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AS to the correct order of names in the history of Martin’s Cinerama, the full list is:
Atlanta (Walter Reade)
North Avenue Pres. parking lot.
Nope. Like you I was assuming that Jack meant indoor theatres, or as they say in the trades, walk in or hardtops.
The Starlight opened the south field in 1949 and the north in 1953. The south was closed for a while when the snack bar burned. The north closed a year later when it was split. Every winter one side or the other closes for the season, something I never understood the theory on. However, as far as I know, at least something has been open there since opening day although they close on Christmas Eve, and for the occasional power outage.
I no longer work there, at least regularly, but I did write a history of the place on its page here:
As for indoors, without looking at a list, I can think of the Grand, the Fox, Garden Hills / Fine Art, Plaza (if you count its XXX years), and the Lenox which might have been only 39 years 8 months. I hesitate to even go down this road because I know that people will start listing reasons why some of these places were not in continious operation. Even the Tara shut down once for two days when it was first twinned.
Maybe I should start off the previous paragraph with the words “Generally speaking….”
Most of the indoor theatres built during the 60’s lasted only 25 or so years at the most, some a lot less. I think that the shortest existance for a regular indoor theatre (as opposed to some of the XXX storefront operations) was the Atlantic, an Eastern Federal location on Memorial Drive in or near the Kirkwood area. It lasted only about 5 years.
“The Tara still holds the distinction of being the only theatre in the Atlanta area with more than forty years of continuous operation.”
Jack: I guess you mean among the theatres currently in operation. I know that we could both think of several that lasted more than 40 years that are now gone.
Correction on my first post:
Doctor Zhivago played at the Ritz during the fall of 1966 not 1965. I saw it for the second time on its final night of the run which was December 22, 1966. The next day, December 23 was the day I saw the Sound Of Music which I also mention in that post.
Thanks to Michael Coate for helping get the dates right.
I don’t know about the Barbie Couch, but the spinning chairs that looked like eggs were made in Europe, Belgium I believe. They might have been gone by the time you arrived. The alcove on the right near the front door was probably a game room in your day. In the ABC days it was a waiting area with very nice chairs where people could sit in peace and quiet while waiting for the previous show to end.
As I said, Phipps was first class in all respects when it first opened. You would never see that much square footage without some type of revenue source in a theatre lobby today.
Your employement dates indicate that you might have been there during the 70MM booking of Silverado. It was the last movie I saw at Phipps.
In an effort to get things back on topic, I will repeat what I said in my first post on this page. The Penthouse had 550 seats. Don’t know where the 100 came from. If you like you can look at my picture of the auditorium that Jack Corsey posted for me. You can almost count all of them from the booth prespective.
AMC Tower Place 6.
AMC (Unknown name, but probably Tower Place again.)
AMC Buckhead Backlot Cinema and Cafe.
AMC Fork and Screen.
All of these names are the same theatre, namely this one.
There was never any Tower Place 6 theatre, AMC or otherwise, in Alpharetta on or near the site of the current AMC Mansell Crossing. That must be an error on the AMC site. That 1990 closing date probably refers to the year AMC first sublet this place to an independent operator. They just thought they were done with the place then. As you can see, they have left and come back a couple of times.
I am sure that they wanted to shut it down when they opened their 14 screen location at Phipps Plaza, less than a mile up the road, but maybe it was cheaper to run it than break the lease. Or maybe they find it useful as a testbed for different drafthouse style concepts.
If you mean the address listed above for the Mansell Crossing 14, it looks right to me. I have never been in this theatre, just driven by it a couple of times. Don’t see any reason why it should not be right. It is not the correct address for the theatre fromerly known as the Tower Place 6. That address is 3340 Peachtree Road, as it is listed on the CT page for AMC Buckhead Backlot, which is what the theatre was called when the page was started. I believe you have commented on that page.
Chuck started a page on a Tower Place 6, based on the incorrect info you cited from the AMC website. Its link is:
I have posted a more detailed and hopefully less complicated explanation of this whole issue there.
