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MOVIES THAT PLAYED AT THE CENTER THEATRE:
“The Sand Pebbbles"
"The Towering Inferno”-Shown in 70MM
"The French Connection"
"Harold and Maude"
"The Wild Bunch"
"Return of the Jedi”-Shown in 70MM
“The Empire Strikes Back”-Shown in 70MM
“Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"
"A Bridge Too Far"
"An Officer and a Gentlemen"
"Boyz In The Hood"
"Do The Right Thing"
"The Sound of Music"
"2001: A Space Odyssey”-Shown in 70MM
“A Clockwork Orange"
"The Ten Commandments”-Shown in 70MM
“Barry Lyndon”-Shown in 70MM
"Ben-Hur”-Shown in 70MM
“Ice Station Zebra"
"West Side Story"
"Fiddler on the Roof"
"Friday The 13th"
A Lot of special celebrities came to promoted there films during the heyday of the Riverview Cinema which was the first to do so in North Carolina,especially during the era of the blaxploitation movement of the 1970’s. Fred Williamson made several stops to his visit in the Durham area…He was here at the Riverview Cinema to show the world premiere of his Western “Adios Amigo: in 1976. Other celebrities that came for movie premieres here were Muhammad Ali, Rudy Ray Moore,
Jim Kelly, Richard Pryor, Ken Norton, Max Julian, and Pam Grier. Even Richard Roundtree of "Shaft” fame made a stop here in Durham’s most prestigous theatre once. Not to mention Max Baer Jr.,(better known to audiences as Jethro on TV’s The Beverly Hillbillies)made a stop at the Riverview Cinema to promoted his film “Macon County Line”,which played to capacity crowds when it came out.
The Northgate Theatre were on the opposite side of the Shopping Center near the entrance of several stores one of them was Sears(which opened at Northgate in 1973 at the time renovation was expanding for a indoor shopping center-Northgate Mall). The auditoriums when it was a single screen theatre was incredibly huge and very specious with its astounding widescreen. I used to go there as a kid when they showed a LOT of Disney films. The showing of Disney’s “Mary Poppins” was a delight at the Northgate. Not to mention family films of interest and first-run Hollywood releases. All of that changed in early 1976,when the original auditorium was split in two making it a twin theatre(The Northgate Twin Theatre). It remained that way until late 1985,when the Northgate closed its doors forever.
It showed a lot of “XXX” rated movies including its run of the 1973 adult classic “The Devil In Miss Jones” which ran at the Midway Drive-In for about 52 weeks!!
The Center became a single screen theatre from 1966 until 1970 when it added a second auditorium(also known as The Center 1 & 2)and it remained that way until the early 1980’s,when it split the original auditorium into making room for a third auditorium in 1983. A fourth auditorium was added in 1986,when the second auditorium also was split in two. It remained that way until the late 1990’s,when the Center showed discount movies until its closing in 2001.
The Charlottetowne Mall Cinemas was demolished along with a vacant Shoney’s Restaurant was replaced with a Home Depot store and a Target.
The address for this was at 418 East Independence Blvd.
at the intersection of Independence Blvd. and Kings Drive across from the Charlottetowne Mall.
From 1927 until 1971,The Carolina Theatre was at one time a single screen theatre with over 1,145 seats. In mid-1971,the once gorgeous auditorium was split in two,making it a twin cinema(which was called The Carolina Blue and White Theatre since one auditorium was labeled “blue”,and the other side “white”)until somewhere in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s when the Carolina closed its doors and reopened in 1993 as an arthouse cinema(showing first-run features,foreign films,and independent and documentary films) in competition with the neighboring Varsity Theatre Downtown and The Chelsea over in North Chapel Hill. It remained that way until its closing forever in July of 2005.
NOTORIOUS for showing XXX-rated films as part of the businessmen’s lunch specials during the day and also midnight screenings under the tight security!!! This was when the Riverview Cinema was a single screen theatre during the 1970’s and early 1980’s. It came to an end in the mid-1980’s when the theatre added a twin and basically stopped showing pornographic material during daytime hours.
You’re exactly right….this was the last pornohouse that existed in the greater Metro Washington,DC area.
I thought this was still operational!!! I saw a show there once at the Foxchase back in 2004 and it was a good porn flick too starring Georgina Spelvin!!!
Part of the General Cinema Theatre chain,the Four Seasons Mall Cinemas was the next venture of theatres that GC owned and operated…it was a multi-plex cinema with four huge auditoriums,and second of such in the Greensboro area. The theatre was operational from 1976 until 1999 when it fell to the megaplexes that opened along the strip of High Point Road and near Interstate 40. And not to mention due to the construction and expansion of the Four Seasons Mall.
Didn’t they have Cinerama Theatres in the South?
I read somewhere that one Atlanta theatre had that Cinerama process.
I been to the one that was in Los Angeles/Hollywood years ago back in 1977 when they screened “Star Wars"
in 70mm-6 track Dobly Stereo.
Address for the Center Theatre is at 2000 Chapel Hill Road,Lakewood Shopping Center,Durham,NC 27707
The theatre sits in the middle of the shopping center opposite a grocery store. The Lakewood Shopping Center became one of the biggest in Durham when it opened in the early 1960’s. It had at the time two anchor grocery stores(Winn-Dixie and Kroger),two major discount department stores(Grant’s Department Store and Woolworth’s),speciality shops,restaurants and one major drug store(Kerr Discount Drugs)and the Post Office. The Shopping Center went through some major changes during the mid-to-late 1970’s and during the 1980’s when it lost two of its major grocery stores(the
Winn-Dixie closed in the mid-1980’s and moved to the suburbs of southwestern Durham;and the Kroger closed in 1986 when it moved to Regency Plaza near South Square Mall)and two of its department stores until the late 1980’s. The shopping center went through major changes in 2000 when it became The Shoppes at Lakewood.
