Cameron Village Theatre

511 Woodburn Road,
Raleigh, NC 27605

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The Cameron Village Theatre was part of the first shopping center ever built in Raleigh, NC. The shopping center opened on November 17, 1949, and it became a destination showplace of shops and services. The stores consisted of several when it opened, among them was anchored by Colonial/Big Star Grocer, Roses 5 and 10 Discount Store, three major department stores: among them were Sears, Thalhimers and Penney’s (JC Penney), and speciality shops that included Boylan-Pierce, Balentine’s Cafeteria and the Village Pharmacy to name a few.

The Cameron Village Theatre was one of the first moviehouses to be built in what at the time was a suburban section of the city, not far from the greater downtown Raleigh, and less than three blocks from the campus of North Carolina State University. The Cameron Village Theatre was one of the South’s most modern single screen moviehouses and one of the most elegant in all of Eastern North Carolina. The grand opening of the Cameron Village Theatre was on Thursday February 22, 1951 with Ronald Reagan in “Bedtime For Bonzo”. It was located at the interesction of Cameron Street and Woodburn Road.

Beautifully designed and decorated inside and out, the Cameron Village Theatre was a showplace that had the most relaxing atmosphere in the most modern manner, that brought the Triangle area some of Hollywood’s best. At the time of its opening, the Village presented the latest projection equipment and futurist interior furnishings – a first for Raleigh and Eastern North Carolina. The auditorium itself was a huge 750-seat theatre, complete with extra wide aisles and it offered for the first ever ‘floating seats’ for maximum comfort and convenience when other patrons leave or enter your aisle. There was also acres of free parking.

The theatre was renovated in the 1960’s, and more parking spaces were added. By June, 1975, a second auditorium was created by twinning the original auditorium down the middle. It was renamed Village Twin Theatres and it was acquired by Martin Theatres chain. Operated by Carmike Cinemas, as more shopping centers were built in the city, the Cameron Village Shopping Center’s fortunes fell. During one of the Center’s many makeovers, the twin cinema closed in March 1990.

The building was gutted in the mid-1990’s, and a K & W Cafeteria was constructed inside the former cinema.

Contributed by philipgoldberg, Raymond

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on July 14, 2010 at 12:41 am

K&W Cafeterias is still listed at this address,as the header states.

Mark_L
Mark_L on July 17, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Raysson, How are you defining “roadshow”?

Micah
Micah on October 19, 2010 at 6:19 am

When I get extra time I like to look at the Raleigh theater descriptions. I have found many mistakes in nearly all of the main theater descriptions for the Raleigh theaters. In the case of the Village Twin, the original auditorium was not left intact after the twinning. The auditorium was split down the middle creating two horrible shoe-box auditoriums with smallish screens.

raysson
raysson on April 10, 2012 at 5:53 pm

The Cameron Village when it was a single screen theatre mostly got a lot of the MGM product. A lot of the Elvis Presley films released by MGM got played here first-run.

A lot of great films played here. The Cameron Village on November 17,1963 played LAWRENCE OF ARABIA for it’s only first-run engagement showing. A Raleigh Premiere.

Also played here: Lee Marvin in THE DIRTY DOZEN

Mel Brooks' BLAZING SADDLES

JAWS played here on June 20,1975

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK played here on June 12, 1981.

STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER

raysson
raysson on June 6, 2012 at 10:41 pm

This theatre was still going strong by 1989. It didn’t closed until March of 1990. I have the ads for it’s original closing.

raysson
raysson on July 18, 2012 at 11:31 pm

BEN-HUR played here as a Eastern North Carolina Premiere Engagement Showing at the Cameron Village Theatre on August 10,1960. It was one of two theaters in the state that had the exclusive showings.

The other was in Charlotte at the Plaza Theatre which was a roadshow engagement on June 10,1960.

raysson
raysson on July 18, 2012 at 11:32 pm

I have the original ads for BEN HUR where it played in Raleigh and Charlotte in 1960.

raysson
raysson on December 4, 2012 at 11:21 pm

The Cameron Village Theatre,aka The Village Twin became a center of controversy and spark numerous protests by civic leaders and angry parents when a screening of “SILENT NIGHT,DEADLY NIGHT” was booked there in December of 1984. This movie spark outrage as lines were picketed around the theatre and in the parking lot across the street from the cinema. The situation got so out of hand,that by the following week,the manager pulled the film from the venue. It was replaced by a Disney flick.

raysson
raysson on December 10, 2012 at 7:35 pm

David Lean’s LAWRENCE OF ARABIA played at Raleigh’s Cameron Village Theatre as an exclusive engagement showing on November 17,1963.

From the ads: DIRECT FROM IT’S ROADSHOW ENGAGEMENT,YOU CAN SEE LAWRENCE OF ARABIA NOW AT POPULAR PRICES FOR IT’S EXCLUSIVE ENGAGEMENT!

raysson
raysson on July 29, 2013 at 10:13 pm

The first LETHAL WEAPON movie played here first-run in 1987.

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