Showing 1 - 25 of 347 comments
Thank you for that note Michael. I am sure that 89 week run is a record for here or any other theatre in Atlanta. I do not know how long GWTW played in its initial run at the Loews Grand starting in 1939, but that is the only one that I would think even comes close.
I think that you are correct about the four consecutive years of Julie. Mary Poppins, Sound of Music, Hawaii, and Thoroughly Modern Millie ran from fall of 1964 until late fall of 1967. If Julie had repeated her Broadway role, it would have been five in a row since Camelot followed Millie here and ran until May 1968. It still could have been five if Martin had decided to book Star instead of Camelot since they opened at at the same time.
I have worked in a lot of theatres in my time, but this one is my all time favorite. I started in February 1972 wearing a tux and escorting patrons to their reserved seats for Fiddler on the Roof. I left in September 1973 after the incredible business done by Super Fly TNT and Chinese Connection led the Weis Theatre Company to buy out the lease from Walter Reade.
This was a great place for a new theatre employee to work. Four stories of backstage dressing rooms, two Cinerama projection booths, a huge basement, and an additional projection booth and entire upper balcony hidden above the false ceiling provided endless areas to explore.
Because the downtown theatre business was undergoing such changes during this time there was a wide variety of bookings. In addition to the roadshows Fiddler and Man of La Mancha, there was the 70MM reissue of This Is Cinerama (which occasioned the 35 by 95 foot Cinerama screen to be reinstalled) Junior Bonner, Concert For Bangladesh, Elvis, KC Bomber, Girls Are For Loving, Russ Meyer quadruple features, kiddie shows of The Alamo, and midnight shows of War and Peace.
There was no place like it at the time and never will be again. Now, it is just another parking lot.
I have noticed that the name for this page has been changed from Garden Hills to Fine Art. It does not matter to me, but I thought that the CT policy was to list theatres under the name they were using when they last operated as movie theatres. I know that this is not applied uniformly. Another problem with this practice is that when an AKA name is listed, the search engine will not recognize the name. So, in this case, a search of Fine Art will bring you to this page, but a search of Garden Hills which is what this page was listed under for years will yield a “No Results Found” answer.
The entire strip is in the process of being demolished:
Ron, Dave, and David: Thank you for your replies. I always try to acknowledge when someone addresses a question or comment of mine. I did not do so here because I just became aware of them. For some reason I did not become automatically subscribed to this location when I posted my comment as used to be the case. I just happened to find out about this omission when I became aware of it on another page and did some back checking.
David, your explanation is certainly possible. For many years I worked as a projectionist for GCC in Atlanta. On a couple of occasions in those pre platter days, or at least working a booth built during the pre platter days, we did what you described. We would drop the last night show of a dud or kids show and would break the movie we were adding a show for onto the 2000 foot reels. (We never had a second print.) We would then start the last scheduled show at its regular time and then another one 30 minutes later, “biking” the print from house to house. It was extra work breaking down and rebuilding the prints every day, but in those days I was young and enjoyed doing anything to bring some variety to the job.
If any of you remember those GCC summer movie camps, we would run the same print in all four houses this way, starting at 10, 10:30. 11, and 11:30. It was the closest thing to “doing it like the old days” that I was able to get to.
Thanks again to all of you for your information about that address. I was always intrigued by it and it is nice to know the whole story. Now if we can just get CT to fix the auto subscribe.
“As for the grand-opening date for the Arlington Park Square 8, I knew it was only a matter of time before the CT editor came along and deleted my comment and revised the overview to, insultingly, make it appear the original contributor had it right from the get-go. Am I the only one who thinks this editorial policy needs to be reconsidered?”
Comment by Michael Coate 3/17/15.
Michael, I certainly agree with your last paragraph in you comment of 3/17. I think that it is fine for the editor to correct bad information in the introduction, but some kind of notation along the lines of “Editor’s Note” should be used to show it was added later. There are pages where I have spotted an error in the introduction and written a comment correcting it. Later, an editor has come by and incorporated my information in the introduction, just as was done here. At least they deleted your comment. On some of mine, they left my comment intact making it look as if I was correcting something that was the same as what I was writing.
