Parkaire Twin

Lower Roswell Road,
Marietta, GA 30068

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Located on Lower Roswell Road & Johnson Ferry Road. A very nice theater built by Loews and only operated about one week before Loews left the Atlanta market. Later operated by Georgia Theater Co. and may have even survived until the sale of Georgia Theater’s properties to United Artists. Demolished when Parkaire Mall was redeveloped. Spent most of its life as a discount house, a shame since it was such a nice operation that was never able to get going.

Contributed by raymond stewart

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

StanMalone
StanMalone on October 19, 2005 at 12:21 pm

This place was built by the Loews company in the Spring of 1974. There was nothing very remarkable about the theatre itself as it was about equal to the Loews 12 Oaks in its appointments. Though nicer than most of the theatres built during that era, it was still an example of bland 1970’s theatre design. An identical set of 500 seat twins with a large, spacious lobby, nice rest rooms, concession stand against the back wall of the auditorium facing the front doors, Loews “Hollywood” mural overhead, and standard Century 35MM projectors. What makes the Parkaire notable is the fact that it was built at all and the odd way it changed hands so soon after opening.

The location, while it may be the site of rush hour gridlock today, was nothing but cow pastures in 1974. The Parkaire Mall itself was odd in that it had no anchor stores and was really just a strip shopping center built in a circle with an ice skating rink in the middle and a roof overhead. The theatre did not open into the mall but had its own outside entrance and exit doors. Movie distribution wise, it was built in no mans land, just across the river into Cobb County, but well to the east of South Cobb Drive and Highway 41, which was the center of development in Cobb during those days. While actually closer to Sandy Springs and the Lenox / Phipps Theatres, it was in the same zone as the Miracle, Cobb Cinema, Cobb Center and Belmont theatres located on or near South Cobb Drive. Although Cobb County theatres could play day and date with Atlanta during those exclusive run days, it was easier for most of the movie going audience of Cobb to attend movies in Atlanta than it was to make the cross county drive to Parkaire. And, if you wanted to make dinner part of the evening then forget it. Years later, a McDonalds opened across the street, but until then it was either bring your dinner to work with you or drive the 5 miles to Sandy Springs.

Loews opened the Parkaire Twin in the early summer of 1974 with “Chinatown” and another feature whose name escapes me. In keeping with the bizarre nature of this entire episode, the showtimes, in an area where cattle outnumbered people, were 8PM and 10:30PM. Even in the most cosmopolitan areas of Atlanta in those days, you never tried to start a movie after 9:30 if at all possible. This situation was talked about among theatre managers of the time with amusement and many comments about how the New Yorkers who ran Loews must have quit listening to their local people. About 4 weeks later I was called in to work on my off day. It seemed the regular relief manager, Mr. Bill Stevens, late of the recently closed Bolton Drive In, had been pulled out and sent to manage Georgia Theatre Company’s newest theatre, the Parkaire Twin.

The story I was told was that as part of an anti trust settlement many years earlier which resulted in the splitting of Loews Theatres and MGM Studios (something to do with one company controlling distribution and exhibition), Loews was also barred from doing business in certain area, or maybe certain distances from certain areas. I heard it both ways. At any rate, Parkaire was in the forbidden zone and Loews had to get out. Georgia Theatre Company, which made a practice of buying up properties they really had no interest in just to keep the competition out, now had a new and very swank (for them) theatre. Later, when I went to work for Loews, I was told that this was not the case at all. The Loews story was that Georgia Theatre wanted the site so badly that they made an offer Loews could not refuse. Knowing the Georgia Theatre Company of that time, I tend to believe the former version of events.

Regardless, GTC now had the Parkaire. Booking wise, GTC was not about to take any exclusive run booking away from the Cobb Center or Belmont, so Parkaire, for the rest of its life, ran only second run or wide break first run movies. It even went through a period as a $ house. Although the area continued to develop, business was never great here or anywhere else around. In 1986 General Cinema opened the Merchants Walk 8 about two miles up the road, and a year later Cineplex opened the Merchants Exchange 5. While they both had their moments of good times, they were both closed by 1999. The new Georgia Theatre Company now runs Merchants Walk as a 12, and the Exchange is an independent $ house except on Tuesdays when tickets are 50 cents. As for the Parkaire, the entire mall and theatre complex was leveled in the mid 80’s and a brand new strip shopping center built on the site.

StanMalone
StanMalone on January 14, 2008 at 9:13 am

Talked with a former Georgia Theatre Company co-worker the other day. He reminded me that the movie that did the most business at Parkaire was the Burt Reynolds effort, “W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings”. Don’t know how I could have forgotten. Following that, Parkaire was part of the wide break first run release of “Trial of Billy Jack”. I remember playing that three hour sermon at South DeKalb. Fall of 1974 I believe. It opened wide so that the film maker could make their money before word got out about what a snoozer it was.

ToddEvans
ToddEvans on January 24, 2008 at 2:02 am

My dad took me to see “Trial Of Billy Jack” at the Parkaire Twin in the fall of 1974. I was in the 5th grade, and I remember being upset by the shots of students being shot in the back repeatedly. My dad took me to many movies in Cobb County in the 1970’s (including “Star Wars” at the Franklin 3), but that was the only time I ever heard him say “I shouldn’t have taken you to see that.”

Speaking of bad movies, I also saw the wide break release of “It’s Alive” at the Parkaire Twin.

I remember feeling gyped as a child because whenever a “Sensurround” film played at the Parkaire Twin it was never in Sensurround.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 24, 2008 at 9:24 am

I went with my parents to see “Animal House” in 1978, when I was sixteen. They had a good time, I didn’t. I was cringing at some of the scenes knowing my mother was sitting next to me.

JackCoursey
JackCoursey on June 8, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Does anybody know the name of the architect or firm which designed the original Parkaire Mall?

rivest266
rivest266 on February 11, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I posted the June 28th, 1974 grand opening ad in the photo section.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on February 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Great stories, that Billy Jack flick was a dog, we got stuck with hundreds of Billy Jack Hats at the IMPERIAL in Augusta,bet this twin had the same problem….

jphill76
jphill76 on June 3, 2012 at 12:58 am

Growing up in Indian Hills, this was the theater closest to me as a kid. I remember seeing “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century”. This was also where I saw my first R-rated movie. It was the original “Friday the 13th”. I thought I was 13, but since it came out in May 1980, I must’ve been 12 instead. My friend and I were the ‘good kids’, so our moms had no problem letting us see our fill of gory/titillating horror movies of the early ‘80s. I specifically remember a triple feature of “Blood Beach”, “Humanoids from the Deep”, and a third movie I can’t remember…maybe “The Boogens” playing there one weekend. We were in heaven.

galateasca
galateasca on July 9, 2013 at 5:13 pm

I remember this theater mainly for the ice rink around it. At the time, that was a novelty. We attended one of our Cobb County friends ice skating/movie party there- and there was nothing else around Parkaire at all. It was a strange little mall, with low ceilings and I seem to remember having to walk up a lot of ramps to get out but that could be my imagination. I do remember the popcorn because there was no place to eat in the mall and we were starving.

cccmoviehouses
cccmoviehouses on February 12, 2014 at 10:45 pm

I only remember one movie I saw at this theater in the 70’s and if you saw this movie you only wanted to see it one time and one time only——————-Deliverance.

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