GTC Beechwood 11

196 Alps Road,
Athens, GA 30606

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The Beechwood Cinema opened in 1962 in the Beechwood Shopping Center, featuring wide spaced rows, 600 lounge seats, wide screen, acoustic design, and an entrance mall with shrubbery and fountains. On November 17, 1972 – a Cinema II opened.

On June 19, 1987 it was reopened as the Lefont Cinemas, with one auditoriun split from 600 to two 277 capacity auditoria, one 400 seater retained intact, and a fourth 300 seater built in neighboring dance studio. In 1993 Georgia Theatre Company took over, increasing the size to 8 screens. In 1998 three more stadium seating screens were added, and plans were made to convert the existing screens to stadium seating.

Contributed by BWChicago

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Broan
Broan on August 30, 2009 at 9:55 am

While it was the Lefont, it was run by Hoyt for a time.

Doonyman
Doonyman on November 28, 2009 at 8:04 pm

This is actually a really nice theater. I went there tons of times while I was going to school at UGA.

Sometime during early 2005, the facade of the theater and the strip mall it is located in changed because a TJ Maxx was built right next door. I remember for months it looked like the theater had closed down completely. They took the Beechwood sign down and the marquee. I honestly don’t know how they stayed afloat during those 6 or 8 months or however long the construction took. Since this place is tucked into that strip really well, and with no signage, I don’t know how people found the place.

The TJ Maxx opened by the end of that year, I think, and the huge Beechwood sign I had come to know was reduced in size in order to fit between the two buildings.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on November 28, 2009 at 8:32 pm

I worked at GCC at Georgia Square Cinemas 1.2.3.4. in the Mall. The Beechwood at that time in the mid 80’s was a twin theatre. It played first run.

Doonyman
Doonyman on November 29, 2009 at 3:10 am

So back then, was Georgia Square Cinemas like THE place to see movies? Because I think that’s pretty much what Beechwood and Carmike are now. The Georgia Square Mall theater is like a dollar theater now that plays movies that came out 2-6 months ago, right?

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on November 29, 2009 at 12:54 pm

GEORGIA SQUARE was the place to go for movies.THE PALACE, CLASSIC TRIPLE, ALPS and BEECHWOOD was it. The ATHENS DRIVE IN Closed sooon after the mall opened. it was in walking distance of the mall. The Palace was a Plitt Theatre. Classic was a Georgia Theatre. The little five plex was probably opened in the mid 80’s after I had gotten out of the business.See Georgia Square on CT, for more stories about movies and Athens moviegoers if you have not already Doonyman!

Autism_1994
Autism_1994 on January 19, 2014 at 3:17 pm

It’s still a great theatre, I went there recently to see Walter Mitty and I was impressed with the design and how it was set up. Very interesting theatre, these theatres are very rare these days.

AthFlix
AthFlix on November 26, 2018 at 9:46 am

I worked as a relief projectionist at this theatre, back in the mid-late 90’s. The place was a cool hodgepodge of different screening rooms, built at different times and with different seating capacities. They had a mix of old and very reliable Century and Strong 35mm projectors, mostly Strong platters and some older super-smooth Christie platters. I was brought in largely to give one of the 2 identical twin projectionists there a day off, which they hadn’t had for (not an exaggeration) 20 years.

Lloyd and Floyd Johnson: they alternated driving a local school bus as well, during the school year. So before I began spelling them, one brother would open the theatre in the morning while the other brother would drive the bus; then at 5 one would go home from the theatre and the one who’d driven the bus that day would work the night shift. When I came to do my little half-day shift, it would give one of them a day off. After the last show had let out, the other brother would come back in and they’d BOTH clean the theaters into the AM! At some point, one of their son’s would take the place of the other brother during the late night clean-up.

Unlike GCC up at the mall (which had been bought by Carmike by this time, but had been General Cinemas for most of the Johnson brothers' tenure at Beechwood) Beechwood was certainly a non-union shop, and nobody batted an eye at their working 7 days a week for two decades. I think there was a 3rd non-twin brother named Al Johnson who worked as a long-time custodian at the now-demolished Alps Cinema across the street. And as people have mentioned in the Alps listing here, during the short film salutation that preceded every feature at the Alps, thanking the patrons and listing the names of all employees at the theatre, the appearance of Al’s name as Janitor would always generate applause!

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