Terrace Theatre

318 S. Mohican Street SW,
Knoxville, TN 37919

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Opened sometime between 1965 and 1972 as the Capri Terrace. The theatre was later twined and its name shortened to the Terrace. The theatre had convert over to a cinema and drafthouse format prior to its closing in 2000.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on July 7, 2005 at 2:56 pm

The Terrace is – to Knoxville film buffs – the most regreted lost theatre. The building is nothing to look at: a low metal building with a drop-off canopy instead of a marquee on the front. Inside a tiny lobby with a spray of “mod” tear-drop lights and a cramped candy counter lead the audience into the featureless curtained auditoriums.

For many years though, under the name Terrace Tap-House, it served as Knoxville’s art theatre. The location, just off Kingston Pike, (our main east/west street) with plenty of free parking, only 3 miles from the University of Tennessee’s 30,000 students AND at the center of Knoxville’s fashionable west side neighborhoods should have proved gold-mine.

When I first began visiting the Terrace in 1993 the projection looked like the lenses had been cleaned with sand paper. The pop corn was burned, the co-cola flat. There was no calender to know what was coming, nor how long a feature would stay. The auditorium floors had been stepped into terraces with tables and uncomfortable metal chairs. The sight lines were deplorable.

In its last incarnation someone outfitted an adjacent storefront as a complete restaurant kitchen to convert the old Terrace into the “Cinema Grill.” It lasted less than 6 months. The building is currently used as a coffee house under the name Fairbanks Roasting Room. I don’t know if they ever use the projection equipment, or if the projectors are even still there.

Still, when you talk to Knoxvillians of a certain age about the Terrace they will smile and say, “oh yes, I saw ____________ there.”

The Terrace is about a block from the Capri Cinema, q.v.

tntim
tntim on August 8, 2007 at 4:12 pm

The Capri Terrace was opened in 1973 and originally seated 409. Charlie Simpson build this theatre as his “pride and joy” of the Simpson Theatres chain. The interior was laid out very similar to the Capri-70 and the projection was in Ultra Vision. Mr. Simpson also had a small sitting area on the left side of the lobby with a fireplace and antique furniture. It was designed with retail shops around the exterior of the theatre to insulate the auditorium from any outside noise, especially from the nearby railroad tracks. This was also Simpson’s first step into the commercial real estate market, and the beginning of the Homberg Place development which has become a quaint shopping area in Bearden.

The Capri Terrace is where “Earthquake” and “Midway” both played with Sensurround. This was an effect where large sub-woofers are placed in the front and back of the auditorium and low frequency sound rattle the movie patron’s teeth.

The Capri Terrace closed in 1980 and was converted into the Terrace Dinner Theatre. This is when the floor was turned into multi levels to accommodate tables and chairs. This lasted until1983. Mr. Simpson’s son, Jim Simpson, then converted the theatre into the Terrace Tap House. The theatre was twined in 1990 and even though the movies were good, the presentation was far less then adequate.

tvc15
tvc15 on August 13, 2008 at 3:24 am

I worked at manager and projectionist at the Terrace from ‘92 to '98. Considering that not a single cent was ever put back into the theatre, I think that we did an admiral job. The Century projectors were in very bad condition and I often had to use my ingenuity to keep the running (duct tape & rubber bands). The bad picture had as much to do with the odd angles the projectors had to be in to hit the screen properly. The projection booth was way too small for twin projection systems.

Like most of our patrons, I have many wonderful memories.

tntim
tntim on May 26, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Here is a new link for the Boxoffice article.
View link

davidfhale
davidfhale on November 11, 2011 at 7:32 pm

I saw Earthquake there in Sensurround. At the time, it was a great theatre.

As a U.T. student in the mid 70s, I spend a lot of time at the Capri-70, Capri Twin, Capri Terrace, the Westown, Kingston 4, Cedar Bluff Twin, and the Downtown West 6 (which only had 4 screens at the time.) All gone except for the D.W.

ryderdvs
ryderdvs on November 23, 2011 at 5:57 pm

I can recall seeing Ghostbusters, Back to the Future Part III, and Total Recall there. The last film that I remember seeing there was Box of Moonlight, with John Turturro and Sam Rockwell, which was partially filmed in Knoxville.

popcorn_time
popcorn_time on May 10, 2012 at 8:07 pm

I think A LOT of people would be thrilled if Regal (or some other company) would turn it back into a movie theatre! I would do it myself if I had the financial backing…I used to love going to the movies here when it was an art house cinema in the 1990s. The Bearden area has really blossomed in the past few years, so I think the time is right when the theatre would do very well again. Just think of everyone who eats at the area restaurants like Nama, Chez Liberty or the Highland Grill taking in a movie at the Terrace as part of their evening out. I’m sure they would get a lot of customers from Sequoyah Hills, not to mention all the students and staff from UT campus. I think there would be tremendous support from the community to turn it back into a cool theatre again. It would make for a great story.

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