Also, I think that whenever they change the text of someones writing, such as with the introduction of this page, they should delete the name of the person who first wrote the intro. After all, although that is not the case here, who is to say that the information that was added was correct? Maybe the original post was correct and changing it amounted to hanging incorrect information on someones name.
Another problem along these lines is the practice of deleting posts without any type of notation such as “Post Deleted By Editor” or “Post Deleted By Member.” In my post above, I refer to the first post by scheifler where the wrong opening date was mentioned. It also made mention of a late change in the layout due to copyright problems with the blueprints. This entire post was removed by the editor which caused the second post by scheifler to now be the first one and it has nothing to do with what I was talking about. There are many pages on CT (and not just involving me) where people have commented on photos, links, or information contained in comments that no longer exist.
Dallas, I have never seen any of these theatres, but I did work for GCC for many years in Atlanta. I find your writing very interesting since it in many ways matches events that were taking place in Atlanta at the same general time. Keep up the good work. It is information such as this that make CT such an interesting forum for those of us who worked in theatres.
Regarding the information in the second paragraph of the above comment, you might find the picture and story of this theatre interesting:
UA got into the Atlanta market by buying a local chain (Georgia Theatre Company) and then built a couple of locations that were interchangeable not only with their other theatres but is seems those in Dallas as well.
Looks like they ordered blueprints, seats, projectors, etc… in bulk and then scattered them all over the country. These are the poster child for the bland 80’s and 90’s style of movie theatres which unfortunately includes the bulk of my movie theatre work. Still, better than a megaplex.
Michael, I see that you are still tilting at the CT windmill. I wish everyone was as careful with their postings as you are and had your high standards for accuracy. I wish you well my friend, but trust me when I say that there are enough errors, mistakes, (including some of mine although done with good intentions) and careless clutter on CT to bury you and a hundred more like you. Good luck with your never ending quest.
As for you Dallas, I have enjoyed reading all of your well writen posts on Dallas area theatres. I wish that we had someone like you doing the same thing for the Atlanta area. I do the best I can with the ones I know about, but Michael still has to keep an eye on me.
As for this theatre, I am interested in the first post by scheifler. The description of the layout matches exactly that of the Merchants Walk 8 which was opened in the Atlanta area. (Marietta is the city although it is in unincorporated Cobb County.) To add weight to your opening date here, Merchants Walk opened in October 1986, and one of its opening features was also Top Gun.
I wonder if Merchants Walk was the copied blueprint mentioned or perhaps they used it for this location if they had the rights to it. For what it is worth, I never cared for the V shape since it resulted in two projection booths. There is a picture of the Merchants Walk on its page: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/14884
That is the brand new Eastwood Mall in the middle with the west wing under construction. That white building sticking out next to the new wing is the Eastwood Mall Theatre. This is probably a 1965 view.
As a northsider, I never attended this theatre and only drove past it once. I believe it opened Christmas 1974 with its prime feature being Godfather Part 2.
Starting in 1971 Weis went on a big expansion in Atlanta converting the old Peachtree Art into the Weis Cinema, opening and then twinning the Broadview, buying the Peachtree Battle Mini Cinema and then in the summer of ‘74 the rest of the mini cinema chain, finishing and opening the Franklin triple, and then building this one. I never worked for Weis so I can not say for sure, but I think that Arrowhead and Broadview were the only ones that were Weis built. All of the others were pick ups of existing theatres and since the Broadview was a conversion in an existing shopping center that would make this one the only one built new from the the ground up.
Weis used the same decorator in all of their Atlanta locations and this resulted in a lot of curves, bends, odd colors and strange lighting in the lobby areas as described above. I personally did not care for the style, but it certainly attracted attention. Mike Rogers has described the Weis Cinema in Augusta as having some sort of lighted tunnel that you walked through.
Weis was a believer in putting up big advances to outbid the competition for the best movies, and in the first half of the 70’s this worked well for him, especially in the Buckhead theatres, Capri and Fine Art. Love Story, Ryans Daughter, Poseidon Adventure,
Godfather, American Graffiti, Last Picture Show, just to name a few. When the exclusive run practice started to ease up and outlying areas started to get the big bookings Weis started building places like this. He hit it especially big with Star Wars when he opened it here, Franklin Road, and Doraville on opening day. Loew’s Tara was the only non Weis booking for Star Wars.
