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thought i would let you all know we are up to 65 seats now
from what I know this is primarily a theatre and live performance type place that has what they call “bad movie nights” I have never been in it since it has been under it’s current operating status but I can tell you some history of what it once used to be which was a long standing mission neighborhood punk rock record store/club/living space as well as kind of strange cultural magnet/hub that attained a type of mythical status among people in the local punk community, known famously as Mission Records.
I also know a bit about it’s previous history operating mainly as a bar throughout the years, and apparently a quite notoriously rough one, at one point being claimed by several people to be operated by a local mafia type gang who trafficked drugs out of a specially small and crudely cut window in an upstairs room that dropped straight down to the alleyway behind and tellingly is only about big enough to fit a small parcel through! many stories and rumors of murders and bodies buried on sight. and several former tenants swearing up and down to having several ghost experiences…but regardless of myths and rumors, one solid story that may be of note to film enthusiasts is that during one of it’s stretches as a bar (i believe as what my friend called a “cowboy” bar) it was used as a real life location in the first 48 Hours! the scene where Eddie Murphy smashes a drink against the glass behind the bar (I can’t remember the scene exactly it’s been a while!) and supposedly that same glass remained broken and behind the bar even into it’s life as a record store.
so in short, definitely not a traditional theatre, although I think the back room has been renovated into a more legitimate performance space since, and it for sure had a stage at least in my time.
by the way Mission Records closed down in 2003, I am not sure if they vacated the space immediately though, possibly went over into 2004. what happened in the interim 4 years i couldn’t tell you, except for the mission becoming rapidly gentrified, especially via Valencia street
oh by “see any movies here” i mean at the UARK
by my day we were mostly relegate to the multiplexes such as Cinema 16 (which is a name I find absolutely hilarious in my later years after after learning about the famous new york film society run by amos vogel and largely responsible for introducing underground and avante garde cinema to a larger new york audience, focusing on 16mm film, hence their naming it as well CInema 16)
grew up in this town but was to young to see any movies here.
according to an old fayetteville punk historian friend Billy Callen, some of the first punk shows were held at the UARK , not sure the years, but fayetteville legends the Malls (featuring my old FHS highschool english teacher Tom Cochran) were one of the bands listed as playing, and according to urban legend such shows ceased when an anonymous band member threw a bottle at the owner’s head!
I can’t believe no one has noted this yet but when it was the Stage Door Theater, it was the spot of the world premiere of Hitchcock’s Vertigo!! on may 9th, 1958. with the director and stars in attendance! Also a lot of the film was shot with a several block radius of the theater (perhaps why it was chosen as the premiere location. I found it while tracking down several of the locations in the film. It appears to be largely intact, although now operating as a rather nauseatingly slick looking night club.
However on the wikipedia page for the club it has some info about it’s history:
building constructed in 1890 by architect August Headman
in the 1940’s became a USO club called the Stage Door
as it started showing films it’s name became the Stage Door Theater
and in the 80’s was named the Regency III ( as the Regency I and II were located several blocks away.