Athens Theatre

414 Pollock Street,
New Bern, NC 28560

Unfavorite 1 person favorited this theater

Showing 21 comments

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 15, 2015 at 4:59 pm

Ms. Blankenship, Cinema Treasures is not affiliated in any way with the New Bern Civic Theatre. If you wish to contact that organization directly, you can do so from their web site. Their “Contact” link can be found by hovering your cursor over the “Giving” link on their main page.

Cinema Treasures also has a page for the Lions Lincoln Theatre, but so far it has received no comments. Perhaps you would like to provide the first?

LincolnTheatre on September 15, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Hello, My name is Lynda Blankenship and I am the Executive Director of a 1915 movie theatre in Massillon, Ohio. I am in New Bern and saw your restoration work and was wondering if I might be of help. We have just completed a $400,000 restoration of part of our building, we run a complete theatre with Live Shows, a year long classic film series on Sat. and Sun and community events. We have found very interesting funding channels and I book all our own films. I do the PR and all the community speaking and front of house. I am enjoying my visit to your lovely historic town and am thinking of purchasing a 2nd home in the downtown area. I would love to offer any help you may need. I have been consulting theaters trying to come back on line. I wish you the best of luck and hope to be able to assist in some way. Lynda Blankenship, The Lions Lincoln Theatre, Massillon, Ohio

Patsy on June 9, 2015 at 4:49 pm

New Bern resident and writer, Nicholas Sparks is holding a red carpet event at this theatre in the near future.

NightHawk1 on December 3, 2014 at 1:57 am

This is where “Star Wars” played first-run in New Bern? Apparently the Neuse Village Cinema was still single-screen then, as Fox forced S&E to play a lesser film at the better cinema. That move by Fox sounds like a booking practice that was abolished when the Paramount decree was imposed in 1948.

NBmovieman on November 20, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Illustration of original Athens front.

NBmovieman on November 19, 2014 at 3:32 pm

This was operated by the now defunct Stewart & Everett Theater corp from some time in the late 50s until 1979.

After Southgate Cinemas and the Rocking Chair Cinema on Neuse Blvd. were opened, the “Tryon Theatre” mostly played martial arts and blaxploitation films, with X rated late night films on Fridays and Saturdays.

Its last hurrah was a long run of Star Wars after the Rocking Chair Cinema (same owner) was tied down to honoring its contract to Fox to show the forgettable Other Side of Midnight.

With its lease expiring, S&E Cinemas chose not to re-up and removed their equipment. It was purchased sometime later by the New Bern Civic Theater company for live productions.

runusmc on July 6, 2014 at 2:07 am
 I can't believe (but I do accept) that this theatre showed porno and was considered a grindhouse in the mid to late 1970's...I was in the Marines from December 1974 - July 1976 at Cherry Point and NEVER came across this place despite looking for this type of entertainment. In addition, no one ever told me about this joint either.  Almost unbelievable on my part.
Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on February 24, 2014 at 10:25 am

The Athens Theatre briefly had a tiny Wurlitzer pipe organ. Wurlitzer’s records show a Style 105 Special, opus 1371, 2 manuals, 3 ranks, with a curved console was installed in June 1926, but the organ was moved to a theatre in Maryland in September 1927. The theatre’s website says the hall was equipped for sound pictures in 1929 so the short life of the organ there is something of a mystery.

NightHawk1 on October 13, 2012 at 3:21 am

I lived in downtown New Bern twenty years ago when the diagonal image of the “restored” facade was painted on the (then) Saax Bradbury Playhouse. I attended a performance of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” at this theater in 1991 and nothing had been done to the facade since the removal of the circa-1940 front and marquee back in the late 1980s. They should have left the modern facade up until they had the funds to fully restore the original Athens facade. Still, at least the New Bern Civic Theatre is still operating; the Turnage Theater in nearby Washington is closed and about to go on the auction block.

kaykyserkenny on October 9, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Oooops! Let me add that I was talking about my mother, who was from Maysville.

kaykyserkenny on October 9, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Back in the early 1950s, a country & western singing group she was in, The Miss Trio, won a talent show at the Tryon.

