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According to an article in the Aiken Standard of April 3, 2001, the Cinema was to close on April 5, 2001. The Cinema was formerly the Rosemary Theater. It was leased from Mr. Ram, who opened it in 1950. Stewart & Everett leased both the Patricia and Rosemary Theaters in 1952. It closed because Carmick was in Chapter 11.
Posting â€œpredictionsâ€ about a theater is not historical information. When these predictions prove to be false, they diminish the value of this forum. Anyoneâ€™s comments are welcomed by all of us, as long as they are factual. Posting rumors or false information is not appreciated. Please donâ€™t trash this excellent forum.
Patrick Properties, which owns and operates the American Theatre in Charleston, has purchased property south of the theater which they plan to open as a 64-room hotel in 2009. The American Theater will continue to be a theater. The American Theater stopped screening feature films in 2005 but is still hosting live stage shows and booking business events. This information is from a newspaper article in Charleston’s Post and Courier dated August 12, 2007.
The American Theatre has been made into a two-screen theater with a nice bar in the former balcony. I was told there are plans to restore it to something like its 1942 appearance. I believe it will be used mostly for live theater performances. The theater has a web site at http://www.americantheater.com/
Hi Long Islander – I just wanted to make an observation. The marquee you saw on King Street was not the Garden Theatre marquee but was the marquee for the Gloria Theatre. The Gloria Theatre was in the same block as the Garden Theatre which lost its marquee many years ago. part of Barton’s Candy Store occupies what was once the King Street entrance to the theatre. The Gloria Theatre still exists as the Sottile Theatre with a new entrance on George Street.
Basically, they saved the ornamental plaster work and used it to frame store displays. They removed the upper office spaces and left the rough exposed floor beams for a “bombed-out” look. Their “goal” is available on their web site. In part, it says, “Our goal at Urban Outfitters is to be the brand of choice for well-educated, urban-minded young adults. We accomplish our objective by creating a differential shopping experience, which creates an emotional bond with the 18 to 30 year old target customer we serve. Our stores offer a unique and eclectic mix of fashion merchandise in a lifestyle sensitive store environment.” I did have one emotional experience but I wouldn’t call it “bonding.” In the balcony, where I once enjoyed an excellent performance of “Mikado” I found a box labeled “F*CK THIS.” I think it was a box of shoes but I didn’t examine it closely. As you might guess, I’m way over 30.
Patsy: We went into what was once the Garden Theatre shortly after Thanksgiving. It is a tragedy. Urban Outfitters is not to blame. They never claimed to be sensitive to local history. They used the existing architectural elements to promote their products and make their customers feel like they are in a unique retail space. The local citizens and preservationists in Charleston should feel very sad and guilty for losing this wonderful old theatre. Good to hear from you. Hope you have a great 2006.
Dear lostmemory, I’d love to know more about the Moller at the Garden Theater. I did know there was an organ installed at the Wonderland Theatre in Charleston, SC in 1909 but don’t know anything more about it.
TC – The theatre shown in community.webshots is the Riviera Theatre. It is also on King Street in Charleston but is a conference center now. The entrance and lobby have been restored. The balcony still has seating but is used for meetings not movies. The auditorium has been converted into two stories with retail shops below and a ballroom above.
Thanks to those participating in this project. We were in Waynesville last month and love our visits to this beautiful town. This will be a welcomed improvement to the streetscape and eventually a unique and important addition to the community. It is so refreshing to hear about developers and land owners working together to benefit the community and keeping the project in scale and character with the surrounding area. Great news! Wishing you success and satisfaction.
Small theatres continue to disappear around the world. They were built for a specific purpose and are difficult and expensive to adapt for other uses. Yes, some people mourn their loss. Those are the only people who might be vocal enough to halt a city administration working closely with a developer. Sadly, the effort fails more often that it succeeds. But, there have been some successes, so all you can do is try. You said “our mayor and city council have decided” and that sounds like the matter is not open to debate. Someone opposed to the plan must find others to form a group to make the mayor and council aware that there is substantial opposition. This must be done quickly. It is hard work and the only reward may be knowing that you have tried.
The American Theatre has closed as a regular movie house. However, they plan to show movies during certain times of the year. You can read about it at their web site at http://www.americantheater.com/movies/
I wish you good luck with the Rodgers Theatre. You will need a lot of community support. I mean A LOT! My personal experience in Charleston, South Carolina, is that, once the city makes up its mind to support a local developer, you’re fighting a lost cause. I wish this were not true but I have the experience to prove it. I’ve worked with “Save the …” groups here twice. Once, we had partial success in saving the most significant visual features of the Riviera Theater (1938) but no luck saving the wonderful Garden Theatre (1918) from becoming an “Urban Outfitters.” Yell as loud as you can and don’t give up until the wrecking crew arrives.
