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Some excellent history, some images about General Cinema can be found at:
Here is a direct links to pictures mentioned above:
This one of the box-office from Jan. 1982:
Here’s a link direct to picture mentioned previously:
I like this one from early 1960s at my flickr site:
Here is link to picture from about 1963 at my flickr site:
Here is one picture though not a full view:
And here is one of my father, Edward Marks with two of his staff when he was the manager. Both photos are from around 1949. He worked for Herman B. Meiselman who built the theatre. (Meiselman’s company would become Eastern Federal Theatres as mentioned at top). View link
Mr. Meiselman sold the theatre to Stellings & Gossett about 1953 but at some point he bought it back. I don’t believe the theatre was across from Charlotte Memorial Hospital (now Carolinas Medical) but the hospital certainly wasn’t too far away. The old Boar’s Head Restaurant was located semi-across from the theatre.
A little history about The Center: Wheeler Smith, previous owner & operator of The Strand in Monroe which burned in 1939 was determined he wouldn’t lose another theatre entirely to fire. At the time it was built(designed by Earle G. Stillwell of Hendersonville, NC), The Monroe Enquirer (Feb. 3, 1940, p1) reported it contained “the largest single piece of steel in this section, this being the main girder which passed under the balcony.” The floor of the projection booth was completely fire-proof so that a “fire could be built(upon it)…and patrons…would never know…”. Seats were made of steel (“comfortably upholstered in leather and mohair”). It featured more exits than were required at that time so that a full theatre could be “emptied in less than three minutes”. Foundations were reinforced concrete and steel, sunk deep into the ground.
First picture: “Congo Maisie” with Ann Southern. This would have been the film for the ‘soft opening’ on Feb. 9, 1940 with “Remember the Night” being slated for the formal opening February 12th. Smith came from Alabama where he learned the ropes, starting out as a projectionist. Other staff for The Center when it opened: Sadie Simmons, Cashier; Dunham Bundy, Jr., Projectionist; Bruce Walters, Doorman. A special feature in the auditorium were two “big man” seats for the comfort of larger patrons. Dating couples loved these seats! When The Center closed it had two screens. The balcony was converted into another auditorium. Currently all renovations are at a stand-still.
Okay, here’s my little history of The Capri. I don’t really know when it opened so will stick with c1965 for now. One thing, it wasn’t twinned first and a third screen added—see as follows: The Capri Theatre opened around 1965. It was built and operated by Stewart & Everette Theatres. Unusual ceiling detail (we called them upside-down pyramids but Iâ€™m sure there is an architectural word for them) was not only outside but inside the lobby as well. It had one screen and 995 seats with a back center smoking section in the auditorium. (a low wall surrounded these seats and ashtrays were attachedâ€"I believe to the back of the seats). It had a real stage with a beautiful gold, satin(silk?)-brocade curtain that was raised just before the previews and lowered between shows (though eventually they stopped doing that). Wonderful to watch the rippled pleats as it rose and fell. They often used a color-wheel on the curtain when it was closed along with background music. Color wheels were also in place in a double-fountain out front. A double driveway with overhang for the comfort of passengers being let out or picked up was between the fountains and the box-office. Ladiesâ€™ restroom had a separate lounge area (though not as pretty as the Park Terraceâ€™s). Sometime around 1975 a 2nd auditorium was added—seating capacity maybe around 350? After 1980 the large auditorium was split and the Capri could then call itself a tri-plex.
Picture of the theatre from 1966 posted at my flickr site: View link
One more thing: Stewart & Everette did not own/operate the Freedom Mall Cinemas but I have honestly forgotten who did! Only The Village and The Capri were Stewart & Everette’s in Charlotte.
I believe demolished? A photo is at my flickr site:
The Regency Theatres were built and operated by the Eastern Federal Corporation. It was a first-run theatre when it opened. I believe it became a dollar-house sometime between 1982-85.
Charlottetown Cinemas did have three screens at one time (c1981). By 1982 it had 4. Two photos of it can be found at my flickr site: View link
No one has talked about the bathrooms! I can’t speak for the men but in the womens' each stall had it’s own sink. Big, roomy, private stalls! (of course, a nightmare to clean!!!!)
The 4th theatre built & owned by the General Cinema Corporation (GCC) was the Tower Place Cinemas at the Tower Place Festival Shopping Center on Hwy. 51 at/near Pineville, NC. I believe it has been demolished (but shopping ctr. still there). A photo of this theatre along with a couple of the Charlottetown Mall Cinemas (now demolished) and a partial view of the movie-star mural which was outside the Eastland Cinemas can be found at my flickr site:
(Hey, I didn’t realize that Eastland was the first tri-plex in Charlotte!)