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At one time,the Varsity and the Chelsea along with the Carolina were the only movie houses in Chapel Hill that screened a showcase of independent,foreign and first-run films.
The Carolina Theater,once a staple of Downtown Chapel Hill closed it’s doors in 2005.
The Varsity Theater became a second-run discount house in 2009 after it change management. It also will run special features and some vintage Hollywood classic movies. At one time was an glitzy art house cinema.
The Chelsea located on the Northern end of the city at Timberlyne Center,opened it’s doors in 1990 as a twin cinema,and later on expanded to a triple screen operation.The Chelsea is the ONLY movie theater in all of Chapel Hill that shows art-house films and independent features,not to mention first-run features that is a great alternative to the megaplex Regal Timberlyne 6 which is across the street from Timberlyne Shopping off Banks Drive and Weaver Dairy Road.
The Village Plaza located off East Franklin Street at Elliott Road opened in 1970 as a twin cinema,and was a three screen cinema in 1973,and later on in the 1990’s expanded to five screens until it’s closing in 2003. Was demolished in 2006. The lot where the cinema once stood is now a public park.
THE EXORCIST played here first-run in 1974.
The Terrace Theatre was Central North Carolina’s only “Ultravision” Theatre when it opened on May 29,1969 with the Clint Eastwood-Richard Burton thriller “Where Eagles Dare”. The Terrace was one of several “Ultra Vision” Theatres that was under the Wilby-Kincey theatre chain in the mid-1960’s and then under ABC Theatres during the 1970’s and later it was part of Plitt Southern Theatres. It remained a single screen theatre under the mid-1980’s when it was twinned until it’s closing in 1991,last operated under Cineplex Odeon.
MY FAIR LADY was one of the exclusive engagement showing that played at the Miracle on June 1,1966.
A lot of the Warner Brothers product got first-run billing at this theatre.
The theatre was still around during the 1970’s when it was an ADULT theatre showing X-rated films. It closed in 1979.
This was also under during the mid-1960’s and throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s under Charlotte-based Eastern Federal Corporation.
From the August 13,1956 edition of the Fayetteville Observer:
At the height of it’s grand opening the initial performances of “The Eddy Duchin Story” were open to the public with a special section reserved for invited guests.
Daily Performances after the grand opening begin at 11:00am and will have continuous showings throughout.
Each Saturday,a special “Kids Show” will be featured at 9:00am that will have chapter serials and color cartoons.
There is a special section at the time of it’s opening that was reserved for minorities. The colored entrance is on the Franklin Street Side of the arcade where separate rest rooms,lounge,and concession stand are provided in regard to the Jim Crow laws at the time. This policy was taken down by 1964 at the height of the Civil Rights Movement.
The Miracle was one of 19 theatres under H.B, Meiselman who also operated the Fox, Raleigh Road, and the Flamingo Drive-In Theatres.
David Lean’s DOCTOR ZHIVAGO was also a reserved seat engagement at the Ambassador Theatre in mid-1966. In fact,DOCTOR ZHIVAGO replaced the long-running THE SOUND OF MUSIC after it’s astounding 61-week run.
NEXT ATTRACTION: “GRAND PRIX” in 70MM.
Speaking of “GRAND PRIX”,if you want to see this in Cinerama,you had to go to the Carolina Theatre in Charlotte to see it in the Cinerama format.
GONE WITH THE WIND played here as a exclusive reserved seat engagement on January 29,1940. It was one of the two theatres in the State that showed it. The other was at the Carolina Theatre in Charlotte.
You’re right. The Ambassador Theatre had a widescreen Cinemascope projection. That was installed during the renovation process in 1953 for it’s Eastern North Carolina Premiere of THE ROBE.
The Carolina Theatre in Downtown Charlotte was the ONLY moviehouse in the state that had the Cinerama capability and the only venue where certain films were presented in the Cinerama format.
The seating capacity for the Ambassador Theatre was 1,477. A lot of great films played here…not only did HOW THE WEST WAS WON,and THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM played here but THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, BEN-HUR, EL-CID, CLEOPATRA, and other blockbusters like THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY, and it’s 61-week astounding run of THE SOUND OF MUSIC.
Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY played here and was given the exclusive engagement treatment in 70MM and 6 Track Stereophonic Sound in 1969.
HOW THE WEST WAS WON played here as a reserved seat engagement at the Carolina Theater on May 29,1963. It was a roadshow.
It run of GREASE in 1978 broke all Charlotte movie attendance records when it played at the Manor. In 1978,the Manor was a 700 seat single screener. It’s run of GREASE broke the previous attendance record for a movie musical that was set years earlier by THE SOUND OF MUSIC.
Friendly Center remains me of Durham’s Northgate Shopping Center back in the early 1960’s.
Friendly Center opened to the public in 1957 as one of the largest shopping centers in Greensboro,and the Triad’s second strip mall after Winston-Salem’s Thruway Plaza. Friendly Center was not a mall,but had three major department stores…BELK, THALHIMERS(aka
HECHT’S and now MACY’S),and SEARS.
The Four Seasons Mall itself opened in 1975 as one of the largest indoor shopping centers in the Triad. At the time it was a two level mall,but during the 1980’s a third level was placed. The major department stores at Four Seasons were JC PENNEY, BELK, DILLARD’S, JORDAN MARSH, and THALHIMERS, along with a G.C. MURPHY’S, PICCADILLY CAFETERIA and other specialty stores and services. The cinema which was located on the opposite end of the shopping center off I-40 and High Point Road didn’t opened in 1979.
the attraction was it’s ice skating rink.
The Carolina Circle Mall itself opened in November of 1975,some five months after the opening of the Four Seasons Mall as one of the Triad’s two largest indoor mall. The Carolina Circle was Greensboro’s second largest indoor shopping center consisting of three major department stores…BELK, MONTGOMERY WARD, and
IVEY’S(aka DILLARD’S)with over 200 specialty stores and services. The theatre,located on the lower level of the mall next to Piccadilly Cafeteria,didn’t opened until November of 1976.
The Cameron Village when it was a single screen theatre mostly got a lot of the MGM product. A lot of the Elvis Presley films released by MGM got played here first-run.
A lot of great films played here. The Cameron Village on November 17,1963 played LAWRENCE OF ARABIA for it’s only first-run engagement showing. A Raleigh Premiere.
Also played here:
Lee Marvin in THE DIRTY DOZEN
Mel Brooks' BLAZING SADDLES
JAWS played here on June 20,1975
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK played here on June 12, 1981.
STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER
I do remember seeing JAWS 3-D not to mention the pathetic
GREASE 2 that played here at the Cardinal.
The last movie I saw here before it close in 1990 was the Harrison Ford and Melanie Griffith flick WORKING GIRL.
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACKTHE 70MM-6 TRACK DOBLY STEREO EXCLUSIVE ENGAGEMENTS:
Raleigh: Cardinal 1 & 2
Fayetteville: Bordeaux Triple
Charlotte: Park Terrace
Winston-Salem: Thruway 1 & 2
TOP GUN played here in DOBLY STEREO IN 1986.
THE RETURN OF THE JEDITHE 70MM-6 TRACK DOBLY STEREO EXCLUSIVE ENGAGEMENTS:
These were the only two cities within North Carolina that was given the 70MM exclusive engagement showings.
from your comment on august 7,2010;
STAR WARS played at the Parkview Twin first-run on June 16,1977. It was one of five exclusive engagement running of the film playing here in the Carolinas,and one of them was here in Winston-Salem. Other cities within North Carolina didn’t get the film until July 1,1977.
About it’s re-release:
The Thruway was not one of the cinemas that played STAR WARS as a re-release. The re-release of the film STAR WARS played at two theatres in Winston-Salem from July 21,1978 until September 1,1978. There are listed below:
-Reynolda Cinema 1 & 2
-Bright Leaf Drive-In(Mount Airy)
*I have the information.
COMING ATTRACTIONS FOR THE PARKWAY THEATRE was from the August 31,1965-September 1, 1965 edition of the Winston-Salem Journal,Winston-Salem,North Carolina.