Tri-County Cinema

875 E. Tri-County Boulevard,
Oliver Springs, TN 37840

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Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

SeeingI
SeeingI on January 11, 2011 at 7:55 am

This very small theater was part of a strip mall that likely opened in the mid-1970s. It was the only theater for miles around and served a rural area outside of Oak Ridge, TN. It lasted until the early 1990s, sat empty for years, and is now some kind of office space.

The best thing about this cinema was that the lobby walls were covered in movie posters – they would paste them up collage-style, overlapping one another. It made for a really memorable lobby experience.

I can recall seeing a lot of cheesy low-budget late-80s fare there, and I have a photo from my 11th birthday of my friends & I going to see “Return of the Jedi” in 1983. The plate glass windows were painted over with scenes from the film for that occasion.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 11, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Great to see all these Knoxville area Theatres on CT.Wish there was more on the Twin-Aire Drive-in.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on January 11, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Thanks Seeingl,and Mike,another Tennessee Theatre,allRight!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm

You Guys up there keep them a Coming!

hownowbrownpaul
hownowbrownpaul on May 11, 2011 at 7:43 pm

I saw a couple of movies at this theater in the 80s: “Ernest Goes to Camp” and “Police Academy 5.”

SeeingI, thanks for the memory about posters that covered the walls. I remembered seeing one of “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.” Another poster I remember seeing there was a movie ratings poster like this one (although it was probably before the NC-17 rating was used):
View link

I would love to see pictures of this theater when it was still in operation.

hownowbrownpaul
hownowbrownpaul on May 11, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Here is an article about the church located in the strip mall:
View link

hownowbrownpaul
hownowbrownpaul on May 11, 2011 at 8:01 pm

An article from the Oak Ridger (“Newcomer’s roots trace back to city behind the fence”, Sept. 16, 1997) lists David Ward as a manager of the theater, having moved to Oak Ridge from Paducah, KY.

From other information, it appears that Tri-County Cinema closed around the time the Tinseltown megaplex opened in December 1998 in Oak Ridge.

hownowbrownpaul
hownowbrownpaul on May 11, 2011 at 8:01 pm

An article from the Oak Ridger (“Newcomer’s roots trace back to city behind the fence”, Sept. 16, 1997) lists David Ward as a manager of the theater, having moved to Oak Ridge from Paducah, KY.

From other information, it appears that Tri-County Cinema closed around the time the Tinseltown megaplex opened in December 1998 in Oak Ridge.

davidfhale
davidfhale on November 11, 2011 at 2:39 pm

A bit of trivia: This theatre was one of the few (if not the only) theatres in Tennessee to open Star Trek: The Motion Picture on release day. Tennessee had a law that forbade theatres to bid on movies that were not available to be seen by the bidder first. (A practice known as blind bidding.)

http://law.justia.com/codes/tennessee/2010/title-47/chapter-25/part-7/47-25-703/

Somehow this theatre was exempt. ST was not playing in Knoxville, but it was playing in Oliver Springs. A friend got me in to see it from the projection booth.

I thought this opened as the Tri-County Twin cinema.

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