Village Theatre

2126 Henderson Mill Road NE,
Tucker, GA 30345

Unfavorite 1 person favorited this theater

Showing 11 comments

dmorgan
dmorgan on October 3, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Great Stan, thanks always for the valuable info. Only went to this theatre once I think. It probably shut down in the mid 80’s especially when AMC Northalake 8 came along.

StanMalone
StanMalone on October 3, 2015 at 11:05 am

Second point first. Being Ultravision, the South Dekalb auditoriums were almost square and had 540 seats. So when split they were not quite as long as Village and Suburban after twinning but with 338 seats were almost as big. In all three cases, they used the seats removed for the wall to add rows in front. I was only in the original Village a couple of times but I recall thinking that it had a wider and shallower auditorium than the Eastern Federal houses where I was working at that time.

I worked at the Village for most of the summer of 1974 and got to know the twins well. They might have been a little wider than South Dekalb because I remember that they had six seats per row on the new wall side and seven on the outer section. However South Dekalb and Suburban had rockers and the Village had smaller stationary seats so that might have been the reason. I was one of the unfortunates who was tasked with the job of pulling and reinstalling those Village and Suburban seats. At the Village, two men could move a seven seat row by themselves. At Suburban we had to break them up into threes.

As to your question about business, my stock answer is that any theatre, given the right movie at the right time will pack ‘em in. I can remember capacity crowds at almost every theatre I ever worked in. I even saw them shut the gate at the Starlight Drive In to avoid a gridlock because all of the fields were full and the driveways as well. I can remember full houses at the Village both before and after the dollar days which started about 1977 due to the opening of the GCC Northlake in the summer of '76.

Georgia Theatre almost never sold out of a location and I did see them close a few down, like the Hammond Square. So, since I was obviously wrong in my earlier comment about the Village closing in 1978 instead of maybe as much as 10 years later, it probably made money as a dollar house. If they got a big movie that had not played at Northlake they could do pretty well. Superman played at Stonemont and Buford Highway so Village was well positioned to draw new crowds when they got it.

As to the closing date of the Village, I think that can probably be guessed as sometime after 1987. That was the year Georgia Theatre sold out to United Artists Theatres. UA wanted an Atlanta presence without having to build one up so they just bought GTC just as Regal later bought up Storey. Those people came in here with a vengeance intent on getting rid of as many of the GTC people as they could as soon as they could. As they were only interested in locations like the Lenox, Southlake 8, Shannon 8, and Greens Corner, this applied to theatres as well.

All of the drive ins and the rest of the indoors were soon closed up and their employees let go. No effort was made to match the managers, projectionists, or janitors with openings that the theatres they were keeping open. Indeed, those people had been moved out with the same undisguised glee as the people at the closed up locations were. Those of us lucky enough to stay in the business by finding jobs at other theatres had the pleasure of watching this initial group of thugs kicked out when UA went through an ownership change, and later that group hit the road when Regal took over.

Sometimes payback is not a bad thing.

dmorgan
dmorgan on October 2, 2015 at 10:38 pm

Saw the original “Superman” here the summer of 1979. Packed house. “The Deer Hunter” was playing next door. Did this theater do good business as a discount house? I remember the auditorium being a good size. Even a little bigger than South Dekalb since it got quadded.

joshmassey
joshmassey on July 13, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Yeah, it was definitely around until the late ‘80s. I don’t think I saw anything there past '85 or so. “E.T.,” “Song of the South,” “Bambi,” “The Muppets Take Manhattan” and “Top Gun” are the titles I definitely remember seeing.

Yes, I was very young.

Cliff Carson
Cliff Carson on July 10, 2009 at 4:33 am

I also remember vividly seeing SCROOGE and FUNNY GIRL many times at the Village Theatre.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWXjFHqc7gc

Cliff Carson
Cliff Carson on July 10, 2009 at 4:20 am

During the 60’s the Briarcliff Village Theatre was often filled to capacity, especially on rainy saturday afternoons. The host of the once popular WPBS CINEMA SHOWCASE and CREATIVE LOAFING film critic JIM WHALEY managed it for a while. When it was one big screen it was wonderful. Once it was turned into a twin theatre it lost it’s magic. For a while there is was really quite wonderful. It closed in the early 90’s. The last films to be shown there was THE ABYSS and DEAD POETS SOCIETY. The films I saw there as a child are countless.
BARBARELLA,
HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS,
PUFNSTUF,
OLIVER!,
KANSAS CITY BOMBER,
MYRA BRECKINRIDGE,
THE IMPOSSIBLE YEARS,
DARLING LILI,
THE SOUND OF MUSIC,
RYAN’S DAUGHTER,
PIPPI LONGSTOCKING,
DOCTOR ZHIVAGO
SNOW WHITE AND ROSE RED,
EYE OF THE CAT,
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO AUNT ALICE,
THROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE,
WITH SIX YOU GET EGG ROLL,
ANGEL IN MY POCKET,
TOM SAWYER,
LOST HORIZON,
SONG OF NORWAY,
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN,
SLAP SHOT,
CHARLOTTE’S WEB,
A BOY NAMED CHARLIE BROWN,
THE CHEYENNE SOCIAL CLUB,
TRUE GRIT,
EASY COME, EASY GO

and many many others … .

