Center Theatre

Kinston, NC 28501

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Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

NightHawk1 on May 3, 2012 at 4:19 am

This is truly a forgotten theater. I lived in the Kinston area in the mid-1970s and never heard of a Center Theatre. The Paramount was the only downtown theater operating in 1975, with the Park Theatre operating just north of downtown. The only other downtown theaters I am aware of Kinston having were the Oasis and the Carolina, which may have been the same theater (the Oasis was operating during the silent era, while the Carolina operated during Hollywood’s “Golden Age”). The Center could have been a third name for the Oasis/Carolina, a third downtown (white) theater, or possibly an African-American theater; least likely possibility would be the original name of the Kinston Plaza Cinema. Does anybody know anything about this theater?

kaykyserkenny on October 9, 2012 at 8:00 pm

My mother, born in 1930, went to movies at the Oasis in the late 30s/early 40s. A member of a poor family, the Oasis was apparently the bargain theater to go to. She said that she and the other kids referred to it as “The Rat”.

NightHawk1 on October 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm

If the Oasis was still operating in the early 1940s it was a different theater from the Carolina, which was also operating in the early ‘40s (as was the Paramount). The Center Theater could have been a remodeling of the Oasis after World War II but before 1951, when H.B. Meiselman’s Park Theatre opened in the Parkview Shopping Center on North Queen Street. The Carolina was still operating in the 1950s, but I have no idea if the Center was still operating, or of where the Center, Oasis and Carolina were located (most likely on Queen Street between Vernon Avenue and King Street – downtown Kinston proper).

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