Gateway Cinema 1 & 2

1417 West Ehringhaus Street,
Elizabeth City, NC 27909

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raysson
raysson on December 10, 2014 at 6:34 pm

THEATRE HISTORY OF THE GATEWAY CINEMA:

1973-1976 Schneider-Merl Corporation

1976-1982 Martin Theatres

1982-1994 Carmike Cinemas

1994-Present Independent Family Operated Chain

raysson
raysson on December 10, 2014 at 6:31 pm

DavidDynamic and NightHawk1: About those matinees…..

The Gateway Cinema along with other theatres under the Schneider-Merl chain were showing porn matinees alongside its regular features. Most of these matinees were showed on the right side of the cinema while the regular first-run features were shown to the left. The Gateway was not alone here in the business of showing adult films during matinees. Not to mention having porn films as part of its weekend late shows. Other theatres under the Schneider-Merl chain were doing this as well until ownership changed hands by 1976 when Atlanta-based Martin Theatres took over all of the Schneider-Merl operations. Under new ownership by Martin Theatres, all porn matinees were ceased and the porn films were even giving special showings or weekend late shows. If they were adult films shown they would be given one showing during the evening performances and not during its matinees(which were given to the regular features and special children’s matinees)which was under strict company policy of Martin Theatres which lasted until the early-1980’s. By the time Carmike Cinemas took over in 1982, the showing of adult matinees and pornographic material were completely gone and a new era which was home video that killed the porn matinee business.

raysson
raysson on December 10, 2014 at 6:22 pm

DavidDynamic and NightHawk1: I found the opening date information on this theatre and revised this onto the Cinema Treasures site. The cinema’s original chain was under Schneider-Merl Theatres Corporation(which also owned and operated several movie theatres in North Carolina in Durham, Raleigh, Fayetteville, Gastonia, Asheville, Burlington, Elizabeth City, and Winston-Salem).

It opened as the Gateway Cinema I & II and it was Elizabeth City’s first-ever twin theatre under Schneider-Merl on January 19, 1973. It was owned and operated later on by Atlanta-based Martin Theatres and later on Carmike Cinemas. By 1994, Carmike Cinemas abandoned this theatre and it was picked up and operated under another owner which was an independent based chain. It was a twin theatre from the start. As of this record, it is the only operating theatre in town under that independent chain.

DavidDynamic
DavidDynamic on May 6, 2012 at 4:16 pm

NightHawk1, I don’t know about matinees—since I only attended with nighttime dates. The booth port windows were quite large and one could see the film threaded about the place and the projector in operation.

I do not know when the practice of co-showing XXX movies ended since by the early eighties my work and other social factors put the damper on my movie attendance. I would guess the availability of this type of movie at several video rental outlets took the profits away—also there was competition, eventually, from the South 17 Drive-In. The Gateway is now promoted as inexpensive family entertainment.

NightHawk1
NightHawk1 on May 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm

DavidDynamic: I was unsure of this theater’s original configuration, name, chain affiliation or date. I have very little info about this theater other than it was once owned by Carmike Cinemas. 1994 may have been the year Carmike unloaded the Gateway onto another owner. If the theater was originally a twin it is not as old as I thought it was; the lack of a good view of the theater made it difficult for me to determine if it was built as a twin. Going by your recollections, David, I would assume that it was a twin from the start. Interesting that it showed porn films in the right theater and regular films in the left; most chains would either not run porn at all or limit porn to downtown grindhouses.Since the Gateway was showing porn and regular films in the same complex, it sounds like a Stewart & Everett venue. S&E booked porn films occasionally at Kinston’s Mall Cinema during the 1970s; the X-rated films were shown at midnight as the Mall Cinema was a single-screen at the time. Did Gateway run porn only at night or did they have porn matinees as well?

DavidDynamic
DavidDynamic on May 6, 2012 at 3:36 am

Just could not manipulate the street view to get a picture of the theater. I believe the GATEWAY TWIN is barely visible between the gray building on the left and the peaked sign.

NightHawk1 did you find an original source that said this theater was built as a single screen? I used to go there in the seventies when the new shine was still on and the place sparkled. At that time they booked adult XXX movies on the right side auditorium which was decorated in carnal pink/red.

It is rather odd to read the complaints on Yahoo since my memories involve a brand new theater. I came across some info that indicated there might have been a change of ownership in 94.