Showing 101 - 125 of 415 comments
Like millions of other children of that era I have memories of attending the drive in dressed in my pajamas with pillows, blankets, etc… filling the back seat of the family sedan, in our case a Chevy. This was the closest location of any of the Birmingham theatres to our house. Because of the small number of first run theatres in town it was not unusual for lower profile first run product to play here, although two of my more distinct memories concern seeing 10 Commandments and The Longest Day, both sub runs, at Shades Mt.
Shortly after we moved, this location was demolished and the Red Lobster that now sits in the parkingl lot of the shopping center marks the rough location of the screen and box office. Cobb moved down to the foot of the hill near where 31 crosses I-65 and built a single screen drive in there called the Thunderbird. This was a very fast growing area and that location did not last long before it also was torn down for another shopping center. Cobb opened a twin there that later became a draft house cinema and is now retail.
We checked on the Empire angle and while I do not remember where it played after its four week 70MM exclusive at Phipps. I am sure that it did not play here. As far as Jedi is concerned I do not recall ever looking. I think that it also opened at Phipps and if so it is unlikely that it would have played here. PM and PP are pretty close to each other and in those days of more limited releases probably would have been exclusive of each other, at least for a release of this type. Now, that is a different story as was made clear to me when GCC Parkside, where I was working, and the Regal Perimeter Point both ran Independence Day. I doubt that those two are even 2 miles or 10 minutes apart.
Russell: I first met Steve Crisp in 1972 when he was the manager of the Capri in Buckhead when it was a Weis theatre. In 1975 he followed me as manager of the Loews 12 Oaks. A couple of years later he joined GCC at Akers Mill. Within a few years I was working as a projectionist and worked for him there as his regular operator. He was a great guy, both as a friend and manager. He left Akers to open Merchants and a few years later, against his better judgement, moved to Parkside after a long series of managers failed to tame that place. He left in ‘97 after 20 years with GCC and retired to Ashville. I am sad to report that he died a couple of years ago of a heart attack, much like your friend Craig.
I knew Larry and Stu when we were all managers for Loews. Larry took Webb’s place at PM when Webb went to booking. Stu took PM when Larry went to Akers. I was not working in theatres in the late ‘70’s but would occasionally work for Stu at this location when he needed crowd control help. I always got along with Stu, but I know what you mean. He liked to do things his own way. The last time I saw him was in the late 80’s. He was working for NCN, the outfit that sold the slide projector ads, when he came by a booth I was working to check the presentation.
Larry left GCC as a DM to be COO of the Septum chain. I knew that would not last and sure enough he was back within a year, still as a DM. He later left and went to work for Storey shortly before they were sold to Regal. Last I heard he was in NC.
Aaron and Jim Williams both left Northlake to go to the new Gwinnett Place theatre and that is when I went to work at Northlake. The manager then was Lex Austin. In 1997 I took Aaron’s place at Gwinnett when he retired. Sad to say that he died a couple of years later. Jim is still alive and I see him when we have our retiree lunches.
I am afraid that most of this has nothing to do with the Perimeter Mall page, but there is not one for GCC itself. Hope this brought back some old memories.
Man, I hate to start down this road, but here it goes. I believe that Dune was a Christmas ‘84 release. At that time I was working the GCC Northlake and do not recall working Perimeter Mall at any time during the Dune run. I do not recall if Dune ran at Perimeter Mall or not but if it did is had to have been in 35 since PM never had 70MM equipment.
As I stated in my first long post on this page, I worked at PM more than any other single location during my projectionist years, at least up until the time it closed in 1999. I appreciate all of the work that came my way because of GCC, and not once did I ever have a paycheck bounce, unlike other companies I worked for. That said, I must be honest and also say that the GCC theatres of that era (Perimeter, Northlake, Southlake, and Akers Mill) had as bad a presentation as any I ever put on the screen. Shotgun theatres, shadowbox masking which left the sides of the flat picture raw, very slow installation of Dolby, and the atrocious two position seats made for a very poor movie going experience. Not that the public seemed to care since it obviously did not keep them from coming back.
