Roth's Parkway 1-2-3

4816 Boiling Brook Parkway,
Rockville, MD 20852

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Located in the Randolph Hills Shopping Center. In 1970 this was advertised as Washington’s first triple theatre. Does anyone know if it was a conversion or built new that way?

Contributed by Robert R

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

vp81955 on August 8, 2011 at 4:51 pm

This is an incorrect location. Roth’s was on Randolph Road, south of central Rockville, not far from the White Flint mall and Metro station. This part of Rockville is downtown.

However, there were two movie venues, both closed, before the current multiplex nearby. First, there was the Villa Theater, also later known as the Milo, on East Montgomery Avenue, across the street from the Montgomery County Courthouse. It was a single-screen theater that showed films into the mid-1960s, when it (and much of downtown) was razed as part of an urban renewal project.

What was built was something called the Rockville Mall, which opened in early 1972, never gained much traction (its main tenant, a department store, folded, as did its successor) and it shut about a decade later. However, for several years it featured a twinplex movie theater which, to be honest, was nothing special. I saw a revival of “Doctor Zhivago” there, and I remember that when “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland” premiered, Fiona Fullerton, who played Alice (and was a Bond girl in the ‘80s), appeared to promote the movie.

vp81955 on August 10, 2011 at 6:29 am

Some more on the Milo/Villa: It opened in October 1935 as the Milo, and the first film to be shown there was “Anna Karenina” with Greta Garbo and Fredric March. Original admission prices were 25 cents for adults, 15 for children. The lower seating area had a capacity of 600, while the balcony (restricted to black customers for many years in those segregated times) sat 150 and had a separate entrance.

In 1955, the Milo was closed for renovations and reopened that December under a new name, the Villa. Its new owners believed the Rockville Drive-In was getting preferential treatment from film companies, and sued Loew’s (parent of MGM) in December 1957; have no idea how the lawsuit ultimately turned out. In addition to movies, occasional stage shows were held there; one of them, on Dec. 21, 1958, had later country legend Patsy Cline as the headliner.

The Villa was closed sometime in the second half of the 1960s as part of the ill-fated Rockville urban renewal project, but I don’t have a precise date or what was its final movie. Anyone care to do some research?

sconnell1 on December 28, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Roth’s Parkway 1-2-3 opened on 12/25/69. Theater 1 had “Barefoot in the Park” (1967); Theater 2 had “The Great Race” (1965); and Theater 3 had “Last Summer” (1969) which had just finished a 7 week stint at the Trans-Lux in downtown D.C. on 12/24/69.

sconnell1 on December 28, 2013 at 1:30 pm

At the Parkway 2, I saw “The Arrangement” on 5/29/70 and “One More Train to Rob” somewhere between 6/2/71-6/5/71 and 6/7/71-6/8/71.

2ndStix on March 27, 2014 at 8:51 pm

Saw over a dozen flicks at the Parkway throughout my childhood, starting with “Paint Your Wagon” in 1970 and finishing with “Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins” in 1985. When it shifted to bargain movies in the early eighties, I remember the projection bulb was so wretchedly dim it could really hurt the movie. I kind of wish I could go back there tomorrow and see “The Towering Inferno” again.

darrenparlett on March 27, 2014 at 9:23 pm

we had cheap cinema in our old hometown and it had only one projector (one feature =4 intermissions )

ThreeRedMustangs on August 8, 2014 at 10:31 am

From my recollection, the theater closed in 1991 or 1992. After that it changed hands with a series of retailer occupying the space in succession. As of August 2014, it is now a Goodwill Retail Store.

gruff on January 19, 2015 at 8:26 pm

I worked there the summer of 1970 as an usher. I made $1.60 an hr and 2 movie tix each payday. It had 2 regular sized theaters (on the right entrance) and very small screened theater (left entrance). Some people would be very upset at the size of the screen when they entered theater #1 and leave. Did not have freshly popped popcorn (heated up). Fun summer job.

gruff on January 19, 2015 at 8:33 pm

Btw the location listed is correct. When Butch Cassidy opened there the line was around the building on weekends. As ushers we would literally stand in the back of the theater during the whole feature. I learned to read a book with a flashlight.

rivest266 on June 28, 2015 at 9:02 am

December 25th, 1969 grand opening ad in photo section. It was the first triple cinema in the area.

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