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In effort to save this theater and not to mention facing competition from the huge 13-screen multiplex at University Mall scheduled to open in mid-2015, the Varsity needs everyone’s help to stay open. I have great memories of this theatre…..The original STAR WARS played here first-run in 1977.
CHAPEL HILL’S VARSITY THEATRE SEEKS PUBLIC HELP
Downtown Chapel Hill’s landmark since 1927 is about to close it doors without it’s support. Go Digital or Go Dark Campaign……
See article about this landmark theatre…….
Thank you Cinema Treasures. Happy Holidays!
And a wonderful 2015!!!
“PATTON” was the only Reserved Seat Engagement Showing in the Carolinas at Charlotte’s Carolina Theatre in 1970.
It was the only CINERAMA Theatre in the Carolinas…..
The Reserved Seat Cinerama Engagements for…..
“The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm”
“How The West Was Won”
“Krakatoa: East of Java”
“Ice Station Zebra”
“2001: A Space Odyssey”
“This is CINERAMA”
“CINERAMA’S South Seas Adventure”
The Cinerama Engagements of “How The West Was Won”,“Circus World”, “Ice Station Zebra”, “2001”, along with“Battle of the Bulge”, “Krakatoa:East of Java” to“The Wonderful World of the Brother Grimm”, not to mention “Custer’s Last Stand”, “Khartoum” to“The Greatest Story Ever Told”,“It’s A Mad,Mad World”
MARTIN’S CINERAMA THEATRE OF NEW ORLEANS
From NightHawk1’s Question about this theatre:
Did the Gateway run porn only at night or did they have porn matinees as well? The answer to that question is when it was under the Schneider-Merl theatre chain during the early-1970’s. The Gateway,along with other theatres under the Schneider-Merl chain did run porn matinees as well as porn evening late shows. Most of these porn films would run on a limited basis and it was separate from the mainstream first-run films. By the time Atlanta-based Martin Theatres took over this theatre in the mid-1970’s,the showing of porn matinees was eliminated and the placement of films with “X” rated content were shown as late night features on Friday and Saturdays only. By the time Carmike took over in the early-to-mid 1980’s the showing of any pornographic material was ceased immediately which was the end of the porn matinee as well as the porn late shows.
Last operated under Plitt Southern Theatres when it closed in early-1981.
THEATRE HISTORY OF THE GATEWAY CINEMA:
1973-1976 Schneider-Merl Corporation
1976-1982 Martin Theatres
1982-1994 Carmike Cinemas
1994-Present Independent Family Operated Chain
DavidDynamic and NightHawk1: About those matinees…..
The Gateway Cinema along with other theatres under the Schneider-Merl chain were showing porn matinees alongside its regular features. Most of these matinees were showed on the right side of the cinema while the regular first-run features were shown to the left. The Gateway was not alone here in the business of showing adult films during matinees. Not to mention having porn films as part of its weekend late shows. Other theatres under the Schneider-Merl chain were doing this as well until ownership changed hands by 1976 when Atlanta-based Martin Theatres took over all of the Schneider-Merl operations. Under new ownership by Martin Theatres, all porn matinees were ceased and the porn films were even giving special showings or weekend late shows. If they were adult films shown they would be given one showing during the evening performances and not during its matinees(which were given to the regular features and special children’s matinees)which was under strict company policy of Martin Theatres which lasted until the early-1980’s. By the time Carmike Cinemas took over in 1982, the showing of adult matinees and pornographic material were completely gone and a new era which was home video that killed the porn matinee business.
DavidDynamic and NightHawk1:
I found the opening date information on this theatre and revised this onto the Cinema Treasures site. The cinema’s original chain was under Schneider-Merl Theatres Corporation(which also owned and operated several movie theatres in North Carolina in Durham, Raleigh, Fayetteville, Gastonia, Asheville, Burlington, Elizabeth City, and Winston-Salem).
It opened as the Gateway Cinema I & II and it was Elizabeth City’s first-ever twin theatre under Schneider-Merl on January 19, 1973. It was owned and operated later on by Atlanta-based Martin Theatres and later on Carmike Cinemas. By 1994, Carmike Cinemas abandoned this theatre and it was picked up and operated under another owner which was an independent based chain. It was a twin theatre from the start. As of this record, it is the only operating theatre in town under that independent chain.
Now that you’re leaving Cinema Treasures for other venues, let me asked you if Cinema Treasures is hiring for any and all positions at this time. E-Mail me at
Also shouts out to Michael Coate as well for his valuable information concerning classic movies and classic movie theaters.
CORRECTION; “My Fair Lady”, “The Ten Commandments” and “Doctor Zhivago” played at this theatre. “My Fair Lady” was the Center’s reserved seat engagement.
“The Sound of Music” however played at the new theatre which was called THE LAKEWOOD CENTER THEATRE in early-1967. It did not played at the Center Downtown since it was already closed by 1966.
CORRECTION: This theatre was operational from 1939-1966. It closed in August of 1966 when it moved to the new state of the art movie theater at Lakewood Shopping Center that opened in mid-November of 1966.
Are they getting ready to close this beloved site?What is going on here?
This was owned and operated at one time under Martin Theatres(when it was labeled the Earl Twin) and later on under Carmike Cinemas(when the name changed to the Carmike Cinema 4)before it was dropped in the 1990’s.
This theatre is now independently owned and operated.
The JANUS also got the adult “porn” films too. It got the only exclusive showing of the notorious adult picture
EMANUELLE IN AMERICA first-run showing with complete matinees in early-1977.
Other movies that got first-run exclusive billing:
ALIEN-where it played on 2 screens in DOLBY STEREO
APOCALYPSE NOW-Directed by Francis Ford Coppula
The original STAR TREK:THE MOTION PICTURE
Steven Spielburg’s “E.T.”-played on 2 screens-DOLBY
“BACK TO THE FUTURE”
Not to mention the North Carolina exclusive engagement showing of Steven Spielburg’s THE COLOR PURPLE
Charlotte’s Park Terrace which is over 50 years old is still the only moviehouse in the Carolinas capable of showing movies in 70mm-6 track stereophonic capability.
Only 2 theatres in the state of North Carolina has 70mm presentation in their formats.
Charlotte: Park Terrace
Raleigh: Mission Valley
should be labeled under the new title:FRANK THEATRES SANDHILLS CINEMA 10
Opened as the Sandhills Cinema 10 under All Star Theatres on March 22, 2001.
BLUE RIDGE CINEMAS is the only Carmike discount house in operation that is East of Raleigh. There are NO discount houses in other parts of Eastern North Carolina that are under Carmike Cinemas.
The KEY THEATER basically opened in 1969 as a single screener and later on was split into two sections and somewhere during the late-1970’s/early-1980’s when from 2 tO 4 screens showing first-run independent features, documentaries and foreign films.
A BEST BUY store now stands on the opposite side of the plaza area of Crabtree Valley where the former Valley Twin Theatres once stood.