My point is that none of these locations ever had 70MM projectors. PM got 4 track Dolby for Star Trek in 1979, and in 1995 Dolby Digital, but that was it as far as projection upgrades. The first GCC theatre in Atlanta to get 70MM capability was Gwinnett Place which opened in 1984. By then, GCC, in another downgrade in presentation, had quit equipping booths with Century projectors and had switched to Cinemeccanica’s. One house at Gwinnett was equipped with a Vic 8 35/70 as was one house of Merchants Walk and Parkside a few years later.
I wish I could tell you which if any theatres had a 70MM run of Dune. For a city of this size Atlanta played very little 70MM. The closest theatres to PM with 70MM were Phipps Plaza and Holcombe Woods. Next time that I am in the film room of the library I will try to find the Dune ads and see which theatres had a 70MM engagement.
We ran Times Square at Lenox Square in the fall of 80. I was worried that it may become another Rocky Horror with all of the attendant crowd problems, but it bombed out after only two weeks.
All of these people that are sure that they saw Star Wars here makes me wonder sometimes. However, I have never known Michael Coate to make a mistake on this kind of topic, especially when Star Wars is concerned as he has some type of official release record. Also, just to make sure, I went back and looked at the newspaper ads for those days. No doubt that it did not play here during its initial release of summer 1977. After that, starting in spring of 78, who knows. It might have been brought back as a second run filler like so many theatres used to do with Gone With The Wind, 2001, Zhivago, etc…
I think that the all time record holder for Perimeter Mall was Driving Miss Daisy, followed by Forrest Gump and My Best Friends Wedding. As far as busiest seasons, the summer of ‘87 comes to mind with Roxanne, Predator, LaBamba, and the one that kept bringing them back time after time, Lost Boys.
Edisaurus: Nice memories, especially the last two paragraphs. The theatre itself was still in pretty good shape into the 80’s, but there was also retail on the Peachtree sidewalk frontage and the old Barnett Sign Shop space in the rear facing Piedmont. Also there was a huge basement area that was impossible to secure from the outside. There were constant homeless living there who would occasionally smoke the theatre up with their camp fires to say nothing of the rat attracting garbage they would leave.
Your first paragraph is also nice and accurate as far as the movie goes, however, you have the wrong theatre. Song of Norway payed at the original Phipps Plaza Theatre in 70MM Christmas 1970. It did so poorly I do not recall it ever getting a sub run in the neighborhood theatres.
I hope you will post some more of your movie theatre experiences here. I think that all of the Cobb County theatres from that era have pages.
One other note: The Google map showing the location at the top of this page is way off. The Melba, Empire, Ritz, and Alabama were all located within a 6 square block area a good 20 blocks east of where the red dot indicates. Melba and Empire were on the east side of 21st street and the Alabama and Ritz a block or so west of 21st.
The Empire was located one street up on 3rd Ave. The Melba and I think the Empire as well were operated by Cobb Theatres in their final years as horror and Blaxploitation houses. I do not remember another 2nd Avenue theatre on that side of 21st Street so it must have been gone by the late 50’s which is the earliest I can remember attending movies at the Melba and other downtown theatres.
Mike: I knew Karen Shaw when she worked at South DeKalb during her high school years.
Ed: Martin was a big chain in the southeastern US. and is known as Carmike today although it has been through bankruptcy and ownership changes over the years. Martin had several drive-ins and a couple of indoors in Cobb County, which would be like Long Island is to NYC. In 1961 they purchased the old Rialto in the center of downtown Atlanta, tore it down and rebuilt it as a first run theatre. (The Zieg in your town is almost an exact duplicate of the layout and floorplan.) They also bought the old Tower Theatre across the street from the Fox and turned it into the Martin Cinerama. A couple of years later they built a new single strip 70MM house, the Georgia Cinerama in the suburbs.
Those nice screen shots you have posted could have been used at any of these theatres. I think that this theatre (Martin’s Cinerama) opened with Brothers Grimm followed by HTWWW and then on to IAMMMMW in 70MM. After that it was Mary Poppins and Sound of Music while most of the single strip Cinerama played at the Georgia.
