Georgia Square Mall Cinemas 1 2 3 4

3700 Atlanta Highway,
Athens, GA 30606

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Georgia Square Mall Cinemas 1 2 3 4

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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.

Contributed by Mike Rogers

Recent comments (view all 68 comments)

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 12, 2013 at 2:53 am

Such a great theatre,guess locals aren’t interested,sad.

StanMalone
StanMalone on March 12, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Mike: I knew Karen Shaw when she worked at South DeKalb during her high school years.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 12, 2013 at 3:17 pm

NO KIDDING,,Would love to see her,you know she had a pilots License…..

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 15, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Georgia SQUARE MALL I,II, III, and IV Memories are now on FACebook.

phoenixfire
phoenixfire on April 6, 2015 at 1:23 pm

Growing up in Oglethorpe County i always thought it was a treat to go browse around Georgia Square Mall. Other than the big toy stores and arcade I remember the Georgia Square Cinemas. I always thought it was pretty neat how you had to go down the stair case into it. Saw Gremlins and Problem Child there…probably more just can’t remember them all. I also remember the Cinemas opening behind the mall. I remember seeing Little Shop Of Horrors there. And now where the Georgia Square Mall I,II,III,and IV was is the mall post of Athens-Clarke County Police Department. Thanks for all the memories with the pictures.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 26, 2015 at 9:13 pm

thanxs PHOENIXfire….wish I had taken more pictures…

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 17, 2016 at 7:26 pm

GA,SQ CINEMAS has new pictures on its facebook page,,enjoy..

markp
markp on August 18, 2016 at 2:14 pm

Always loved your intro up top. A true theatre guy just like myself.

RussellSmeak
RussellSmeak on August 18, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Mark, you hit the nail on the head by calling Mike a “true theatre guy”! Instead of blood, he’s got an endless loop of film running it’s course thru his veins! It’s not his bones that you hear cracking as he runs by, it’s popcorn popping in there! When it’s quiet, Mike doesn’t go thru his mind’s memories (unless they’re theater-related!), no, his mind just plays back favorite scenes he’s memorized from decades of working with movies. If Mike gets caught in a traffic jam, he plans how he’d fix it with red-velvet ropes that would re-direct the “customers” thru the lobby and to the right cinema…uh, exit. No matter what fast food restaurant Mike goes to, he can’t help but look at the lines as “concession lines” and the people behind the counter as “candy girls”. Instead of saying he’s going to the bank, Mike says he’s “making a bank run”. As a “true theatre guy” yourself, you get what I mean, don’t you?

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 20, 2016 at 5:45 pm

thanks RUSSELL, I will never tell female undies story……Still can’t believe ZACK thought I would do that,,,

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