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Advertisement from the November 23, 1966 edition of the Durham Herald-Sun:
THE DOORS WILL OPEN TO THE BEAUTIFUL NEW LAKEWOOD CENTER THEATRE…MOVIEGOING WILL NEVER BE THE SAME!!!
The Center Theatre Will Bring Durham And The Triangle Area A Wonderful New World of Luxury And Comfort In Motion Picture Theatres.
-Luxurious Rocking Chairs
-Stereophonic Surround Sound
-Mammoth Cured(Ultravision) Distortion Free Screen
-A Sea of Front Door Parking!!!
-Startling Luxurious Surroundings
With a seating capacity of over 800 and convenient front door parking,the new Center Theatre will make movie going more convenient than ever. From the ultra-plush carpeting,the accoustically draped walls,roomy airflo rocking chairs,you will experience innovations that project you into a new world of moviegoing.
For the eye,the mammoth curved screen reproduces the sharpest distortion-free screen image yet known….
For the ear…full range stereophonic sound envelopes you in a feeling of participation. The latest in electronic air-conditioning insures consistent maximum comfort. From architecture to entertainment,the Center Theatre is an incomparable showplace.
From the previous comment:
Theater is re-opening with new and classic movies at discount prices!
All Seats for All Shows Are Just $3.00!!!!
They recently had some very good flicks that played at the Varsity.
James Cameron’s Avatar is REALLY pulling in some big business too as the main attraction!!! Forget going to see this in IMAX!!!! “Avatar” has been selling-out shows every night and the crowds are snaked around the cinema all the way down Franklin Street at discount prices! The website is www.varsityonfranklin.com
The classic films ranged from “Gone With The Wind”, “Mary Poppins”,
“Old Yeller”,to “Back To The Future”,“Raiders of the Lost Ark”,
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail”,“Fast Times At Ridgemont High”,
“Casablanca”,“A Clockwork Orange”,“Young Frankenstein”,and “Ben-Hur”.
Coming Soon: The Frankie Avalon-Annette Funicello beach film festival
It was formerly The Richmond Theatre which opened in 1930 with a seating capacity of 700 that was operated by Wilby-Kincey Theatres.
The Richmond was in business from 1930 until 1964. In 1964,the management changed the name to the Strand Theatre,which was still a 700 seat cinema which Wilby-Kincey operated until the late 1960’s when it was acquired by Charlotte based Eastern Federal Corporation.
The Strand closed in 1975. By the late 1990’s,the Strand was saved from destruction and was turned into a performing art house and live theater. Today,it is known as the Richmond Community Theater.
To The Article:
I notice that in North Carolina that it played for 61 weeks at the Ambassador Theatre in Raleigh when it opened on August 11,1965 in its exclusive enagement run.
It also played in various theatres too: I notice that it also played at the Center in Durham on January 13,1967 as a exclusive enagement. FYI….The Center Theatre in Downtown Durham closed its doors in 1965 and moved to the suburbs at Lakewood Shopping Center in December of 1966. The Center at the time THE SOUND OF MUSIC played there was a single screen theatre and it was shown in stereophonic sound and widescreen too in full 70MM print when it opened on January 13,1967.
Also in March of 1967,it also ended up as a exclusive enagement showing during its run at the Carolina Theatre in Chapel Hill(when it was a single screen theatre with a seating capacity of over 1,145).
It was also re-released in 1973 as also an exclusive enagement run when it played at the Yorktowne Theatre in Durham and the Village Plaza in Chapel Hill. Not to mention was also re-released the following year as well when it played for a short-run at the Cardinal Theatre in Raleigh.
Did the Gaston Mall Cinema played all United Artists features including all of the James Bond films with both Sean Connery and Roger Moore? I know some Woody Allen films made during the 1970’s released under United Artists also have played here as well as some films of various interest like family films including Disney flicks.
“Jaws” was one of two Triangle area theatres that booked the film’s original opening on June 20,1975.
The Yorktowne was still a single screen theatre when “Jaws” officially opened. The original auditorium where it played had a seating capacity of over 800 that included a super widescreen that was capable of showing both 35mm and 70mm films. However,the opening weekend showings brought in record capacity crowds which had it showing at the Yorktowne for 26 weeks.
