Georgia Square Mall Cinemas 1 2 3 4
3700 Atlanta Highway,
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According to my facts Georgia Square Mall 1-2-3-4 Cinemas opened the opening day of the mall on February 11, 1981 as a General Cinema Theatre.
It was located towards the back of the mall. Upon entering the mall you’d spot that white open little box office much like the one at Regency Mall 1-2-3 in Augusta.
I was suprised by the opening date because when I came up from Augusta to help Craig Zacker who was in desperate need of a good second man after being talked into it, the mall just had a worn look like it could’ve opened in the late-1970’s.
So it opened in a town made up of ABC-Plitt Theatres, Georgia Theatres, an independent theatre, The Alps, and the Beechwood Cinemas. It made a huge inpact. Soon the Athens Drive-In near the mall would close.
The concession stand was large. You went down 10 steps or so, and you would step down into the theatre to the concessions stand. When Georgia Bulldog basketball players would come for a movie their heads would almost hit the ceiling. I think we had two one-sheet frames. At one time we didn’t have any one-sheets so I put up some old ones from the 1970’s. I heard lots of comments, "that’s been on TV!"
We played the usual midnight shows and they played quite well. Mr. Zacker even played "Rocky Horror Picture Show" a movie we had to pull out of Augusta! (see Regency Mall 1-2-3).
The crowds in Athens were well behaved, sort of dull after Augusta. The booth was run by Herbert Smith, and his wife Miss Anne ran the box office for years. Karen Shaw was our other box office girl and she was a licensed pilot! She was a sweetheart. Pam – Lars – Tommy – and so many others. We had a good staff. Lars would always change the names on midnight shows like "Rocky Horror Picture Show" was "Transvestites A Go-Go" and such.
1983’s "The Big Chill" was probably one of the longest running films to play at Georgia Square Mall. Sam Peckinpah’s last movie, "The Osterman Weekend" played there – a great looking one sheet.
Singer Kenny Rogers, an Athens resident, came to see "Deal of the Century" and I was off in the mall when he presented a $100 bill. The box office girl couldn’t take it unless a manager was there so he had to walk over to a restaurant to break the bill. I apologized to him when he came out for not being there. He said, ‘it’s no big deal, I worked in a theatre before’. After seeing "Deal of the Century" I’m surprised he didn’t demand a refund!
Charles Pileggi was the other assistant manager. Mr. Zacker, Pileggi, and myself shared shared a trailer unti Mr. Zacker could move his family up to Athens. As I remember, Charles kept forgetting to pay the bills after we gave him the money. Often the gas or cable would be off. The warm theatre was a welcome relief!
Lots of out of town college football teams seem to come out to our theatres Friday night before playing Georgia on Saturday. Hershell Walker came to see "Vacation". I saw "The Dead Pool" there while my wife Rochelle and newborn son Sean Rogers watched "Roger Rabbit" (Sean slept).
Five more cinemas would be built outside the mall for Georgia Square Mall – all GCC theatres. Craig wanted a golf cart! But I don’t think he ever got one.
I ended my theatre career in Athens at Georgia Square Mall. The cinemas inside the mall are long gone. I’ve been wanting to go by there one day. A large food court now takes that space. The five cinemas outside the mall are dollar theatres, and are run by Georgia Theatres.
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