16th Street Cinema
4061 NW 16th Street,
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Firms: Gamble & Gilroy Architects
Previous Names: Lauderhill 2 Theatre, Lauderhill II Cinema, Lauderhill Mall Cinema III, Lauderhill Mall Cinema 3 & 4, Lauderhill Mall Cinemas 4, 16th Street Adult Cinema, 16th Street X Cinema, 16th Street Twin Cinema
The Loews Lauderhill 2 Theatre was a project announced in 1971 to support the overwhelming success of the Loews Lauderhill (Mall) Theatre. The original venue was so successful that new films sometimes were held over for a month or more blocking timely new titles from the Mall. That was alleviated to some degree when the Loews Lauderhill 2 opened with Timothy Bottoms in “The Last Picture Show” on March 29, 1972.
At least an early draft of the Loews Lauderhill 2 Theatre was designed by Gamble & Gilroy Architects, Clinton Gamble and William Allen Gilroy, Jr. who had designed the original Lauderhill Theatre that had opened in 1967. The new 650-seat facility had an abundance of parking and would soon joined by a Winn-Dixie grocery story, a Scotties Drug Store, and an Action Mart discount store. Peter Graybill from Lauderhill 1 was named the first manager of Loews Lauderhill 2 in a brief role.
Neither Lauderhill movie theatre would be in Loews portfolio for much longer. Two months after its launch, on May 30, 1972, Loews sold all of its theatres in Florida to General Cinema Corp. (GCC) effective June 15, 1972. The original venue became the General Cinema Lauderhill I with the new venue taking the Roman numeral II. The confusion was likely quite high and quickly registered as the venues’ names were changed on July 1, 1972 with the original venue called the Lauderhill Cinema and the newer building moving from the Lauderhill II Cinema to the 16th Street Cinema.
The presentation of “Earthquake” in Sensurround forced the venue to close for two days while consultation between projectionist Randy Crowford and Manager Walter Aarons with an RCA engineer working with the four-track amplifier producing the earthquake vibrations. Arguably, the biggest thing that happened to the 16th Street Cinema under GCC’s watch was that the Lauderhill Cinema I and the 170th Street Cinema were both closed after successful runs of “Jaws” on September 28, 1975 to be twinned to remain viable. For a full month, the 16th Street Cinema was the only house open in the immediate area. And even when the GCC opened its Lauderhill Mall I & II in its shoe-box sized twin auditoriums, the circuit often put its best bookings at the 16th Street Cinema due to its capacity and presentation.
On February 4, 1982, General Cinema exercised an opt out at the 15-year leasing point of its Lauderhill Cinemas I & II and also able to dump the 16th Street Cinema across the street. The Mall twin theaters continued immediately on an independent basis as Lauderhill Mall Cinemas 1 & 2 showing first run films on February 5, 1982. But the 16th Street Cinema appears to have not reopened until November 12, 1982 as Lauderhill Mall Cinema III. That three-screen operation was run under the fledgling Florida Quality Theatres (FQT) circuit taking both Lauderhill Mall venues along with the Plantation Town Cinema 2 and the Holiday Springs Twin.
FQT advertised the two venues as the singular, Mall Cinema 4 for a period in beginning in late-1982. However, they didn’t actually reach that many auditoriums until February 16, 1983 when the 16th Street Cinema was finally twinned. FQT offered an annual subscription pass for $40 in 1983 for as many films as you wanted to see in the calendar year. But, as you may have guessed, FQT skipped town February 27, 1983 in debt for electric bills, back rent, and many unhappy movie subscribers. Three months later, the Broward Sheriff’s office took action with an auction in which the Mall, itself, bought the original 1967-built cinema and another operator assumed control of the other.
The 16th Street Cinema reopened as the 16th Street Twin Cinema on September 9, 1983 with the X-rated “Last Tango in Paris.” By the time that the venue had booked “Mrs. Smith’s Erotic Dream” and “Let’s Play Doctor,” local authorities began to investigate options in ending the lease there objecting to the adult films in 1983. That must have successfully been challenged.
The venue changed names one last time to the 16 Street Adult Theater co-owned by the operators of the Roosevelt Theatre in Miami Beach. There’s a high likelihood that the venue reduced to a single screen during its run. The 16th Street Adult Theatre appears to have closed under on February 16, 1986 with 4 “XXX” films but may have continued without advertising. The Faith Center Ministries moved into the vacant theater in 1995 and it has been used as a house of worship under several different names.
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