We took U.S. 70 through the Cumberland Plateau and stopped in Crab Orchard to get a small sample of the stone. The man who owned the quarry was Lynn McDaniel, I believe. He was proud of the work the students had done on the Palace’s facade. He mentioned the name of the instructor who supervised them and the quarry from which the stone was taken. I’ve forgotten both names. But, I’ll always remember how his face lit up with a smile when we asked him about the Palace Theatre project. I wish folks who were indifferent to saving our Garden Theatre in Charleston could have understood the far reaching impact such a project has on so many people in and nearby a community. It’s the kind of thing that makes a place a community and not just a place.
The Palace is wonderful but the real story is the community. They have done a wonderful job with the Palace. By chance I found out that the restoration of the stonework was done by students at the community’s building school using the beautiful local crab orchard stone from a nearby quarry. The community of Crossville has a justifiable pride in this restored treasure.
The Film Daily Yearbook of 1945 lists the Palace as having 300 seats. You cannot rely on the seating figures in Film Daily Yearbook. Reported seating figures varied for a number of reasons. The balcony of the Palace would have seated about 90 people. It could be that the 1950 FDY counted the balcony but the 1945 edition did not. An accurate seat count might be found in the local newspaper of November 1938, when the Palace opened. The original seating figures do not seem to appear on their official web site.
Hi Charles..thank you so much for the photo of the Palace. Doing so continues our luck in researching the theatres. Brings back fond memories of our visiting the Palace. How is Hawaii? Mmmmmmm. Cheers, Mark and John
Check out the Ioka Theater in Exeter NH. There is a link to the Ioka Club from the listing in Cinema Treasures. Roger Detzler is President of IOKA Entertainment Inc.
Thanks for the feedback on our website. Some days we add a lot. Some days slip by. But, we keep trying. As for Charleston’s venues, there aren’t many left. It seems to me there are only tourists and college students left in downtown Charleston. The city has changed since I moved here twenty-six years ago. The suburbs have exploded. Savannah seems to have maintained a viable urban population. Penninsular Charleston seems to be hotels, restaurants, and trophy homes. I’m not sure there are really any “local” toes left to step on. Power rests with the developers. The North Charleston Performing Arts Center has replaced the old Galliard Auditorium as the premiere venue. The management of the American Theatre might be interested in working with you. I don’t think there is currently any venue in Charleston for a wonderful show like Jukebox Journey. That’s a shame in my opinion. Are you familiar with the Charleston Christmas Show? Have you talked to Brad Moranz?
Yikes! I can’t believe I haven’t posted our site on South Carolina Movie Theatres (history). It’s http://www.scmovietheatres.com
Hope you like it. Would love feedback.
I attended the opening reception of the “Theater Project” by Hilarie Lambert at the Mary Martin Gallery in Charleston last night. It was terrific! There were several paintings at the exhibition that are not represented on her web site. I was very attracted to one of a parade passing in front of the Riviere Theater. Anyone getting to Charleston in the near future should definately catch this gallery exhibition. Ms. Lambert captures so much more than the “appearance” of the theaters she has painted. Thanks to Ross Melnick for posting the news about this exhibition.
You can see some recent demolition photos at http://www.cofc.edu/~tiedjem/lowcountry_05.htm
including one of the projectors that remain in the projection booth. The auditorium floor has been completely leveled now. I will try to take some current demolition photos next week and post them. Yes, I mean demolition because the Garden could never be restored as a theater now.
An article in Charleston’s The Post and Courier on February 17, 2005, said the American Theater will close to the public on February 26, 2005. I loaded the article on our South Carolina movie theater site at www.scmovietheatres.com if anyone wants to read the sad news. At least they will maintain it and rent it out to drama companies, business and church groups.
That’s great. If you go into the lobby of the Riviera, they have on display, one of the original projectors. Also, there’s a great restaurant on King Street called The Majestic, in honor of the old Majestic Theater that was located next door. Their menu is all movie related. My favorite is the Godfather Combo.
The Riviera closed permanently as a movie theater in 1983. The marquee still exists but the interior is completely changed. It is a conference center. It is a beautiful example of “adaptive re-use” but it is important to know this is not a “saved” movie theater. The only remaining movie theater in downtown Charleston, SC, is the American Theater, also on King Street. It has been converted into a “dinner and a movie” place and is no longer a single screen theater as it was when it opened in 1942.