Showing 151 - 175 of 440 comments
For me, Raiders was one of those rare chances to see a movie without any hype or expectations. I had seen it on the Paramount release schedule listed in the chart at the back of the Boxoffice magazine, but in those days of limited previews and no internet, I knew nothing about it. I was working at the Lenox Square Theatre at the time and at 10 AM on Tuesday 5/19/81 we hosted the southeast regional bid screening. We ran a lot of those and most were of scant interest to me or the bookers and there was seldom more than half a dozen present. On this day a much larger crowd showed up and I decided to watch some of it although my main interest was making it across the street to Phipps Plaza that night to see an advance screening of Outland. By the time the opening sequence was over I was hooked and poor Outland never did have a chance.
We ran the 6/5 advance preview to a sold out house and opened it on 6/12 to overwhelming business. Lenox, which had once been a great place to see a movie was by now a pathetic venue with long, thin, auditoriums, keystoned projection, postage stamp screens, seats not pointed towards the screen, and hollow sound. Raiders at least opened in the only Dolby house which really only added volume since the house was too narrow for proper balance. Three weeks later it did not even have that since it moved to a mono house to make way for For Your Eyes Only. However, Atlanta audiences never seemed to care about presentation any more than the theatre owners did, and Raiders did huge business, as did Bond, Clash of the Titans, and Eye of the Needle.
Raiders lasted until Christmas then left to make way for Sharkeys Machine. By February, it was in the dollar houses although Phipps Plaza brought it back for its first 70MM Atlanta engagement. Although it may be damming it with faint praise, Phipps did have the best presentation in Atlanta, and one of the very few 70MM houses. Regardless, I finally got to see it the way so many people in these comments have described it, and it was a real treat. In July, the Fox Theatre brought it back as part of their summer film series, and again in March of 1983 for a five day engagement, all in 70MM. Huge crowds for both engagements. In 1996 I was working in the booth at the Fox and ran Raiders as the middle feature of our well attended Spielberg day of Jaws, Raiders, and CE3K.
I don’t have an all time Top Ten. I doubt that Raiders would be in it if I did, but I have always enjoyed watching it, and that day in May of 1981 when I saw it with absolutely no preconceptions will always go down as one of my most memorable movie going experiences.
Thanks for those great pictures Alonzo. They really bring back some good memories. From the look of them they might be from opening day. The interchange in the background does not look very heavily developed, and the overhead shot shows the field extending only to the point of the concession stand. When I first attended a movie here in 1971, the field extended a good ways further back. I also did not know that there was a picnic area on top of the concession stand. I can say for certain that it was not there in 1974 when I first worked here.
The shot of the marquee is nice, but in later years a second marquee was added underneath and was used to list coming attractions. Looking under the marquee and at the picture with the truck, it is easy to see that the house for the manager was located in the screen structure. It was a very nice, good sized house, but the screen area was so big there was plenty of room in the left side for a speaker repair shop and yard equipment storage. Look closely and you will see that you could just walk in the front door from lot level. Also notice that the truck is sitting on a bridge. In the early 70’s the creek under the bridge rose out of its banks and flooded the house and boxoffice. To protect the managers house, a wall was built around the front entrance up to the window level.
That worked well until March 25th, 1975, when a much bigger flood washed over the wall and through the windows, once again flooding the manager out. This was an especially cruel twist of fate in that the managers house from the recently closed Bolton Drive In had been moved onto the back corner of the lot and within a week would have been ready for the manager to move to higher ground. The manager, Mr. Lewis Vickery, took it all in stride.
It was during this time that construction was underway to twin the place by regrading the back half of the lot so the ramps faced south. Again, the lot would have been repaved in another week, but when the water receded it took most of the new ramps with it. The twinning was eventually finished and this was the way the place looked until about 1982 or so. Then, the I-285 / I-85 interchange was rebuilt and greatly expanded. This expansion took out the access road, the bridge, the marquee, boxoffice, entrance, and then entire screen complex. A smaller steel frame screen was built much closer to the projection booth and a new box office and entrance was built at the end of a new access road cut from Northcrest Road.