In the late 70’s some bad booking choices combined with the arrival and / or expansion of national chains AMC and GCC caused Weis to sell off most of his properties outside of his hometown of Savannah. Some locations went to AMC, Lefont, and Drafthouses and others closed up. This one hung on for a while but the birth of the multi-plex and mega-plex meant the end for anything less thatn 12 screens.
dallas…. Thank you for that concise and well written history of this theatre and mall. I worked for GCC for many years in Atlanta and your comment could apply to several GCC properties and malls here with only the names changed. Augusta Ga. and Columbia SC also have identical stories. GCC always seemed to be a step behind the competition, building triples while everyone else was building sixes and then building eights when 15 to 20 were the norm. Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, the area malls seemed like the new downtown and it is still hard to believe how many of them are now Wal-Mart Supercenters or just vacant lots.
Regarding the ad that Rivest was kind enough to provide, I noticed that they managed to get the showtimes wrong from day one. Lucky Lady was a 2 hour movie and the evening showtimes are listed as 7:30 and 9:15. Probably meant 9:45. I am sure all of us who were managers, projectionists or both have plenty of horror stories related to mistakes like this.
As for this location, the GCC address that we mailed all of our paperwork to was 22 Flutie Pass which referred to Doug Flutie’s game wining heave against Miami. Could the GCC offices mentioned in the overview be at this location with a different address? I see on the map that this is very close to Boston College so that would seem to make sense.
Regarding the three managers listed in the overview, I probably worked for Keith Black. When UA took over Georgia Theatre in the mid 80’s they brought in a lot of their own people and Keith showed up a couple of years later as the DM. Got to be the same guy since he said he came to UA through Litchfield. He seemed like a pleasant enough person although as a projectionist I did not have much contact with him even though his office was next to the booth.
You would be amazed at how many people think GWTW had its premiere at the Fox. I saw a star of one of the stage shows greeting the crowd from the Fox stage and saying how great it was to be performing at the theatre where GWTW opened. Crowd loved it of course, and I never heard anyone comment about it.
Digital projectors are expensive. I heard that they only installed 4. Three on the north field and one on the south.
The theatre I was asking about in the above post was named “Village.” It is not listed on CT and I do not know enough about it to start a page. Hopefully someone else will remember it.
When this was a movie theatre was it named Martin? I recall seeing one movie here, Part 2 Walking Tall which would make it summer of ‘75. There was another, much newer single screen to the west of downtown that I also attended, but do not see a listing for anything like that.
I too am a James Garner fan. From ages 7 to 9 the highlight of Sunday evenings was watching Maverick on TV. It was a letdown when it was the turn of either Sugarfoot, Bronco, or Bart Maverick to get a show. I saw several Garner movies in the 60’s, but the only two I liked were Great Escape and Marlowe. I was lucky enough to catch most of the episodes of Nichols in the early 70’s.
In 1977, one of the factors that led me to spend $1200 (that would be twelve hundred 1977 dollars) on a cutting edge RCA Selectavision VCR was the fact that I would be able to record The Rockford Files every week. I had missed most of the first two seasons since I usually had to work on Friday nights.
I had the pleasure of running my two favorite James Garner movies, Murphy’s Romance and The Notebook so I saw them numerous times during their initial releases. I always felt that the Murphy character had to have been written with him in mind.
As for the Rockford Files episode concerning this page, the title of it was Roundabout, and it was first broadcast on 3/7/75. It is the last episode on disc 3 of the first season. One item to clear up, is that while it did contain the obligatory car chase, that came about later. The scene with the El Portal was early in the hour and was in a shot of Rockford driving down Fremont as he was arriving in town.
During the first season of the TV show “Rockford Files” one of the episodes has Jim traveling to Vegas on a case. One of the interlude sequences that they always used to make the running time fit (usually a pointless car chase) had Rockford driving down the Fremont strip. There is a nice view of the Portal on the right as he drives by. The marquee showed that the current attraction was “Jeremiah Johnson.”
