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 64 comments)

RussellSmeak on January 12, 2011 at 11:54 pm

Mike, I forgot that that was the way you left General Cinema! Man, don’t know what must’ve been going on in your head to just leave without telling anyone. I mean, knowing you, you must’ve really been in some turmoil over that…before and after. Oh, well, we all make mistakes, and life goes on. Not like you killed anyone, right? Now, if you had told him that you were leaving because of Pileggi, then I’m sure he would’ve understood that! LOL! I remember coming to visit y'all during football season. Coming over to see the theater on Friday night, staying and sleeping over in the freezing trailer (thanks to Pileggi not paying the power bill!),and then going to the Georgia game the next day. Didn’t Zacker have a waterbed…with no heat?!? You’re right, Mike, Zacker was a helluva manager and a helluva friend! He taught me so much and I will always remember him as a lifelong mentor, even though he passed away many years ago. If you other theater guys will allow me one more non-theater memory to share…a memory from Zack’s funeral. Craig was a “bigger than life” character. He died of a sudden massive heart attack, and was able to be buried on his farm in Watkinsville. During his burial, there was a huge and violent rainstorm, complete with thunder and lightening! During the service, a huge, loud crack of thunder rattled all of us..obiliterating an old, dead tree close to the burial tent! Later, I remarked about it to Craig’s wife Linda, and she just smiled. I asked her why she smiled and she said that Craig had told her that he always hated that tree and wanted it cut down, but she had always refused him to do it! Well, Craig finally got what he wanted, didn’t he?

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 18, 2011 at 1:21 am

Yeah, Charles wasn’t really the reason.And it was also getting old driving down every weekend after the Midnight show on Saturday and to come back on Monday morning.Charles had to have Zack’s car Cause he didn’t have one.So it was me driving dog bone beat after working 10 am saturday morning to 2 am Sunday morning.Quite frankly the Good Lord was with us cause I fought Sleep while Zack snored.I remember the lighting hitting the tree after we left his grave. My brother -in -law is a Nurse in Athens and he said Linda asked about you and Barry. I think I told you .Or maybe it was Barry whom still wants Us to get together.I think if I could have gotten Craig to stay over the weekend some I might have stayed longer and fallen in love with another Box Office girl.So glad you didn’t.we had plenty of Babes at Regency that you could always steal a Kiss from expect Carol,she hated me.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 21, 2011 at 12:01 am

No comments since 2011,Wow,such a nice Theatre,Assume folks in Athens just don’t care.Have pictures on my Facebook Album page.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 12, 2013 at 9:53 am

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

StanMalone on March 12, 2013 at 10:09 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 10:17 pm

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

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 16, 2013 at 3:16 am

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

phoenixfire on April 6, 2015 at 9:23 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 27, 2015 at 5:13 am

thanxs PHOENIXfire….wish I had taken more pictures…

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