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The marquee of the Colonial always looked like the photo in the initial entry by Lost Memory. The Center was a different theater. I remember it having a smaller wedge marquee with lettering in a moderne-ish style. And I am pretty sure it was on the other side of Liberty Street but maybe in the next block.
The Hollywood was a different theater. I remember reading that it was in a fire about 1948 or 1949 and was not rebuilt. Somewhere online I saw a pic in which “Hollywood” remained in the sidewalk long after the theater was gone. I think the Center was a different theater on the opposite side of the street than the State (formerly Auditorium), Colonial and Hollywood. It might even have been in the next block – not sure.
I recently looked at this location and investigated old pictures. This parking deck seems to have been built on sites which contained the State (to the north) and Colonial Theaters(and all the stores in between).
The lettering “AUDITORIUM” on the facade was in the ancient Roman style, where the U would look like a V. That made an impression on me as a child: it confused me, so I would always look up when I passed the building.
I only got to go to the Terrace once, for the 70MM road show of “Gone With the Wind” about 1968. It did seem huge.
I remember seeing “Rosemary’s Baby” (among many others) at the Parkway. It was a first-run alternative to the Carolina and the Winston when it opened. A good guess when it opened is 1965. I never saw anything there after it was split.
When I was little, the building at this address was a Kroger grocery store. It is now a diner. I never knew it had been a theater. Hope someone can find a picture.
I think the first movie I saw at the Thruway was Bullitt with Steve McQueen. It seems like this might have been its first movie. Never one to pass on 70MM, I also remember seeing Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom here.
I went with high school friends to 2001: A Space Odyssey on a Friday or Saturday night. We were lucky to get in and had to sit in the first row. Wow!
I think the Colonial was torn down in an orgy of urban renewal in the late 1960s and early 1970s in which whole blocks downtown disappeared to become a bus depot (across the street) and many parking decks and lots. It’s even worse now. I think that whole vibrant block in the pic posted by Lost Memory is gone now. The Colonial was definitely on the east side of Liberty Street (on the same side as the State). Also, I’m sure the Colonial was open later than 1955, at least till the mid-to-late 1960s. (If I ever find out, I will update this.)
When my father was a young man, before he was drafted for WWII, during the day he worked near the courthouse on Liberty Street. He also had evening jobs ushering at some of the downtown theaters. One was the Colonial, I think, and others were the Carolina and the Forsyth. It must have been for the extra money and for the air conditioning.
Strangely, I never saw a movie at the Colonial nor do I remember any friends going there. It just never came up. I don’t remember the Colonial having a first run of any grade A film. As I recall, the Colonial showed second runs, double features of B films and low budget or risque fare. I find it odd that in a town that size with only two dominant theaters, the Carolina and the Winston, there couldn’t have been some niche for the Colonial. I got the sense from my father that in its heyday it was a nice theater.
The Auditorium Theater was later known as State Theater. After the State closed it was a furniture store called State Furniture. For some reason I was in there once, and I remember the furniture being displayed on the downward slope of the former orchestra-level floor. I wish I could have seen a movie there but the theater must have closed when I was a child.