Lefont Toco Hills Theater

3003 North Druid Hills Road,
Atlanta, GA 30329

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GoodEagle on April 7, 2017 at 10:55 am

As best as I recall, this theater had the advantage, at least for the customer, that there was plenty of room between each row of seats. The customer had no trouble walking down the row in front of other customers already seated to get to an empty seat. In my childhood, my friends and I saw many Saturday matinees there including probably every James Bond movie that came out during that period and we saw that classic Christmas movie, seen by all, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) (currently available for viewing on YouTube). For some reason my friends frequently wanted to sit on the front row.

galateasca on September 25, 2016 at 9:34 am

Went there many times. It was a lovely theater. The last thing I remember seeing there was in the early-mid 90’s, but I’m not sure which film it was. I went a lot as a child, because I took dance lessons at the studio there and we’d sometimes go to the theater after dance class. I hated dance class, so this was my bribe.

Barb1957 on August 10, 2011 at 7:46 pm

I went here many times with my girlfriends when I was 12 and under. Our moms would drop us off, and pick us up after the movie. It was $.50 to get in. And next door was a Planters Peanut shop on one side, and a Dipper Dan ice cream shop on the other side. Many good memories at this theatre.

Daryl on July 24, 2010 at 11:35 am

I remember seeing “Von Ryan’s Express” with Frank Sinatra there back in the summer of 1965.
posted by Daryl-Atlanta on Mar 3, 2010 at 9:18am

My mistake…I saw this film at the Cherokee Plaza Theater in Brookhaven.

joshmassey on July 24, 2010 at 11:23 am

Sadly, it looks like the Toco Hills theater is turning into a bagel shop. I took this picture a couple of weeks ago, and the construction guys were hard at work. I didn’t go in, so I’m not sure the extent they’re renovating the actual theater (the lobby was being gutted, though).

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Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 18, 2010 at 3:57 pm

That’s a crying shame someone would fire your brother for such a kind act .When I worked at Pizza Hut we had about the poorest family in town live down a dirt road behind the Hut.We would find them eating out of the dumpest.We would make them a large Cheese pizza every once awhile and they would pick it up. they were always wanting to pick up trash in the parking lot just so they weren’t getting charity. To fire a kid for giving away a bit of popcorn that doesn’t cost hardly anything to make,well there is a special place in hell for that theatre manager!And I use to be a theatre manager! But i was a pretty nice guy.

TLSLOEWS on June 18, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Thats too bad looked like a neat theatre.

VincentPrice on June 18, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I saw my first R-rated movie here: “10”.
My brother got fired from here in the 80’s (pre-Lefont) for giving a homeless guy some popcorn.

The Toco Hills shopping center surrounding this theater is doing very well and will not go away anytime soon. I peek in there from time to time and it has never been rented since closing. Last I saw, they had gutted the inside.

Daryl on March 3, 2010 at 9:18 am

I remember seeing “Von Ryan’s Express” with Frank Sinatra there back in the summer of 1965.

WHITEFIELD on October 12, 2009 at 10:06 am

Here is a photo of The Toco Hills Theatre
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joshmassey on July 13, 2009 at 1:36 pm

The shopping center has definitely not been demolished – it’s still thriving. From the outside, the theater remains unchanged. Not sure about inside.

Cliff Carson
Cliff Carson on July 10, 2009 at 3:02 am

Some of my happiest childhood experiences was going to the TOCO HILLS movie theater. It was one LARGE theater in those days. A big wide lobby with a wonderful concession stand and lots of NEXT ATTRACTION and COMING SOON half sheet posters in the lobby.