The information on the AMC website about a Tower Place 6 at this location is incorrect. The AMC Tower Place 6 is in Atlanta and is listed on this site as the AMC Buckhead Backlot Cinema and Cafe:
It is now called the AMC Fork and Spoon.
Before the construction of the AMC Mansell Crossing 14, and the whole North Point Mall development, this area was mostly farmland.
Thanks for that information Michael. Your research efforts never cease to amaze me. At least this time I caught my memory lapse before you had to point it out to me. This confirms to me that I saw Doctor Zhivago for the second time on the night of December 22, 1966, and then SOM the next afternoon.
This means that SOM played its reserved seat engagement for four months at the Eastwood Mall (not really that long compared to some of the engagements in comparable cities), left for 13 months, and then returned for four more months at the Ritz. This also means that it was the Christmas attraction at the Ritz that year. I hope they got another print quick as I can not imagine that one lasting for another four days much less four months.In all of my years of attending and working in movie theatres I have seen movies that looked worse, but never encountered anything like the breaks and delays of that SOM show, which is probably the reason I remember it so well.
The only time even close was when I was managing a theatre running Elephant Man with a defective print. The black and white emulsion started flaking off and jamming the gates to the point that by the end of the opening weekend, we were having 2 to 3 breaks a show. It got so bad that before the lights were dimmed I would make an announcement telling the sold out house what was going to happen and why. A few people took my advice to get a refund and try again the next weekend when we would have a new print, but most people were good natured about it. At least the projectionist was ready for trouble and we were back on screen quickly with minimum missing footage.
Bill: White Castle has made it as far south as Nashville, so I have tasted them. The only difference I could notice is that Krystal’s did not have holes and were, of course, much MUCH better. In those early to mid 60’s days, we would usually see a movie on Friday nights a couple of times a month. Usually as a family, but sometimes our parents would drop my older brother and me off at our movie and go see a more adult film at a different theatre. We would then meet at the Krystal when our movies were over. All of this was in about a 6 square block area, but now it is hard to imagine two boys ages 7 and 12 going to a downtown movie alone to say nothing of walking to the Krystal on a Friday night in downtown Birmingham, or anywhere else for that matter.
I guess movies were not the only things that were better about those days.
Michael: One more note on my last comment. The more I think about it the more I think that I have the date wrong. No suprise there is it? (Bob, I feel your pain.)
I know the Ritz engagement of SOM started the day after the end of the run of Doctor Zhivago. I attended the final performance of Zhivago and remember the marquee and lobby posters were changed when the movie ended. That is how I found out about SOM starting there the next day. Since I had never heard of Zhivago until we watched the Academy Awards the night SOM won, that means that the SOM engagement at the Ritz had to have been Christmas of 1966.
That would still put it ahead of some initial engagements of some notable cities, but not as outrageous as I first thought. Maybe some day you could do an article on Doctor Zhivago. I have a whole boatload of stories about that one.
Thanks Bill and Bob for the kind words. I always enjoy reading your posts on the Ziegfeld page. I got so engrossed in that discussion once that I made a trip to NYC to see one of the first Classic Series showings.
On the subject of the 70MM staffing question, I can only speak for the practice here in Atlanta. In the 60’s theatres with IATSE contracts had a choice of paying two operators for 70MM showings or pay time and a half for one man. This also applied to 35MM runs of reserved seat engagements. The last time I recall this coming into play was in April of 1973 at the Atlanta Theatre when they ran the 70MM reissue of This Is Cinerama. That was also the only time I ever saw the time and a half for one man option used.
Michael: I have a Birmingham note to add. Your research shows that SOM played at the Eastwood Mall for 17 weeks starting in July of 1965 which would take it up to around Thanksgiving. I recall that I saw it again at the downtown Ritz Theatre during Christmas holidays. I think this was just a filler until the Christmas attraction for the Ritz started. I do not recall it being a moveover since there was a break between the engagements. I described that showing in my post on the Ritz page: /theaters/9396/
I see your list did not mention this engagement. Do you think there were any runs of this nature during Christmas of 1965 which was prior to many cities getting a booking. I am pretty sure this was 1965 since I recall it being shortly after the Eastwood run ended. Of course I am going on my memory here, and you of all people know what can happen when I start doing that.
