Westown I & II

7600 Kingston Pike,
Knoxville, TN 37919

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Westown I & II

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This theatre was located in the north-east corner of the parking lot of West Towne Mall, near the corner of Kingston Pike and Morrell Road. It was a circular building in the style of a Cinerama house. The lobby had huge plate glass windows looking out, and a central semi-circular concession stand.

West Towne Mall opened in 1972, and the Westown Ultra-Vision Theatre opened December 20, 1972 as a single screen cinema. It was twinned in October 1983.

I recall seeing "The Empire Strikes Back," "Hellraiser," "Heathers" and "Fanny and Alexander" here. When West Towne Mall underwent major renovations in the late-1980’s or early-1990’s, the cinema was closed June 28, 1990 and was demolished in favor of a new in-mall multiplex.

Contributed by Martin Hennessee

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 25, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Westown got it Price increase from the nearby Knoxville home office of Plitt Theatres. If they get “JEDI” prices will be $4.50 for adults and $2.50 for kids.

tntim
tntim on September 25, 2011 at 5:18 pm

If you look at the photos of this theatre in Charleston,http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/27447/photos , you are looking at the Westown Theatre. Both were Identical in appearance.

davidfhale
davidfhale on November 9, 2011 at 4:10 pm

tntim, that’s it exactly. That design could be built as two theatres, with the box office and concession stand in between the two auditoriums.

The Westown was originally a very nice theatre – large screen, good sound system, and comfy seats. I imagine the twinning process spoiled most of that.

ryderdvs
ryderdvs on November 23, 2011 at 12:43 pm

This was a nice theater. I remember seeing E.T., and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? there. I can also recall, in 1987, riding in the car on Kingston Pike, and seeing a bunch of Jesus-freaks standing outside the theater with picket signs, protesting Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 20, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Anyone that worked here please check out REMEMBERING PLITT THEATRES on Facebook.

nimrod
nimrod on January 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm

If I’m not mistaken, the very first film to show in the new theater was The Getaway with Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw. I also vividly remember watching The Hobbit at a midnight showing there, probably 1978 or 79.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm

thanks again for the updates.

sporridge
sporridge on March 16, 2013 at 8:17 pm

For those keeping track of former Ultra-Vision venues, there were also two in South Florida: The Ultra-Vision Twin in Deerfield Beach (now demolished after 25 years as a church)

http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/15990

and the Dolphin in Palm Springs (near West Palm Beach)

http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/31804

Lifespans for both: 1971 to 1985.

The photo of the Westown is very similar to a Deerfield Ultra-Vision auditorium.

tntim
tntim on June 21, 2014 at 10:53 am

Westown Theater opened on December 20, 1972. The theatre closed as a single screen theatre on October 16, 1983. After the theatre was twined, it reopened as Westown I & II on October 28, 1983. The last day of operation was on June 28, 1990, and it was demolished shortly after.

When Westown opened, it replaced the historic Tennessee Theatre downtown as the flagship theatre for ABC Southeastern Theatres in Knoxville. When Bill Courey, the city manager, was asked what the future for the Tennessee was, his response was; “We will continue to operate it, but it is hard to keep a large theatre that is located in the downtown area, and my guess is we will have to close it. After that, I am afraid it will become a parking lot.” Today the Tennessee is alive and enjoying the best years of its life, and the theatre that was built to replace it is now the parking lot.

An aerial photo of the theatre can be found here: link It is the oval building in the lower left hand corner of the mall parking lot.

cgl102770
cgl102770 on June 29, 2015 at 12:34 pm

I worked at this theater in the late nineties during college, it was a fun time. I was there when someone drove a car into a crowd of protesters and was surprised it barely made the news.

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