NightHawk1 on September 17, 2012 at 11:18 pm

The alternate name “Show Stop Theatre” is incorrect. The correct name was “Show Shop Theatre” which was adopted in the 1930s. The Show Shop Theatre was a B-movie theater, newer releases played at the Masonic Theatre at 532 Hancock Street (that theater is still standing, as it is part of a Masonic lodge). The facade of the Athens/Show Shop Theatre was modernized approximately 1940 and may have been renamed Kehoe at that point. Stewart & Everett took over in 1958 or 1959; they renamed the theater Tryon to capitalize on the Tryon Palace reconstruction which opened in 1959. After the Neuse Village Cinema opened in 1971 the Tryon operated as a grindhouse until closing in 1979 (the last couple of years they ran porn exclusively).

NightHawk1 on November 30, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Chief Jensen is certainly right about lots of Marines going to this theatre, as it was THE grindhouse/porno theatre for Craven County from about 1974 until its closing in 1979. After the Tryon closed WCTI-TV 12(ABC) filmed scenes of the Tryon’s marquee for use on its Sunday afternoon movie. When New Bern Civic Theatre began using the theatre they originally named the building the Saax Bradbury Playhouse.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 1, 2011 at 6:20 am

New Bern Civic Theatre is the name of the organization operating this house. The theater itself has returned to its original name, the Athens Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 1, 2011 at 5:37 am

The photos at the second link in my previous comment are now enlarging properly, so I guess they worked the bugs out of their program. One of the images is the original floor plan of the theater from the office of architect Herbert W. Simpson.

The official web site gives the address of the Athens Theatre as 414 Pollock Street. The zip code is 28560.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 21, 2011 at 6:35 am

Here is a photo of the Athens Theatre taken in 2009.

If this link works (the web site is in Beta and rather temperamental) you’ll see five large thumbnails showing the Athens. They are supposed to enlarge, but I can’t get them to do so. Maybe it’s not compatible with either of my browsers.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 20, 2011 at 5:37 am

As noted at the theater’s official web site (to which Mark_L linked above,) this house opened in 1911 as the Athens Theatre, and was designed by architect Herbert W. Simpson. In addition to The Show Shop and the Kehoe Theatre, Tryon Theatre should be listed as an aka, as the house has gone back to its original name.

The Athens Theatre was restored in 1980, and has since served as a performing arts venue operated by the New Bern Civic Theatre.

Mark_L on September 6, 2010 at 1:51 pm

This theatre was also known as the ATHENS, SHOW STOP and KEHOE.


Coate on September 6, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Chief Jensen, I’m shocked you didn’t quote the Rivest material as you often do! :–)

It’s a good thing, Chief, you didn’t quote Rivest, in this case, as he has the theater name misspelled as Trylon and cites an erroneous 1975 closing date. It would appear the guy who wrote and submitted the intro write-up referenced Rivest, as so many CT contributors, unfortunately, have a habit of doing.

Now that the theater name has been corrected/updated, can we fix the closing date detail?

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on September 6, 2010 at 10:21 am



The 1967, THE FILM DAILY YEAR BOOK of MOTION PICTURES, under Stewart & Everett Theatres, Inc., lists in New Bern: Tryon. Charles B. Trexler, President & Treas. with 69 theaters in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

A Governor of North Carolina was named Tryon, so a number of things in the state are named Tryon. Trylon was that tall “spire”? next to the sphere at the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair.

Anyone have more info or photos on this theater?

I’ll bet lots of Marines went to this theater. The Cherry Point U.S. Marine Corps Air Station is nearby.

Chief Jensen

Coate on September 1, 2010 at 9:54 pm

<<< Trylon Theatre, Also known as Tryon Theatre>>>

Trylon? Any chance that’s a typo? I also suspect this theater closed later than 1975.