Among the memorable films I saw there were:


and many others. Sad when I returned to Atlanta to see it closed. Someone once said that “growing up in Atlanta is like watching your past being hauled away in a dump truck”. None of the theaters I loved are there anymore. They’re all torn down.
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StanMalone on August 14, 2008 at 10:56 am

That was during my college years so I was the theatre gofer. I would change the marquee, pick up film, change light bulbs, and fill in whenever there was a need on the floor crew. Jack was one of that unfortunate group of EFC managers and projectionists who were carted off to jail for the crime of managing a theatre that was booked with “Oh Calcutta” all in the name of getting some free publicity for the Fulton County solicitor. Jack was the relief manager for the Atlanta area theatres at that time, but the manager of the Ben Hill quit rather than take the chance of going to jail so Jack got sent out to take the fall. For a short while after that he ran the Belvedere.

That was in 1972. By 1973 he was at the Toco Hill and he stayed there until at least 1975. The only notable thing that I can remember about his tenure at Toco was that “Deliverance” was booked on the intermediate break the day after it left its first run engagement at the 12 Oaks. The 12 Oaks was only about 5 or 6 miles away, but “Deliverance” ran at Toco for 14 weeks in the days that 4 to 6 weeks was considered a long run. It left for two weeks then came back for two more.

I ran into Jack again in 1977. By then he was managing a theatre for Georgia Theatre Company, the Village, I think. Later he was relief manager at Village, Suburban Plaza, South DeKalb, Westgate, but not Greenbriar for some reason. I always thought Jack a nice guy and pleasant enough to work for. He had one remarkable habit that I would never have had the nerve to try to get away with. In all of the times I worked for or with him I never knew him to have a home telephone in those pre cell phone days. Or, if he did he never told the company the number. This eliminated the aggravation of the company calling you on your day off and telling you to get to work, or switching you assignment for the day to some hell hole on the far side of town.

njtheatreguy on August 13, 2008 at 10:07 pm

To NJtheatreguy:

As to the manager you worked for, would his name perhaps have been Jack Demestre? (Pronounced da MESS tree)

Hey Stan, you may be right, its been sooooo long ago (1973-75). I know hes probably long deceased, but he was a good manager.

Were you the projectonist?

StanMalone on March 11, 2008 at 1:20 pm

To NJtheatreguy:

As to the manager you worked for, would his name perhaps have been Jack Demestre? (Pronounced da MESS tree)

franklinsweeney on February 12, 2008 at 6:07 pm

I worked at Toco Hills for about 5 years during the 80’s. I never knew it as ‘Lefont Toco Hill.’ It was known as Toco Hill Theatre and Storey Theatres owned it.

Mr. Storey and his wife would come by to watch a film at times. I liked him and only wish I had known him when he was in his prime. The district manager was Rick Adams and we got along well.

The theatre was responsible for the ‘call-in’ sheet. We took all the figures from the other locations and took the paper to the office each and every night. (No fax but when they did get one I wasn’t allowed send it from my home…….the Toco never had a fax….I had one at my home)

The projector was a Century SA with a Simplex platter. The concession stand was small. Our crowds arrived all at the same time. For these reasons, and the fact that the customers were older and well established, our per-cap was always low. Mr. Coulon, who was over the concession sales, and I went round and round with this issue. However, I came to respect him by the time I left Storey. God rest him……he recently passed.

The seating was about 766…….and we packed them in many times. I must say that a LOT of weird people came to the place.

I always had a good staff. I employed kids in the neighborhood either High School or College aged kids. Some worked with me many years and I still am in contact with some of them to this day.

I enjoyed the time running this single screen theatre. It was a fun time. I could go on and on with stories……about the theatre, staff and customers. I will not go into them here….too many to relate.

Storey wanted to twin the place in 87 or so but the landlord raised cain. Storey had a few more years left on their lease and thought they might make more money. The landlord wanted more money; therefore, refused to allow this to happen. In about the fall of 87, business fell off a lot! I guess videos were the cause. It was almost like someone putting on the brakes or something.

Seeing the writing on the wall, I began to press my boss to transfer me to a multi-screen location. After much debate, I got my wish. I worked for Storey for over 8 years. WOW……..I worked at the North Springs when it was an Eastern Federal Theatre, Shannon 7 with Storey, Tara under Hoyts. I also gave managers breaks for their vacations under Storey at the Lakewood, North 85 Drive-In and The North Dekalb. In addition, I ran the Gwinnett Drive-In under Storey. I even worked as the District Mgr for Storey’s Ganinsville locations during a short time.

