Decatur Theatre

527 N. McDonough Street,
Decatur, GA 30030

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Showing 1 - 25 of 35 comments

rechols on November 13, 2010 at 11:02 am

Saw Woody Allen’s “What’s Up, Tiger Lilly?” at the Decatur in 1966.
Funny how one remembers odd tidbits, isn’t it?

WHITEFIELD on November 7, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Here is one from the 1960's
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WHITEFIELD on September 19, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Here is another picture of The Decatur Theatre’s Grand Opening in 1940.

StanMalone on May 26, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Newspaper ad from 1964 along with a write up on “A Hard Days Night.”

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kencmcintyre on February 6, 2009 at 12:03 am

You did a nice job on the website. Too bad this theater is now a parking lot.

WHITEFIELD on August 14, 2008 at 4:42 am

I have just started a site dedicated to The Decatur Theatre.
Any stories or photos are welcome.

WHITEFIELD on August 11, 2007 at 3:46 am

Here is a photo.
photo by: Charles Pugh
tinted by: Dennis Whitefield
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WHITEFIELD on July 12, 2007 at 12:33 am

I remember going to see this Double Feature at The Decatur Theatre.
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WHITEFIELD on June 22, 2007 at 1:45 am

Here is a Storey Theatres ad.
showing The Decatur Theatre.
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WHITEFIELD on June 2, 2007 at 3:09 pm

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WHITEFIELD on May 31, 2007 at 10:27 pm

Here is a photo taken from the Old Court House steps looking towards The Decatur Theatre. you can see the stores on both sides of the street. Neat photo.
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WHITEFIELD on May 26, 2007 at 8:35 pm

Here is a black & white photo from the Special Collections Dept. Pullen Library, Georgia State University, I gave it a color tint.
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WHITEFIELD on May 25, 2007 at 1:14 am

Here is a Decatur Theatre flyer. circa 1966
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longislandmovies on May 23, 2007 at 12:05 am


WHITEFIELD on May 22, 2007 at 10:10 pm

Here is the photo I promised. circa 1965
photo by: Charles Pugh
tinted by: Dennis Whitefield
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DBH on March 23, 2006 at 12:08 pm

I attended Decatur Boys High (just down McDonough Street from the Decatur Theater) 1944-1948. Boys High fraternities and Decatur Girls High sororities often sponsord midnight movies at the Decatur Theater to raise funds for various events. Tickets cost fifty cents and the shows were well attended.

Don K.
Don K. on June 22, 2005 at 10:52 pm

From THE LOS ANGELES TIMES June 22, 2005

Re: Merger of AMC and Loew’s Theaters

“I think the exhibition business is at a crossroads,” said Paul del Rossi, former chief executive of General Cinemas, which filed for bankruptcy protection four years ago before being bought by AMC. “The major players in the exhibition business are now controlled by venture capitalists, and they have different long-term views than traditional theater owners.”

Although the industry isn’t facing the dire situation it did in the 1990s, when a glut of theaters forced several exhibitors to file for bankruptcy protection, business has slowed for the big companies, helping to fuel the current consolidation wave. AMC, for example, reported a $10.7-million loss last year.

Other recent deals include last week’s acquisition by Canadian theater chain Cineplex Galaxy of Viacom Inc.’s Famous Players, a move that gives the consolidated company 60% of the Canadian market. Century Theatres in Northern California this year was reported to have hired an investment bank to find a buyer.

Consolidation benefits theater chains by lowering their administrative and supply costs, and also by potentially giving larger chains more leverage to negotiate better “film terms” with the studios. Currently, studios keep 60% to 70% of a movie’s first-weekend gross. With the DVD release timeframe shrinking from six months to as little as three months for most movies, mergers also could put theaters in a better position to push for DVDs to be released later.

John Fithian, president of the National Assn. of Theatre Owners, a trade organization that represents the majority of U.S. exhibitors, said the exhibition industry was fundamentally sound but currently in a bad cycle.

“We are not having a great year, but we have been in this position before,” Fithian said. “When the quality and the quantity of the movies come back, our patrons will come back to see them. The sky is not falling.”

Box-office sales are down 7% to date this year, and admissions are on track to fall for the third straight year.

Old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.”

Don K.
Don K. on June 21, 2005 at 5:53 pm

Independendent exhibitors have been the life’s blood of the foreign film market and the independent film movement. Preserving the independent production and exhibition market should be one of the chief causes for concern of a Federal Anti-Trust Suit against the media conglomerates. Stimulating an alternative marketplace, distinct from the big studios' commercial product, seems not only reasonable but necessary if we hope to sustain a free market.

Some of the primary independent production companies such as Miramax and New Line were acquired by the majors. Nearly all of the major studios have specially subdivisions for independent and foreign film distribution. However, the real concern is stimulating competition in this market in production/distribution as well as exhibition. It should not be almost exclusively controlled by media conglomerates

This is an area for serious industry study.