At the time “Jaws” opened,the second auditorium was under construction and basically almost completed for its 325 seat auditorium for the Yorktowne II’s official opening in late June of 1975 for the opening of “French Connection II”. The only problem the Yorktowne had was the availability for parking which was limited for the cinema’s lot and around back but for additional parking you had to go across to used the parking lot over at the Hutton Building and from there had to walk across the street to the theatre.
Great movie theatre,but had a serious problem with parking there
There was also a African-American drive-in theatre located on either Cheek Road or Fayetteville Street that cater to black audiences during the 1940’s and 1950’s that is not listed on this site. During the 1940’s,the 1950’s and part of the early to mid 1960’s,several theatres in Durham were segregated,and most of the theatres along Pettigrew Street and in other section of the city catered to blacks.
All that changed in 1963,when Durham integrated all theatres and businesses.
The Village Theatre remained a single screen cinema until 1975. On June 20,1975,the Cameron Village Theatres were twinned with the original 750 seat auditorium still intact,and adding another side that expanded the seating to over 900.
The opening of Steven Spielburg’s 1975 blockbuster “Jaws” was the featured opener for the Village Twin that opened to capacity crowds in Screen 1. Screen 2 played a Disney flick “Escape To Witch Mountain” that lasted one week before it booked another flick “The Other Side Of The Mountain” a week later. “Jaws” however was the potential sell-out and crowd pleaser each week where it played at the Village for 26 weeks.
The Northgate Theatre was twinned on June 12, 1975 with the opening features “The Other Side of the Mountain”,and the family feature “Pippi Goes On Board”.
It was owned and operated by Fuqua Theatres Group,which was a subsidiary of Consolidated Theatres before Martin Theatres took over operations in early 1976.
“Home Alone” also played here on two screens in December of 1990. Reason? The lines were snaked around the mall opposite near the J.C. Penney department store,and the way the auditoriums were designed it wasn’t enough to hold the capacity crowds. One auditorium was about the size of school classroom with the screen that was barely to see the entire film which sucked not to mention once all the seats were full,it had to be standing room only due to the capacity space. It was no wonder The South Square Mall Cinemas was the WORST movie theatre in Durham.
Soon to be reopened as the Anson/Wadesboro Community Theatre,formerly the Ansonia Theatre.
By the late 1960’s,and throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s,and into the 1990’s,there were only three movie theatres in Rockingham:
-The Strand Theatre(Downtown on East Washington Street-closed in the late-1960’s or early 1970’s,and was reopened as the Richmond Community Theatre
-Cinema 1 & 2(Richmond Plaza Shopping Center)
-Plaza Twin(Broad Street Shopping Center-Closed/Demolished)
-Rockingham Drive-In Theatre(aka The Highway 74 Drive-In Theatre)which is not listed on cinema treasures,but it was very popular during the 1950’s through the 1970’s,before it was closed forever in the early 1980’s,which has been demolished and clear in the mid-80’s for a car dealership and a seafood restaurant where the Rockingham drive-in theatre once stood.
The cinema sat on top of a hill facing North Roxboro Road.
The Riverview Cinema showed adult films/blaxploitation/and kung-fu flicks as a single screen theatre until 1986 when the original auditorium was split down the middle,thanks to the technique that made it into a twin cinema by 1986. By 1986,in Durham County if you wanted to see adult films in a theatre,you had no choice but go to the local drive-in theatres that catered it.
The name was changed to the Riverview Twin,which catered to showing second-run films and independent features not to mention exclusive enagements at discount prices that lasted until 1995. While in operation as a twin cinema,the Riverview showed first-run exclusives of several films in the Triangle,the last feature to play at The Riverview Twin Cinema was the Spike Lee flick “Drop Squad” starring Eric LaSalle.
1969-1973: Wilby-Kincey Corporation
1973-1976: ABC Southeastern Theatres
1976-1987: Plitt Southern Theatres
1987-1992: Cineplex Odeon Corporation
1992-1999: Carmike Cinemas
I worship this site…..I’ve been a huge fan of cinema treasures since 2007.
