Southlake Cinema 8

6795 Green Industrial Way,
Morrow, GA 30260

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Southlake Cinema 8

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The Southlake is the clone of the Shannon 8 in Union City, Georgia. Both were opened around the same time by Georgia Theatre Company and both were later acquired by the now defunct United Artist Theatres. Nothing really remarkable about either theatre save for the fact they were considered state of the art during their early years of operation.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

StanMalone
StanMalone on November 12, 2006 at 2:05 am

Opened in the summer of 1985, six months after the Shannon. This was good timing for the operator since Georgia Theatre Company had emptied out the used projector warehouse when equipping the Shannon. The Southlake had all new booth equipment. 7 Century 35MM and one Century 35/70MM. The only time I am aware that the 70 was used was for “Black Cauldron.”

There was also a very odd piece of equipment known as the Christie Endless Loop Platter. This ridiculous gadget was proclaimed to all theatre owners as a way to finally get rid of that pesky projectionist. It looked like a regular platter only with one platter instead of the usual 3 or 5. When being loaded with a new movie the leader would be threaded through the projector and spliced onto the tail of the movie. The film would be pulled from the center as normal but instead of winding onto a different platter would wind onto the back of the print. To keep the film from backing back off of the edge of the platter, a spring loaded arm would gently and rhythmically bump the print in towards the center of the platter as it turned. Even now I have a hard time describing it. It really had to be seen to be believed.

Fortunately the Southlake, or any other theatre I ever heard of, did not use this abortion to run their actual movies. In keeping with the Rube Goldberg nature of the whole operation, the projector was aimed toward a mirror which reflected the image onto the back of a screen which faced the lobby. It was used to show a constant stream of previews to the people, and unfortunate employees, who were in the lobby. In those days previews were not distributed at anywhere near the current number so there was seldom more than 30 minutes or so worth before the loop started over. Mercifully, I only worked this location occasionally so I never had the pleasure of changing the previews or remounting the loop.

The only other notable thing I remember about this place was the freedom with which the staff would use the house PA system. I recall hearing announcements in the auditoriums about car headlights being left on, convertible tops being left down in the rain, paging the manager to the phone, and even calling employees back to work when their break was up.

As with all other GTC properties and employees, the end came with the sellout to United Artists Theatres in the late 80’s. I did not notice when this place was closed, but it certainly gave it up by the time the AMC Southlake Pavilion 24 opened.

JesseBrantley
JesseBrantley on November 24, 2006 at 8:28 pm

Actually this venue stayed open for a while after Southlake Pavilion opened. As a matter of fact, it out bid Southlake Pavilion for “Titanic.” At first it was a nice place to see movies but after a while people began misbehaving during the movies.

Jedireject
Jedireject on June 2, 2008 at 4:57 am

I worked at this theatre from 1993 until 1998 when I moved over to the Gwinnett District Office United Artists Theatre.

My time there was some of the absolute best times in a job ever. Great friends and a great place to work, though it could not keep up with the changing times.

United Artists Theatres corporate lived in the past. They could not comprehend the changing times coming with the advent of stadium seating and full digital houses. I was an assistant manager there most of my time and we sent several proposals to corporate for new site locations only to be told there was no market for a new theatre there. Ironically one of the locations would later be chosen by AMC to build a flagship 24 screen location.

Cinemas 8 was one of the only existing “self-serve” theatres at the time anywhere that I knew of. You entered into a large enclosed area and picked up your popcorn bucket and cup and filled as you liked. It gave you full control how much butter to put on your corn.

Course, that was a huge pain to clean up after a rush. People are messy. Corn was popped from behind and a series of augers were used to pour the corn out into buckets.

There were 8 screens. When I started only two were Dolby. We added two more later on.

Screen 1 – Mono sound, small house (80 seats?)
Screen 2 – Mono sound, medium house (100+ seats?)
Screen 3 – Stereo, medium/large house (200+ seats?)
Screen 4 – Dolby Stereo, Silver Screen, large house (300 seats?)
Screen 5 – Dolby Stereo, DTS Sound, 35/70mm, large house (300 seats?)
Screen 6 – Stereo, medium/large house (200+ seats?)
Screen 7 – Mono sound, medium house (100+ seats?)
Screen 8 – Mono sound, small house (80 seats?)

Sadly, the area went down hill while I was there and we ended up getting robbed on three different occasions. I was robbed at gun point once myself. The theatre now sits closed and boarded up. I’d love to get back in there for a memory tour. Several of us still keep in touch from time to time.

I wonder if that rolling popper stand is still behind screen 5?

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 12, 2010 at 12:32 am

I can’t believe they used the paging system during a film.Call employees off break,Your lights are on.What idiot ran the place.Oh I forgot it was Georgia Theatre that explains it.

StanMalone
StanMalone on August 3, 2010 at 6:37 am

/theaters/18012/

This link is for a theatre is Deleware. The third comment dated 5/24/09 has an interesting story about running the endless loop platter. This is the only story I have ever heard about that thing being used to run a regular show. I am not surprised at how it worked out.

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