Bill: Please help keep Vito’s blood pressure down. Don’t get him going on the console thing again.
Thanks Michael for another one of your exercises in research. I have always enjoyed your efforts to list the movies that played in certain theatres and what theatres played some notable movies.
For me, SOM was one of those watershed movies that opened up a whole new area of interest, namely musicals, just like The Longest Day did for war movies and Doctor Zhivago did for historical drama. I can remember the day I first saw SOM like it was yesterday. I still have my reserved seat ticket stub from the Eastwood Mall Theatre in Birmingham with its SOM logo printed on it. The date has faded, but it was a Friday, October 13th I think, 1965. 2 PM showing. I was 13, and even in those days we had teacher work days, just not as many as they do now. My mother offered to take me out to lunch and then all the way out to Eastwood Mall to see the movie. Going to Eastwood, which was a long way on the other side of Birmingham in those pre expressway days, was always a treat since it was one of the first enclosed malls in the southeast.
I fell in love with everything about this movie that day. The beautiful picture, impressive locations, wonderful music, and an entertaining story really made it a day to remember. On the way home we picked my dad up at work, and I could not wait to tell him about my day. He did his parental duty and listened, then told me that he was happy I enjoyed the movie, but he would pass on it. O well. He was a Georgia Tech man who five years later would be paying for me to earn a liberal arts degree, so SOM was not the only thing we did not have in common. The next day, he did take me to the local Woolworths so I could buy the record, my first movie soundtrack. It still sits on my shelf to this day. Shortly after that was another first, a return visit to see the movie again. I remember seeing the same movie twice, but usually as the co feature at the drive in. This was the first time I returned to see a movie during the same engagement.
This was a great time to be starting an interest in movies. Titles such as the three I mentioned above plus Lawrence, Goldfinger, Thunderball, Man For All Seasons, Mary Poppins, and McLintock made movies hard to resist.
Like countless others, I have seen SOM many times over the years. In the late 60’s it made a final round of neighborhood theatres in Atlanta, where I was living by then, with the tag “Going Out Of Release Until 1973.” In late 1971, about the time I started working in theatres, there was word that Fox was hurting for money and was considering bringing SOM back a year early. However, French Connection bailed them out and the big reissue took place in April 1973. By this time, the Martin Cinerama in downtown Atlanta had been sold to the Walter Reade Org. and been renamed The Atlanta. This magnificent theatre with its 70MM Cinerama projectors, deeply curved screen, and plush appointments had run SOM in its premiere release for 90 weeks. In addition it had run 3 strip Brothers Grimm, HTWWW, and 70MM IAMMMMW and 2001, as well as musicals such as Thoroughly Modern Millie, Mary Poppins, Camelot, Fiddler On The Roof, Man Of La Mancha, and even Goodbye Mr. Chips. But times had changed and it was now preparing for a run of the third Ginger movie, Girls Are For Loving, to be followed by Super Fly TNT. Needless to say, SOM would not be returning to its Atlanta home.
Martins suburban Cinerama house, the Georgia Cinerama got the honor. Not as big or plush as the downtown theatre, it did have the 70MM projectors and curved Cinerama screen. They had a 12 week run of packed houses before the picture was pulled in July and sent on a wider “intermediate” break. By this time the thrill of The Atlanta had faded and I was working at the Sandy Springs Theatre which got one of the intermediate bookings. For five weeks I had the pleasure of seeing this show as much as I liked, and on slow nights would prop the auditorium doors open so I could listen along as I worked. I was sure sorry when it had to go to make room for that next big Fox hit, Neptune Factor.
Within five years the video revolution had begun, and one of the first movies I bought to play in my $1200 RCA Selectavision VCR was a pan and scan copy of SOM from that producer of incredibly fuzzy, grainy, movies, the Magnetic Video Corp. I swear the thing looked like it was filmed in 8MM aimed at a screen showing a 16MM print. However, thinking that this was the ultimate in technology, I was happy to have it.
In the early 80’s a 70MM print of SOM showed up at the Rhodes Theatre which in better days had premiered such hits as West Side Story, Lawrence of Arabia, and Sand Pebbles, to say nothing of Darling Lilly. As a payback for that great afternoon 16 years earlier, I took my mother to see it, and then again a couple of months later when the same print showed up as part of the Fox Theatre summer film series.
In 1984, I passed through Saltzburg Austria, and spent a day seeing all of the SOM sites. I was impressed with how compact the city is and how many of the buildings and landmarks from the movie can be seen from one spot. The magic of film angles and editing made the place look much bigger. Even more so, the church where the wedding scene was filmed was amazingly small. I have photographed many places where movies scenes have been filmed over the years, but the one that hangs on my wall is a picture of my mother standing in front of the fountain where Julie Andrews and the children were dancing, with the castle in the background.
In the 90’s I started working in the projection booth of the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, and twice have had the pleasure of running SOM. In fact, that is the only time I have run this picture as a projectionist. The last time, I had finished inspecting the film for the next day, and had the chance to relax and watch the last hour or so. Sitting on the window sill of the spotlight booth, looking out over a packed house of over 4000 people, it was impossible for me not to think back to that day about 30 years earlier when I first saw SOM and started a life long love affair with movies and theatres.
Douglasville: You have your theatre company listings complete and in the right order, but listed under the wrong theatre. This is the page for the Sandy Springs Mini Cinema which also operated under the name of Sandy Springs Theatre and Weis Sandy Springs. The theatre you are talking about is listed on this site as the Sandy Springs 8.
The correct address for the theatre on this page is 6125 Roswell Road, but I do not know how to go about changing something like that.
Description of one persons experience while attending the 70th Anniversary series.
The Google map places the theatre about half a block north of its actual location. On the overhead shot you can just make out the marquee sticking out over the sidewalk just below the Fantasyland Records label. As for the street view, it is taken from the spot the overhead view points out as the location of the theatre. You can just make out the marquee three doors down from Fantasyland.
The street view shown here is current with the way the place looks now.
I have just had it explained to me what spaceballed means. Jack put the picture on his Flickr page for me and posted the link. I have no objection to it being copied and I doubt if Jack does. It must be a Flickr thing.
If you will add a contact info to your personal page on this site or post an email address here, I will email you a copy of it.
Relax Jack, your masterpiece is still intact. The above link for the map is at fault. It gives you a look at the correct street number on Cobb Parkway in zip code 30080. If you change the zip to 30082 you will get the right picture.
Here is the correct link: View link
The theatre is in the black square part of the parking lot that has been repaved. Directly behind it, just above the Glendale Pl. lettering is the site of the old Miracle Theatre.
Oddly, the map link in the heading above, the one that takes you to Cobb Parkway, shows the dirt lot that once played host to the Akers Mill Theatre.
Dmorg: Thanks for that nice write up of your memories of the South Dekalb. Maybe I saw you on your first visit since on my first day as manager we were running Herbie and Crazy Mary Dirty Larry. This was a very enjoyable theatre to work in and even when busy was easy to run since you could stand in front of the box office and see almost the entire operation. The only time things got hectic was when you had to line people up in the mall for #1 or outside for #2.
Your memories of what type of movies played on which side may be correct, but content had nothing to do with it. During cold weather, we usually tried to put the busy movie in #1 so we could line people up inside the mall. This was always a problem as the line would get confused with the people in the mall and it was too easy for people to hang around the mall entrance and break in line once we started to let the people in. Whenever the weather permitted, the busy movie would be in #2 so we could run the line up the hall and outside.
Of course this all changed when they split the two houses. Then, things got too hectic with different showtimes and exit times so you just had to do the best you could and when possible stretch out the intermissions. On some movies like Jaws 2 and The Muppet Movie, and the Bo Derek Tarzan of all things, the crowds were so large you would have an entire sellout lined up while the previous movie was still on. No amount of intermission could solve that.
