Comments from Mike Rogers

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Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about Imperial Theatre on Oct 13, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Talk about panic, My first day as Assistant Manager i walk up unlock the doors let Cathy and Margret in and proceed to the check out office to open the safe. Well, I had the combonation and i stated to open the safe.Only i couldn’t hit the right numbers. The Safes at COLUMBIA 1 and 2 NATIONAL HILLS were a breeze.
Heck, You could miss it and the safe would open. Not this safe at the IMPERIAL. It looked like it dated back to FORD’S THEATRE! I just could not get it open. I finally Tommy was working at a nearby department store and i called him for help. Thank goodness he was able to open that stupid safe: having opened it thousands of times. He admitted you really had to stop right on the right number. I think the rest of the day i closed it, but didn’t dare lock it.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about National Hills Theatre on Oct 13, 2009 at 12:49 pm

National Hills Theatre also ran lady shopper movies on tuesday at 10a.m. Ladies would get in free get free gifts from merchants in the shopping center,Then watch a free movie aimed at their taste in films.This ran for along time and was the only theatre in town to do such a thing.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about Columbia Square Cinemas on Oct 13, 2009 at 12:41 pm

You know COLUMBIA TWO played the movie that broke many film producers and If i remember right HEAVEN"S GATE did not do any business here.I did not commit to the three hour movie ,but i do remember sitting down and watching it.It seemed like a David Lean production. HEAVEN"S GATE i believe played only a week.
I Don’t think it even went second run in this town.However, what bit i saw looked beautiful.I guess we were in the STAR WARS era.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about Florida Theatre on Oct 13, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Yes,Nick NATIONAL HILLS got the MGM FAB.Four. It seemed like every fall we would get those four films.Ryan’s Daughter is the only one i never watched. Well, i remember Daniel Village theatre here had just open entrance.Never could figure that out.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about Majestic Theater on Oct 13, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Still looking for the “lost” MAJESTIC theatre from the MARY TYLER MOORE production THE POPCORN KID A short lived TV SERIES in the late 80’S that took place in a downtown movie theatre.AM I THE ONLY PERSON TO HAVE SEEN THIS SHOW?

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about Fine Arts Theatre on Oct 11, 2009 at 9:15 am

NOW SHOWING FINE ARTS Jan 13 1980

EXOTIC FRENCH FANTASIES plus PEACH FUZZ. no one under 18 admitted. Admission $4.00 Couples $6.00 and get this written on the ad in the Ashville paper,,,, MALES AND FEMALES only as couples.

ADULT FILM LADIES WELCOME. Box office opens at 12;45 continuous shows from 1p.m. til 10;45 p.m. WOW. This town that let Ashville’s IMPERIAL be torn down, for THE FINE ARTS i would be afraid to sit in a seat there.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about Colonial Drive-in on Oct 11, 2009 at 9:06 am

Ed, great story on the Colonial Drive in. I guess one good thing about being in the military was you got to visit so many drive-ins from Augusta to up North. I really did not have a lot of memories of our Drive-ins Here, I remember going shopping at the new shoppping center built on the old Bon-Air Drive in.While my Mom Shopped i went straight to the Forest Hills and stood on that big hill watching.
I don’t know why but it always seemed like movies like BARAELLA or MidNIGHT COWBOY was playing. And often I got to watch a good bit.They Could have bben playing THAT DARN CAT and i would have been happy!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about Majestic Theater on Oct 11, 2009 at 8:51 am

Could this be the theatre mentioned in the CBS TV SHOW the POPCORN KID? I am Looking for the MAJESTIC theatre from the short lived TV series. I know i will find it. Did you ever see this series THE POPCORN KID? Sadly, it was only on for about a month before it was taken off,I think MTM tv did the one that did WKRP. OH well, I will keep looking.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about Majestic Theatre on Oct 11, 2009 at 8:44 am

