Riverside Cinemas

2950 Riverside Drive,
Macon, GA 31204

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Riverside Cinemas

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Georgia Theatre Company premiered the Riverside sometime in the late-1970’s or early-1980’s. I don’t know if the Riverside Cinemas was actually built as a quad or if it was initially a twin and split or expanded. The only chance I had to see the interior was after it was converted into a furniture store. The exterior of the Riverside Cinemas is almost identical to the General Cinema freestanding twin theatres built during the 1970’s.

Contributed by JackCoursey

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 19, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Thanks Stan for the ad.I thought Weis Cinemas had a theatre or two in Macon.

tpldesign
tpldesign on July 6, 2010 at 11:21 pm

I worked at Riverside Cinemas from 1992 until it closed in 1997. For those interested in seeing it, I have a web page dedicated to RC4 here: http://www.tpldesign.com/rc4/

I once found a large set of blueprints under a counter in the projection booth at RC4. These blueprints were for one of the old Macon Drive-Ins, and I believe it was labeled as a Weis Cinemas property.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 6, 2010 at 11:33 pm

Great Tim.I was hopimg someone from Macon would get on CT.I put a lot of Drive-ins on CT from Macon and have gotten very little,if any response.Check them out.

StanMalone
StanMalone on July 7, 2010 at 4:27 am

Tim, thanks for that website. It brought back a lot of memories. I just assumed that Georgia Theatre Company split both houses at the same time, but your descriptions and pictures indicate that only one was split and the fourth was an add on. One of your pictures shows an intact auditorium complete with the panels I mentioned on the side wall where the slide projector was aimed. The conversion from twin to quad has Georgia Theatre written all over it. The split auditorium shows no sign of the seating area being relocated, and that little theatre, well, it beats anything I have ever seen. The smallest theatre I ever worked in was the Baronet, in Atlanta. It had four seats on each side and 15 rows. Until your picture I have never seen a theatre with rows of only three seats. I would have put the aisle off center and had the seating 2 and 4.

Another giveaway to the GTC influence was the Potts platters in the booth. I was never in the Riverside booth, but have run countless others and the only time I have ever had to run these pieces of crap was at GTC locations. They looked like a Strong, but I guess they were cheaper, and their on / off motors as opposed to constant feed were always a threat to sling the print off onto the floor, or cause a brain wrap. With all of those reels hanging on the wall and the spindles still in place, it looks as if the projectors were reel to reel during the twin days, and then divided as the houses were increased. Those V 8’s were great machines, and still are. In fact I am working a booth with one as I write this. Unfortunately the others are belt driven V 5’s.

From the pictures and video it certainly seems that the projectionist ran a neat and orderly booth. I was in the Macon Mall Quad several times but was not aware that it had been divided into 8. It was built by Georgia Theatre in the mid 70’s and was included in the sell out to United Artists Theatres in the late 80’s before UA was bought by Regal. Aaron Manheim was the long time manager there. Does that name ring a bell?

Thanks again for the great website. Wish I had taken the time to make pictures like yours. I just assumed the theatres would always be there.

tpldesign
tpldesign on July 8, 2010 at 7:54 am

Mike, I looked at the Drive-ins you added. Some I have heard of, others I have not. Unfortunately I came along too late in life to enjoy any of them, and the only thing I know about them is what I have heard second hand. Thanks for taking the time to document these theatres. Hopefully someday someone with personal memories of these places will come across their pages and post about them.

tpldesign
tpldesign on July 8, 2010 at 8:00 am

Wow Stan. Great comments. I have some answers for you, but where do I start?

If you entered RC4 and faced the concession stand straight ahead, the two auditoriums on the left (1 and 2) were the ones created by the split down the center. From the booth you could see where the dividing wall met the glass port window, which was a wide single pane originally accommodating two projectors in a changeover arrangement. Take a look at these two photos and notice where the wall meets the glass.

http://www.tpldesign.com/rc4/photos/rc4-11.jpg
View link

On the opposite side of the lobby was auditorium #3, and its wide port window was still as it originally appeared. In the booth you could see where the 2nd projector (for changeover) was originally mounted. In this picture taken from the screen end of the auditorium, you can see the wide port window.

http://www.tpldesign.com/rc4/photos/rc4-05.jpg

So basically, from the booth, the projectors for auditoriums 1 and 2 were located in nearly the same position they would have been in the changeover arrangement before the wall was built to separate them. Auditorium 3 wasn’t divided, but the 2nd projector was removed and I assume is the one used for auditorium 4.

Auditorium #4 was the tiny add on next to #3, and it had an odd shape. It was wider at the screen end and very narrow at the back. If I remember correctly, there was one row at the right rear with only 2 seats. There was also a ladder behind the curtain in the back of that auditorium that led up to the booth through a secret hatch. Anyway, this was obviously a “make do” kind of arrangement.

Concerning the platter systems, I had certainly experienced both brain wraps and slinging prints (the latter usually occurred toward the end of the movie when the remaining film was lighter). We learned to avoid those problems most of the time though. We actually had some suction cup guides we could use to brace the print if needed.

All the projectors were apparently reel-to-reel early on. On occasion I even used the bottom spindle to take up the print on those 6,000 foot reels instead of using the platters. This was only done in special circumstances though.

