Candler Road Mini Cinema

2772 Candler Road,
Decatur, GA 30034

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StanMalone on October 6, 2015 at 3:23 pm

Thanks for taking the time to record your memories of that very busy and fun time. I am impressed by your memory. I can remember those days, but then I was living those experiences every day for a living while you were just an avid moviegoer. I am going to cut and paste your South Dekalb paragraphs onto that page and comment there. That way anyone interested in that location will see them.

GTC made a mint with that UA contract and it was safe since they did not need to do any bidding, blind or otherwise to get good movies. Sometimes there were off years like ‘74, but then '75 was one of the all time busiest so they had a good deal there. Just the 007, Pink Panther, and Woody Allen movies insured a good flow of product. The only ones I remember them not playing were the roadshows of Fiddler on the Roof and Man of La Mancha, the Cineramas like Mad Mad World and Last Tango In Paris because they did not want to be raided.

Cone, glad to see you are still keeping up with this site. You may be interested to know that the site of the Sandy Springs, which has been the Brickery Restaurant for decades is about to be demolished. The entire shopping center has been sold for a big new retail and apartment development. Thanks again for providing me with a great place to work during my college years.

dmorgan on October 5, 2015 at 9:48 pm

Great info Stan, makes sense. I remember SD would get Jaws 2, Grease, Heaven Can Wait, Foul Play, and Jungle Book that summer. Saw those movies there or the Glenwood Drive In. Boy, talk about timing. I would say summer 1978 was the first official blockbuster summer as we would come to know it. (Star Wars, of course, kicking things off the summer before with Jaws as a primer in ‘75.)

Like you, and as more of a youngster moviegoer, I was saddened with the butchering of SD into a quad. That being said, they sure got to play a lot of successful product, and nobody seemed to care as I can remember packed houses, lines outside past the Barrel of Fun. (Although I do remember long line down the mall for Freaky Friday on a Saturday when it was a twin!) I think they were the only quad around except Akers Mill at the time.

As for the Lenox Square, my Dad talks about what a great theatre it was when a single. I saw Scrooged there when I think it was a 6. Can you imagine a theatre being tied to a particular studio today? Jeez. I am sure Woody Allen and the James Bond movies played to good crowds there though. I liked Sleeper, and I need to see Love and Death. Anyway, sorry for straying off topic Stan. Thanks so much for your valuable feedback and knowledge. I love this era!!! It was a unique transitional time. Movie palaces were being torn down and we were not quite at the multi/megaplex level yet that was to come in the mid-80’s.

madcone on October 5, 2015 at 9:01 am

Thanks for expanding on the Candler Mimi fate. I believe the last Mini to close was the Athens Mini at Alps Road. I have no idea what happened to Chattanooga, Rock Hill or Macon. Great to learn there is still interest after all these years. Cone Maddox

StanMalone on October 5, 2015 at 8:28 am

I think that when Candler was first sold it was part of a block of mini cinemas and perhaps GTC did not want to take on the whole lot. Or, maybe they were interested but Weis outbid them. A couple of months earlier GTC had been involved in the strangest change of ownership I ever saw when they purchased the Parkaire Twin from Loews. (You can read that one on the Parkaire page if interested.)GTC was a pretty conservative outfit and maybe Parkaire took up all of the money they were prepared to risk.

Also, 1974 was shaping up to be a bad year at the Lenox Square since it was tied to the United Artists Pictures contract. I think that the top grossing film there all year was Sleeper which was really a Christmas 1973 release. Point is, although 1974 was a very good at several of the theaters I worked in, the owners were obsessed with Lenox. If things were bad there they might have been less inclined to expand.

In the fall of 1977 SD was twinned on each side and Christmas of 1977 and spring and summer of ‘78 were huge. When Weis left town a year of so later it is probable that they did not consider Candler worth worrying about to the point that they did not even track it. I recall that in late '80 or so SD was booked with Coal Miners Daughter. The manager called the booker to tell him that Candler, a dollar house at the time, was at that moment running that movie. The response from the booker was: “O, thanks. I forgot about that (blank)hole.”

As to its location, you are correct. I saw it every night when I was managing SD since I had to use the NBG right next to it for the night deposit drop. (The family that owned GTC also owned a lot of NGB stock.) However, the shopping center extends out towards Candler Road more than I remembered it so I could not find the exact spot when I last was by there.

dmorgan on October 3, 2015 at 1:03 pm

In reference to Stan’s comments on the Salem Gate, I am very surprised GTC did not buy this one up as it would have been perfect to protect South Dekalb and play the spillover/moveovers. I believe the theater was near the end of the Grant Shopping Center next to a dry cleaners?

retired2 on December 19, 2010 at 6:07 pm

I worked there after working for one year at the South Dekalb Twin Cinema accross the street. It was 1971, I was in high school at Columbia High, 17 years old and given the title of Assistant Manager. I think I was making $1.15 or $1.20 hour. I remember Woodstock playing and the entire theater smelling like pot. I left because I got a job at JCPenneys across the street for a tiny amount more per hour and a discount on clothes.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 6, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Must be a Georgia thing.Bunch of us from ABC/PLITT try and get together for dinner once a year in Augusta.Great to have friends like that.

madcone on May 6, 2010 at 7:10 pm

It was a great group! Nothing more fun than selling shadows on the wall, popcorn, candy and CocaCola for money. I will post further on the Sandy Springs site.

TLSLOEWS on May 6, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Its nice that you all get together again.

StanMalone on May 6, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Cone: Thank you for taking the time to comment on this site. I have very fond memories of working for Modular in the early 70’s and to this day keep in touch with some of the people I met there. Most of my work was at Sandy Springs although I also spent a good bit of time at Peachtree Battle and Doraville. I never knew anyone at this location until I started managing the South DeKalb in 1974 by which time it was a Weis operation.

That is an interesting story about the seats and equipment. I was really surprised when I first walked into Candler by the condition of the furnishings since I always thought that Sandy Springs and Doraville were very nicely appointed. All of that was before I started working in theatres and I assumed that the company must have changed hands or something when the Candler was built since it was so different.

Assuming that you are the co-founder and not Cone Jr., I can recall meeting you a couple of times when you attended movies at Sandy Springs. Roger McClure was the manager at that time. Aaron Bouldin was at Doraville, Bill Henley was at Peachtree Battle, and Bill Sheely was the roving relief manager / operator. I was still a college student just doing hourly work wherever I could pick up some work that fit my schedule, but I also did a lot of film and concession supply delivery which is how I got to know people at the other theatres. Those were great times to work in theatres and your little neighborhood chain was a good place to learn the trade before it became dominated by the big corporations and multiplexes and megaplexes of today.

You should take a look at the Sandy Springs page on this site. Barbara Gentry has posted some information about how her dad and you started the company. It is listed under the name Sandy Springs Theatre. Perhaps you could shine some light on the time when Sandy Springs went independent while the rest of the Mini Cinemas operated under a kind of co-op agreement with Storey before getting back together as Mini Cinemas.


Thanks again. I am still in this business after all of these years and many of my favorite memories are thanks to your company and the people I met there. Just this past weekend a group of retired managers, projectionists and friends from those days had our regular lunch and get together at the old Sandy Springs site which is now The Brickery restaurant.


madcone on May 6, 2010 at 5:52 am

Sorry for the lousey seats and equipment. We had a commitment from C&S Bank for equipment and fixtures at about 10 locations. This theater was under construction when C&S reniged on the loan agreement. We had to finish the theater out of pocket as well as buy our way out of leases in Dallas TX and NJ.

The product was the best we could get. GA Theater used their buying power to “encourage” the distributers to allow us book only product that no one else would play. As I recall the best gross was obtained from a re-run of Woodstock.

Say what you will, the MiniCinema concept has been well proven over the last 40 years.

Thanks for remembering the Candler Twin MiniCinema.

Cone Maddox

dmorg on October 27, 2009 at 1:59 am

You know, it got a nice break with “All the President’s Men” in the summer of ‘76. It went through some weird inconsistent transitions though. One week in the summer of '75 it played Russ Meyer’s Supervixens and I think a Disney movie in the other house. Then it was playing XXX in both houses and known as “Cine Showcase”. Then it went back to a dollar house. Maybe the most schizophrenic theater I have ever known. I saw Disney’s Dr. Syn there on Thanksgiving weekend 1975. (Forgot what was playing next door, probably porn.) It was tiny but homey I remember. Remined me of a convenience store with a couple of small rooms with screens. Unforgettable though.

StanMalone on April 27, 2006 at 5:59 am

What a dump. Located within sight of South DeKalb, but as far away quality wise as you could get. It opened on December 17, 1970 and was the second Mini Cinema, after Doraville, to occupy space in a new Grant City Shopping Center. (South DeKalb Twin had opened the previous May. A third Grant City had opened in Sandy Springs in June and hosted the Cinema 285, AKA Hammond Square Cinema.) The Candler was the last Mini Cinema built and was the only twin.

It had incredibly small seats, about 250 in each house, which had seen their best days decades before. The screens were not much bigger, and the booth equipment was not much better. The booth itself was small to begin with and in those pre platter days, each screen had two carbon arc powered projectors with 6000 foot reels. At the start it even had two projectionists on duty, the reason being that both houses might require a changeover at the same time and there was no automation. This did not last long. Also, this was the only Mini Cinema to have a separate manager. In the others the projectionist had doubled as the manager with a flat daily management fee being added to the hourly booth pay. The manager had a desk (there was no office) underneath the half dozen or so steps leading from the concession stand to the booth.

The bookings here was almost entirely second and third runs and usually for one week only. Occasionally, when the South DeKalb was booked up, the Candler might get an intermediate break booking, but not often. The only example of this that I remember was The Graduate, in the summer of 1972. The only movie I remember seeing there was West Side Story, in February 1971, just a couple of months after the theatre opened. This was a memorable experience, not only because WSS is one of my favorite movies, but because it was the only time I ever saw it presented with an intermission.

If you are familiar with WSS, you know that there was a place for an intermission just after the war council and before the I Feel Pretty number. I read that prior to its initial release the decision was made to eliminate the intermission, but the spot for it is obvious if you are looking for it. The Candler put in the intermission, but instead of the proper place inserted it at the end of the next reel instead. This reel ends right in the middle of the rumble. So, just as Riff lost his blade and was pinned against the fence, the lights came up and an astro dater intermission strip appeared on the screen. 10 minutes later, the lights came down and the first image on the screen was Bernardo about to charge. Showmanship worthy of the venue!

In the summer of 1974, Weis Theatres took control of all of the Mini Cinemas. Around 1978, Weis left town. Peachtree Battle had already been sold to Lefont, Ansley Mall was George Ellis' Film Forum, Doraville became a Draft House, and Sandy Springs was gutted and became a restaurant. Candler went through a series of closures and reopenings under independent operators, sometimes as a $ house and sometimes as an adult softcore theatre. I did not notice when it closed for good. I was by the site recently and could not determine where in the shopping center it was located. I think the center may have been extended toward Candler Road making the exact location of the theatre difficult to pinpoint. Whatever spot it was has been completely reworked into a regular storefront.