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Lundjr: Thanks for the info on the Mall Cinema. Your description of the interior confirmed my suspicions about this theater, although I thought that the roof had caved in judging from the Google aerial view. Given the current state of Vernon Park Mall (and retail centers in Kinston overall – Kmart on Queen Street is going under), the Mall Cinema may just rot away until redevelopment of the mall occurs.
Lundjr: Thanks for the correction. At least there is something left of this drive-in; I don’t know of any other drive-ins east of Raleigh that haven’t been totally demolished except for the Pines Drive-In outside of Pinetops at Cobb’s Crossroads (east of town on NC 42-43). Any knowledge of other Kinston/Lenoir County drive-ins other than the Broadway/North 11 and the Bright Leaf?
This photo must have been taken just before Plitt Southern Theatres bought the remaining ABC Southeastern Theatres in 1978.
The renaming of this theater from Premiere Theatres 14 to UEC Theatres 14 was done after a major renovation was completed. UEC seems to be phasing out the Premiere Theatres name in favor of the corporate banner.
I know of only three drive-ins that existed in Craven County: the Starlite/Midway in New Bern, the Havelock Drive-In, and a drive-in in Vanceboro (name unknown, located at the intersection of NC 43 North and Bailey Lane).
This location opened rather late for a Trans-Lux Inflight Cine'; five years after the other North Carolina Inflight Cine’s had opened and a year after they closed their first NC theater (Kinston). The Trans-Lux Kannapolis opened about the same time as Stewart & Everett was reopening the theater (renamed Plaza Cinema) Trans-Lux had closed the previous year. I would be surprised if Trans-Lux used 16mm projection in the Kannapolis theater if it opened in 1975; 16mm flopped miserably elsewhere in 1970 (why watch 16mm projection when there was a real cinema downtown, the Gem?). Trans-Lux was out of North Carolina by 1976; all of the former Inflight Cine’s in the Piedmont (Burlington, Greensboro, High Point, Kannapolis, Charlotte) were turned into pornhouses.
The school bus garage located at 450 Wilmington Highway was apparently built on the site of a drive-in theater, the name and dates of operation for which I do not know. The shape of the lot in aerial views strongly suggest that the site was once a drive-in. Judging from the garage buildings presently on the site (one at the entrance and the main garage in the center of the lot), the drive-in theater at 450 Wilmington Highway was demolished circa 1968-1970. The South 17 Twin may have run the 450 Wilmington Hwy. drive-in out of business and forced the Starlite to run porn movies; the South 17 ran mostly standard drive-in fare (B movies, horror films, second-run features).
The Starlite Drive-In operated until either 1979 or 1980; it closed about the same time as the South 17 Twin Drive-In but was demolished a few years after the South 17 became a mobile home park.
Theater name should be Chalet Triple with AKAs of Chalet Twin and Chalet Theater. Schneider-Merl sold out to Martin Theatres in 1976, so the Chalet Theater most likely opened in the early 1970s. The Chalet Triple was most likely closed in the mid-to-late 1990s as a result of competition from Litchfield’s New Market 7 (now Regal Boone Cinema 7) which opened in 1990. The Appalachian Twin was Carmike’s last theater in Boone; it survived because it was a discount cinema in a college town.
Approximate address of the Starlite Drive-In was 1690 Wilmington Highway. After demolition the property was used as a mobile home sales lot and is currently a sales lot for tool sheds.
This is another dead Carmike, gone for over a year now. Status should be Closed.
The Center Theatre looks like it was built mid-to-late 1950s, a few years after the Iwo Jima; from aerial views it resembles a backwards version of Fayetteville’s Bragg Theatre. The Center was Jacksonville’s first suburban indoor cinema, followed by both the Cardinal and Northwoods theaters in 1969.
A Dollar General now stands on the site of the Morehead Plaza Cinema/Carmike Cinema 3.
This theater is now known as Regal Beaver Creek Stadium 12 according to the Regal website.
The town of Fuquay (Springs?) merged with the adjoining town of Varina over fifty years ago and is now Fuquay-Varina. Fuquay-Varina and its predecessor towns were/are in the southern tip of Wake County where US 401 South (Main Street in F-V) intersects with NC Highway 42. The closest operating cinemas to Fuquay-Varina are two Regal multiplexes: the White Oak Stadium 14 in Garner and the Beaver Creek Cinemas in Apex. The Fuquay-Varina area is rapidly growing and may eventually get its own multiplex, possibly before the eastern Wake County towns of Wendell, Zebulon (which aren’t growing fast enough to warrant a multiplex) or Knightdale (which was promised a multiplex years ago but it never materialized).
This theater is only open to members of the military (and possibly their families). The Carmike multiplexes in Jacksonville (Carmike 16 and Patriot 12) are the only area cinemas open to the general public.
The former Highway 264 Playhouse/Silver Bullet/South 13 Saloon has reverted to operating as a gentlemen’s club, the South 13 Gentlemen’s Club.
Another nightclub, the Platinum Club, has been operating in the former Paramount Theatre since the start of 2014; may have taken over the previous club (Paramount City Lounge) before then.
The X-rated drive-in that was just north of the South 17 Twin was most likely the Starlite Drive-In listed on Cinema Treasures' Jacksonville, NC theaters. The Starlite was most likely located on the corner of Canady Road and Blue Creek School Road (modern address – That stretch of Canady Road was the southbound lanes of Wilmington Highway when the Starlite was still standing). The Onslow County school bus garage next to the Triangle Motor Inn looks like a converted drive-in theater site, but is too close to the motel and too far north of the South 17 Twin site to have been the X-rated drive-in that I remember from years ago.
The Starlite Drive-In Theatre was most likely located on Wilmington Highway between Canady Road and Blue Creek School Road. Due to the realignment of Wilmington Highway in recent years (part of the new US 17/NC 24 bypass project), the modern location would be the corner of Canady Road and Blue Creek School Road. Canady Road was extended to incorporate the former southbound lanes of Wilmington Highway up to the Beacham Apartments and functions as a service road.
Under Martin Theatres the balcony of the Park Theatre was closed and padlocked. The only reason to go upstairs was to access the theater’s only restrooms, which had windows overlooking the marquee.
The former Carolina East 4 Cinema may not be around much longer. The owners of Carolina East Center have given notice of eviction to all remaining tenants of the center, as the entire property will be demolished. Presently only a tattoo parlor and a laundromat, the last remaining tenants in the Carolina East Center, have not found new locations; all other tenants have made arrangements to relocate. The Carolina East 4 Cinema has been vacant since 2001 and no attempt was ever made to fill it since closing. The site is reportedly being cleared for a Hobby Lobby store.
This theater looks like it was built in the early-to-mid 1970s as either a twin or triple cinema; a 1998-built mainstream cinema would have at least six screens and stadium seating in some of the auditoriums.
Regal Cinemas ran this theater as the Regal Cinema 7; they dropped this theater around 2001. This theater was reopened by an independent as the Sedgefield Crossing $2 Cinemas in 2002 as mentioned above in the introduction.
The name of this theater in the 1989-90 ads was “High Point Road Cinema”, which was most likely the final name of this theater.