Wow, I have finally found the theatre from the short lived CBS tv show that took place entirely in the MAJESTIC theatre.Could this be the theatre that was in that show that only had a handful of episodes before it was given the ax? I am so glad i stumbled on that summer replacement shoe back in 86 or 87. I wonder if anyone even remembers the show. I did get to videotape a few shows before it was gone. This must not be the MAJESTIC, but i was hoping. And quite surprized i have not read anyone yet write of this very ture show. If you worked in radio you knew WKRP was on the money.If you ever lugged a film or two up to the booth you know THE POPCORN KID was written by a theatre person. A MOVIE THEATRE PERSON not a 20 plex cinema person.TOO large,can’t get to know your fellow employees.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about Columbia Square Cinemas on Oct 11, 2009 at 8:31 am

Somehow I forgot our two doormen hired Tom Wedemeire and Chuck Spearman. Tom stayed in the theatre for awhile to help Johnny Arena at the Imperial,Sorry I forgot you guys.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about Dreamland Drive-In on Oct 11, 2009 at 8:17 am

So glad to find SOMEONE from Western N.C. Sadly, i visited the DREAMLINE DRIVE IN once it had become a flea market, But,the screen was up. The concessionstand and booth. Box office in perfect condition.Looked like it could a movie that night.

Here is a little something for you Asheville folks….
NOW PLAYING DREAMLAND DRIVE-IN THEATRE

OPEN at 6:15 first show at 7:15 Second show at 8:55 and third show at 10:30 the movies playing on Jan 13 1980 were DISCO FEVER and BAD GEORGIA ROAD and a third feature THE GIRLS WHO"LL DO ANYTHING all RATED R. This at a Drive-in called Asheville’s Finest.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about Imperial Theatre on Oct 11, 2009 at 7:50 am

RICHMOND COUNTY NEWS
By David Wardlaw

VAUDEVILLE PART OF CITY HISTORY

Towards the turn of the century, a southern businessman named Jake Wells came to Augusta and built what then considered one of the grandest Vaudeville theatres in the south, and now,in keeping with its facade of grandeur is the oldest operating motion picture theatre in Augusta today. In fact, the next oldest theatre was not built until 22 years later.

THE IMPERIAL THEATRE was built in 1917 and opened Feb.19 1918,At this time it was called the WELLLS THEATRE.Being named after its owner. It’s opening was gala occasion in this town.

The interior of this grand vaudeville house was immaculate; News Reports stated…“the color scheme of the new WELLS THEATRE is most attractive. It is two tones of ivory and old rose.the rich,old rose hangings harmonizing perfectly with the grey and white tones of the wood work.The floors are covered with red velvet carpets. A charming feature of the new theatre is the commodious foyer,adorned with handsome mirrors and at last magnificent flowers.The stairways leading to the balcony are of white marble.

Mr. Herman R. Arndt, 92. began working in vauderville theatres in 1910 and worked as stage manager at the IMPERIAL from time to time it opened,through the vaudeville era. He recalled “I saw the IMPERIAL built from the ground up. I used to enjoy just standing there and watching” he added wistfully as if he had been standing inside the theatre at that very moment,“Yes, that one fine theatre in its day” and after a silence he gave a deep dramatic sigh and said,“those were the days.”

In those first few months of operation, the theatre was owned entirely by Wells. Wells paid B.F.Keith’s Vaudeville circuit a large ammount of money so that his theatre might be on Keith’s circuit of traveling shows. This soon became too much of a money burden fo r Wells and it forced the new theatre, not yet two years old, out of business. June 1919.thus the end of the Wells theatre,

The exact date is not known, but very soon after it is said B.F. KEITH firm bought the theatre at a great cost from Wells. Keith had already had successful theatres in New England area. This purchase was part of his southward purchase of theatres. The Name was changed from THE WELLS to THE IMPERIAL and reopened Dec,22 1919. This Change of ownership brought some of the finest vaudeville acts to the stage of the IMPERIAL.

