Big Movie Theater Experience in Your Own Home

I’ve been working on something I think might be fun. Remember General Cinema Theaters? For those of you that don’t know–General Cinema as you knew it–no longer exists. Five years ago AMC bought General Cinema Corporation (GCC). You may remember that the Mall of America was a GCC theater. Until the rise of the multiplex with stadium seating, GCC was probably the best theater going experience one could hope for growing up in the 60s, 70s, 80s and early 90s. In many ways they set the standard for a great movie going experience.


Remember sitting in the theater before the movie began as a child? Before advertisements? Remember that colored blob that looked like an oversized lava lamp and the elevator music? In General Cinema theaters, we knew we were in for a treat when we saw that gcc matinee or feature presentation logo, or when we heard that familiar voice “welcoming us to general cinema” and yes, even when that annoying candyband made it’s appearance reminding us to buy pop and candy–and dispose of it properly. And it’s not just General Cinema. It’s AMC and Mann and every major or minor theater chain that had these types of bumpers.

Well I have been compiling old movie theater bumpers for my own home theater use. Be it a gcc bumper, an AMC or Regal theater bumper or simply an intermission film from the days of “Drive-In”s. Let me tell you, this is no easy feat as many that are available on the web are encoded in flash or embedded in some format that is not downloadable.

Determined to make my home theater experience as much like the real thing, I recently put together a pretty cool set of bumpers, trailers and film to try and duplicate the movie experience at home. Since I’m partial to General Cinema bumpers that’s where I started. I even created a random pattern displayed with elevator type music. Following this segment I’ve got a gcc bumper that has the familiar “Welcome to General Cinema where we bring you the finest in motion picture entertainment” spiel followed by four movie trailers which at this moment include:

  • Star Trek The Motion Picture the original 1978 trailer.
  • Superman The Movie 1978
  • Alien 1979
  • And E.T. 1982

And yes! You see the candyband… that annoying bumber promoting buying candy and throwing away your garbage. Finally you get to see the gcc feature presentation logo and then whatever movie I have encoded to watch from my computer. All of the pieces are modular. That is to say, I can add or remove new movie trailers, make it a double feature with an intermission, change the theater bumpers out or whatever I want to do since it’s all stored on my MacMini.

The first film I ripped is the Original Star Wars from my DVD set. No bloody Special anything–just Star Wars.

Han Shot First.

I hope to debut this at one of our guy nights. I’m thinking this Monday if it all works out…

3 thoughts on “Big Movie Theater Experience in Your Own Home”

  1. Adam,
    My brother Chris and I have done an extensive search and cannot turn up the music you refer to in your post on the 70’s Movie “Lava Lamp” preceding the trailers we saw at the Movies.

    I don’t remember if it was General Cinemas, but the one we remember was kind of a big band-swing-funk, with lot’s of trumpet that visually had the multi-colored lava lamp you described. This is the first time on any website I have been able to come close to finding it. We would be in your debt if we could find the music, and/or, find even where to get the same genre, as it rocked.


  2. Adam,
    Because of your Blog, I was able to track down via YouTube, and some other info I then found on iTunes, that there is an album called KPM 1000 Series: Flamboyant Themes (Volume 2). The name of the music from the General Cinemas Our Feature Presentation from 1970-whatever was Funky Fanfare by Keith Mansfield. The album contains some other good stuff in the same genre if you are interested.

    Thanks again for your post on this blog. Would have never found it without this. A bit of closure for me, and a whole new adventure in music, a major passion.

  3. Recreating 1930s – 1950s theatrical experience for my movie club with short subjects, cartoon, theater policy, snipes.

    Aside from YouTube, are there any other sources out there. I’m eager to do some trading with like-interested parties.

    Thank you.


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