100. :-)

There are plenty of verifiable sources to support my claim that in its original first-run, reserved-seat Worcester engagement “2001: A Space Odyssey” ran at SHOWCASE CINEMAS and not at WHITE CITY. Here’s one reference. Here’s another.

Also consider that “2001” was initially released exclusively to Cinerama theaters (as this article details), of which SHOWCASE CINEMAS was the only such venue in Worcester.

Another verifiable fact is that the third movie to play WHITE CITY, (despite your insistence it was “2001”) was “Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?” which began on 06/29/66 and followed “The Sound Of Music’s” 53-week run. (At this point in time, “2001” hadn’t even been made!)

Dude, just deal with it, you’re simply misremembering what occured. What you probably are remembering is a re-release or return engagement that took place years later. It’s human nature and not uncommon to misremember details, especially those from several decades past.

jeanneclaire on January 11, 2008 at 5:14 am

It’s gone? How sad. The last picture I saw there was “Forrest Gump”.
(I’ve been out of MA for awhile) :–)

bulzi on October 14, 2007 at 9:55 am

In response to Michael Coate’s statement that “2001: A Space Odyssey” never played at White City Cinema in Shrewsbury, Ma. I need to reply that no matter what the newpaper advertisement states, the fact is that the movie never played at Showcase Cinemas on Southbridge St. in Worcester. Perhaps there may have been a bidding war happening at the time of publication and White City Cinema won out over Showcase. I’m sticking to my guns on this one because I was there.

kencmcintyre on October 13, 2007 at 5:36 pm

Listed as White City Shopping Center Theater in the 1970 IMPA. It was part of the RKO-Stanley Warner chain at that time.

CGobron on February 2, 2007 at 9:36 pm

I worked at the White City Theatre (later named White City Cinemas) from 1967 through 1978. As was stated, the late 60’s saw lengthy runs of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. Doctor Dolittle, Hawaii, Funny Girl, Hello Dolly, and others enjoyed long engagements as well. Reserved tickets were sold and we learned how to “dress the theatre” making sure we distributed tickets evenly around the large orchestra and 325 seat loge. The number 1097 sticks vividly in my mind, but I can’t remember if that was the total seating of the complex or just the orchestra!

The theatre was run by Stanley-Warner and later by RKO Stanley Warner. I remember the home office being in Wilkes Barre, PA.

Sometime in 1976 or 1977, Showcase Cinemas took over the operation. I recall the theatre being closed and then reopening as White City Cinemas. In June 1977, we opened with Star Wars in Cinema 1 and I believe New York, New York in Cinema 2. The sell out crowds for Star Wars made the summer of 1977 fly by. I cannot believe that was thirty years ago.

I am sorry the the cinemas were demolished. Many happy memories remain, however!

Coate on January 17, 2007 at 8:01 pm

“2001: A Space Odyssey” was not the third movie to play at WHITE CITY. In fact, “2001” didn’t play at all at WHITE CITY. Several postings suggest there is some confusion between this theater and the SHOWCASE CINEMAS.

WHITE CITY was located on the Boston Turnpike in Shrewsbury. SHOWCASE was on Main & Southbridge in Worcester. The SHOWCASE was previously known as Loew’s Poli. “2001: A Space Odyssey” had its first-run Cinerama engagement at the SHOWCASE.

Here are a couple of links to articles that offer some clarification.

Coate on January 16, 2007 at 9:04 pm

Minor correction: A few posts back “dwodeyla” wrote that “The Sound Of Music” ran at WHITE CITY for six months. My research reveals it ran for 53 weeks, which would actually make it a 12-month run. Whatever the duration, it was a very successful engagement by any standard.

View link

DennisJOBrien on January 16, 2007 at 8:22 pm

I guess “2001” was promoted through the Howard Johnson restaurant chain because in the film the revolving space station has a Howard Johnson Earthlight Room, as well as a Hilton Hotel. Stanley Kubrick also believed that Pan American World Airways would be flying people to the Moon and to the space station in 2001. So much for predicting the future!

bulzi on June 15, 2005 at 7:32 am

In 1964 when the theater first opened, Mary Poppins was the first movie there. Second was The Sound Of Music, but the third movie really blew me away: 2001: A Space Odyssey. Considering the enormous size of the single screen, the state of the art sound system and the fact that I was only 14, I came away with a greater appreciation of classical music since Stanley Kubrick used that ingredient throughout. One added note: I first read about 2001 in a Howard Johnson Restaurant menu. That restaurant was located next to Spag’s in Shrewsbury.

kateymac01 on June 7, 2005 at 7:42 pm

Is this the same White City Theatre seen in this photo?

View link

snorwood on February 22, 2005 at 9:31 am

The former balcony auditorium was great—nice big screen and good seats. The two auditoria on the main floor were less-than-great—sort of the standard Showcase “shoebox” setup with corrugated metal “soundproof” wall between them.

Nice, funky theatre that shouldn’t have been closed and torn down.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on February 9, 2005 at 4:33 pm

The White City Cinema opened in 1964 with Mary Poppins. Sound of Music played for 6 six months. The original single screen was split sometime in the 1970’s, and a third auditorium was made in what was originally a balcony, in 1985 following renovation from a fire. The Theatre closed the final Sunday in March, 2001. (thanks to a Worcester Telegram article by Virginia Lucier for the information)

shoeshoe14 on January 18, 2005 at 4:28 pm

i just want to thank folks who post since i joined a few weeks ago and contributed theater info to where i grew up, visited, and currently live near. if i can’t produce info, give it a few hours and all you folks help out.

IanJudge on January 18, 2005 at 10:40 am

Modest facelift! Ha! They tore the place completely down and replaced it with an all new restaurant.

I believe this was originally a Stanley Warner theatre, but closed as a Showcase Cinema. It was a nice 60’s style house that had seen better days but was a step above most multiplexes.