Carolina Theater

310 N. Main Street,
Greenville, SC 29601

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Carolina Theater

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The Carolina Theater opened June 29, 1925. It was closed in the 1960’s.

Contributed by richard reagan

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 18, 2006 at 3:55 am

It seems from that article that all six of Greenville’s Main Street theatres were in operation from 1925 until perhaps as late as 1947, when the oldest of them, the 1905 Bijou burned. It says that the Majestic and the Casino didn’t make it past the end of the 1950’s, and that the Carolina closed in the 1960’s and the Rivoli/Fox closed in 1978. The only theatre whose closing period is not mentioned is the Rialto. So, unless the Rialto closed earlier than the Bijou, Greenville supported six movie houses for more than two decades.

The article says nothing about which theatres might have been demolished, or if any are still standing. Even the Bijou is said only to have been “gutted” by the fire, so it’s possible the building is still there, used for something else. I’ve never been to Greenville, so I don’t know if any of the buildings have survived. If there is a local historical society or a history room at the local library, the information would probably be known to someone there.

RebeccaJHB on July 27, 2006 at 7:03 am

The Carolina wasn’t closed in the sixties – I worked there in 1971. It was closed soon after and a road (Church Street Extension, maybe?) built right through he site.

Patsy on October 13, 2006 at 8:24 am

What a quaint looking theatre in perhaps the downtown area. Too bad it isn’t still there as downtown is quaint with its tree lined main street.

RPulliam on September 25, 2007 at 8:49 am

It was absolutely in the downtown area. It was one block east of the Fox Theater….and as someone else mentioned, it was across the street from the Daniel Building (built in the 1960s).

The Carolina is my favorite theater of any I’ve ever been inside. I spent hours and hours watching movies during the 1960s on Saturday afternoons in that theater. It was magical.

RPulliam on March 19, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Just an update here: When I was in Greenville (1957-1970), the downtown theaters were the Carolina, the Fox, the Paris and the Center. I know the Carolina bore that name from its beginnings. The Fox Theater was once called the Rivoli, I believe. It may have had other names.

Paris and Center were second-run houses a block or so west of the Fox and across Main Street. One of them showed double-bills throughout the 60s (and I saw many films there) while the other one showed “adult” fare (not porn, by any measure)…just silly stuff, a bit suggestive at worst.

Greenville had The Plaza, as well, at Lewis Plaza. The Plaza showed MGM films and films by other studios. The Carolina was mostly 20th Century-Fox, Warner Brothers and Columbia Pictures films. The Fox showed Disney and Universal films. In the mid-1960s, The Mall Cinema opened behind the Wade Hampton Mall on Wade Hampton Boulevard (near Bob Jones). It was a single-screen house and showed films from Warner Brothers, United Artists and American-International (Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Bomb, anyone?). And on the outskirts of town, on 291 By-pass, a bi-plex opened next door to the Star Lanes, Greenville’s bowling alley. They called the theaters Astro I and Astro II. This theater got a lot of big-ticket films, such as “Funny Girl” and “Gone With the Wind” (in its 1960s re-release).

Back to the Carolina: I never knew the manager’s name, but I knew Billy Strange was an usher there for many years. A friend named Jim Whaley also ushered at the Carolina in the early 1960s for a few months. I ushered at the Mall Cinema in 1965 shortly after it opened its doors. Worked with some terrific people — Mr. Flow was the manager; Maria Sizemore worked the candy counter. Ronnie Reese and Lenny Flow were also ushers in those first months.

The Carolina’s projectionist throughout the 1960s was a great gentleman and a true aficionado of film. I regret not remembering his name.

Carprog on February 9, 2013 at 5:12 pm

The Carolina had the wide “rocking chair” seats by 1966 when we moved to Greenville. They were very comfortable, uphostered bottoms & backs. It appeared a good bit larger inside than the Fox.

Sounds to me that the Center may have been the former Roxy, south of the Paris but on same side of N. Main Street. I don’t believe it was a theater still by 1966.

ctwrenn on April 2, 2013 at 7:35 pm

My father told me once that the Carolina was located next to where the Hyatt Regency is now, the hyatt is at the corner of Beattie Place/College street and North Main street where the Ottaray Hotel was originally and the theatre was next to it going down towards East North Street.

victor24 on February 16, 2015 at 1:26 pm

There was also the Brandon Theater in the late 40s. It was located right by the railroad underpass in West Greenville.

rivest266 on August 16, 2016 at 1:49 am

This opened on June 29th, 1925. Grand opening ad in photo section.

rivest266 on August 19, 2016 at 8:24 am

May 13th, 1966 grand opening ad in the photo section as the New Carolina theatre.

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