Also at this time a steel storage building was built between the concession stand and the managers house to house Georgia Theatre Company archives. In the late 80’s, after GTC had sold itself out to United Artists Theatres, I heard that all of that material had been scooped into the dumpster when UA closed all of the drive ins. I am glad to see that Alonzo has managed to find a few images from some of these places that I enjoyed working in during the days when theatre work could be a pleasure as well as a job.
Thanks for the list Michael. I am pleased to see that you got your Birmingham and Atlanta information for your Sound of Music article before you decided to restrict it to reserved seat engagements. Three things about that list stand out for me.
First, I see that the engagements at Lakewood and North DeKalb started the same day as the one I described attending at the Ritz Theatre in Birmingham on its page. I wonder if this was some type of regional or nationwide Christmas (unofficial) reissue to take advantage of the holiday business. It might have been what amounted to a moveover in Atlanta, but in Birmingham it had been over a year since the end of the roadshow engagement.
Second, I attended the June 1968 engagement at the North 85 Drive In. I recall the field being crowded and it must have done well to stay for two weeks, a very rare event at a drive in.
Third, I recall the ad in the Storey ladder for the August 1969 Emory engagement. They had block lettering over the title reading “Going Out of Release Until 1973.” I thought that was just some angle to try to get people to attend, but turns out it was true.
I guess that about wraps the SOM discussion here, but there was one other thing I thought of while looking at the microfilm the other day. In those days when newspaper movie ads had some character instead of looking like the phone book, it was the norm to see the artwork in the ads updated with new scenes and a fresh look as the run lengthened. In all of the SOM ads then and later I do not recall anything other than the classic Julie Andrews “dancing” pose. Just like with the Scarlett and Rhett picture on the GWTW ads, it was all you needed to see to know what was playing.
An article in the Atlanta paper on 8/1/61 states that the Martin chain had purchased the Rialto. This would be the old Rialto which Martin soon demolished and replaced with the current building. I have always thought this was one of the best loooking theatres I have been in and almost identical to the Ziegfeld in New York City.
Thanks to JB, Mike, and Michael for starting this thread on the Sound Of Music booking at the Lakewood. The question of the length of the run gave me an excuse to engage in one of my guilty pleasures, namely going to the library and looking through microfilm newspapers ads of theatres from ages past. The ads from those days indicate the following: Sound Of Music opened 12/23/66 and ran 10 weeks, leaving on 3/2/67. On 3/3/67, both theatres (North DeKalb and Lakewood) opened a movie called Quiller Memorandum. It must have been a bomb because on 3/10 the Lakewood opened a return of Born Free although Quiller did continue at the North DeKalb. I did not go much further, but it does not appear that Sound Of Music was brought back as a filler which might have been the cause of some confusion.
Two items of interest here. The quality of the microfilm is not good enough to read the text lineup, but looking through the ads I could not find any other theatres playing Sound Of Music during the 10 week run, so it looks as if these two might have had an exclusive booking for this intermediate break. Also, starting on 3/3/67 no other theatres picked it up. Michael, do any of your notes shed any light on this? Maybe Fox decided that after 100 weeks of constant availability it was time to give it a rest.
JB: Do not start to doubt yourself because of this. As I have said before on other pages on this site, I have posted several theatre stories that I remember participating in just as clearly as if they happened yesterday only to have Michael post a correction. Only once among these events have I even been close to being right, and that was only because of a matter of talking about Atlanta bookings in terms of the city limits as opposed to Atlanta as a regional booking zone. Once I was even foolish enough to dispute a correction he made on a comment of mine regarding Star Wars. I was wrong of course.
On the general subject of Sound Of Music itself, Michael has written a very nice article on this site. http://cinematreasures.org/news/23149_0_1_0_C/
Here is a link to a newspaper article about the episode I described in my first comment involving George Ellis getting locked out. I was under the impression that Lewis Osteen, the guy who did this, was the GM of the chain. The article indicates that Osteen had purchased the mini cinema chain from it founders. I never cared for Osteen but thought Gentry and Maddox, the founders of the company, were good people to work for. I was suprised that this event ever took place.
The article clears this up since it seems that Osteen was not a hired gun working for the owners, but was the actual owner. During the Osteen years I would sometimes go to the film depot but come back empty handed because there was a COD tag on the print and Osteen had not paid the up front money or the rent from a previous booking.
The Buckhead Art was built in 1969 in the storefront space of the old Wendler and Roberts Drug Store. With the exception of a very short effort as an art house is was 35MM softcore its entire life. In the early 90’s it was gutted and replaced by the first of many bars to occupy that space during the prime years of the Buckhead Village party days. In all it lasted about 20 years.
The drive in at Lindbergh was the Piedmont Drive In. It was operated by the Dixie chain and later sold to Storey. Its page on this site is:
This theatre already has a page on this site. Here is the link:
To add to the bad times that Joe is going through lately comes news that his friend Cecil Whitmire died last week. Cecil can rightly be called the Joe Patten of the Alabama Theatre in Birmingham. The Alabama is a little over half the size of the Fox, both in seating and stage area. When it closed as a movie theatre is too was faced with demolition. Joe advised Cecil and his group on their efforts to save the Alabama and offered them the lessons he had learned at the Fox.
A few years ago the three of us who worked in the Fox projection booth attended a showing of “Its A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World” at the Alabama. I had attended the Alabama many times while growing up in Birmingham and Cecil was nice enough to give us a top to bottom tour of the theatre. He was very complimentary of Joe and told us the story of how Joe helped them with the paperwork for setting up the non profit that purchased the Alabama. During the intermission Cecil doubled as the organ player.
I am glad all of this mess involving Joe waited until after Cecil was gone as I am sure he would have found it upsetting.
I wrote Joe a letter explaining my take on the weeks events but decided to not send it. I was afraid that with all that has happened he might misunderstand and miss the sarcastic style. Here it is for the CT readers:
So long Joe.
Since you did not show Atlanta Landmarks the simple courtesy of dying, preferably offsite, or moving out, you have forced them to terminate the agreement that allows you to live in the Fox for the rest of your life. How ungra…teful of you. Do you not realize how many Fox and Atlanta Landmarks big shots have lusted after your apartment all of these years? Sure, you took the old Georgia Theatre Company executive office space, gutted it, cleaned it up, and furnished it at your own expense. Same with your bedroom upstairs. But that was 30 years ago. Times have changed old man. Surely you do not expect this new breed of execs and trustees, some of whom were not alive when you helped save this facility they have so much fun playing with, to put up with your presence any longer.
Face it Joe. Your time has passed. The Fox is saved. Not only that, it has been thoroughly reconditioned, restored, and updated with the latest technology. Except for you that is. Don’t you realize that you are just an embarrassing anachronism of a bygone era when the Fox was a run down shell in danger of being torn down like the New York Roxy to make way for some bland office building. It was good of you to help save the Fox so that all of these people would have jobs and seats of prominence on a board that would enhance the resume and social standing of even the lowest form of humanity. Your work is now done. Go away. Leave.
I know you feel that you have been treated unfairly by the current management of the Fox and Atlanta Landmarks, but wake up. This is 21st century America you are living in. Do you really expect anyone to do what is right, ethical, or just plain decent when they are not legally required to? Do you think that they would have even offered you that farce of an extension if it had not been a PR necessity? In your place I would have accepted it if for no other reason than to aggravate them and deny them your apartment space they so desperately desire for whatever purpose they can think of. (Apartment for deserving Fox officials, wine tasting wing of the Grand Salon, rental space for Lincoln Bedroom style sleepovers, … I had better stop there. Don’t want to give them any ideas.)
No Joe. All of us who were part of those great years of the late 70’s to early 80’s are now being dispatched by our successors to the landfill of history. We served our purposes, but now it is time for a new generation to come in and carry on. We should not be so presumptions as to expect them to adhere to any obligations of the past, be them legal, moral, or ethical. There is no room in today’s America for this type of sentimental hogwash. How can we expect the people now in charge to be successful if they have to waste precious time, effort, and resources fulfilling obligations to old codgers like yourself. Be a man. Ride off into the sunset with your integrity and pride intact. You will be in good company. Remember, the “grateful” British voters kicked Winston Churchill out of office two months after the war in Europe ended.
The friends of the Fox called on you when they were scared. Now that the crisis is over and a new generation that sees no need for you has come to power you are just an aggravation. It is time for you to go.
Enjoyed working with you my friend. Were it not for you and others like you I would have missed out on the enjoyment of running movies at the Fox.