As for the Macon Mall Quad, none of the theatre’s auditoriums were divided. That theatre was torn completely down, and a new theatre, the Macon Mall 8, was built in its place with all new equipment. I never worked at the Quad, so I am not familiar with the manager you mentioned.

Thanks for checking out the web site. It was fun documenting the place I worked for my first job on up into my early 20’s. Many who worked there had an affection for the place.

StanMalone
StanMalone on July 16, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Thanks for that additional information Tim. I am really surprised that GTC added on a tiny theatre for #4 instead of just tearing off a chunk of the remaining large house. In 1978 they quaded the South DeKalb Twin and turned two beautiful 540 seat showcases into four 338 seat shoeboxes. They would not even consider leaving one side intact but since they even carved up their Lenox Square flagship there was nothing sacred to them in that respect. Riverside could count itself lucky that at least one house was still something to be proud of.

In the early Weis days the newspaper ads indicated which movie was playing in which theatre. #1 was named “The Popular Showplace” and #2 was labeled “The Intimate Theatre.” I could never notice any effort was made to play a particular type of movie in one side or the other. I also do not remember any difference in the two. I know one side was twinned when you started, but do you think that they were identical when built?

After 1974, Weis renamed this the “Weis Cinema Centre” and quit making any note as to which movie played in which side or even how many theatres were at the Centre. I like the “re” instead of “er” spelling. I am sure that made it a much nicer moviegoing experience. They did the same thing in multiscreen theatres in other cities except Atlanta where there was a single screen “Weis Cinema” already in business. There they took the Arrowhead Triple and named it the “Arrowhead Cinema Centre.” They did not do the same with the Cinema 75 Triple. I guess a name of “Cinema 75 Cinema Centre” was too much.

When you came to work there, did you come as a projectionist or did you move into that job? I ask because the very nice, orderly appearance of the booth suggests that there might have been some long time operator there who had taken care of the place for years. I can not begin to count the dumps I have walked into over the years and spent countless hours trying to organize the mess left by a succession of previous “projectionists.”

I did not realize that the old Macon Mall Quad had been dozed and a new theatre built. I thought that booth looked a lot bigger than I remembered.

Thanks again for the pictures and video. I have been passing them around to some of my former booth mates from years past.

tpldesign
tpldesign on July 18, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Stan, I started as a doorman/usher at the age of 16 in 1992, and I was trained as a projectionist maybe a year or so later. I eventually became an assistant manager, but I didn’t particularly care for those duties. The booth was where I belonged, and I performed projectionist duties throughout my years there. The man who probably set up that booth in the beginning, Andy Nobles, was a longtime projectionist in Macon. At one time he ran one of the local drive-ins. I understand he was responsible for a lot of the “rigged” solutions that made the RC4 booth so unique. He had retired shortly before I was hired, but I did see him visit from time-to-time. I really don’t think he was the tidy type though. I’ve got some stories to support that, but I will save those for another post or e-mail. :)

Probably one of the reasons the booth looks orderly in my pictures is because I can’t stand being unable to find something when I need it. So, I worked at keeping things in their place. I also hated seeing pieces of cut film on the floor or trash lying around. It’s just a personality thing. Most of the people we had working up there did a good job of helping keep it that way too. Thanks for the compliment!

Although I was too young to remember RC4 in the days before it had four screens, I had heard that the fourth auditorium was an addition rather than a split. The evidence seemed to point to that as well. Here is a photo along with my thoughts:

http://www.tpldesign.com/rc4/photos/rc4-01.jpg

In the above photo, the wall with the “Cinema” sign was the right wall of the #4 auditorium. Now look at the columns on the outside of the building that end approximately halfway up its length. If you were to look behind the curtains along the right side in #4, you would have seen the remaining columns, which extended to the front of the auditorium (end of the building). This indicates that at one time those columns had been visible on the outside. When #4 was added, an external wall was built around the columns, which were simply hidden behind curtains on the interior. This made for some fun after hours hide-and-seek games.

I suppose it is possible that some of #3 was chopped off to make room for #4, but the layout seemed to me more in line with it having been the original size all along. For one, the port window was centered in the back wall, and I didn’t notice any signs of a changed configuration in there. You can see this in the third link of my previous post.

I can say most certainly that the two auditoriums of the original twin were not identical. The one that was split was much deeper and would have been absolutely huge. Perhaps that is why they called #2 (the smaller one) “The Intimate Theatre.” Thanks for that bit of information. I had never heard of those two names for the auditoriums.

Ginger Whatley
Ginger Whatley on May 11, 2012 at 3:12 am

Thanks for posting all of the photos. I saw my first movie at this cinema. I remember seeing ET, Three Men and a Baby, Dirty Dancing and everything else. I later got a job at the Macon Mall Quad, but this theater was closer to my house so I came here often to see free movies. I also remember using that pay phone upstairs to call mom to come pick me up.

Another think I remember was the steep hill to get out of the parking lot to turn on Riverside drive. I had to make a left to go home, and I was a new driver. I hated that hill.

cccmoviehouses
cccmoviehouses on February 13, 2014 at 2:27 am

I remember the Riverside Cinemas as being twin theaters when they opened, went to see several movies here when they were new. When the theaters left downtown, Westgate, Riverside, and Macon Mall became the theaters in Macon.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater