Atlantic Theatre

1599 Memorial Drive SE,
Atlanta, GA 30317

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Atlantic Theatre

The Atlantic Theatre was opened by H.B. Meiselman Theatres on June 5, 1963 with Bob Hope in “Call Me Bwana”. It later became part of the Bailey’s Theaters circuit and operated until 1968. By 2012, it was in use as a nightclub.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Don K.
Don K. on December 30, 2005 at 11:41 am

What happened to the pevious comments posted for the Atlantic Theatre? They have been deleted. What is going on?

Don K.
Don K. on February 14, 2006 at 10:35 pm

The Atlantic Theatre was located in a strip mall anchored by the Atlantic Discount Center, a discount department store and supermarket. The theatre opened in the late spring of 1963 with CALL ME BWANA, a Bob Hope vehicle produced by Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, in a wide first run. That summer they continued with the policy of booking first run movies on multiple runs.

The first move that I actually saw there was DR. NO, also produced by Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, and also in a wide first run. Of course, DR. NO introduced Sean Connery as James Bond and it was abundantly clear that he was a genuine movie star. This movie was released in the era when John Kennedy was President; the space race was on; and the Cuban Missile Crisis was still a comparatively recent memory. At that time, DR. NO was ideal Saturday afternoon entertainment for a teenage boy.

The theater itself somewhat resembled the Cherokee Theatre on Peachtree Road. The Atlantic Theatre might have had as many as 800 seats. Projection and sound were very good. However, the theater was rather sterile and lacked any eye catching décor. The real trouble though was that the Atlantic Theatre opened in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Atlantic Theatre was built at a time when the racial makeup of the nearby Kirkwood neighborhood was changing. Those were the bad old days of segregation, block busting, and panic selling. In that economic climate there was no real chance for the theater to survive. Frankly, it seemed strange at the time that the theatre opened in that area at all.

The last time that I was aware of the Atlantic Theatre being in business was in 1967. By that time it had become a second run grind house for the area’s predominantly black audience. After that I lost track of it. However, the building did survive as a disco and later as a storage facility.

In 1983, I had the occasion to stop by the theater again. Oddly enough, the door was open and I was able to go inside and take a look. What struck me about it was that the screen was still intact. The matting had been removed and you could see that the screen was wall to wall.

That experience made me recall seeing Ray Harryhausen’s JASON & THE ARGONAUTS twenty years earlier. Fellow film buffs from College Park came over to the eastside to join me to see the movie on the Atlantic Theatre’s large screen. For us it was the right movie at the right time.

In those days, James Bond was the coming thing and Ray Harryhausen’s work was the state of the art in movie special effects. Now, James Bond is probably passé and Harryhausen is regarded as a pioneer. But in the Summer of 1963, they were very much of the moment.

Well, I suppose you had to be there. It’s like the lyrics from an old rock song from the ‘60’s that goes, “… it’s like trying to tell a stranger about rock and roll.”

StanMalone on May 26, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Newspaper ad from August 1964 along with a write up on the feature opening that day:

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StanMalone on May 26, 2009 at 8:41 pm

Sorry, that is the wrong link. Try this one:

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WHITEFIELD on July 19, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Here is a DR.NO ad for The Atlantic Theatre.
View link

Don K.
Don K. on August 16, 2009 at 9:53 pm

Thanks, Dennis! That ad for DR. NO really brings back memories!

jeterga on February 2, 2012 at 9:27 pm

This theatre is now a popular night club.

rivest266 on April 6, 2018 at 11:37 pm

This was opened by H. B. Meiselman theatres on June 5th, 1963. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

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