Spinelli Cinemas 4 - Sanford

935 Main Street,
Sanford, ME 04073

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Jerry Lewis Cinemas

Previous Names: Jerry Lewis Cinema Twin, Sanford Twin Cinema, Sanford Cinema Center 4

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Spinelli Cinemas 4 - Sanford

This Jerry Lewis Cinema Twin was announced just prior to Christmas of 1970 to take the place of a Sampson’s Grocery Store in the Sanford Shopping Plaza. It would be Maine’s second Jerry Lewis theatre after the Waterville franchise that had just launched after Christmas of 1970. Lloyd C. Woodson would be the franchisee in the Plaza owned by Donald Jacques and Samuel Schwartz.

The new-build Jerry Lewis Twin opened on January 12, 1972 with Richard Harris in “Man in the Wilderness” and Walter Matthau in “Kotch". A congratulatory telegram arrived that night by Jerry Lewis, himself. Unfortunately, that was likely the last supportive transmission from the Jerry Lewis Cinema / Network Cinema Corporation that the Sanford cinema would receive as it would go into a financial freefall later that same year.

The shopping center was an urban renewal plan to modernize the city’s business district with easier parking. Since the town hadn’t had a hard top theatre since the demise of the Capitol Theatre in 1968, the timing was good for the new cinema. The plaza was at what was 275 Main Street at Roberts Street. (The addresses were changed to the 900s making the 275 Main address unmappable today.) The interior designer of the Lewis Twin was famed scenic designer, Robin Wagner. Wagner bathed Cinema One in red with red carpeting, drapes, and 247 red seats. Cinema Two was bathed in blue with 223 seats and matching drapes and carpeting. For good measure, the lobby was balanced with red vinyl walls and blue carpeting. Wagner’s design of the lower level restrooms went with bright yellow.

Veteran projectionist from the former Capitol Theatre, Gerald Porell, was tasked with the JLC / Network Cinema’s famed automated, “one-button” equipment. As lawsuits were piling up in late-1972 against the Jerry Lewis / Network circuit for price gouging, lack of support, and inflated claims, 1973 brought Jerry Lewis parting ways with the dying concept and Network Cinema’s bankruptcy. On April 5th, 1973, Network Cinema’s phones were disconnected. The Jerry Lewis nameplate appears to have been removed in Sanford in July of 1974. The venue was renamed, simply, as the Sanford Twin Cinema.

In March of 1987, the complex was expanded leading to a quadplex operating as The Sanford Cinema Center 4. It closed in October of 1995 at the end of a leasing cycle. Spinelli Cinemas took on the venue in November 22, 1995 as the Spinelli Cinemas 4 - Sanford. Advertisements were discontinued in 1999. The former cinema was broken into by a homeless man in May of 2005 who set fire to it. A passer-by noticed the fire and extinguished it with one of the theatre’s fire extinguishers saving the building. In 2007, the venue was slated for demolition for a new police station. That demolition came in 2009.

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters
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