A lot has been written and broadcast recently about the actions of Atlanta Landmarks concerning their desire for Joe Patten to give up his Fox apartment, and their response to his declining to do so. That story is available to anyone via the internet so I will not rehash it here. I will, however, give my take on the whole sorry episode.
In the dark days of 1975-1978 thousands of Atlantans united behind a drive to save the Fox Theatre by donating to the “Save The Fox” campaign. Hundreds actually invested their time and talents in keeping the wrecking ball away. A select few used their considerable legal, technical, and PR skills, and a good bit of personal influence to see that this effort was successful. While Joe Patten did not save the Fox by himself, it is safe to say that without him 660 Peachtree Street would be the address of the (then) Southern Bell HQ.
Personally, I do not think that the Fox was in danger after news of the attempt to obtain a demolition permit became public. Southern Bell did not want to take the PR hit. Georgia Theatre Company was willing to absorb the ill will and tear the place down thus allowing Southern Bell to say that all they did was buy a clean lot. That still would have engendered a flood of hard feelings. Also, local Atlanta companies like Coca Cola and Delta Air Lines might have put up the needed funds, but all that would have gotten them was a closed up downtown movie theatre. The people of Atlanta needed to demonstrate that they wanted the Fox to survive and the Save The Fox campaign gave them a stake in its success.
Even after the non profit Atlanta Landmarks was formed and it became more evident every day that the money to save the theatre would be raised, there was still a long road to travel to transform this run down shell of a downtown movie house into the theatre palace it is today. Joe Patten, with his technical knowledge of the organ, projection booth, and mechanics of the Fox was invaluable in this effort. He also gave up his dream of owning his own theatre. He had recently bought the closed East Point Theatre, installed an organ, and with help from fellow ATOS members was in the process of turning it into a mini Fox. (The story is available here: /theaters/11377/ ) In appreciation of his role, the board of Atlanta Landmarks granted Joe free use for life of the space formerly occupied by the executive suite of the Georgia Theatre Company offices which were located in what is now the Grand Salon. At his own expense, Joe gutted the offices, cleaned up the area and installed the necessary equipment and furnishings.
Now, 30 years later, a new generation sits at the controls of Atlanta Landmarks and the Fox Theatre. This new generation knows nothing but what they have read of the days when the survival of the Fox was in question. They know the Fox only as a pristine, money generating show palace. They obviously have no appreciation of the effort and dedication people like Joe put into the Fox so they could sit behind their desks and say with pride “I am with the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.” I am sure they would disagree with this, but their actions in the matter of ridding themselves of Joe’s presence speak louder than their press releases.
I have seen so many movies, especially in my younger years, that with every experience in life I can find a scene from a movie that relates to it. In this case, two come to mind. The first is from Doctor Zhivago, one of my all time favorites, and the first movie I ever saw at the Fox. The scene is Moscow, 1918. Yuri is on his way home from the war. As he runs into his house and hugs his wife he notices a lot of strange faces. A stern looking woman comes forward and informs him that she is the head of the district housing committee. She tells him that there was room for 18 families in his house. He is welcome to stay in a corner apartment if he abides by the rules of the commissariat. Welcome home comrade. Thanks for your service.
The second is from Aliens, number two in the Alien series. Ripley has once again narrowly escaped death by alien intubation. She discovers that company sleazeball Carter Burke is responsible via his effort to sneak an alien past quarantine and sell it to the bio-weapons division. Despite the aliens wiping out her original crew, killing all but one person of an entire colony, and the bulk of the Marines sent to restore order, she tells Burke “…I don’t know which species is worse. You don’t see them (the aliens) *ing each other over for a damn percentage.” I will leave it to the reader to decide which species is which in relation to this story.
Thanks for the stories ediemer. This link is for a theatre near Atlanta Georgia..
The first comment has my story of having to run the endless loop platter.
I could never get over the lengths the theatre owners would go to trying to get rid of the projectionist position.