The Center Theatre closed its doors in 2001.
The Willowdaile Cinemas was demolished in 2006 to make way for the construction of a 48,000 square foot Harris Teeter grocery store that is scheduled to open in late September of 2008 at the intersection of Horton and Guess Roads where the Willowdaile Cinemas once stood. The only multiplex that is still in operation that serves the Northern Durham area is the Movies at Northgate 10 which is owned and operated by Phoenix Theatres/East Coast Entertainment
that is in the Northgate Shopping Center where the former Belk’s Department Store once stood. However,the theatres that served the Northern Durham area like the Willowdaile,the Carmike 7,and the Riverview Cinema are history.
I remember seeing this movie twice in the Carolinas.
Once in limited release in Charlotte at the Park Terrace Theatre where it was shown at the time on the huge widescreen in 70mm-6 track Dobly Stereo,and it was an experience I will never forget.
I remember how huge the auditorium was at Park Terrace at the time.
The other time was in Durham where this film was shown in a 35mm print that didn’t look interesting.
The theatre was built on the back side of the Southpark Mall on the strip shopping center where on one side had several retail shops and was anchored in the middle by a grocery store(Colonial Stores,and later on Big Star before it was acquired by Harris-Teeter in the 80’s). The Southpark Mall Cinemas was on the other side of it across from the Sears Department Store. It was part of the General Cinema chain of theatres that also owned and operated the Charlottetowne Mall Cinemas,and Eastland Mall Cinemas. It started as a twin cinema,and a third auditorium was added on later in the latter part of the early to mid-1970’s. It did great business until its last picture show in the late 1990’s when the Phillips Place Cinemas was built across the street from Southpark Mall.
Located at 5200 North Roxboro Road at the Riverview Shopping Center in the Northern section of Durham.
It was across the street from the Eno River State Park(the shopping center and the cinema)and near the Eno River. The shopping center was anchored at one time by a Big Star grocery store,G.C. Murphy’s Discount Department Store,Upchurch Drugs,and Riverview Furniture. The Big Star store,and Murphy’s are gone.
But the Riverview Furniture and Upchurch Drugs are still there,but the Riverview Cinema has been demolished and a restaurant has been replaced where the theatre once stood.
These days,the Riverview Shopping Center is anchored by a Kroger grocery store(which replaced the Big Star store),Upchurch Discount Drugs,and Riverview Furniture
When it closed in 2001,it fell prey to the megaplexes that were being built on that strip of Glenwood Avenue
which fell to the opening of the Raleigh Grande Cinema at the intersection of Glenwood Ave. and Lynn Road and further up the street on Glenwood Avenue the Brier Creek Cinemas 14 near RDU Airport.
Formerly the Long Leaf Mall Cinemas 1 & 2.
Once owned and operated by the Stewart & Everett Theatre chain before being owned by Carmike Cinemas.
Footnote: The adult films that played at the Riverview Cinema were showed during a businessmen’s lunch specials during the weekday and during its midnight screenings on Friday and Saturday evenings. This was during the 1970’s and during the early 1980’s when the theatre was NOTORIOUS for showing these films to adult audiences(which was under tight security in those days).
Owned and operated by the Martin Theatres chain and later on part of Carmike Cinemas.
Located in the Tryon Hills Shopping Center at the corner of Tryon Road and South Wilmington Street,the Tryon Hills Theatre was a showplace for a variety of features which included blaxploitation,first-run features,adult films,and other films of interest. It opened as a single screen theatre during the late 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s,but later on during the late 1970’s or early 1980’s was split in two as a twin cinema and the format also changed from first-run features to second-run films. The Tryon Hills Theatre(or the Tryon Theatre)was one of several moviehouses that showcase grindhouse entertainment. It remained that way until the late 1980’s,when the Tryon Hills Theatre closed it doors forever.
The Tryon Hills Theatre served the communities of Southeast Raleigh and the Garner area.
Nowadays, a storage house facility has been built in its place where the once Tryon Hills Theatre once stood.
I remember coming to this theatre back in the 1980’s when the Carolina Circle Mall in Greensboro became the happening place to be…this mall had it all and then some….a ice skating rink(located in the center of the shopping center),three department stores(which were anchored by Belk,Ivey’s-aka Dillard’s and Montgomery Ward)and the six-screen theatre located on the lower level of the mall. However,it was part of the AMC Theatre chain before becoming part of the Carmike Cimemas. I saw “School Daze” at the Carolina Circle once before a capacity crowd during one of there bargain matinees.
The Northgate Twin Theatre was part of the Martin Theatres chain before it came part of the Carmike Cimemas. The theatre operated from 1962 until 1985,when it closed its doors to make way for the renovation of the Northgate Mall. The theatre that replaced it was the Willowdaile Cimemas which was at the intersection of Guess and Horton Roads and later on the Carmike 7 which was over on Avondale Drive.
The South Square Mall Cimemas was owned and operated by Cimema National Theatres,and later on by USA Theatres before coming part of the Carmike Cimemas chain. One critic once wrote,that the South Square Mall Cimemas was the worst theatre in Durham.
The Regal Theatre was the one of several moviehouses in the Durham area that catered to the African-American community during the heyday of the 1930’s and 1940’s all the way to the 1950’s and 1960’s.
The theatre remained a business magnet for Durham’s black community and remained so until the late 1960’s,when the theatre was closed due to urban renewal.