Twin Bays 4

4250 S. Dale Mabry Highway,
Tampa, FL 33611

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Movie_Mike on October 3, 2017 at 7:12 pm

Coate….my apologies. Our manager (Jim Folman) used to talk to customers in the lobby and he’d always talk about how we played the film for 27 Weeks, “just like STAR WARS!” Of course, now that I think about it, we went to a discount ($1.00) house Thanksgiving week of 1977 so no way we still had the film. Really enjoyed your article. I have an entertainment website – Give it a look.

Coate on October 3, 2017 at 5:18 pm

There’s no way SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT played at Twin Bays for 27 weeks (unless perhaps you’re combining the duration of first run and some return runs)! As the author of a retrospective article on that movie — Still East Bound and Down: Remembering Smokey and the Bandit On Its 40th Anniversary — I can relay my findings that the BANDIT run at Twin Bays was 8 weeks (May 27-July 21). Now, there were some six-month runs but not in Tampa. The longest Tampa run was the Eastlake Square’s run of 16 weeks (May 27-Sep 15).

Movie_Mike on October 1, 2017 at 7:38 pm

I went to work at Twin Bays in early 1977. I moved over from the Britton, where I had worked for a while, because Twin Bays paid 10 cents an hour more. I remember we ran SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT that summer for 27 weeks. Our assistant manager was a man named Bob Wiggins, who left to go become the guardian for his nephew in California who was appearing on the television show MAUDE. I learned a lot from him and emulated him as best I could in the 20 years that I managed movie theatres.

rivest266 on October 1, 2017 at 9:34 am

August 26th, 1971 grand opening ad in the photo section.

SMckenzie on October 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm

I remember Twin Bays being the theater of choice for my mother. For some odd reason she did a lot of shopping at nearby Britton Plaza, we lived in West Tampa that’s quite a ride. A lot of my childhood movie memories happened at this theater. My mom would always say wait for the movie to come out on VHS or see it at the dollar theater, of course I waited to see it in the theater. Even when I had a choice of the first run theaters I usually chose this one, admission being $1.00 my mom didn’t mind splurging on candy, popcorn, and a soda. I always thought it was strange how far back this theater was positioned.

carlton_banks on May 16, 2012 at 9:27 am

As a youngster growing up in the Tampa Bay area, I have seen much of the growth and tragedy among Tampa’s cinema scene. I always thought it was a treat to go to the Twin Bays after my grandmother would take me shopping on MacDill Air Base. She would treat me out once a week as if I was good all day, and what a treat it was. I loved it because it was so small and cozy. You walked and you saw the entire building lol. And it was a great retreat for military families looking for affordable entertainment without breaking the bank. It was a sad day when AMC shuttered both locations. Its funny now when I drive by the old location..I can imagine all of the great memories I have attached to the old Twin.

Jorge on June 3, 2011 at 10:49 am

I recall seeing quite a few movies here for $1 back when I was still new to the area (1995-1997). My fondest memory was a second date with my (now) wife, we went to see Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight, we wanted to go see a movie, but nothing of interest was playing in the first run theaters, so we hit the Twin Bays. I think we had our first kiss this same night, sealing our fates forever (yikes). We been married 14 years now!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 20, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Sean and Kyle when they were 10 and 12 could sneak in the 20 plex all the time,just gotta look like you belong. Saved me some money.

Nunzienick on May 3, 2010 at 9:40 pm

You got that right…my sneaking-in days are history!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 29, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Nick, I don’t believe you would ever sneak into another theatre.

Nunzienick on April 29, 2010 at 2:14 pm

AMC opened Twin Bays 4 and Horizon Park 4 on the same day, August 26, 1971. Both theatres were the same style and design and were identical to each other. This was AMC’s initial entry into the Tampa market and was much praised and heralded by local moviegoers. The Tribune’s film critic stated, “the coming of the quads will hopefully relieve the bad theatre situation in Tampa.” At the time there were only six first-run theatres locally, the Tampa, Florida, Palace, Britton, Hillsboro and Loew’s. The market was poorly under-screened for a city the size of Tampa in 1971. Smaller cities in fact had twice the number of first-run theatres.

Seeing as both theatres were identical and opened on the same day, the first portion of both postings will be the same for each theatre. The difference will be in my comments for each.

Two new theatres opening in the area was great news for local filmgoers. And what was even more thrilling was each theatre would feature not one or two but four screens under one roof for a total of eight new screens! At the time these four small theatres were a wonder to behold. Tampa had yet to receive its first twin theatre much less four.

