Hilan Theatre

800 N. Highland Avenue NE,
Atlanta, GA 30306

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Showing 18 comments

ironcityboy on July 4, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Only two blocks from the better known Plaza Theater, the Hilan held its share of devotees during my time as a nearby Poncey-Highlands resident in the early ‘70s. I recall that after its closing, the building was home for a non-denominational church before its ultimate conversion to multiple commercial spaces. Along with adjacent Atkins Park Deli, Fleeman’s Pharmacy & Fountain and the public library, the Hilan was part and parcel of an eclectic neighborhood that would eventually give way to the gentrification trend of the late'70s thru '80s.

richgnoe on February 14, 2013 at 6:24 pm

I worked there during that time… memories

reg41 on February 14, 2013 at 6:13 pm

During my 16 month stay in Atlanta (1964 and 65) I was able to attend this theatre only once. I saw a black and white film, “The Hill”, a good one, directed by Lumet and starring Sean Connery just after “Dr. No”, and Harry Andrews. It was not one of the movie palaces but it was a nice neighborhood theatre, just around the corner from the Plaza theatre.

richgnoe on February 12, 2012 at 10:49 am

Thanks… Next time I am in Atlanta I will check. I live in Virginia now. Was trying to try something online

JackCoursey on February 12, 2012 at 7:35 am

check the top floor of the main branch of the fulton county library. you will have to look around a bit but there is a wealth of material there literally rotting away.

richgnoe on February 12, 2012 at 7:23 am

Been trying to find a photo from the early 60’s any idea where I might find one

richgnoe on February 12, 2012 at 7:22 am

I worked there in the concession stand in 64. Remember popping popcorn in the bathtub upstairs and bring it downstairs. I also remember the candy was out in the open and had to watch people like hawks to keep them from stealing. Remember when Hard Days night played and sat up in the projection booth and watched the girls screaming. Also learned how to change reels and watch for the dots to appear. I Also worked a couple shifts at the Emory

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 3, 2011 at 11:42 am

thanks Ralph, Most all of us had a “Biggers”. LOl.

rechols on November 11, 2010 at 2:29 am

I worked concession at the Hilan in 1964-5 while a senior at Bass High School in Little Five Points.
Previously I had worked at the Emory, and on occasion, I picked up shifts at the Rhodes. I remember
changing the marquee at the Hilan with my friend and fellow Bass student, Steve. We’d spread the letters out on the sidewalk, I’d hand them up to Steve who manned the ladder. It was always a challenge to find enough letters to do the job. Those things were duct taped and chipped, but didn’t look too bad up on the marquee. Pay for concession was .60 an hour.
I too remember the projectionist, Horace Biggers (couldn’t remember his first name until I read these
posts, but then I don’t think I ever knew his first name – everyone just called him “Biggers.”) Yes, he
was a character – always had some little construction project going. A big tall man and a nice guy.
Enjoyed the posts – great Atlanta Baby Boomer nostalgia. All you Storey alumnae, be sure to
check out the Emory and Rhodes on Cinema Treasures, too. Thanks all.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 24, 2010 at 5:04 am

A December 4, 1937, Boxoffice magazine obituary of Atlanta showman Louis Bach says that he built the Hilan Theatre in 1933.

WHITEFIELD on July 11, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Here is a vintage movie ad
View link

StanMalone on May 26, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Newspaper ad from 1964 with a nice write up of “A Hard Days Night.”

View link

dglusman on June 30, 2005 at 3:31 am

:::::::::::::::GOOD NEWS::::::::::::::::

My company, Inman Park Properties, has been restoring the Hilan Theatre over the last few years. The renovation is now complete, and the Hilan Theatre is available for special events and films.

Check out the site www.hilantheatre.com

We have remade the venue to allow for all types of private events, we even have a rooftop deck with wonderful views of our skyline.

Don K.
Don K. on June 3, 2005 at 5:32 pm

That makes sense, I went away to school in 1970 and lost track of the fate of a number of Atlanta movie theaters in the years that followed.

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett on June 3, 2005 at 4:37 pm

Along with a friend, I toyed with acquiring the Hilan around 1984, for an alternative / revival movie house. We had no money, so that was that.

The Hilan made it a little longer than 1969. I filled-in as projectionist for several days, running THE CORPSE GRINDERS (1972), and, perhaps, THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS (1967) on a remarkably bad double feature program. I distinctly recall the trailer for THE OMEGA MAN (1971) during that stint, too. The theatre was certainly in its last gasp.

The only other time I worked in the theatre was for the first suburban run of ITS A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD, summer 1964. I was borrowed from the Emory to help in the concession stand. They had huge business and were swamped. I spent most of my time popping corn and talking to the projectionist, Horace Biggers. Later, in 1971, I would operate the Village Theatre booth with him. He was a character, but kind and fatherly to me.

Horace is fondly remembered for his tenure at the Hilan. In the back wall of the booth was a door to the roof and marquee. Between reels, he wrangled a worm farm on the Hilan roof!

Don K.
Don K. on May 26, 2005 at 3:31 pm

During the 1950’s, the Hilan Theatre in the Virginia-Highlands area was one of the nicer neighborhood theaters on Atlanta’s east side. When I was a boy, my father took me to the Hilan often, along with Plaza Theatre at 1083 Ponce de Leon Avenue, NE; the Euclid at 1099 Euclid Avenue in Little Five Points; the Kirkwood Theatre at 1965 Boulevard Drive, SE in Kirkwood; the Madison at 496 Flat Shoals Road, SE in East Atlanta; the Ponce de Leon Theatre at 506 Ponce de Leon Avenue, NE (near the intersection of Ponce de Leon and Monroe Drive); the Tenth Street Theatre at 990 Peachtree Road, NE (it once stood in front of the Margaret Mitchell residence); and the Techwood Theatre at 132 North Avenue, NW.

The only buildings still standing are the Hilan, Plaza (still in operation at this writing!), and the Madison (now being restored according to this site). The Hilan did stay in business through much of the 1960’s, but by that time the neighborhood theaters in Atlanta were losing business to the newer theaters in shopping centers.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 5, 2005 at 9:35 am

Listed in the Film Daily Yearbook,1941 as the Hilan Theatre with a seating capacity of 800.