I worked the projection booth at the NATO convention when it came to Atlanta in 1987. The Christie company had one of these things set up on the exhibit floor with a big display reading “Let The Gremlins Do It.” I guess the gremlins were not covered by the minimum wage law. People were free to wander the exhibit area at any time during the 3 day convention, but on the final day there was a two hour period set aside for everyone to attend at the same time. When I walked through on that day I noticed that the platter was not turning and thought someone might be giving a demo to the crowd gathered around it. No such thing. When I made my way to the front I saw that the film had either backed off of the edge or had been slung off onto the floor. Two Christie reps were on hands and knees splicing away trying to get the mess cleaned up before the end of the exhibition period.
That night at the banquet I ran my five presentation reels flawlessly without the help of a platter, endless loop or otherwise. Later I saw the DM of the company I worked for and asked him if he noticed the difference in the way I ran the booth compared to the endless loop platter he had also seen that afternoon. He just said “You have to keep up with the times” as he walked away. Theatre owners: they would spend $10 to aviod paying someone a buck and still think that they had come out ahead.
I believe that this location was open into the late 60’s. My family moved to Atlanta in 1967 and I recall seeing ads for this place in the paper. Two things made them notable. One was that they were not part of the drive in ladder ad that Georgia Theatre and Storey used, but were individual ads for this site and another which I think was either the Hwy 54 or Hwy 85 Drive in. The other was that they were “Adults Only.” Atlanta had a lot of adult theatres in those days but most were downtown and all except these were indoor.
I ran across a couple of Ziegfeld tidbits yesterday while going through some old files.
From Boxoffice Magizine, May 1978, an article on CE3K expanding from its exclusive Ziegfeld run in Manhattan to the Loew’s State 1 (70MM), Bay Cinema (70MM), and RKO 86th Street (35MM) on 4/26/78.. (A comment on this site on the latter theatre says that it closed in 1968, so I don’t know. This is the way the article listed it.) Michael Coate’s post of 4/16/08 shows 4/26/78 to be the date CE3K ended its 23 week run at the Ziegfeld to be replaced by The Last Waltz.
As background the article stated that CE3K opened at the Ziegfeld for a NY / NJ exclusive run on 11/16/77 before expanding to 11 other locations four weeks later. However it stayed exclusive in Manhattan for all 23 weeks. According to Boxoffice, the Zeigfeld grossed a record setting two million dollars during its run.
At the opposite end of the record setting department is a note from Variety from December 1971 when they still listed the Manhattan theatres and their grosses, usually with a cute line to describe the take.. According to Michael the theatre had been closed for 14 weeks leading up to its big Christmas movie of 1971, Star Spangled Girl. It opened on 12/22/71 and here is the way Variety described the gross: “Only $928 for this huge house.” That means that this 1300 seat theatre with its listed $16,500 nut brought in about 250 customers all week. Got to be the record. Should have stayed closed.
Thanks to Michael I see that it ran for 5 weeks before the theatre went dark again for the three weeks prior to the opening of Cabaret.
Great overhead view. As for that small building in front of the theatre, the right end is obviously a Long John Silvers Seafood. The left side was Mongolian BBQ, goat that is, if you were interested.
Mike, if you look at the other picture links on this page you will see that except for the signs it is an exact copy of the Columbia. I am sure the sign difference is a result of the different zoning codes.
Based on these two locations, the Phipps, and the Ultravision Theatre on this site I would say that ABC designed and built the best looking locations of any opened in the 1967 to 1977 era.
Gee Terry, check your math and you will see that it is not even that. The building was demolished in 2005 so it only lasted 13 years. Even worse, the place closed about 2000, 2002 at the latest. That means this brand new 10 screen theatre operated only about 10 years at the most. I never saw much of a crowd at this place and could not understand why this location did not do better. It was in something of a no mans land development wise, but it was only minutes away from Brentwood and the I-65 interchange. If it could play the same movies as Cool Springs and 100 Oaks you would think that people would prefer this nice quiet intersection to getting caught up in the mall traffic.
In the end it was probably what killed off most marginal locations: Minimal upkeep, indifferent presentation, and lack of adequate or good quality staff.
This link is for a theatre is Deleware. The third comment dated 5/24/09 has an interesting story about running the endless loop platter. This is the only story I have ever heard about that thing being used to run a regular show. I am not surprised at how it worked out.
Wow! Raymond Stewart returns!!! Good to see your comments after such a long absence. If you have not been keeping up then you should check out the Miracle and Belvedere pages.
As for this theatre, it is kind of in a gray area as to if it already has a page on this site. The original North DeKalb does:
There are many interesting comments there. That theatre was built as a single, twinned in 1975, and torn down with a good part of the mall in the late 80’s. What was not torn down was gutted and an entirely new mall built and opened under the name of Market Square. The Cineplex 4 was known as Market Square and was in a different spot from the original Storey theatre.
I do not know the rest of the story. The 4 might have been expanded to 8 or just split. As to the AMC 16 I do not know if it includes any of the 4 or 8 or maybe it is an entirely new construction.
To answer Bob’s question, yes they were all built in the mall, but nothing sits on the site of the original theatre which was really just attached to the mall and had its own outside entrance.
Anyone interested in theatres in what is now North DeKalb Mall should look at the other page I linked to above.
This theatre is already listed on this site as South DeKalb Mall Quad.
It is a matter of how you define such things, but I would consider it all one theatre. It started out as a twin, converted to a quad and later closed and gutted. Years later an addition was built on the back side of the mall ajoining the old theatre. The original theatre space was included in the addition and the entire complex now has 12 screens.
Also, since expanding and reopening, it has had at least three owners and some down time in between.
For what my opinion is worth, this page should be deleted and a comment made on the Quad page describing how after sitting empty for over a decade it was expanded and reopened. Hopefully, someone with more knowledge of this part of the theatres history than I have will give us the whole story.
Alonzo, great job on all of your pictures included in the theatre pool on Flicker. I had a great time looking through them and they brought back a lot of memories.
This is a duplicate listing.
Toco Hills already has a page on this site.
It is listed as Lefont Toco Hills which was the last name it operated under before closing.
This page should be deleted.
This is a picture of the old South DeKalb Twin building sticking out the back of the mall with the new addition to the right that turned it into a 12.
Thanks for that additional information Tim. I am really surprised that GTC added on a tiny theatre for #4 instead of just tearing off a chunk of the remaining large house. In 1978 they quaded the South DeKalb Twin and turned two beautiful 540 seat showcases into four 338 seat shoeboxes. They would not even consider leaving one side intact but since they even carved up their Lenox Square flagship there was nothing sacred to them in that respect. Riverside could count itself lucky that at least one house was still something to be proud of.
In the early Weis days the newspaper ads indicated which movie was playing in which theatre. #1 was named “The Popular Showplace” and #2 was labeled “The Intimate Theatre.” I could never notice any effort was made to play a particular type of movie in one side or the other. I also do not remember any difference in the two. I know one side was twinned when you started, but do you think that they were identical when built?
After 1974, Weis renamed this the “Weis Cinema Centre” and quit making any note as to which movie played in which side or even how many theatres were at the Centre. I like the “re” instead of “er” spelling. I am sure that made it a much nicer moviegoing experience. They did the same thing in multiscreen theatres in other cities except Atlanta where there was a single screen “Weis Cinema” already in business. There they took the Arrowhead Triple and named it the “Arrowhead Cinema Centre.” They did not do the same with the Cinema 75 Triple. I guess a name of “Cinema 75 Cinema Centre” was too much.
When you came to work there, did you come as a projectionist or did you move into that job? I ask because the very nice, orderly appearance of the booth suggests that there might have been some long time operator there who had taken care of the place for years. I can not begin to count the dumps I have walked into over the years and spent countless hours trying to organize the mess left by a succession of previous “projectionists.”
I did not realize that the old Macon Mall Quad had been dozed and a new theatre built. I thought that booth looked a lot bigger than I remembered.
Thanks again for the pictures and video. I have been passing them around to some of my former booth mates from years past.
Link to a picture of the newspaper ad for the Peachtree Drive In and a write up on its feature for the night. August, 1964.
Link to the Drive In ladder ad in the Atlanta paper on August 5, 1964. The blogger has also written up some of his memories of working at these places. Worth a look if you are interested in the drive in culture from 1970 – 1990.
Link to the page for this theatre on the Drive-Ins.com website. At the bottom are two pictures, one of the train and one of the box office clock with admission rates.
I was told that this theatre had a hard time once Daylight Savings Time was adopted since there was a curfew on its operating hours to keep the nearby neighborhoods happy.
I think that the site is now occupied by a Honda dealer.