These were the typical mini shoebox theatres with two large and two smaller auditoriums that probably seated anywhere from 125 to 225 per screen. They were always neat, clean, and well-maintained. Even today AMC theatres are among the cleanest.

AMC promoted the small quads with their creed:

*With smaller auditoriums patrons will not feel “lost” as they may feel in larger theatres on days with low attendance.

*Projection in smaller auditoriums provide for a shorter throw to the screen resulting in a sharper and brighter picture.

*The capability of showing a popular film in two auditoriums at the same time using a single print thus saving additional costs.

The opening day announcement advertised the theatre amenities:

Four Luxurious Motion Picture Theatres Under One Roof
Acres of Free Parking
Reduced Admission During our Exclusive Twi-Lite Every Evening
Discount Senior and Student ID cards that Offer One Year Disounts

Both theatres played the same attractions on opening day:

Pinocchio / A New Leaf / Ryan’s Daughter / The Andromeda Strain

The theatre was was located in the Twin Bays Shopping Center in South Tampa right next to Britton Plaza. Twin Bays 4 had an erratic admission history. Opening as a first-run theatre it later became a second-run $1 house for some time. It then reverted back to first-run and later back to $1 once again. This fluctuation between first and second-run movies/admissions occured at least two or three additional times during Twin Bays life span. For a time it was also a $1.50 house before finally closing as a $1 theatre.

The design of the small lobby made it somewhat tricky to sneak into another theatre without being seen. With admission being only $1 it wasn’t worth the grief and embarrassment of getting caught. It was easier to simply exit the theatre, pay another $1 and re-enter. This I did several times after nearly being caught once.

Some of the many films I saw here first-run that come to mind:
Abdominable Dr. Phibes/American Graffiti/Slaughterhouse 5/Dirty Harry/Son of Blob

And these I saw for $1.00:
Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex/The Exorcist/The Goodbye Girl/Coal Miner’s Daughter/Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind/ Oh God!/Piranha/Greystoke The Legend of Tarzan/E.T./Back to the Future/American Werewolf In London/10/Born on the 4th of July/The Terminator/Nightmare on Elm Street/Night of the Living Dead (midnight showing)/The Goonies/The Entity/Saturday Night Fever

Both American Graffiti and Saturday Night Fever were long running films that played here for months and months.

Twin Bays 4 closed on September 28, 1997 and the final features were:

Face-Off/Steel/Batman & Robin/The Lost World/Con Air/Nothing To Lose

A feature article on the closing was published in the Tampa Tribune 3 days prior titled:

“Last Picture Show: Curtain Closes For Good At Twin Bays 4."
Several regulars were interviewed saying they were not happy. Twin Bays was the best theatre bargain in town and they were so sorry to see it close. The theatre was always clean and the crowds well behaved. The manager was quoted as saying the theatre was no longer profitable. AMC was looking to replace small units with megaplexes of 20 to 30 screens with stadium seating.

Following the closing the building sat vacant for a time and was later demolished along with the entire shopping center. A Loew’s Home Improvement store now sits on the site.

AndyCallahanMajorMajor on April 28, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Interesting that they were both in Tampa’s two Woolco shopping centers. I went to Twin Bays once or twice, but never Horizon.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 28, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Great Work Nick. We all enjoy the stories you write. We need to print Charlie’s Bio. “life as a projectionist”. The CT gang would love it.

Nunzienick on April 28, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Yes, as a matter of fact they did. When researching these two I was shocked to see that Horizon Park closed the day following the Twin Bays closure. And what’s really odd is the Tampa Tribune did a front page feature story on Twin Bays closing but not one word about Horizon Park…not a single mention. I was hoping to post the Twin Bays story tonight but if not I’ll post tomorrow.

Nunzienick on April 23, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Saw many movies here. I believe AMC opened Twin Bays 4 and Horizon Park 4 on the same day. More to come on both of these.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 9, 2010 at 4:14 pm

I wonder what happened to Nick. I called this house a few nights ago.Man, if i can’t talk thatre with TLSLOews,Robin or Nick, it just doesn’t make my night. I will try and call again.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 9, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Nick, you have nothing to worry about the way you wrote about THE DALE MARBY DRIVE-IN and 20th CENTURY DRIVE-in In TAMPA,these intros are really not much of what folks like to read. We like what you put down,good solid theatre histories.