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A Pensacola Journal from July 1953 contains an ad for the Twin Theatre, so the theatre was in operation by then.
Status should be changed to open. The restoration is beautiful. Generation Church meets here, but the building was restored as a theatre used by a church. Pensacola Cinema Art exhibits movies about once a month.
The curved screen was Vistarama, not Dimension 150.
I remember when it opened. The Plaza was located behind Town & Country Plaza, Pensacola’s first big suburban shopping center and also behind the Woolco store and strip shopping center on Fairfield Drive. It had some type of curved screen when it opened, possibly Dimension 150 (I do not recall exactly).
The first film was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. If I recall correctly, it was followed by Easy Rider and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, both of which I was too young to see at the time. The next film was Marooned, which I was able to see. Like many single-screen theatres of the late 60s, they multiplexed it, and it was never the same.
After it closed, it became home to a church. A hurricane (Ivan?) damaged the building to where it was entirely unusable.
I recall my father telling me that this drive-in closed as the result of being hit by a hurricane. An apartment complex now sits on the site. The Twin-Air Drive-In was across the street.
I was there opening night, 1972, I think it was. The opening night feature on one screen was “Living Free,” the sequel to “Born Free.” I wasn’t old enough to drive yet, so my father was gracious enough to take me. The other film was likely rated R, which I why I ended up watching a stinker of a film like “Living Free.” At least I can say I was there opening night.
After I got old enough to get in R-rated movies, I saw “Woodstock” there at a midnight show. I didn’t realize it was about three hours long, so it was about 3 AM or so when I got out.
I was in Pensacola two weeks ago, and the Roxy was in the process of being demolished. It is now a pile of rubble.
Back in the 60’s, the Gulf was billed as the “Gulf Follies Burlesque” with stage shows. I am uncertain as to whether they also showed movies with the stage shows (I was a child at the time, so I never went, but I remember the newspaper ads). Everything ended when the theatre was destroyed by fire.
You are correct about it being strictly an Afro-American theatre, being vacant for a while, and then reopening with I am Curious (Yellow) in the late 60’s. It didn’t last too many years as a porno theatre.
The Roxy was an African-American theatre. Before it became Hall’s, it was a recording studio in the late 1960’s, Papa Don Productions, owned by Papa Don Schroeder, the producer of “I’m Your Puppet” by James and Bobby Purify and “Everlasting Love” by Carl Carlton.
The Pen was located on the north side of Cervantes in the Alcaniz/Davis area. When the theatre was torn down, it was replaced in the 70’s with a small drive-through bank branch (Citizens & Peoples Bank?). The bank branch was torn down to build the fire station, which is on the site today.
The Pen used to show United Artists films almost exclusively in the 60’s. The James Bond movies drew the biggest crowds and played for many weeks. Arnold Gary was the manager for many years. I remember seeing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bananas, and Cold Turkey there as a kid.