Newmarket Cinemas 1-4

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

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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

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.

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

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 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.

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.

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,

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.

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.

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 10:01 pm

Some interesting stuff about the Newmarket Theatres more than just the time capsule:

The original big theatre was called the Rockingchair theatre, Virginia’s first rockingchair theatre
The theatre had 738 seats and a wall-to-wall screen, not sure of the exact dimesions, I would say atleast 40 feet long.
Theatre had a rotating sign on the roof, when I worked there the breaker that controlled it was taped off so not to turn it on bu mistake. We tried it one night in 1982 I believe, screeched very loudly like a rusted old wheel on a bike but much louder.

kseward
kseward on July 17, 2007 at 9:58 am

This Sickmalls blog entry has a picture of the Cinemas 3 & 4 concession stand:

View link

kseward
kseward on July 11, 2007 at 6:04 pm

Glitch alert: for some reason the address for the Newmarket Cinemas is not what I entered.

The correct street address is 688 79th St. Newport News VA for the older Cinemas 1 & 2 building.

The Cinemas 3 & 4 address is 682 79th St. Newport News VA.

Possibly these freestanding cinemas behind the Newmarket Square shopping center have been confused with the mall cineplex that used to exist inside what was Newmarket North Mall.

kseward
kseward on July 11, 2007 at 5:47 pm

Um, also my info is hardly complete or error-proof. Please submit anything you know about the Newmarket Cinemas (the one behind the old Newmarket Shopping Center, not the cineplex in the Newmarket North Mall).

Also, more subjective, “I saw this movie here” stories are welcome.

To start the ball rolling:

If I recall correctly, it was here that I saw The Man Who Would Be King (starring Sean Connery and Micheal Caine) on my 13th birthday.

kseward
kseward on July 11, 2007 at 5:39 pm

In lieu of posting photos on Cinema Treasures, here’s a blog entry with pictures I took in 2000:

View link