Alice opened the same day as Lenny, 2/14/75. It did very well on its own, and even better from the overflow on the shows that Lenny sold out. A couple of times Lenox played the same movie in both houses with alternating show times, something common today but unheard of back then. As Cliff said, movies would sometimes move to #2 when still doing well when they had to leave the big house. Cliff is incorrect on another point. No Russ Meyer film ever ran here. I think that Midnight Cowboy was the only X to run at Lenox. They even passed on Last Tango In Paris.
Great picture from VJ day 1945. On the far right, Loew’s Grand, next to it is the Paramount / Howard, and up Peachtree on the left is the Roxy marquee. Just below the Roxy sign you can just make out the top of the marquee of the Capitol.
Reade owned the US rights to War and Peace. In Atlanta we ran it as a midnight show in August 1972 and March 1973. Intermission at 3AM, out at 6:30AM. Included in the ticket was breakfast at the coffee house across the street for anyone who made to the end. 23 reels if I remember correctly.
Question for Vito: Did your previous comment mean that the year long run of “Fiddler” at the Rivoli was 35MM? I always assumed that it was 70MM.
As for the “roadshow” subject: In Atlanta, any 70MM required two operators or one man at time and a half. Same for any reserved seat engagement even if it was 35MM. At the Walter Reade Atlanta, where I was working, they started out reserved seat for both Fiddler and LaMancha and changed to reserve performances once the crowds died down although LaMancha was dead from the start. They still used the hardticket but seating was open and only one operator was required.
It seems that the digital conversion has yet to take place at this location. Click on the story under the “News About This Theatre” section and you can watch a segment from the local TV station. It describes the problems that all of these small theatres are facing with the cost of conversion and warns that the Retro may close if the owner can not raise the money.
I saw LOA in the fall of 1963 when I was 12 and still too young to enjoy this movie. As was our custom, the entire family went to what was a sparsely attended Saturday afternoon showing. We usually went to the movies on Friday nights, so I assume that this was due to the long running time. Seeing this on a Saturday afternoon when I would have been playing neighborhood football while my parents worked around the house and yard is probably the reason I even remember LOA at all from that first viewing. I would have much rather stayed at home or gone to whatever Walt Disney movie was available. Within a couple of years I would be old enough to appreciate this type of movie as I did with Sound Of Music, and most especially my favorite of all of the Lean films, Doctor Zhivago.
In 1971 I saw the reissue at the Loew’s 12 Oaks Theatre in Atlanta, my first visit to this theatre that I would find myself managing one day. I enjoyed the movie, but did not think that it was in the same class as Zhivago, which is what I was hoping for. The presentation was only fair with the huge 1200 seat auditorium sounding pretty hollow since the theatre only had mono sound.
I finally saw LOA in 70MM at the Fox Theatre during the 1978 Fall Film Festival, and the great picture and sound made it much more entertaining. In 1996 I started working in the Fox booth and have had the pleasure of running LOA twice, once in 70MM, which led to one of the more disgraceful episodes of my booth days. Like all projectionists, I have had my share of snafu’s, but for the most part I was able to recover to the point that the audience rarely noticed. And, as I was once told, if no one sees your mistake it didn’t happen. In this case, 2000 people noticed when I managed to trip over the return film path. Under the glass of my desk I keep a four frame strip of Omar sitting at the oasis, with one of the frames burned out. I find it a good reality check.
I have just read that this location is to be aquired by Carmike. If past history is a guide, that means that any quality of presentation is on its way out the door probably followed by any existing employees.
This link has an article in Boxoffice about the opening of this theatre. Really nothing about the theatre that Christofer did not relate, but it does give some information about the history of Modular Cinemas.
Yes Mike, Weis did buy out the remaining Minis in Atlanta during the summer of 1974. The first two, Peachtree Battle and Ansley Mall had already been sold, so Weis got Sandy Springs, Doraville, Candler Road, and the under construction site that became the Franklin Road, later renamed Cinema 75.