This story by David Wardlaw was written in Nov.23 1979. I have to take credit for getting David this story because he wanted to do it and the newsweekly i worked for Editor Jay Mann he jumped on this.The big newspaper never would wrote a story on the Imperial.
I told David who worked at NATIONAL HILLS this was a great story.Heck, in them days we always thought theIMPERIAL would always be showing movies. Well, the sad part is this WAS A TWO PART STORY and somehow i lost the part two losing all the conversation with 92 year old Mr. Arndt. If DAVID WARDLAW is out there somewhere maybe you have Part two which is priceless to classic theatre buffs.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about Florida Theatre on Oct 11, 2009 at 7:00 am

Nick, You didn’t write anything on 2oo1. I can’t believe only a curtain separated the theatre from the lobby.That sounds and would look too tacky in a theatre such as the Flordia.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about Columbia Square Cinemas on Oct 11, 2009 at 6:55 am

On opening night we ran out of popcorn,Heck, Tickets were five cents to see NICKLEODEON with the money going to the MARCH OF DIMES.Anyway, i get sent down to the Imperial for the popcorn.When I get back to Columbia 1 and 2 Channel 12 is wrapping up shooting for the 11p.m. news. RATS. I missed getting on TV.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about Peach Orchard Theatres on Oct 10, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Having worked in the theatres all my dating life i never had to buy a ticket or wait in line.That ended when my girlfriend Beverly wanted to catch CAMELOT at the Weis Cinemas. ABC and Georgia Theatres sorta had a deal worked out on pasess. Not this place. I tried to get her to see THE STORY OF O on the other screen .No way. We went to See THE SAILOR WHO FELL FROM GRACE WITH THE SEA and I thought Bev, was going to kill me. I had no idea it was that rough even with the R rating. But this outfit was nix on passes.Must be why we always looked down on them. THE SAILOR played at the IMPERIAL.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about National Hills Theatre on Oct 10, 2009 at 11:56 am

IT is not clear on the above,That was Neil that did not trust the concessionstand girls or city manager, not Peter.I don’t think by that time Peter cared about anything except ZARDOZ.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about National Hills Theatre on Oct 10, 2009 at 11:54 am

Hey, Neil Mr. Mackey didn’t make you dress up like a cheerleader in a dress like the rest of the doormen on THE LONGEST YARD? If he did i remember you not wanting to come out of the managers office? I Know Mr.Mackey did not waer a dress. THINGS you do for the movies.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about National Hills Theatre on Oct 10, 2009 at 11:49 am

We had an Assistant Manager Neil Morgan who was a big help to me when i got started.He Showed me the ropes.Duty on the popcorn machine and doing the marquee. IT wasn’t long before Mr,Mackey just said tell “Mike the movie,and he will do the rest.” that gave a 17 year old alot of conifidence. Neil could always see things in different films i never picked up on. We had one Doorman named Peter and he saw ZARDOZ with Sean Connery and it just plained overwheled him. I think he never trusted our city manager and felt some the concessionstand girls were out to get him and John Mackey. I wasn’t there a week before i fell in"love" with two concessionstand girls. NEIL said it was some kind of record.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about Megaplex 20 at The District on Oct 10, 2009 at 11:34 am

You know,Tim the day is coming and really here, when 35mm movies will be like silent films.While i was never a projectionist.I just knew when the film cans came in Thursdays i Picked up the film can and toted the lastest Eastwood up the booth i had a film in my hands. I COULD pick up and many times did clips on the cutting room floor.Yeah, things are better,but i do miss our old theatres in AUGUSTA; just like you in your city.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about Daniel Village Theatre on Oct 10, 2009 at 11:25 am

CLOSED FOR REMODELING; ILLUSION
By Gregory E. Nicoll BEll RINGER NEWSPAPER.

CLOSED FOR REMODELING is one of those films which appears with no advance publicity,is sparsely attended,and fades into obscurity after a brief and inglorious week of exhibition. In this case , However, Augusta moviegoers should pay more attention since CLOSED FOR REMODELING is a local production.Brainchild of the manager of the DANIEL VILLAGE THEATRE, CLOSED FOR REMODELING is a curious human drama of men hired to perform some minor renovationsin an East-Georgia city.

The film follows them through an entire day of work, Arriving at 9;00 am to their eventual departure in the late afternoon,with generous amounts of screen time alloted to the grueling tedium of their monotonouslabor.

I banged on the theatre’s door last week.MOst of the people inside began to shout" We are CLOSED FOR REMODELING!“ Indeed they are. THIS FILM which would be about nothing without its stars. They are actually CLOSED FOR REMODELING. and they have every right to be proud of it.

