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Plitt did not close the Thunderbird in Salisbury. Tom Maines bought the business and ran it as a $5 per carload before my partner and I bought the business. People didn’t want to sit under the stars anymore to watch a movie.
Carmike never bought the Thunderbird in Salisbury. We closed it in the late 80s and used the land when we started rebuilding wrecked and theft recovered IROC cameros. The Rowan Cinemas were built and run by Tom Maines who also added more screens to the theatre.
I started working at the Terrace Theatre in 1977 as a cashier/concessionist. It cost 2.75 for adults and 1.50 fro children. It was ABC Theatres back then and had 599 seats. (one seat was broken and taken out). It then changed to Plitt Theatres and later Cineplex-Odeon. If you look at the Park Terrace in Charlotte and the Thruway Theatre in Winston-Salem, they looked similar. The Thunderbird Drive-In was also part of the theatre chains.
My partner and I bought the business in 1982 and twinned it (250 seats each side(. We put in Dolby stero and running lights on one side and Kintec sound and running lights on the other. The first side opened with Never Say Never Again (James Bond) the end of September 1982. One week later the other side opened. We sold the business 1985-86 to the same people who opened the Rowan Cinemas which became the Salisbury Mall Cinemas.