Northlake Mall I II III

3230 Northlake Parkway NE,
Atlanta, GA 30345

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StanMalone
StanMalone on October 29, 2016 at 7:22 am

In those days at least, GCC had a strong relationship with Columbia so we ran a lot of their stuff. Our Christmas ‘85 feature was White Nights, another mediocre draw. I mean we even ran Ishtar, so that may account for G'busters. They also had that and Gremlins at Southlake where I did a couple of turns covering vacations that summer. I well remember one rainy Sunday where G'busters sold out every show except the last one. That may have been the last good summer since Northlake 8 soon took over. I looked up my record, and when I started in October the features were Razor’s Edge, Little Drummer Girl, and Broad Street.

One thing I forgot to mention in my previous comment was the conversion of the booth to platters around 1988. I did not even know that had been done until I was called in to work one day of relief. Since the manager was covering the booth Monday – Wednesdays, they did that to cut down on the missed changeovers. That is why they were able to send platters to Perimeter when Northlake closed.

For the record, the intro to this theater should say 1200 seats (three houses at 400 seats each), opened in 1976, and closed in 1992. Perimeter Mall opened in 1973 and was the first GCC in Atlanta. Northlake followed in 1976, Akers Mill in 1977, and Southlake in 1978. After that it was Gwinnett Place in 1984, Merchants Walk in 1986, Parkside (later renamed Sandy Springs) in 1987 and Hairston in 1988.

joshmassey
joshmassey on October 27, 2016 at 8:40 pm

Summer ‘84 couldn’t have been all bad – y'all had both Ghostbusters and Gremlins. And, um, Irreconcilable Differences. (Why I remember this I’ll never know.)

StanMalone
StanMalone on October 27, 2016 at 3:54 pm

By no means was this the first GCC theater I worked in, but it was the first one that I had a “permanent” position in. In the fall of 1984, the new GCC Gwinnett Place 6 opened and the two projectionists from Northlake were picked as the opening duo there. To replace them the company chose one of the projectionists from Southlake who was looking for a shorter commute, and me. I had worked a lot of relief in GCC booths but I was happy to finally have a regular job.

I was also happy to be at Northlake. When I had worked there as floor staff it had been a huge moneymaker since it opened in 1976 with Murder By Death. That Christmas Goodbye Girl was another massive hit with countless sellouts for what seemed like weekend after weekend. I did not work there after 1979 and lost track of things, but I know that they were one of the theaters to get ET in the summer of 1982. I thought I had it made working in a good first run theater for a big company and pulling in what seemed like a fine living at $7.50 per hour.

But, things are not always as they seem. In May of 1984 AMC had opened their Northlake Festival 8 almost across the street and GCC Northlake had become a ghost town. The big movies we ran that fall were Give My Regards To Broad Street, Razors Edge, and something called Windy City which often played to empty houses and drew all of 12 people on Thanksgiving Day. You know your theater is in trouble when your big Christmas pictures are Mickey and Maude and Johnny Dangerously.

The next summer things improved a little with Cocoon, Silverado, and European Vacation. However, the duds far outnumbered even these modest hits, and in the fall of 1986, GCC cut the booth hours down to one projectionist and dumped the rest of the hours on the manager, at no extra pay of course. I was off to Akers Mill until they did the same thing there in fall of 1987 and then to Perimeter Mall where they did the same thing in the spring of 1988.

I decided to give another company a try and that went well until 1995 when I came back to GCC and an opening at the new Parkside 8. For the next 5 years I split my time between there and Perimeter until GCC finally closed up in 2000. However, I did continue to work Parkside for the new owner, George Lefont, from 2004 until they went digital a couple of years ago.

As for Northlake, I loved working the booth there. It was the last theater in Atlanta built with reel to reel operation, 2 35MM Century projectors per screen with the old push button Dolby in the #1 house. However, the presentation was terrible with the long 400 seat shoebox theaters, fixed masking which left the sides of the flat picture raw, and those awful two position seats that some GCC people are so fond of. The most fun I had there was running the kiddie shows which did so well we used all three houses. We would use the 20 minute reels and start the shows 30 minutes apart, walking, or biking as they used to call it, the print from house to house to house one reel at a time. Even though there were no carbons, it really gave me the feel of running an old time booth.

One other note on the booth. It was equipped with the Cinemation Mark 3 pegboard automation system. This great piece of equipment, hated and feared by those who would not take the time or trouble to learn what it could do for them was the best automation system I ever worked with. If you put the pegs in the right hole and the tape in the right spot it never missed a cue. When Northlake was closed and demolished in 1992, four of the six projectors and two of the platters were sent to Perimeter Mall to replace the very poor conditioned projectors there and to get the booth to an all platter operation. So, for five years I got to run some of my old equipment even though the old Northlake was long gone to the landfill.

treadway
treadway on August 23, 2014 at 10:29 am

I saw a few movies here. Northlake was my Mom’s favorite place to go shopping. I didn’t like the theater, so once I started driving I never went there again.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 1, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Three good features.we had two of them at Georgia Square GCC in Athens, 007 went to the Palace twin downtown.wish the picture was a bit clearer.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 16, 2011 at 2:10 pm

LOL Russell,and I thought I knew YOU.

