Peachtree Art Theatre

1137 Peachtree Street NE,
Atlanta, GA 30309

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JBrantley
JBrantley on July 28, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Actually the above link is when the Peachtree Art had become a porn house.

After the Cine Showcase had closed, I do believe that the Academy Theater used the building for a while. Presently the Academy Theater is in Hapeville.

JBrantley
JBrantley on July 11, 2014 at 5:53 pm

Here is picture from Atlanta Time Machine of the Peachtree Art after it was the Weis Cinema.

http://www.atlantatimemachine.com/commercialbldgs/pch_1137.htm

doneboy
doneboy on November 21, 2013 at 4:05 pm

I would like to take this opportunity to clear up a few points regarding the Peachtree Art Theatre which was operated by my father from 1946 until 1971. The theatre was located at 1137 Peachtree Street in Atlanta. It had a full concession area which featured imported candies and popcorn that was specially grown by the Word Popcorn Company in Scottsboro, Alabama.

The theatre was highly successful and overflow crowds were commonplace throughout it’s existence. Many notable Atlantans were regular patrons including Bobby Jones, the famed golfer, and Margaret Mitchell the author of Gone With The Wind. The theatre closed in 1971 due to the redevelopment of the property.

I hope that this clears up some misconceptions that seem to exist.

John_Allen
John_Allen on November 8, 2013 at 4:21 pm

I worked at the Peachtree Art when I was 15, back in 1959. It did not have a concession stand. No popcorn or drinks. They showed mostly foreign films at that time. Never had much of a crowd.

reg41
reg41 on February 19, 2013 at 8:49 pm

The Peachtree Art was a very nice theatre in the 1964 – ‘65 time frame. Its atmosphere enhanced the films it presented. I saw “Woman in the Dunes”, “He Who Must Die”,“Seance on a Wet Afternoon” and several others. Most, except for “Seance” had subtitles. It had a good sized screen (my guess 40 feet) and always flawless projection. Admission was $1.50, same as Fox, Roxy, etc. Around 1970 or '71, the Weiss chain tried to turn it into a first run theatre, but it soon succumbed to the hotel and office building boom.

a_mclean
a_mclean on April 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Thanks Daryl but that place was just a part of my past and the picture AND the information meant a lot. Thanks again.

Daryl
Daryl on April 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm

A_Mclean: Your new photo link is as good as it gets. If you want to know more about the area around the Buckhead Art Theatre, I’ll be happy to provide.

a_mclean
a_mclean on April 11, 2012 at 3:19 pm

SOMEONE SENT ME A PICTURE! I don’t know how to post on its on page but here is an actual picture for those interested. Thanks to everybody for their help.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/77074218@N03/?saved=1

Daryl
Daryl on April 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm

On the above link, image #6 shows the location the best. Note the boarded up area on the camera side of the awning on the right side of the picture…that’s pretty much the location of the alcove entry to the old Buckhead Art Theatre or within just a few feet.

a_mclean
a_mclean on April 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Thanks to StanMalone, Marcel & Daryl for the help. I searched far and wide and couldn’t find a picture of the actual theater but I’m wondering if this side view of a store with the awning is in fact the place? I’m hoping one of you gentleman recognize the street and surrounding.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/77074218@N03/?saved=1

a_mclean
a_mclean on April 7, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Marcel, can you post one or two of the ads you have? It would definitely be appreciated.

Daryl
Daryl on April 6, 2012 at 7:21 pm

The Buckhead Art Cinema at 3073 Peachtree Road was an all-adult house located across the street from Sears Roebuck, diagonal from the Capri Theatre. It was open in the early 70s (at least) thru the late 90s to early 00s as I remember. If it was still there today, it would be adjacent to the now closed “Geek Squad” store. Hope this helps.

Marcel
Marcel on April 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm

A_Mclean/Stan Malone, according to my film ad archives, the Buckhead Art Cinema was located at 3073 Peachtree Road at Corner of E. Paces Ferry. I have ads from 1990.

a_mclean
a_mclean on April 6, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Is this the theatre your speaking of StanMalone?

http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/13665

The address; “3340 Peachtree Road” sticks out in my brain but they must have knocked a lot down for it too look like this now.

StanMalone
StanMalone on April 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Mclean: I think that the theatre you are talking about was the Buckhead Art. It was located at the five points intersection of Buckhead.

