Congressional 5 Cinemas

1631 Rockville Pike,
Rockville, MD 20852

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The K-B Congressional 5 Cinemas opened in the fall of 1981 (September, if I recall correctly). All of the auditoriums were relatively small but over 200-seats each.

However, presentation quality was normally pretty decent as theatres of this era go. Sharp pictures and decent sound. In fact, it was one of the first to use JBL speakers back when Altec was more standard.

It was located almost in the corner of Congressional Plaza. The first thing one would see as they entered was the combination box office and concession stand right at the doors. After going by the stand one would come to the ticket hopper where one could go to one of five theatres. Three of the entrances to the theatres were located here and the other two entrances were across the lobby (a rather short walk).

Downstairs was a game room where video games were featured en masse until goverment laws on such facilities limited the quantity of games could be in such a place. The restrooms were also located on the lower level as was the manager’s office.

In its day, this theatre was very busy but it certainly was of its time.

Contributed by Steve Guttag

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on March 7, 2009 at 11:53 am

All right, I know I posted something about this place and its GONE again. So, here it goes. I remember seeing Footloose with my friends at this theater. As far as to the layout of the place, it is rather vague. I’m thinking that the auditoriums were of similar size and had speakers all over the theater. I remember when Deniece Williams' sang Lets Hear it For the Boy, both during the movie and during the end credits, you could hear her harmony and other instruments from different parts of the theater. Very nice.

I’m thinking I saw Unforgiven here as well. Of course, that film wasn’t an aural experience but more of a dramatically engaging for me after the first 1/3 of the movie.

dwauters
dwauters on May 8, 2009 at 6:52 pm

The architect was Woodhouse.

sott68
sott68 on February 12, 2010 at 9:37 am

I am pretty sure this was in the same plaza as Tower Records… I remember seeing movies here and then going to Tower, which was always open late and then going to eat at the pizza joint.

sguttag
sguttag on March 7, 2010 at 1:09 am

The layout was pretty basic. Looking from the parking lot towards the theatre…Theatre 1 was on your left, theatres 2, 3, 4 were in the rear and theatre 5 was on your right with the lobby separating theatres 1 and 5.

As for sound Theatres 1, 4, and 5 supported stereo sound and by the time it closed they always had stereo (normally Dolby, sometimes EPRAD…theatre #4 normally had the EPRAD Starscope). The speakers behind the screen were JBL 4670s in 1, 4, 5 with Frazier surrounds. Theatres 2 and 3 were always mono and featured JBL 4673s behind the screen (early ones).

SG

davidus
davidus on December 18, 2010 at 4:55 am

I worked at the K-B Congressional 5 when it opened. It was located at 1631 Rockville Pike Rockville Maryland at the Congressional Plaza. It was in the spot where ULTA Salon & Cosmetics is located ( as of 12/2010). The concession stand and box office were combined into a long white formica island. At the front was the box office counter with two spots for cashiers. After a customer purchased a ticket they were roped into waking down either concession side (left or right). The concession stand had heaters on the counter the held pre filled popcorn tubs. This was the time when popcorn was sold in tubs not bags. There were bubblers that held, mixed and displayed pink or yellow lemonade. At the end of the counter were cashiers on each side.The stairs to go down were located after the end of the counter. There was a spectacular painting over the stairwell that the owner bought overseas to display in the theatre. The lobby had a blue carpet with a pattern that was glued to a concrete floor. The opening of the theater was delayed because it was discovered that the back two or three rows of seats in each theater were too low and the customers would not be able to see the screen. The contractor had to remove the seats and add foam then concrete to get the seats higher. Theater 3 was the smallest auditorium. There were often traffic jams emptying Theaters 2,3,and 4 because the patrons would have to exit through the lobby where other patrons were waiting or coming in.

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