I believe that I remember you Ginger. I worked the booth here from 1997-99, starting when Aaron retired until they did away with the union operator. In those days Lynn Zieburtz was the manager, and I can remember about four different assistant managers, two male, two female, but I can not recall any names. I always liked working for Lynn, especially the way she scheduled the booth in a way that allowed me to work all of the union hours in only 3 days, Thursday through Saturday.
I recognized you at Gwinnett because I also remember seeing you when I worked at Parkside from 1995 on. Lynn managed some there as well, but the regular manager was Steve Crisp. In fact, I am sitting in that booth right now, on a Friday morning, waiting for a late arriving print to show up so I can put it together.
Happy to see that you stumbled onto this site. There are plenty of my former employees and co-workers that would have some fine stories to tell if they only knew it was here.
I remember your grandfather well. Along with Mr. Carmichael and Reuben Woods, he was on the crew when I started working there as an usher in 1972. After I became a projectionist I never worked with him in a theatre but did work with him often running AV shows at hotels and the Congress Center.
After all of that type of work ended I would still see Reuben at the occasional lunch where many of us would get together and trade stories about the good old days. In fact, I saw him at one of those about a month before he died, and was one of several former or retired projectionists at the graveside service.
I recall that he lived on Aruba Circle and was part of that first big real estate buy out that resulted in the construction of the king and queen buildings in Sandy Springs. While I was going through some old union files I found his transfer card from the Key West FL. local and gave it to him at one of our lunches.
Reuben was a good guy and fun to work with. Even when I was just an usher he would always welcome me in the booth when I wanted to show someone around. Those were some good days when the projection business was a craft and you had to pass a test and be licensed by the city to work in a booth. By the late 80’s it had degenerated to the point of sending which ever doorman or concession attendant was available to thread up the projectors. Sure, they would lose a show now and then and occasionally tear up a print, but it was better than paying a responisble person a living wage to do the job right.
the job right.
Mclean: I think that the theatre you are talking about was the Buckhead Art. It was located at the five points intersection of Buckhead.
To see all of the grand opening ads that rivest has been kind enough to supply just click on the photo tab next to the overview tab at the top of this page. The ad is in the photo section.
An article in the Birmingham paper describes the shut down of this theatre during the early evening shows on Christmas Day, the busiest day of the year. It seems that there was already a large crowd of teenagers causing trouble in the theatre and an even larger crowd in the parking lot. According to the police a social media flashmob showed up and the off duty police at the theatre had to call for help.
According to the comment section, the same type of thing happened at the Rave in Vestavia, but it did not cause the theatre to close. Another comment said that Hoover had slapped a curfew on the Patton Chapel Rave to stop this type of problem with unattended youths.
I first saw this great movie in December 1970 at the old Martin Cinerama which by then was operated by Walter Reade under the name “The Atlanta.” I was only an occasional moviegoer for most of the 60’s and had not even heard of this movie until the previous May when, for some unknown reason, the song “Somewhere” was chosen by some unknown person to be the class song that we sang during our high school graduation. When it appeared at the Atlanta as a two week pre Christmas filler, I stopped by to see it on my way home from class at Georgia State.
In those days, the Cinerama ribbon screen was still in use, and although 35MM, especially scope, always looked a little fuzzy with that deep curve, the size of the picture and the four track mag sound gave it an impressive presentation. However, it was the choreography, which I had never seen anything like, that impressed me the most. And Natalie Wood on the 68 X 34 foot screen of course. I enjoyed it so much I stayed for another show since it was continuous performances. I was puzzled by a movie that had no credits, but I did enjoy what I assumed was walkout music as well as the overture. (15 months later I was working at this theatre and asked the projectionist why they did not show the credits. Answer: To save carbons of course.)
Two months later WSS showed up at the Candler Road Mini Cinema, a little hole in the wall neighborhood theatre. The screen was tiny, the sound mono, and the quality of the projection poor, but I did experience something that few patrons of this movie can claim; an intermission. I do not know why this movie is never presented with an intermission since the place for it, right after the war council, is so obvious. Maybe it was there during the roadshow. Anyway, the Candler had one, though not in the correct spot. Instead, they waited one more reel, until the end of a 6000' reel thus avoiding all of that heavy work associated with an extra changeover. That reel ended right in the middle of the rumble. So, with Riff pinned against the fence, an astrodater, with sound no less, appeared and I (the only one in the house) had to wait 10 minutes for the fight to resume. In one respect, the Candler showed itself to be able to equal and even exceed the magnificent Atlanta Theatre. Not only did they kill the light at the end fadeout, they cut off the projector as well depriving me of the pleasure of the music.
In June 1971, again as a filler, WSS returned to the site of its Atlanta premiere, the Rhodes Theatre. Here I finally got to see the entire movie the way it was meant to be seen. Not only did I get to see that great credit sequence, but I found out that the overture was actually supposed to have something on the screen while it was playing. The film was only 35, but it was mag, and seeing it this way was almost like seeing it in a real theatre for the first time. When business was so good it was held over for a second week, I helped myself to another showing, this time talking the family into seeing it with me.
In the fall of 1972 WSS made its network premiere It was considered such an event that, in Atlanta at least, an ad, complete with artwork, was placed in the movie section of the paper with the TV station logo where the theatre would normally be.
When the Fox Theatre started showing a summer movie series after being saved from the wrecking ball, WSS was an occasional attraction and I was always there to see it. When it returned in 1996 I was working in the Fox booth, my only experience with this movie as projectionist. As it turned out, my love for this film, and my numerous viewings of it paid off in a big way. While not new, the print was a recent one with a Dolby soundtrack, and in pretty good shape. However, some previous “projectionist” had not only shown a lack of technique by cutting the heads and tails without leaving a frame attached, they had also shown their lack of interest by swapping the leaders and tail on two of the reels. As anyone who has worked in a booth will confirm, unless it happens with the first or last reel there is no way to catch this mistake if you do not know the movie. Since I did know it, I was able to catch it and avoid having hundreds of people cursing me.
This was not a ground breaking movie for me when it comes to being exposed to a whole new medium. As far as musicals go, that honor belongs to Sound of Music. However, coming when it did, just as I was leaving home and going to college, it caused me to take much more interest in movies. Within a year I was tearing tickets at a theatre beginning the first of my 40 or so years in this business.
I believe the name of the manager you replaced was Bob Harmon, or something close to that. In those days, Walter Reed Org. subbed out their concession operation and Bob was a concession manager in NYC. He moved over to theatre manager to return to Georgia. I am sure that he must have wondered what he had gotten himself into when he arrived at the magnificent looking but somewhat chaotic operation he was now responsible for. He was a nice guy to work for and certainly deserved better than what he got from some of the employees he inherited. I left for college in September of 1973, just a couple of weeks before the sale to Weis, something that no one saw coming. It was just a couple of weeks after that the shooting occurred.
Bob stayed on with Weis although I am sure by then he was counting the days to retirement. I remember a Saturday I stopped by to see him while I was home from school. This would have been in the spring of 1974. I was surprised to find him working the box office desk. Seems that Weis had a strange set up in Atlanta where the city manager, a very good man named Sidney Katz, was in charge of the Capri, Fine Art, both Broadviews, Weis Cinema and Peachtree Battle. The newer pick ups, the mini cinemas and the Atlanta, were under the supervision of the Macon city manager, Wayne Cobb. One Saturday, Wayne showed up and not liking the attitude of some of the employees, started giving orders as soon as he walked in the door. The first Mr. Harmon knew of the presence of the city manager was when all of his staff showed up in his office to tell him they were quitting.
Cobb, who at that time at least, did not understand the politics of running a business in Atlanta, sent out a call for all available Weis employees in the city, and also called up some from Macon. I guess that got them through the weekend, but the next time I was by there I was told by the projectionist, Jim Williams, that Bob was gone. I guess you were there by then. I did run into Wayne Cobb a year or so later. At that time I was working for ABC and we played Sunday morning football with some of the other theatre company employees. After we beat the Weis team one week, Wayne sent out a call for help from some of his Macon people. They were a worthy opponent, but they had spent the 90 mile drive up drinking the after game beer stash, and it was the roughest, wildest game I was ever involved in before degenerating into a brawl at the end.
Were you there for that one?