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When I lived in Charlotte from 1957-1975, the Manor was one of my favorite theaters. I saw many great films there. Once, my family went to see Dr. Strangelove, and we loved it – since it provided some much appreciated relief from the Cold War. Another film that I appreciated was On the Beach with Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and Fred Astaire – a film that focused on the tragedy of the Cold War and the terror of nuclear weapons. Those two films I experienced at the Manor shaped my attitude to war and nuclear weapons – both institutions that the world can certainly do without. The Manor was nestled into the heart of Myers Park near the sumptuous homes on Cherokee, a situation that permitted its movies to influence legions of impressionable minds.
When I lived in the Queen City from 1957-197, the Visulite was Charlotte’s elite art theater. Owned by Jay Schrader and his son, Bob, the Visulite played a riveting schedule of amazing films. A few highlights that I saw there included, The Horse’s Mouth (Alec Guiness), The Mouse that Roared (Peter Sellers), Goldfinger, A Man & A Woman, Cabaret, and many more. The Visulite is a gem of Charlotte’s cultural heritage. My father was in the movie business and we visited the Schrader’s home on many occasions.
The Carolina was the most luxurious theater in prosperous downtown Charlotte, and its vandalism and disappearance are tragic. The theater featured sumptuous appointments from the golden age of moving pictures – the late 1920s. I saw many amazing films there, but the most memorable was 2001, a special treat for me as a recent college graduate following a dinner with my mother. My father had died one year before my graduation, and after my graduation ceremony at UNC-Charlotte, we went out to dinner and to the Carolina to see 2001: A Space Odyssey. She bought a fabulous brochure for the film that I treasure to this day as a memento of her encouragement to me to reach high for the planets and the stars.
This was a tragic loss to the culture and heritage of 20th Century Charlotte. I saw several films there, but by far the most memorable was: Dr. No. The first James Bond thriller had just been released, and it was scintillating – every school boy’s dream. What a pity that this gem of a theater has been lost.
My father. W. G. “Mike” Carmichael, was in the movie business from 1921 till his death in 1967, and J. C. “Cass” Carscallen and his wife, Cody, were family friends. Cass Carscallen was born a British subject in Canada, and he and my father worked together in the movie business during the golden decades of Hollywood. Our family visited the Skyway on several occasions from the late 1950s until the mid-60s. The Carscallens lived in a very smart modern apartment build beneath the screen of the Skyway – an architectural delight that we thought amazingly modern and chic in those days. Their business thrived quite successfully, and they retired to Windsor, Ontario.