Cliff Carson
Cliff Carson on July 10, 2009 at 3:55 am

Check it out: BRIARCLIFF VILLAGE THEATRE MOVIE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWXjFHqc7gc

dbratl
dbratl on April 8, 2006 at 9:05 pm

Living in the area, I went to many movies here as a kid. I know it was open as late as 1983 or 84. Some of the movies I saw there were: Inframan, Planet of the Dinosaurs, Piranha 2: The Spawning, Risky Business

StanMalone
StanMalone on August 24, 2005 at 9:28 am

The Village was built by the Martin (now Carmike) theatre company in 1965 and had the distinction of opening on the same day as two other new Martin Theatres, the Eastgate (later renamed the Suburban Plaza) and the Westgate Twin. All three of these sites were later purchased by Georgia Theatre Company. The Village was always a second run site with an occasional lower tier first run booking. It had a large auditorium of around 750 seats and a “windowboxed” screen. This consisted of a frame built around the edge of the screen which was covered in black masking material. This resulted in a great looking scope picture but since there was no movable masking the edges of the flat picture were left raw. The projection booth was small and equipped with Century projectors and 2000 foot reels. Another Martin touch was the upstairs popcorn popper. The concession stand had no popper, only a warmer.

The entrance to the theatre could not be seen from the parking lot. The shopping center consisted of a long open air plaza and you had to walk through this plaza to get to the theatre entrance. This always made for great fun when transporting film and concession supplies. The box-office was inside but faced the plaza, so tickets were bought outside. The lobby was small and the concession stand lined the side wall and was connected to the box office. The lobby led directly to the left rear door to the auditorium which meant that most people ended up sitting on the left side of the theatre. To get to the right side door you had to walk down a short hall which dead ended into the stairwell going upstairs. Since about half of the lobby had to be kept clear to provide an exit, only about 100 or so people could be held out in the lobby. Any more had to be lined up outside. This was never much of a problem during the early 70’s as the only movie I remember doing much business was a “4wall” of Billy Jack in the spring of 1974.

In May of 1974 the Village joined the first wave of twinning and was converted to two long, thin, 350 seat units with center aisles. The booth was equipped with two first generation Christie Autowind 2 three tier platters. The screen situation was very poor at first. Not being as tall as the single screen they seemed to be mounted too high up on the front wall. Of course this was an optical illusion since they were mounted on the same line as the top of the single screen, but since they did not extend down as far it seemed as if you were having to look up, especially in the front half of the seating area. Also, side to side masking was used which made the flat picture look like a postage stamp. In 1976 or early 1977 these screens were removed and replaced with larger ones and up and down masking. Other than posting signs with the numbers 1 and 2 over the entrance doors, no changes were made to the lobby.

When reopened in June 1974, the Village did very good business. The extra screen, besides doubling the choices, allowed the bookers to commit to something longer than the usual one week runs from the past. This along with a crop of good product available for wider than usual release led to such well attended bookings as Parallax View, Mr. Majestik, a Benji movie, My Name Is Nobody, and subruns of The Sting and Herbie Rides Again. The Village was far enough away from the first run sites to do well with these and the extra screen allowed them to get the multi week intermediate breaks of these releases instead of waiting for the second run break which was usually just one week and coincided with the drive in release.

The Village had a free ride in those days as the nearest competition was the GTC Suburban Plaza and the closest first run was the Loews 12 Oaks and the sometimes first run North DeKalb. This changed in 1976 when General Cinema opened a triple screen across the street behind the fairly new Northlake Mall. GTC was not about to try to compete with this and it was back to the old second run one week booking schedule. In 1977, Village joined the trend of going the dollar house route, but that was hopeless for a two screen location and by 1979, I believe, the site was closed. Just as I noted on the Hammond Square (Cinema 285) site, the Village was really nothing special in looks, design or its place in Atlanta movie theatre history except for those of us who worked at these locations. They filled a need during their time but their time was very brief.

The location of the Village was the Briarcliff Village Shopping Center which was actually sited on Henderson Mill Road. This is a pretty confusing A shaped intersection. I think the address was 2126 Henderson Mill. Later the site was completely gutted and an Office Depot now sits in the space.