Jester
Jester on August 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm

I have lived in Atlanta since 1939, and I really think some of the historical comments about this theater and others in the area are wrong. Whatever!! I do remember seeing the original French subtitled version of Diabolique at the Peachtree Art, which is pictured and was at the corner of Peachtree and 13th Street. As a real trivia note (but not to Atlantans), the author of Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell, was killed at this site in the early fifties. She was crossing Peachtree to get to the theater with her husband and hesitated in the middle of Peachtree because of oncoming traffic. She was hit by a taxi driven by a drunken driver, and died about five days later, never regaining consciousness.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 2, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Where was the Peachtree West Mentioned in Boxoffice Sept 22,1974 ?

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on July 6, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Nice 1950,s photo Lost Memory.

Daryl
Daryl on March 3, 2010 at 12:26 am

In late 1965 to early 1966 there was a re-release of the Batman/Robin shorts from the 1940’s. All the shorts were spliced together that produced a 4+ hour, multi-episode, full length feature retitled as “An Evening with Batman and Robin”. This was at a time when the campy, Adam West version was doing gangbusters on TV. I saw the movie there and was in my early teens. Later on, I believe I saw The Green Hornet (movie) at the same theater. Also, F.Y.I. , after the theater and the surrounding buildings were raised and after other failed developments The Campanile office tower was built where the theater, et al once stood.

ClintG
ClintG on August 26, 2009 at 10:25 pm

I remember the Peachtree Art Theater in the late 1950s through 1962. The Red Shoes ran (again) in this period. Also The Horse’s Mouth 1958 with Alec Guinness. The theater was across the street from Baker Audio (Hi Fi) and classical radio station WGKA which were in an old house at 1140 Peachtree. The WGKA antenna tower was west of the Baker Audio building. Looking north on Peachtree from 10th Street you could see the tower.
ClintG

JFBrantley
JFBrantley on February 17, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Prior to closing, this site was a porno house. I think George Echols took over this site and several others and began showing porn. This was one of the last porno housed to close. For a while the Academy Theater group used this property as thier playhouse.

When they left, it was not long before the building was demolished.

StanMalone
StanMalone on September 19, 2007 at 3:08 am

For some reason, I have never noticed this page before, and only happened upon it while writing a comment for the 10th Street trying to sort out the identities of the four different theatres that were located along this four block section of Peachtree. I have little to add to the Peachtree Art part of this theatre’s history as I never attended a movie here during that time. One show that I did want to see was “Oh What A Lovely War”, but in those days I was not about to come down to this part of town, especially at night.

Starting in 1967, the section of Peachtree Street between 8th and 14th became the center of what would become known as the hippie, peacenik, Woodstock, (fill in your own favorite adjective here) scene. This lasted for about three or four years, and at night the area was gridlocked as thousands of people converged on the area surrounded by Peachtree, Piedmont, 8th and 14th to either participate or sightsee. By 1970, the fad was starting to fade away and the strip turned into a crime and drug infested dump, for lack of a better word. I observed this first hand as during those days I was riding the old Atlanta Transit Company busses through here twice a day while going to Georgia State.

It was during this time that the Peachtree Art closed, leaving the 10th Street Art and the Metro Art, both soft core porno houses as the only theatres in the area. The closest mainstream theatre was the Fox, about eight blocks south. In 1970, efforts were started to revitalize the area around Peachtree and 14th with the construction of the Colony Square office block. As part of this effort, Weis theatres reopened the Peachtree Art on July 30th under the name Weis Cinema with the Southeastern Premiere of “Catch 22”. In an effort to make suburbanites more comfortable coming to this area, free parking was offered in the Colony Square decks for the night time shows.

“Catch 22” must have done well because it played 19 weeks, leaving on Christmas Eve to make way for “Little Fauss and Big Halsey”, starring that well known comedy team of Robert Redford and Michael J. Pollard. With its 10 week run, “Halsey” was the last hit to play here for quite a while. These were the days of exclusive runs which required considerable up front money paid, in advance, to the film companies. Since blind bidding was legal in those days, it was even more of a gamble to put up a big guarantee for anything other than a sure fire hit, and there were not enough of those to go around. Weis also had the Fine Art, Broadview Plaza, and its flagship, the Capri (Garden Hills, Screening Room, and Buckhead Roxy on this site) to book, and since those locations were located further to the north in seemingly safer Buckhead with a better parking situation, it was less of a gamble to book the more expensive efforts there.