Some of my favorite films of the last twenty years were titles that the corporate multiplexes would not touch, i.e. DREAMCHILD (1985); MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON (1990); and PONETTE (1996). Look them up on

JackCoursey on June 21, 2005 at 1:15 pm

My concern is with the independent exhibitors who are usually more amp to risk booking films that corporate muptiplexs wouldn’t touch. Will the independents continue to have this autonomy or will they be limited to what’s on-line (think of that dreadful offerings on pay per view)?

JackCoursey on June 21, 2005 at 1:13 pm

My concern is with the independent exhibitors who are usually more amp to risk booking films that corporate muptiplexs wouldn’t touch. Will the independents continue to have this autonomy or will they be limited to what’s on-line (think of that dreadful offerings on pay per view)?

Don K.
Don K. on June 21, 2005 at 2:46 am

Fundamentally, I agree with you. Human beings are social animals and basically crave communal activity. Nothing will entirely replace going out to the theater, whether it is to see movies or live performances.

In England, Sony literally paid for the conversion of a large number of British cinemas to their new digital projection system, providing the equipment and the installation gratis. So, the precedent has already been set for conversion.

Yes, different applications of digital technology are inevitable. Exactly which applications will come to dominate the marketplace remains to be seen. In the meantime, the real issue will be profitablity for movie exhibitors. If the current downward trend at the box office is not merely a seasonal fluctuation, but a real change in public taste then exhibitors are headed for trouble.

In view of current trends, I see two remedies:

  1. The Federal Government needs to break up the media conglomerates. As it has been pointed out by media critics, an increasingly greater amount of information is controlled by progressively fewer people. Anti-Trust Laws were passed in order to deal with this kind of situation.

  2. Conversely, the Federal Government needs to explore allowing the movie studios to own a larger stake in exhibition, although not up to pre-1948 levels.. The studios need the theatrical openings to launch their eventual DVD sales. Exhibitors want to survive. By allowing a merger of the studios' and exhibitors' mutual interests, movie exhibition may be able to survive in a changing economy.

You may remember the closing scene in the 1971 movie version of Larry McMurtry’s THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, directed by Peter Bogdonovich. The characters played by Timothy Bottoms and Jeff Bridges attend the final show at the neighborhood theater in the Texas town where they grew up. It is literally the last picture show for this theater. As we know, that scene was being played out all across the country. Obviously, it was repeated all over the Atlanta area in those years.

The coming changes in digital technology could mean a change nearly as dramatic as the one that occured in the motion picture industry over fifty years ago. It will be fascinating to watch it unfold and see if history really does have a way of repeating itself.

JackCoursey on June 21, 2005 at 1:39 am

This broadcast digital format you speak of appears to be right around the corner. The way I understand it is that the studios are going to provide existing exhibitors with the hook ups and projection devices for free and recoup their cost by eliminating celluloid and the processes that go along with it. Cinemas, which come on line after this gratis period, will be responsible for purchasing this equipment on their own. There are a lot of pros and cons to this new form of technology, but it appears inevitable. I doubt that it will ever replace the cinema theatre. Although both television and the proliferation of home video and DVD impacted the cinema theatre it did not eliminate it. The cinema theatre it is an environment that cannot be replicated in a residential structure.

Don K.
Don K. on June 21, 2005 at 12:49 am

Yes, “out of sight, out of mind” explains some of the collective amnesia in the Atlanta area concerning the past. Now that you mention it, I was only vaguely aware that College Park had actually once been the home of a college. My visits to Atlanta over the years have only reinforced the impression that the percentage of the population that is native to the area is shrinking. There simply aren’t as many people there who remember Atlanta in the early to mid-twentieth century as there used to be.

As I have pointed out in some of my previous posts, there were roughly a dozen neighborhood movie theaters that closed in the early to mid 1950’s. These were theaters that catered to the white population in a racially segregated era. Actually, I never knew theaters like the American, the Brookhaven, the Cameo, the Cascade, or the Fairview/Memorial at all. So, I don’t doubt that there was once a movie house in College Park.

My own fascination with the changing movie exhibition market is concerned with what is happening right now. As you are probably aware, at this writing the industry is having its worst box office slump in twenty years. Recently, actor Morgan Freeman stated in an on camera TV interview that he is investing in a system for high speed internet delivery of motion pictures to home theatre systems with computer convergence.

Yes, things are about to the change again. It seems to me that there are lessons to be learned by looking at the decline of America’s movie theaters from the late 1940’s into the 1950’s. It would make a great market study for someone who is working on a business degree.

CORRECTION: Regarding the closing date for the DeKalb Theatre (at 130 E. Ponce de Leon Avenue) mentioned in my earler post – the date that I cited was only an educated guess. Although I suspect that it closed circa 1953/54, I do not have a confirmed date. The DeKalb Theatre was on the north side of the Decatur courthouse square, opposite the location of the Decatur Theatre (just off the the south side of the square).