I have always thought that the original twin theatre was the nicest theatre combined with the best presentation of any theatre I ever worked in. Glad to see someone else noticed.
Mike, This is an odd page to bring up the Weis chain since this theatre was never operated by Weis and has spent the vast majority of its life as a porno house. However, since you asked, all of the Weis theatres in Atlanta have pages and comments on this site. They are:
Fine Art: /theaters/11485/
Weis Cinema: /theaters/11690/
Peachtree Battle: /theaters/12131/
Sandy Springs: /theaters/12161/
Candler Road: /theaters/16454/
Franklin Road: /theaters/12863/
Only the last two were actually built by Weis. All of the others were already operating, sometimes under different names, when purchased by Weis. You will have to read down into the comments section to get to the Weis information on these.
J.B. Canton Corners is listed on this site as Blackwell Playhouse:
Joe, Many thanks for all of your comments relating to Boxoffice. I never worked for Storey, and never attended this theatre after it was twinned, but I would doubt that new seats were used to keep the total number at 900.
The single screen layout had three section seating with two off center aisles, and I am sure that they just built the wall down the center and the aisles became single center aisles with two section seating. I worked at several theatres that were twinned in this way and the only ones to relocate the center section seats so that they pointed at the relocated twin screens were the Tara and South Dekalb. Since the new screens were much smaller most theatres just added the surplus seats in front of the old front row. I think that the old North Dekalb had a small stage a couple of steps off of the floor in front of the screen. They may have taken this out to give them more room to add new front rows thus allowing them to keep the 900 seat capacity.
I never found quality of presentation to be a concern when twinning theatres was underway. The public never seemed to care so why should the owners?
Yeah, that great waterfall curtain got used for about three weeks until the practice of running advertising slides during intermission caught on. Occasionally they would kill the slides and lower the curtain before the show start, but that did not last long either.
Also, you failed to mention the Coke stain which never got cleaned off of the screen in the big house. Too much trouble I guess.
Dave Poland was gone from Atlanta by the time I went to work for GCC, and his place was taken by Larry Pittman. I first met Larry Anderson when he replaced Webb Brainerd, who was the opening manager for the Perimeter Mall Triple. I think Webb went to Columbia SC, but he eventually ended up in Dallas in the booking department.
Larry stayed at Perimeter until 1978 when he went to open the new Akers Mill. I think that he was replaced by Stu Hoffman. If not, Stu came in shortly afterwards. I never met Larry or Stu at the time, but before our GCC days we were all managers for Loews. I think that they were both in Miami then.
Larry stayed at Akers until he was made DM. I think that at one time he was a DM in another area, but most of the time he was in Atlanta. In the early 80’s he left GCC to become the head of operations for Septum Cinemas, an Atlanta based regional. He must have left with a return option, because in less than a year he was back, not starting over as a manager, but in his old DM job. In the late 80’s he left GCC to work for Storey, another Atlanta based local chain. Within months, Storey was bought out by Regal and last I heard he was in NC.
Stu left GCC and went to work for NCN, the intermission slide show advertising company. I last saw him in 1988 when he came by a theatre I was running to check the slide set up. That job was a natural for him. When he and Larry were managers for Larry Pittman, they would travel all over the Pittman district selling screen ads for the Christmas season. Each manager was supposed to do that, but many did not have the knack or interest, so Larry and Stu would earn a lot of comissions and the results for Pittman’s district would be near the top.
That is too bad about Craig Zacker. I only met him at the Northlake. From my recollection of him I would say the he was a prime candidate for a heart attack. I think that Larry Anderson used him as a helper because Craig enjoyed the work and did not mind the extra duties. Some of the managers thought that Craig was just trying to get in good with the DM and that his own theatre could never measure up to the standard he held them to when doing his inspections.
Managing for GCC was no picnic, at least in Atlanta, and I think that most of the managers were just trying to get through the week without anything bad happening. Some of them hoped to move up in the company, like Anderson, but I do not recall any who did. Some of them did leave GCC for much better jobs.