Following “Halsey” was a series of low profile first runs, reruns, fillers and reissues. Here is a list with the number of weeks in the run in ( ):
Little Murders (5)
Mephisto Waltz (3)
Percy (1)
Making It (1)
Left Handed Gun (2)
Joy In The Morning (2)
Grissom Gang (3)
Fortune In Mens Eyes (3)
Velvet Vampire (2)
Panic In Needle Park (4)
Beast of the Yellow Night (1)
Death In Venice (2)
The Touch (4)
Bless the Beasts and Children (6)
Cisco Pike (3) (Christmas attraction)
Goodbye Columbus (3)

“Goodbye Columbus” a filler after “Cisco Pike” bombed, was the first movie I saw here. As described above by Mike, I found the place to be dark, cavernous, and a little creepy since I was the only one in attendance for the weekday 5 PM show. The sound was pretty hollow and the auditorium did not seem big enough to hold the 800 seats I see listed for it here. Maybe there was a balcony that I did not notice. The lobby had been somewhat done over in the Weis style which has been described on other pages of this site as “mod”, “hip”, and groovy". Since everyone is entitled to their own opinion I will just say that I found it downright ugly, distracting, and unfortunate in that it ruined the old time appeal of older sites such as the Fine Art and Capri. The most obnoxious example here was the round frame built around the marquee overhanging the sidewalk which was covered with copper colored metal sheeting with a conflicting rectangular box cut in it to expose the sign itself. This type of stuff was fine for the newer Peachtree Battle (Silver Screen on this site) and the Broadview, but it certainly clashed with the traditional architecture of older sites like this one.

Following “Columbus”, were one week bookings of “Casino Royale” (the Woody Allen version) and “Ryan’s Daughter”. Next, on 2/16/72 came “Cabaret”, probably the most successful of the Weis efforts here. It probably played here by default since on the very same day the Broadview opened an 8 month reserved seat run of “Nicholas and Alexandra”, and the Fine Art opened its own four month run of “The Last Picture Show”, while the Capri had to be kept available for its upcoming run of “The Godfather”, opening in mid March. These three movies opening in the same week followed by “The Godfather” three weeks later certainly marked the high point of the Weis days in Atlanta during the 70’s.

“Cabaret” ran for five months but it probably did not perform up to expectations as Weis went to extremes to draw crowds. During this time the Weis Cinema consistently had the largest space in the Weis newspaper ad block. Nearing summer, the ad included a letter to Atlanta that was printed as part of the “Cabaret” ad. In it Albert Weis stated that he thought “Cabaret” was the outstanding picture of the year and encouraged Atlantans to come see it as he was confident that it would win more Oscars than any other film. He also stated that its was “no goody goody Julie Andrews type musical” which enraged a Julie Andrews fan from Brunswick to the point that he wrote a letter to the Weis company complaining about this disparagement and suggesting that Albert go see the striptease scene in “Star”. (To bad that “SOB” had not been made at that time.) Weis wrote the man a letter of apology and from that day on, there was a blank space in the middle of the ad where the offending sentence had been blacked out. The letter also offered a money back guarantee, later increased to “double your money back” if the patron did not think that “Cabaret” was indeed the movie of the year. I do not know how many, if any refunds were given, double or otherwise, but Albert was proved correct when “Cabaret” did indeed win more Oscars than any other film, although it was long gone from here by the time the Academy Awards rolled around the next spring.

After “Cabaret” it was back to the grind with:
Easy Rider (1)
Salzburg Connection (6)
Little Mother (2)
Play It Again Sam (1)
Twilight People (1)
Hello Dolly (1)
Bad Company (1)
Devil’s Widow (2)
Come Back Charleston Blue (2) (m/o from Coronet)
Hammersmith Is Out (4)
Black Girl (6) (Christmas attraction)
Heartbreak Kid (11)
Caesar and Rosalie (2)
Woodstock (3)

As you can see, the only one of these to have any success at all was “Heartbreak Kid”. The attraction for summer 1973 was “Day of the Jackal”, another big budget / big guarantee movie. I saw the movie here with a pretty good crowd, but I do not know how it did overall. Albert Weis tried to repeat his “Cabaret” act by using the newspaper ad to remind Atlanta how he had been right about “picking a winner”, and reviving his Academy Award prediction, this time with “Jackal” as the winner presumptive. Although I considered it a good movie, and still do, I thought that this was a bit of a reach. Later, I came across a Macon paper and noticed the same letter in the Weis ad, this time slightly adjusted to promote the current feature of the Riverside Twin, “Paper Moon” as the next big winner. I do not know what his prediction for Savannah was but it was probably whatever he had the most money up for.

