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Yes, now I remember the name of that drugstore. There were also Lane/Ligett and Walgreen chain drug stores at Eighth and Broad and Ninth and Broad plus others at Fifth, Tenth and Thirteenth and Broad. Lots of soda fountains for a stop before or after the movie!
Cullums was the upscale department next to the Miller. There were also a Pennys, Sears and Belks department store downtown. One had the elevated system with the little carriers that flew through the store with purchase slips, change and receipts back and forth similar to an outside bank teller today. On the other side of the Miller was a restaurant, the Ship Ahoy I think, later a pool room and a drugstore on the corner of 7th Street with a beautiful marble top soda fountain. Those fountain cokes with pure cane sugar and coke flavor were delicious and blow away completely any Coca Cola of today.
Cable TV channel Turner Classic Movies has been showing episodes of the classic movie serials on saturdays at noon. Currently, it’s the 1937 15 chapter “Dick Tracy” from Republic Pictures. As a child in the forties and fifties I saw a lot of the serials at saturday matinees downtown. The program consisted of a serial chapter, b-western and a two reel comedy. The Modjeska showed both Columbia and Republic releases while the Rialto showed mostly Columbia product. The Imperial showed the highly touted original “Superman” serial from Columbia Pictures in 1948. That was the only serial I ever remember being shown there and none ever at the Miller during my childhood. The Miller did have a saturday matinee called the Sancken’s Youth Revue which was a kid’s talent contest broadcast live over radio and followed by a kiddie feature.
I clearly remember seeing The African Queen during its' original run at the Miller. Oh, those leeches!
I was responding to rivest266 who posted about grand opening ads of various Augusta theaters in the past.
I don’t see any links to the grand opening ads listed in your posts on the various theaters….?
Thanks for update. I grew up in Augusta and went to all the old downtown theaters(Miller, Imperial, Rialto, Modjeska) as well as the auditorium. In fact my 1958 high school graduation from Richmond Academy was held at Bell Auditorium
Is the old Bell Auditorium, built around the same time as the Miller, still open for public events?
RE: 3D films @ Miller. I saw the very first one to play there in 1954, Bwani Devil with Robert Stack and Barbara Britton. Ad lines: “A lion in your lap”. “A lover in your arms”. Saw lots of others there and also House of Wax at the Imperial.
It was great growing up in Augusta during the forties and fifties and I can remember in extreme detail much of it, but can hardly remember now what I am going into the next room for!
The car was at the Crawford Ave. Baptist Church off of Broad St. in the Harrisburg mill section of town. If I remember correctly the Augusta transit system was run at that time by Georgia Power Co. with garages on 15th St. near the canal. At some point it was taken over by Augusta Coach Co. My grandfather told me that much of the streetcar tracks were taken up and scrapped for WW2 production.
I remember those street car tracks, too.(born 1940). My church had a retired one which was used as a Sunday school room.
In the early 1950’s I talked my mom into taking me to a midnight double horror show at the Augusta Drive-In, my first ever. The features were two old 1930’s Universal horror re-releases, “The Raven” and “Dracula’s Daughter”. It rained through most of it. Why can I remember that in such detail, but I can’t remember what I went to the store for this morning?
I used to work and travel with rock and roll bands and got to see the backstage of lots of old movie theaters. Many still had the old lighting panels with the “Frankenstein” style blade switches like the Miller. I doubt many were usable and most bands either carried or rented locally a modern portable lighting system. I really enjoyed exploring all those old theaters!
I live in Macon, but grew up in Augusta so not real familar with the old movie houses here. My best recollection from visiting here back then was that it ended up as a b movie grind house before closing due to tv onslaught. Other downtown houses were Bibb, Capitol(now a bar/concert hall), and Grand(now the Grand Opera House) which has plays and concerts.
Back to memory lane…. Does anyone remember the old Benton Bros. Film Express trucks? They would pickup/deliver and transport films to all the Augusta theaters from the Atlanta exchanges in their bright yellow short body trucks and were always parked on Broad St. Also, how about the original 1934 Ford Bonnie and Clyde death car that toured with a crime exploitation film “Killers All” that played the Modjeska and Rialto in the 1950’s? The car and film were owned by Ted Toddy an Atlanta distributor of primarily black films. The car is now on display in a Nevada casino.
Haverty’s was further up the block. The store I mentioned was W. F. Bentley & Son. Yep, the escalator only went up. It’s truly amazing what sticks in these old brain memory cells when I can’t remember what I did yesterday. When I was really young there was an old Italian organ grinder with a monkey who worked that corner of 9th and Broad across from the Dreamland.
I certainly remember Bowen Bros. Hardware near the Dreamland. My grandad’s furniture store was next door at 901 Broad St. My uncle worked in Bowen Bros. camera department. He might have sold you that camera! Bowen’s also had the first “electric eye” automatic doors in Augusta and maybe the first escalator. Great sporting goods and, oh, those Lionel trains in the basement.
I remember the saturday youth revue radio shows and listened when I didn’t attend the live show which was followed by a youth oriented movie and cartoons(no serial or b-westerns) before the regular saturday feature schedule began. I really thought it was cool that they had a visible applause meter on stage for the talent judging.
Correction to above. The Woolworth store was at 8th and Broad, not 9th. Also, I think Scotty and Boots had a radio show on WRDW whose studios were in the old Masonic Building, also at 8th and Broad next to the Modjeska. I can recall the sidewalks being absolutely jammed, shoulder to shoulder with people. What a pleasure it is to remember simpler times of childhood 60+ years ago.
Re: Stage shows. Does anyone remember the husband and wife country music duo Scotty and Boots? Their revue played every Friday and Saturday evening on stage at the Modjeska during the late 1940s. Shockingly, years later Scotty ended up a begger on 9th Street by Woolworths five and dime store.
Here is an obscure fact about the Dreamland. After it burned a wooded barricade was erected around the front entrance area and it was continually covered with advertising paper from other theaters until the ruins were eventually cleaned up. I can remember the wierdest things from years ago, but can’t remember what I just walked inti the next rtoom for!
The problem with me will be to get me to shut up! I am a real old movie buff, especially b-movies, b-westerns and serials and I practically lived in those old Augusta downtown theaters during the late forties and early fifties. Many more stories to follow. Did you know the rear of the Miller Theater housed an area known as the “print shop” where they assembled advertising for all of the Augusta Amusement Company theaters? A childhood friend of mine used to get pressbooks and all matter of paper from his friend who worked there. They would be worth thousands of dollars today if he kept them. Do you know if that part of the Miller was ever cleaned out?
On second thought, the Hi De Ho may have been just over the state line in South Carolina. There were so many little mill towns there they all ran together. I do remember their advertising on one of the black oriented radio stations WAUG in Augusta.
I also remember the Hi De Ho being a segregated black drive-in, but I am having trouble remembering where it was located. I am thinking maybe at the lower end of Gwinnett(now Laney-Walker) near East Boundary and not too far from the Augusta Drive-In……?