Oh yeah, I forgot “Monster’s Ball” that came out in 2002. The movie to gave Halle Berry the Oscar that year for Best Actress. Halle Berry made history that year becoming the first African-American female to win the Oscar for Best Actress.
“Training Day”, “The Hurricane”-Denzel Washington
“The Pursuit of Happiness”-Will Smith
“Kill Bill:Chapters I and II” from Quentin Tarantino
"Mr. and Mrs. Smith”
Best movie of the decade? THE DARK KNIGHT
"Star Wars-Episode III:Revenge of the Sith"
"Star Trek” (2009)
"Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull"
"The entire Spider-Man trilogy"
"Million Dollar Baby"
"Dreamgirls”-Beyonce made have been the star,but it was Jennifer Hudson that stole the show and the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
“The Last King of Scotland"
"There Will Be Blood"
"No Country For Old Men"
"Gone Baby Gone"
"The Lord of the Rings” trilogy
“King Kong” (2005)
“Munich” (Steven Spielburg)
“Letter from my Fathers” (Clint Eastwood)
“The Hurt Locker"
"The Polar Express"
"Disney’s A Christmas Carol"
"The Princess and the Frog"
From the previous comment:
“Lots of shopping centers around here now occupy Drive-In land. However,most of the shopping centers were built on these old drive-in spots today sit empty and falling apart,much like the drive-in’s they replaced”.
For one,here in Durham,the Starlite Drive-In Theatre off Club Blvd.
was built during the mid-1940’s and was one of the most popular drive-in theatres in town. It was second to another cherish Durham drive-in landmark,the Carolina-Duke drive-in(Off Chapel Hill Blvd.),and the Forest Drive-In(off Wake Forest Highway),and the Midway Drive-In(off Hillsborough Road between US 70 and I-85). By the late 1970’s through the early 1990’s,the Starlite survived thanks due to a reopening that occured during the late 1990’s and remained that way until its closing in 2007,under new management.
When they built that Super Wal-Mart where the entrance was,it marked the end of era in Durham. The Starlite was the last of the dinosaur drive-in theatres that were in operation throughout the surrounding Triangle area. The same can be said,about the South Square area,which opened in 1975 as one of the largest indoor shopping centers in Durham. All that change when Southpoint opened in 2002,and South Square was demolished,change the landscape of an area of land which was at one time,part of a drive-in theatre during the 1950’s(The Hope Valley Drive-In,which is not listed on the Cinema Treasures site)before it was erected into a huge shopping mall. Nowadays,the area once known as South Square is now a huge strip mall stretching from Shannon Road all the way to Westgate Drive and University Drive(which is anchored by a Super Target and a Sam’s Club Warehouse).
This will make an interesting sight for some of the Wilmington’s movie houses,not to mention some of the area drive-in’s that operated within Wilmington and greater New Hanover County.
Beats driving to Charlotte or Concord or even Salisbury to see movies. Our Town Cinemas will serve the communities of Davidson and nearby Davidson College.
When it opened in December of 1966,the Center was one of several movie theatres owned and operated under the Wilby-Kincey banner until the 1970’s when it was acquired by ABC Southeastern Theatres,and later on by Plitt Theatres Group and finally Cineplex Odeon Corporation. Carmike Cinemas was the last chain to operate the Center until its closing in 2001.
Speaking of the Superhero movies of the decade…..I’m surprised that G.I. JOE and TRANSFORMERS aren’t on the list……And coming soon……“Wonder Woman”, “Captain America”,“Thor”,not to mention Hanna-Barbera toons of the 60’s and 70’s turned into live-action motion pictures: “The Herculoids”,along with “Jonny Quest”,and “Space Ghost” are coming to a big screen near you!
COMING: “Thundercats”, “M.A.S.K.”, “He-Man And The Masters of the Universe”,and the live-action version of “Thundarr The Barbarian”.
Two of the biggest science fiction films were released in 1979:
THE ORIGINAL STAR TREK MOVIE (12-08-1979)
DISNEY’S THE BLACK HOLE (12-14-79)
In North Carolina…the movie was showed on widescreen in various theatres:
Imperial Theatres I-II-III-IV
Carolina Blue and White Theatres
Yorktowne Theatres I & II
Town and Country Theatres I & II