There is at least one staff member who manifestly dislikes the production,though he too acknowledges the pivotal role of the actors in the making of this film,what it is, I refer to the nameless person who answered the phone Sunday afternoon and announcedin an apologetic tone"I am sorry but we are CLOSED FOR REMODELING" Such remorse over participation in so fine a film seems strange indeed.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about National Hills Theatre on Oct 10, 2009 at 10:52 am

I guess like most theatres you could make a sitcom like the short lived CBS show THE POPCORN KID.It is impossible to list all the gang that worked at NATIONAL HILLS during the mid 70’s.The projectionists who had to put up with a young theatre Manager,John Mackey,with liberal ideas on movies. You Had in the Booth Mr.Pete cussing another John Mackey “hippie late show"or Gordon rushing up om sunday evenings with a coke and a bag of popcorn to relieve Mr.Pete.To the ring of Ed Williamsl laugh nd to the utter seriousness of putting on a good show;To the playfulness of Bill Barkley and finally one cannot forrget about the artful nutsyness of Mark Barkley. AND THAT WAS JUST OUR PROJECTIONISTS!!

One night our city manager saw about three minutes of the GROOVE TUBE and stood by the box office checking everyone’s I.D.

I will never forget Chewy calling me off the marquee only to spray me with a water cannon he had rigged up. His maniacal giggle as he drove off. Putting Bullets out on the ticket chopper to freak out Charles{ he thought someone was going to kill him].Lewis and CHEWY STOLE THE SHOW with the fake phone call to Mike Rogers in the lobby/ PAY phone.

The wrestling match between Lewis and Charles in the lobby after the show was over, Charles almost geeting down to his underwear for extra offense during the match. John Mackey standing there looking for the City Manager to walk up. or have a spy tell on John.

Mark[chewy] SENDING NEW GUYS AFTER THE MARQUEE STRECHER.

AND NOW…a quote from TOMMY CAPERS ABOUT me, Mike Rogers this was videotaped at our ABC-PLITT THEATRE CHRISTMAS PARTY REUNION…

“Mike was very good to work with; Everybody worked! The theatre business was good because you worked for 30 minutes,that was when the crowd got in. And Mike was good for the other hour and a half while the show was running. Dec.1986.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about National Hills Theatre on Oct 10, 2009 at 10:24 am

What a double feature, JAWS at The Imperial and BENJI at National Hills.Most all the doormen that wanted extra bucks could head downtown and work a double.And with JAWS it was work.Some folks passed out in the body heat from the Imperial and summer heat.To stay at National Hills in that nice neighborhood,most doormen begged off, but i was down there helping a understaffed theatre.And I know Jim Neely liked it because all he did for weeks is pop corn. One time we had to pop corn for the Imperial at National Hills.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about "Apocalypse Now" 30th Anniversary on Oct 10, 2009 at 9:58 am

Ithink it could have used about 30 minutes of editing.Mostly Brando’s raving at the end.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about Megaplex 20 at The District on Oct 10, 2009 at 9:52 am

CHUCK 1231.. I Guess you are right;my oldest son worked at a 14 plex here and understood my love of the old theatres,but you cannot even think of 20 plexs as treasures.We have one here in Augusta and i have never been to.Did go to a 24 PLEX at UNIVERSAL Studio’s in Orlando,and i just was not impressed.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers commented about Regency Exchange Cinema on Oct 10, 2009 at 5:05 am

CURTAIN FALLS ON REGENCY 8
By Albert Ross Jr.

The silver screens at Regency Exchange 8 faded to black Thursday night as the last movie house in SouthAugusta.
The General Cinema Corp. Theatre closed after 13 years in operation in the troubled Regency Mall complex.
General Cinema’s public relations director, Brian Callahan declined comment specifically on the reasons for the closing but said the company is closing several locationc nationwide.
“As larger theatres are being built smaller ones are closing.” said Callahan. A former theatre employee, speaking on annonymity said the cinema’s staff was given three days notice to find another job. Mr.Callahan said GCC has no plans to expand in the market ,nor build a new theatre in Augusta. The REGENCY 8 was built in 1987. The EXCHANGE saw competion heat up when Regal Cinemas 12 hit town. The final blow came when REGAL 20 opened last year.
Mr.Callahan thanked Augusta for its support of GCC “ WE WERE GLAD TO SHARE MOVIE MEMORIES WITH AUGUSTA.”