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The world premiere of BRIGHT LEAF made its U.S. event showing at Raleigh’s Ambassador Theatre on May 31,1950.
It was the second motion picture to make its U.S. southeastern premiere engagement(after “Gone With The Wind”),and the first-ever Carolina exclusive premiere to be shown at the Ambassador Theatre.
Among the celebrities who were present at the world premiere were Gary Cooper, Lauren Becall,with Patricia Neal,along with British actor Donald Crisp and director Michael Curtiz.
It opened as the CAROLINA THEATRE in Downtown Chapel Hill under the Publix Theatres chain on September 23,1927 with the opening features “Cheating Cheaters”,
and “The Way of All Flesh”.
The coming attraction was “Hula” starring Clara Bow.
From 1927 until 1942 it was the CAROLINA THEATRE.
On October 15,1942, a new CAROLINA THEATRE in Downtown Chapel Hill opened across the street that seated 1,145 patrons. The cinema went under new management as it was renamed the VILLAGE THEATRE. It remained the VILLAGE THEATRE Downtown from 1942 until 1951.
On May 4,1951 the theatre was under new management and the name changed from the VILLAGE THEATRE to the VARSITY THEATRE. Under this new change upgraded additions were featured that included an expanded lobby section and a larger auditorium with super widescreen projection. By late-1954,more features were added to the VARSITY including the latest stereophonic sound and was equipped to show films in Cinema Scope projection.
This theatre was owner and operated under H.B. Meiselmen/Eastern Federal Corporation from 1951 until 1982 as a single screener with 703 seats.
By November of 1982,the theatre underwent another renovation with the original auditorium of 703 seats were split into two sections and renamed the VARSITY 1 & 2 under Burlington/Greensboro, NC based Janus Theatres. Auditorium 1 seated 350. Auditorium 2 seated 205,bringing the total seating capacity to 555 seats. The theatre also changed formats from showing first-run movies to showing independent and foreign releases where it remained from 1982 until 2009.
This theatre got a lot of the United Artists product with such films as “A Hard Days Night”,and “The Pink Panther”,not to mention the Bond films ranging from “Dr. No” to “Diamonds Are Forever” got first-run billing.
This theatre got a lot of the Universal product too.
It’s run of “Airport” brought in record crowds,along with “The Sting”,and “American Graffiti” not to mention its showing of “To Kill A Mockingbird” and a lot of the “B” movie stuff too for Raleigh’s State Theatre.
Opened on January 15,1924.
Closed on September 12,1976 under Martin Theatres.
Cinemascope projection was installed in 1954 when the State Theatre was remodeled with new features and updated Stereosound system.
The State Theatre was one of two theatres in the state of North Carolina to be equipped with SENSURROUND sound systems for its December 21,1974 opening of the film “Earthquake!”
On the marquee on April 5,1974….Exclusive Engagement
“BLAZING SADDLES” when the Manor was a single screener under Eastern Federal Corporation.
It was the first theatre in the state to also have the showing of THIS IS CINERAMA on December 22,1961.
Not to mention..“CINERAMA ADVENTURE”…..
The CAROLINA THEATRE opened on March 7,1927.
Closed its doors on November 27,1978.
It was also the first theatre in the state to have full CINEMASCOPE projection for its showing of THE ROBE on October 29,1953. It was the only showing of the film in the two Carolinas.
Among the roadshow engagements in 70mm at the CAROLINA:
“RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN’S OKLAHOMA”
“RISE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE”
“THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK”
“THE ALAMO”-John Wayne
“THE KING AND I”-Yul Brenner
“LAWRENCE OF ARABIA”
“PAINT YOUR WAGON”
“THE SOUND OF MUSIC”
THE CAROLINA THEATRE was the only theatre in the state of North Carolina that showed movies in CINERAMA……
Among the CINERAMA Engagements….
“HOW THE WEST WAS WON”
“THE WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM”
“ICE STATION ZEBRA”
“KRAKATOA:EAST OF JAVA”
“2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY”
I have one of the advertisement from the Marion, NC Newspaper that had a showing of “E.T.” back in 1982.
If you need to see this ad,please contact me at
This theatre opened in early-1980 as the McDowell Cinema 1 & 2 under Charlotte based Stewart and Everett.
Carmike Cinemas took over in 1986 and renamed it the McDowell Twin Theatres. By the mid-2000’s it was owned and operated under an Independent company until January of 2014.
Should be renamed the TOWNE TWIN THEATRES.
Closed in 1994 by Carmike Cinemas as a second-run cinema.
I have the original ads for the grand opening of the Merrimon Twin Theatre from December 21,1973.
“E.T.” also played first run at the Cardinal 1 & 2 in 1982 when it was still a two screen theatre. The film played in its largest auditorium to capacity crowds.
Not only “Batteries Not Included” was a real turkey of a film produced by Steven Spielburg,but Spielburg also produced the dreadful “Harry And The Hendersons”…a movie that was so bad and totally stupid that one theatre in Durham took it off the schedule after one week!!! I can say Spielburg was behind the horrible “Poltergeist II” which he served as executive producer.
I have them ads for the opening of the GOLDEN EAST CROSSING CINEMAS from December 18,1987.
The Victory Theatre on Tate Street was also known as the CINEMA. More information on theatre is listed on the Cinema Treasures site.
David Lean’s DOCTOR ZHIVAGO played here first-run in October of 1966.
Owned and Operated under Premiere Theatres.
Address: 2000 North Kings HighwayMyrtle Beach, SC 29577
1967-1971 Wilby Kincey Theatres
1971-1978 ABC Southeastern Theatres
1978-1987 Plitt Southern Theatres
1987-1991 Cineplex Odeon/Plitt Southern Theatres
1991-1995 Carmike Cinemas
Also known as the Camelot 1 & 2 and the Camelot Twin
Closed in 1995 as a discount theatre under Carmike.
Great memories of FUNNY GIRL at Charlotte’s Manor Theatre in 70MM.
Also on digital bits…the 30th Anniversary Retrospective article on RETURN OF THE JEDI
I was around 13 years of age when the original “Superman” movie came out around Christmas of 1978. That movie I would watched again until “Superman II” came out in the summer of 1981. The first two “Superman” movies were excellent,but when it came to the third and fourth installments they were just horrible. Speaking of the 30th Anniversary of “The Return of the Jedi”,I saw that six times during the summer of 1983(the opening day with my high school pals)was just incredible!!! Speaking of the original “Die Hard” movie,I saw it in the theatres opening weekend during the summer of 1988 as well the two sequels in the theatres too. The first three “Die Hard” movies were excellent in their own right,but the fourth installment was half good,but the fifth “Die Hard” movie(set in Russia)wasn’t that half bad.
I’ve never seen “Funny Girl” until it was shown recently on Turner Classic Movies(in its original roadshow format that clocked at two and a quarter hours long),but when it came to “Cleopatra” I thought it was tediously long and totally boring(the running time was over four hours long). “American Graffiti” was excellent throughout.
I cannot wait on Michael Coate’s retrospective on the 40th Anniversary of THE EXORCIST……
BY THE WAY….There was also a six screen cinema too that was located near Danville’s Piedmont Mall that is NOT listed on this site!!!
Oh yes,there was also a six screen theatre that is NOT listed here on Cinema Treasures that was located at Danville’s Piedmont Mall that was under Cineplex Odeon.