Westown I & II

7600 Kingston Pike,
Knoxville, TN 37919

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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.

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.

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

thanks again for the updates.

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 December 20, 2011 at 7:18 pm

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

bbrown1
bbrown1 on February 1, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Wow, I had forgotten all about the Fox! I remember now I actually went there once, to see THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE. I lived in East Knoxville, and rarely went very far out Kingston Pike. As I remember the Fox was west of the Westown Mall. The Capri complex always seemed kind of strange, theaters built next to each other more than what is thought of as a multiplex nowdays.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on February 1, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Thanks tntim,I have family about 40 miles outside K-Town,so sorta grew up around that area in the Summers.

tntim
tntim on January 25, 2011 at 10:51 pm

bbrown, To add to the list of indoor theatres in 1972 is the Fox Theatre. Also instead of listing just the Capri, it should be the Capri Cinema, Capri-70, and the Capri Terrace. So there was a total of 10 indoor screens.

Mike, You are correct, it was one of the Ultra-Vision theatres that ABC was building in the 70’s. And it’s correct name was Westown Ultra-Vision. It was a single screen seating 800.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 13, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Thanks bbrown1,great writing on those East Tennessee Screens.At one time {1956} Augusta,Ga had 13 Drive-ins,but with the Bomb plant on the other side of the Savannah river once that place got going alot of outdoor screens were gone that like Oak Ridge and of course TV. I am still trying to find the name of that third Drive-in In Newport,Tn.

bbrown1
bbrown1 on January 12, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Interesting now when I think back to when I moved to Knoxville in August of 1972, there were only 7 open indoor movie theaters (Westown, Capri, Park, Tennessee, Riviera, Bijou, and Gay Street Cinema), but 9 open drive-ins (Twin Aire, Chapman Highway, Cinema, Dixie Lee, Family, Knoxville, Skyway, River Breeze, and Lakemont). All were single screens except for the Capri and Twin Aire. All of the indoor theaters excet for the Park were downtown on Gay Street or on Kingston Pike. At that time, the Bijou, Gay Street Cinema, and Dixie Lee Drive-In were showing “Hard X” movies, and the Chapman Highway Drive-In was showing “Soft X” movies. Technically the Lakemont was in Alcoa, but it advertised in the Knoxville papers, and I remember the first night after I moved to Knoxville, we went to the Lakemont to see FRITZ THE CAT. The only ones I never got to were the Dixie Lee and Skyway, which I’m pretty sure were both closed by 1973. The Community Drive-In in Mascot was intact, but already closed by 1972.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 12, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Yes, it was Abc Southeastern/Plitt theatre.April 27 1983 Prices for “JEDI” were set at 2,50 for kids and 4.50 for adults.Cedar Bluff was Fifty cents cheaper across the board.Your Knoxville District manager was George Deavours.For “JEDI” and “SUPERMAN” there were no Bargin matinee price.No senior citizen price,no passes, no rats {reduced tickets sold to industry and schools}.Bruce Torbett managed Westown in the late 70’s.Westown was a twin playing “D.C.CAB” and “TERMS OF ENDEARMENT. On these two films Attendance was 3573.Concession Sells were $3142.00. per cap 87.9 [NOT BAD].Payroll that week at Westown was 405.00 {which tells me the Assistant was selling concession or either working Box,we did that in Augusta to the point I was sick of it}.Jan 4. 1984 Ron McHone was Manager of Westown.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Yes,it was a single screen.I wonder if it was an Ultra-Vision Theatre that Abc Theatres opened in the 70’s.

bbrown1
bbrown1 on January 11, 2011 at 6:19 pm

I moved to Knoxville in 1972, and I believe the Westown only had one screen when it opened. As I recall, the only other(non-X rated) walk-in theaters open in Knoxville at the time were the Capri on Kingston Pike, the Park on Magnolia, and the Tennessee and Riviera downtown on Gay Street. I only remember going there once, and I think it was THE WILD ROVERS with William Holden and Ryan O'Neal. I remeber the circular shape, but I don’t think it was ever Cinerama. It was definitely the newest, nicest indoor theater in Knoxville at the time.