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I attended college in Brevard in the 1970s. There weren’t just a whole lot of entertainment venues, but we did visit the Co-Ed Theater regularly. A lot of the movies weren’t first run at that time. I remember seeing “Patton” several years after it won Best Picture. My mother also attended college in Brevard. Her memory of the Co-Ed was the special showing of “Gone with the Wind” for students. That would have been in the 1940s.
In the 1960s the Visulite ran the movie “Goldfinger” for almost a year. It also ran “art house” films. The old marquee and ticket window are gone, but at least the theater is still there, and is being used as a performance space.
The Neighborhood Theatre is now a wonderful funky shade of purple with cream colored ceramic tile around the lower level. A new exterior ticket booth has been build. I remember how seedy this neighborhood, and particularly the Astor Theater (now the Neighborhood Theatre), was in the 1960s. I was recently told that a brothel operated upstairs. The newspaper adds for the Astor during the 1960s called it “The Carolina’s Most Unusual Theater”. The Astor and the Fox Drive-In were the two X-rated theaters I remember advertising in the newspaper. Of all the wonderful movie theaters that Charlotte has lost, how ironic that it’s most notorious and seedy movie house is resurrected at a great performance space.
Three photos of the Plaza Theater, one from 1940 and two from the 1980s, are found in the book “Plaza-Midwood Neighborhood of Charlotte” by Jeff Byers. This book is published by Arcadia and has many old photos of this wonderful and diverse neighborhood. Most bookstores in Charlotte have it in stock. The photos of the old theater show it to be a great example of art deco design. Some of architect M.R. Marsh’s other buildings are still around.
In aher book “Ghost Stories of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County” (Bandit Books) writer Stephanie Burt Williams describes the frequent appearance of a former manager of the Manor … who died in 1947. Apparently he committed suicide at home, but still shows up for work dressed in his uniform. He usually appears late in the evening. Employes have seen him in the projection booth, usually sweeping the floor. Also, a woman’s high heels are heard on the floor above the current manager’s office. An employee reported hearing a woman scream in an upstairs power room. Naturally, no one was there when the employee went to check. A meduim who there to see a movie reported a strong impression in the power room of a woman named Rose.
Ghosts or not, the Manor is a great place to see movie. Indies, foreign films and even some mainline films are selected with care. The theater has the feel of something from the past. It’s a very special place to go. What a wonderful treat after experiencing the “cattle hearding” at the non-descript multiplexes.
The Plaza Pussycat Theater (as it was known in it’s final days) was actually destroyed in July of 1988. A mini park and parking lot for a bank are located on the sight of the theater.
The Capri opened in the early 1960s with the Polly Bergen movie “Kisses for My President”. I saw the NC premier of “My Fair Lady” at the Capri in 1964 when I was in elementary school. The theater was a real show place, though its “art modern” design looks dated today, and the experience of seeing such a blockbuster film there made a lasting impression.