During this time, the industry phrase “Go Black” was the motto for most of the downtown theatres as the white audience had mostly fled to the burbs. The Coronet was the first and most successful with these bookings followed by Loew’s Grand, The Atlanta, Martin’s Rialto, and occasionally even the Fox. The Weis Cinema was in something of a no mans land, customer wise, being too close to downtown to attract the white audience, especially at night, and too far north to be considered downtown. As indicated above, the Christmas 1972 feature was “Black Girl” starring Leslie Uggams which was not a bad movie but a dud at the box office. For Christmas of 1973, Weis Cinema presented Billy Dee Williams, and in a small role, Richard Pryor, in “Hit”. This one did better, but again, not a success. In 1975 the Christmas feature was “Uptown Saturday Night” but by then had Weis put most of its effort in this area into The Atlanta after they took over the lease from Walter Reade in the fall of 1973.

For Christmas of 1974, the Weis Cinema was booked with the X rated “Story of O”, not much of a Christmas movie for sure, but one that was sure to do big business if they could get away with it. By this time I was managing theatres and was not paying much attention to anything but my own problems, but I remember that this movie was either raided or threatened with a raid, and as a result the Christmas booking fell through. The Weis ended up playing the same feature as the Capri, “The Man Who Would Be King”. Another odd story was the booking of “The Savage Is Loose”. This movie is notable only for the way its star and owner, George C. Scott marketed it. Instead of renting it for a cut of the box as was the norm, he offered to sell the prints to theatre companies who would then keep all of the box office receipts. Weis bought several prints and two of them played at the Capri and Weis Cinema. Later those prints made the rounds of most of the Weis theatres in town whenever there was a gap in the schedule, and for years seemed to be the permanent co-feature at many of the Weis drive-ins.

Given the right movie, any theatre will do big business regardless of where it is located. This was proven true here in May 1975. The feature of the moment was “The Great Waldo Pepper” not exactly a hit, but more importantly a Universal release. This meant that when Universal ran their sneak preview of “Jaws”, a common practice in those days, they placed it at the Weis so that it would play with their own current release. The name of the movie was not advertised, but the jaws artwork was included in the ad so everyone knew what the feature was. As a result, for one night at least, the Weis Cinema had the hottest ticket in town. By 1975, the Weis chain was in big trouble from poor bookings and overexpansion. In 1972 they had bought out the Peachtree Battle Mini Cinema, in 1973 the Atlanta, followed by the rest of the mini cinema chain in 1974. The last big effort to return to the glory days was during Christmas 1976 when they put up big money for “7% Solution” at the Capri, and “King Kong” at almost every other theatre. The next year they tried again with “Ode To Billy Joe”, and you don’t need me to tell you how that worked out.

Since I was busy with my own theatre I do not recall when this location closed, but by 1978 or 79, Weis was gone from Atlanta, only six years or so removed from their years of being home to most of the big, high profile movies that came out. There may have been some efforts to reopen this location but I am not aware of any. In the late 80’s or perhaps early 90’s the entire block was demolished and the Peachtree Art went to the landfill to join so many other once proud Atlanta theatres.

Datalova
Datalova on October 30, 2005 at 11:17 am

OH yes thats it! Would you have or know where I could get some stills and a picture of the Playhouse?
Thank you,
Pam

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett on October 29, 2005 at 9:03 pm

I believe you are confusing the Peachtree Art with the Peachtree Playhouse, which was across the street and belonged to a women’s organization. Theatre of the Stars, a live production company, staged some of their plays in the Playhouse during the ‘60s and '70s. I was in it as late as April, 1978, when my wife to be and I saw BAREFOOT IN THE PARK with Lyle Waggoner, Molly Picon, and Lou Jacobi. It was our first date.

The Peachtree Playhouse was a small venue, probably in the neighborhood of 300-400 seats. I also saw EQUUS, which, believe it or not, may have actually starred Paul Michael Glaser.

Mike

Datalova
Datalova on October 29, 2005 at 5:34 pm

He definately was there March 16-28th.
Pam