Newmarket Cinemas 1-4

682 and 688 79th Street,
Newport News, VA 23605

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Newmarket Cinemas 1-4

Viewing: Photo | Street View

There are two buildings.

The original was built around the mid-1960s and has that steel and glass look. Under a brass plaque that is set into the walkway outside, there is a time capsule that has already long outlived the theatre. According to the plaque, it commemorates the opening of the theatre on September 13, 1965. It was then Newmarket Theatre but later became NEI Newmarket Cinemas 1 & 2.

The much newer Cinemas 3 & 4 building is a separate structure with two white oval shaped auditoriums joined by a central lobby.

Last I could recall going by there, the Cinemas 3 & 4 building were being used as a church. The original building was still unoccupied.

Contributed by Kevin Seward

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

righter40
righter40 on March 26, 2008 at 10:04 pm

more things : The time capsule idea was big in that time period. Managed a theatre that is actually still open in Charlotte(Park Terrace-is on ct) that has time capsule opening in 6 years.

Newmarket Twin Theatres opened in 74, were called ultravision theatres, with the two round houses with round lobby. Not very good sound, only mono in each house, the Rockingchair had the great sound and picture.

Rockingchair’s last picture to play before it was fatefully twinned in 1984-Footloose.

righter40
righter40 on March 26, 2008 at 10:10 pm

The original Rockingchair Theatre was opened by manager R.D. Stallings, former manager of the Paramount Theatre in downtown Newport News, I belive he later opened “the twin” in 74 before retiring.
Worked there between 81and 85, managed the Rockingchair twin in 84-85. Have tons of wonderful memories there, not just working, but going there as a kid. I run a beautiful stadium seated complex in Gettysburg Pa, but the Rockingchair will always be my favorite.

4DMan
4DMan on April 26, 2010 at 7:52 pm

The round twin theaters did indeed open in the fall of 1974. I was there performing with the Hampton High School band at the big grand opening event. Each band member received free movie passes for the performance. The first films were MAME starring Lucille Ball (an inauspicious start) and an indie, the name of which escapes me. It did, however, feature Ted Cassidy (Lurch) who appeared in person, even though he arrived a little late. And, of course, some of my band mates tried to get him to say “You rang?” (he didn’t) but he was a good sport about it all.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 14, 2011 at 8:07 pm

what Stinker to open a theatre “MAME” by sunday we were playing to near empty house; 781 seat theatre.Gone Thursday.And an Indie you say.what kind of Stupid booker did they have,

bufffilmbuff
bufffilmbuff on July 23, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Can anyone confirm if the original one screen Newmarket was equipped for 70mm? If memory serves it did play things like GONE WITH THE WIND and CAMELOT in this format as reserved seat attractions.

righter40
righter40 on December 24, 2013 at 11:07 pm

yes the Rockingchair’s projectors were equipped with 35/70 mm, and after the split in 1984, the projectors were still the same, Simplex I believe, but 70 was never used again.

righter40
righter40 on September 9, 2015 at 9:08 pm

looks like the time capsule will be opened on Monday September 14 at 1pm can t wait to see what s inside

righter40
righter40 on September 14, 2015 at 6:33 pm

time capsule opened today, the biggest novelty an autographed Beatles pic, over 100 folks showed, theatre in not so great neighborhood anymore

Coffindan
Coffindan on August 23, 2016 at 10:29 am

In 1989 I saw Phantom of the Opera (Robert Englund) at one of the newer screens. I remember the oval shaped theater and the HUGE screen. I was very impressed with how big the movie looked.

mackarringtonpcc
mackarringtonpcc on November 30, 2016 at 7:30 am

I was a manager-trainee at the Newmarket Theatre under Dewanner Stallings (R. D. Stallings) in 1971-74. There was a deli a few doors up the sidewalk where I’d get us coffee. Most of the time I’d get there before he arrived and check the theater—then he’d come in and mention a lobby light was out or something I’d missed (darn it). I remember the three ushers: Randy Winfree, Robert Huth and David Price. We ran the movies “Billy Jack” and “Walking Tall” so many weeks that they were memorizing the lines. Mr. Stallings was a local advertising genius.

The Newmarket Theatre was a rocking chair, ultra-vision theatre. Back then you needed two projectors because the film was on reels that ran a max of 20 minutes, and you had to change between the projectors to keep the movie going.

Ultra-vision was a system where both projectors shot their picture into a central “box” instead of directly on the screen. The box contained mirrors and allowed the image to be projected from the center of the projection booth—this was meant to eliminate the slight out of focus problem you get when you have two projectors shooting at a slight off-center angle from the screen. I never thought it made significant difference.

The Newmarket also had an ongoing problem with the lights in the marquee. Every few months we had to have an electrician replace the ballasts…the odd things you remember.

Mr. Stallings used to say that the experience you got working for the theater was so valuable, you should pay the theatre to get to work there.

If any of you want to trade some stories, I can be found at http://www.mackarrington.com

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