RussellSmeak
RussellSmeak on February 9, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I remember another couple of theater stories, so, since this is the place to share them, Ima sharin'! Soon after I started working there, I had to hire a good number of staff. I was really done hiring and had everyone lined up, so I didn’t need anyone else. This one cute little girl came in for an interview..she was recommended by someone I had just hired..and I told her I was sorry but I didn’t really need her. Our conversation turned more personal and I asked her where she was from. As soon as she told me her family had just moved from Augusta, I told her she had the job!! A girl from my hometown, and I’m not gonna hire her?? Another of the concession girls I hired told me, when I brought out a bunch of candy cases from the storeroom, that she had the same cases of candy at home..her Dad worked for the candy distributor. She asked me if I wanted her to bring any cases from home to work, and I told her “Hell no!!!”! That’s all I needed was to get linked to some candy-conspiracy! Going back to my previous post and how I had put in my resignation…the morning the company auditor was there to check me out, he was upstairs counting while I was downstairs. I told them I didn’t have anything to hide and they could count without me..that’s how sure I was of my count. Anyway, I sat downstairs with the crazy division manager talking about stuff. I guess he was trying to tell me a story about good versus bad management. He told me a story about a restaurant called Wiener King that was beside the place he used to work at when he was young. He said that as soon as the manager of Wiener King left the place on an errand, he could look in and see the employees jumping on the counter, throwing stuff at each other, and just acting like idiots because the manager wasn’t there. I turned to my soon-to-be-ex-boss and asked him with a serious face, “Hey, do you think Wiener King is hiring?”! I thought that was the highlight of our relationship! Hey, again, thanks for letting me air out my old memories!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 10, 2011 at 11:41 am

Russell,I don’t think I ever heard that story.It would have to rate as one of the top Stories told by a manager.I know Anderson and Zack got into it,must have gotten a few names wrong.

RussellSmeak
RussellSmeak on January 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I was transferred to this theater as an asst. mgr. They told me that they needed a “strong” assistant to help the new manager, whenever they’d find one that would agree to take it! I worked my butt off at that place. The District Manager at the time, not Anderson, was the worst. Since they never could find anyone to take it, they finally offered it to me. I took it, and I was so young…about 21? That’s way too young guys…you know it and I now know it! Oh, well. Because of my age, I let alot of things happen that I never would now. For example, we had 2 telephone lines, and the City Manager would call and talk to my cashier for HOURS…he was in his 30’s and she was about 17ish. He intimadated me at that time, so I never said anything against it. Well, while I was on the other line making work-related calls, the division manager would try to call and never could get on! He was furious about that and thought I was slacking off, but I wasn’t. I was getting the heat because of my jerk city mgr! Anyway, I remember I started hating it so much that I started praying to God to send me a sign! Well, the first weekend, a huge mirror in the men’s bathroom crashed on top of a customer, and all he got was a slightly cut finger! Wasn’t enough of a sign for me…the next weekend, we were cleaning and painting EVERYTHING because the General Cinema president (Paul Delrossi??) was coming in the very next morning to inspect the place, and one of my usher’s spilled a gallon of black paint on our red lobby carpet!!! Okay, believe it or not, that still wasn’t enough of a sign, and I prayed for another. The next weekend, a huge torrential rain came over us, caused the storm/drainage pipes to back up, and my lobby was flooded!! Water was literally 2 inches deep behind the concession stand and sparks were coming from the receptacles, so I closed it down. My division manager (the crazy one) heard about me closing the concession stand (the girls were scared to work behind there…imagine that!) and he blew a gasket and told me to open it up or I’d be fired. I told him to come get the keys because I was leaving! He said “HUH???”, and pleaded with me to stay. Well, the next week I went ahead and quit. Well, about 2 years later, a new division manager came in and asked me to come back and take over the theater at Regency Mall in Augusta, GA. BTW, the jerk City Manager ended up marrying the cashier, and then, from what I heard, he got fired because he would take his pass-keys, go into other theaters (after closing) that he was over, remove sleeves of drink and popcorn cups, and replace them into his own theater’s stock…stealing big bucks! Sorry that this is so long!! It was sort of cathartic to write it all out, though. LOL!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 15, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Bad place for managers,District Manager, L.Anderson would constantly harass young managers,I heard it way too often.Most would quit.Glad I stayed in Athens and Augusta. Wonder what ever happened to Mr.Anderson?

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 26, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Dan, Standard fare for GCC midnight shows,I had to pull teeth to get them to book 2001 at REGENCY 1.2.3. Cinemas.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on December 25, 2009 at 7:45 pm

Double-listed as #17660

thursdaynext27
thursdaynext27 on September 13, 2009 at 6:14 pm

It was a decent theater very close to where I lived at the time. I saw Die Hard, Little Mermaid, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves there. And (sadly) Superman IV.

joshmassey
joshmassey on July 13, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Northlake 2 lasted until 1992, at least. I remember seeing “Lethal Weapon 3” there.

Now it’s a sporting goods store. C'est la vie.

WHITEFIELD
WHITEFIELD on January 15, 2008 at 7:26 pm

Thinking back about this theatre, when it first opened I think it was only had 2 theatres the 3rd was added years later.
Here are some ticket stubs for cinemas 1 & 2.
View link

WHITEFIELD
WHITEFIELD on January 15, 2008 at 4:47 pm

Here is a photo I took in 1983 of the marquee.
Showing at Theatre no. 3 was “NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN” Sean Connery as James Bond 007.
View link

dbratl
dbratl on April 8, 2006 at 6:32 pm

This theater was the place for midnight movies every weekend in the 1980s. They always were showing Rocky Horror, Heavy Metal, Dawn of the Dead, The Wall, etc. I also saw Creepshow there.