This episode was broadcast in the spring of ‘75 so it was probably filmed in late '74. In Georgia where I live, “JJ” was given a wide 4wall re-release in the spring and summer of '74. Since that short lived but very successful practice was usually done on a regional basis maybe it was the turn of the Southwest to get its run.
I will see if I can get the episode name and air date.
Nicest drive in setting I have ever been in. In the early 70’s we had to make the drive from school in Milledgeville to Macon for most of the first run movies. Sometimes there were more movies available than indoor screens and both the Riverside and Weis would get an occasional first run.
After my first visit to see a first run of Life And Times of Judge Roy Bean, I came back several times. They even ran triple features occasionally so I would make a night of it with a stop at Shanes Steak House on Riverside Drive, followed by a triple feature at the drive in and then on home to Atlanta for the weekend.
Oh to be young again.
In June of 1972, I was attending college in Milledgeville and made the drive to Macon because I wanted to see just what an air conditioned drive in was. The field had several large air conditioning units per row, each with about 8 grill capped hoses attached. This allowed the cars parked next to the unit and the ones parked next to them to hook the grill to their windows and enjoy a/c in the summer and heat in the winter.
This was not a very successful set up even in those pre energy crunch days. There were only enough units to serve about a third of the lot, and they made so much noise that it distracted from the movie. I was working for Georgia Theatre Company in the late 70’s when they bought out the Weis operations in Macon, and the first thing they did was remove these units.
As for my visit, I enjoyed the show. It was first run Play It Again Sam, doubled with Odd couple. The theatre itself was nice and well kept up. I believe that there was an identical theatre to this one built by Weis in Augusta. There was also a weis Drive In in their hometown of Savannah.
I made a good living for many years working for GCC, but must admit that in the late 60’s to mid 80’s they built the blandest theatres with poor presentation of anyone. The comments about the layout and design mentioned here apply to every GCC I worked in. I would only add the very customer and employee hostile two position seats to the comments.
As far as location, it seemed that GCC often went to great pains to place their theatres in the most obscure locations available, almost as if they were ashamed of them. One particular location I worked in was located behind the shopping center and the lobby had a fine view of the dumpsters and loading docks of the stores that faced the road.
The ad that shows above the overview is from Christmas of 1982. I notice that none of the theatres are showing Airplane 2, not the hit the first one was but a much better draw than Honky Tonk Man or Trail of the PP.
That would be the AMC Fork and Screen, not spoon.
Leah’s last name was Libman.
The closest I have ever come to Savannah was watching “Midnight In The Garden…” so I do not know much about this theatre. However, I did work for Georgia Theatre Company in the 70’s and can supply a little information. ABC was the main builder of Ultravision equipped theatres, but the opening of the Phipps Plaza Theatre in Atlanta must have impressed the GTC folks. In 1970 they opened an Ultravision twin in the new South Dekalb Mall in Decatur.
I am sure that it was around this time that the Oglethorpe was built as the Ultravision fad did not last long. That is too bad because with the curved screen, curved seating area, square auditoriums, and sharp focus, the presentation was outstanding. I always thought that the South DeKalb was the best looking theatre with the best picture of any I ever managed.
In 1977 the South DeKalb was twinned and I am sure that this was about the time the Oglethorpe was as well. This turned these once beautiful theatres into long shoeboxes with poor presentation and no personality. It still pains me to think of the day that I saw the optiverters from the South DeKalb loaded into the metal recycle truck along with the frames for the curved screens and the 6000' reel magazines.
Savannah was home to the Weis Theatre chain and during this time they dominated the market there. I think that the Oglethorpe was the only GTC effort and other then twinning it they did nothing else in this town until they sold out to United Artists Theatres in 1987. UA ran it for a while but I am sure that it was closed before the sell out to Regal.
GTC had a strong relationship with United Artists Pictures (not to be confused with United Artists Theatres, a completely different company) so it is probable that all of the Bonds, Pink Panthers, Woody Allen’s and any other UA features played here whenever the screen was available. James Barringer, the manager who followed me at the Lenox Square Theatre left Lenox to come here in 1976 and managed here for several years.
I see that the Oglethorpe has now been listed: