Central Theatre

104 Whitehall Street SW,
Atlanta, GA 30303

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Central Theatre

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Opened as the Center Theatre prior to the mid-1930’s, it was renamed the Central a few years later after becoming acquired by the Bach movie theatre circuit.

Contributed by JackCoursey

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

JesseBrantley
JesseBrantley on September 16, 2006 at 2:16 pm

I remember seeing this theater when my brother and I would ride the bus to see movies at other downtown theaters. What is funny about this theater toward the end of its existance was how it billed its movies. They would be billed as adult movies but were only second run movies.

I wish I had a chance to see how it looked inside.

Don K.
Don K. on September 23, 2006 at 10:27 am

The Central was definitely declasse. It’s essential tackiness was hard to ignore. It was a remnant of an earlier day when downtown Atlanta had second run movie houses, also including the Cameo. Still, in the late ‘50’s and early '60’s I did manage to see several programs of double feature horror movies there. The interior of the theater gave you the sense that it was the product of a bygone era. The foyer was rather shallow and the auditorium was rather narrow. Curiously enough, the ceiling was “ribbed”, which was quite unlike the other Atlanta theaters that I attended in those years.

The programming was exclusively exploitation pictures in those days. They often consisted of second tier features that other exhibitors had passed on. At other times they were second run double features of B movies. The “atmosphere” of the Central did not inhance the dubious pleasure of seeing some of these pictures.

In fact, in attending the Central one had the distinct sense of stepping down in the world. It came as no surprise that it converted to a policy of booking so called “Adult” films. So, I never paid any attention to it after that time.

The story goes that the change of policy was due to a change of ownership. Allegedly, the Central was acquired by a notorious Atlanta racketeer who dealt in pornography. So, all in all the closing and demolition of the Central was no great loss.

harryr
harryr on May 20, 2007 at 7:25 pm

As I recall, the Central took over the Paramount’s programming policy when the latter was demolished in 1960 — thus the “Always Paramount in Pictures” on the marquee in the photo posting above. My cousin and I used to go to double feature horror films at the Central for a while, though neither the product nor the viewing environment was the same. Still, it was nice to know that the Central tried.

1234
1234 on July 3, 2007 at 5:54 pm

The Center (later Central opened the week of April 8, 1936

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on June 22, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Here’s a photo from a 1936 trade journal: boxofficemagazine

reg41
reg41 on February 19, 2013 at 9:21 pm

In 1964 and ‘65,I went to this theatre a few times. The marquee was gone, only the small “Always Paramount” sign remained. Past the boxoffice, through a door, it was not more than ten feet to the curtained entryway into the auditorium. There was no concessions stand, and the bathrooms were down in the basement, a place you would go only one time. Admission was $1.00. One typical feature would be “Great Escape” almost two years after release; the second would be a Russ Meyer film or similar.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 22, 2014 at 2:10 am

The caption of the 1936 photo in Boxoffice that Tinseltoes linked to refers to this house as “…Louis Bach’s recently renovated Center Theatre….” It must have opened before 1936- probably quite a while before, if it needed renovating by then. Bach was apparently just the new operator. This is the item from the May 2, 1936, issue of The Film Daily:

“Atlanta — Sixth house in the Bach-Oldknow circuit here, the 500-seat Center, has been opened.”

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