A Salute to a General

April 7, 2008

When I was a kid, and my parents wanted to treat my sister and me to a movie, we’d hop in the car, and drive to the Lincoln Mall in Lincoln, Rhode Island. It wasn’t that we didn’t have a movie theater in my hometown, it’s just that we seemed to like the theaters at Lincoln Mall a lot better.

In those days, Lincoln Mall’s movie theaters were part of the General Cinemas chain, based out of Boston Massachusetts. It was only logical, as Lincoln isn’t too far from Interstate 295, which connects at both 95 North and 95 South. At the time, though, I had no idea that General Cinemas was based out of Boston. In fact, I thought “General” was a large company that owned just about everything at Lincoln Mall, since we also had a General Nutrition Center in another wing.

I even remember the first movie I saw there. It was RAGGEDY ANN AND ANDY, A MUSICAL ADVENTURE (look for a DVD PAUSED article about this movie coming soon). I also remember the last movie I saw there before Lincoln Mall closed the theaters as part of a HUGE downsizing of the mall. That would be MULAN in the summer of 1998. In between I saw LOTS of movies, most, if not all of which I enjoyed. This was the theater where I first met Mowgli and Balloo. It was where I cried for the first time at the end of a movie, and to this day I still have not forgiven Steven Spielberg. It was also where I cheered wildly as Ralph Macchio won the big karate tournament at the end of THE KARATE KID (sorry for the spoiler, but by now, it’s no state secret).

Even more than these classic films, I remember what would happen at the start of these films. Come on, you know what I’m talking about. After the previews, and the reminders about throwing away the trash, no smoking, and buying the gift certificates, they’d run it. The General Cinema Centers Feature Presentation film bumper. If you search for it, you may just find the second version of this bumper.

I looked forward to seeing this every time. I don’t know why. Maybe it was the high hat drums, maybe it was the quirky harpsichord tune. Or maybe it was the spinning C’s and the words trailing out of the logo. All I know is that the trip to Lincoln wasn’t complete until I saw it. Of course, it changed over the years, until the end when the “Candy Band” played the theme music.

It really was a sad day for me when those theaters closed for the last time. It was part of my movie-going experience that was now lost forever. AMC Theaters bought the chain and I’m sure closed many of the low-performing multiplexes. Had Lincoln Mall not decided to close theirs before, AMC would have done it later.

But this story does have a happy ending. You can still see the old bumpers on YouTube or MySpace (hint hint for the FEATURE PRESENTATION bumper), and Lincoln Mall now boasts a brand new 14 screen theater. No, AMC didn’t come home to roost. This theater is owned by CinemaWorld. In a future article, I’ll tell you all about the ones that were in my hometown, and the probable reasons why we didn’t go to them often.

EDIT: I found the first version of the bumper. Here it is.  By the way, the animation was done by a Rhode Island Company called Pike Productions.


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