I must say however that the Toco will always remain in my heart and mind with the greatest of memories!!!

njtheatreguy on November 25, 2007 at 3:24 pm

I used to work at Toco Hills in 1973, where I was a doorman/ticket taker. this first movie to play there when I was first employed was a reissue of Disney’s “That Darn Cat” with Dean Jones. It also used to host films from limited run nature series, such as “Cougar Country”, and “The Legend of Bigfoot”. Mr. George Demitrius was the manager at that time. Most of the concession girls were from the Briarcliff HS area. Got to see ALOT of movies during my 2 years there.

When I went back in August 2007 to visit my father, I was saddened to see that it was closed. It would make a GREAT performing arts center for the Dekalb County School System.

WHITEFIELD on June 27, 2007 at 5:56 pm

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longislandmovies on May 7, 2007 at 4:31 pm

so what is this theater now anyone????

dbratl on April 8, 2006 at 6:36 pm

I saw alot of second run movies there: 9 to 5, Black Stallion, How to Beat the High Cost of Living..

tombrown5 on January 22, 2006 at 4:43 pm

I too grew up in the sixties attending either the Toco Hills or Emory theaters. Actually my first job @ 14 was dipping ice cream at the ice cream shop immediately adjacent and to the right of the Toco theater. And yes it was a huge screen; we used to get flooded with customers (5 deep at the counter) after each show let out.
Tom Brown, Boxford, MA

JackCoursey on December 27, 2005 at 1:43 pm

Here is a recent photo of what remains of the former Toco Hills Theatre. Both the marquee and that design thing above were added on to the theatre sometime during the late eighties or early nineties. The original design, if my memory serves me right, was not much different than that of another area EFC theatre, the Miracle.

DennisDegan on October 13, 2005 at 11:59 am

Growing up, I lived in the neighborhood of the Toco Hills Theatre and remember its construction. It was built at one end of the Toco Hills Shopping Center, a strip mall, in 1964. Toco Hills was expanding at the time and an extension to the single line of stores, fronted by acres of suburban parking, was crowned with the construction of the theatre. Further additions to the strip were added around the theatre in later years, as I recall.
The last time I was there in 2000, the area looked more developed but also sadly desolate.

Don K.
Don K. on May 28, 2005 at 9:23 pm

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the Kirkwood Theatre, which once stood at 1965 Boulevard Drive in the Kirkwood business district, was demolished years ago. A fire had damaged the theater severely years earlier. It stood empty until the the wreckers delivered the coup de grace around 1985.

In the 1950’s, I knew the Kirkwood Theater well, before they became and adult theater, circa 1960. Trust me, it’s long gone.

In 2003, the last time that I was in Atlanta, there was another vintage theater still standing in Atlanta’s Southeast side. The former Atlantic Theatre still stood on Memorial Drive located in a small strip mall on the south side of Memorial Drive, west of Clifton Street. It originally opened in 1963 next to what was then the Atlantic Discount Center. It had a relatively brief life as a movie house. The neighborhood was changing by the time the theater originally opened. Later it operated as a disco. Unfortunately, I cannot imagine that the neighborhood would make a viable site for a movie house today.

As far as the Toco Hills Theatre went, it was a modest sized 1960’s vintage theater with a good size screen.

JackCoursey on May 5, 2005 at 8:18 am

I don’t know if these properties are on the market, but you might want to check them out. They are vintage theatres and to the best of my knowledge are not currently being used for either live performances or film exhibition:
Hilan Theatre on 800 N Highland, Atlanta
Kirkwood Theatre on Kirkwood, SE Atlanta
Towne Cinema, Avondale Estates
Cobb Cinema on S Cobb Dr in Smyrna
Cobb, about 3 doors down from the Stand on the square in Marietta
Temple on Cherokee Ave SE near Grant Park