Viers Mill Theater

12202 Viers Mill Road,
Silver Spring, MD 20906

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sconnell1
sconnell1 on December 28, 2013 at 1:41 pm

I saw “What’s Up Tiger Lily” here sometime between 1/30/67-2/4/67. It played at the Town theater in downtown D.C. for five weeks from 11/16/66-12/22/66.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 7, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Auditorium featured in this 1951 trade ad: boxoffice

Lannesman
Lannesman on January 26, 2009 at 10:17 am

Just a side comment about unchaperoned kids:
We all grew up in a time when our moms threw us out of the house and told us not to come back till the streetlights came on!
The times were not simpler, or safer back then. Just the fear mongering kid-snatcher-on-every-corner reporting of the 24 hour news channels today. It saddens me to see such a societal regression where an ederly man in a park dare not help a child who’s fallen down for fear of being accused of attempted molestation .

bocajoe
bocajoe on January 25, 2009 at 12:11 pm

hey PJ-

email me at , I’d love to talk more and find out where you lived in Randolph Hills.

Joe

PJCooper
PJCooper on January 25, 2009 at 11:50 am

Another Randolph Hills kid here! Spent a good portion of my 50s/60s youth at the Viers Mill Theater on Saturdays. Yes there was always a double feature, and if you walked in after the movie had started, you would just stay until it started again—I think that was allowable in most area theaters at the time. We would also go to Rexall and buy candy—Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy was a fave because it lasted a long time—remember the ad campaigns, urging you to slam it on a surface to crack it? The theater seat armrest was just perfect for doing so. I remember lots of Vincent Price movie double features being advertised, although we were usually there for kiddie fare: Disney films and other family fare—I remember seeing “Snow White Meets the 3 Stooges” there-yikes. Our parents would just drop us off, no adults in attendance, and I remember the place just teeming with nothing but kids whose parents had done the same—can you imagine that happening today? The floors were quite sticky. I also remember the soda machine in the lobby—it was the kind where the cup came down and then the soda & syrup came in two streams to fill it and magically stop at the right place. Of course, there were lots of times when the cup failed to appear and you watched your soda going down the drain.

Beowulf
Beowulf on September 17, 2008 at 12:43 pm

I remember Viers Mill movie theater quite well. Born in 1947, yeah..I’m a geezer, I grew up in Wheaton on Edwin St. On Saturdays my mother would hand my older brother and I 50 cents each and off we’d go to the theater. Walking from Edwin St…Dalewood Dr, cut across Connecticut Ave, up “Suicide Hill”, (where the apartments are now that border Connecticut Ave and Viers Mill Road, to Viers Mill Village, now called Randolph Crossing, Huh??? Where did that name come from. That little shopping center had everything…a liquor store, where I was caught shop lifting, and getting a free ride home in a Monkey County cop car. The hardware store was awesome..you could buy a rool of fuse materal….light it off..!!! We’d go into the Rexall Drug Store and buy candy…candy was cheaper there the in the theater, and sneak it into the theather. It was a lot easier to sneak candy in during the winter months…big coats and all. I can’t tell you how many Godzilla, Rodan, movies I saw there..or the SciFi movies, Invaders From mars, The Mysterions…There was always a double feature on Saturday…you could walk in at any time, and stay all day. No one came in and told ya, ya had to leave. We’d sit and watch the movies twice. Then, if I remember correctly about 4:00PM the lights would come one, and we’d have to leave so the place could be cleaned and readied for the evening movie..always the hit of the day…Sink The Bismark, Strategic Air Command…etc. We’d leave the theater go across the street to The Plantation, where the McDonalds is now, and get an ice cream cone and off to home we’d go.
Yeah…that theater was awesome…even if the seats were uncomfortable as heck…and the big scary Janus kind of guy out front.

trowe99
trowe99 on June 11, 2008 at 1:04 pm

In its heyday, Viers Mill was the only movie house from downtown Rockville to Downtown Silver Spring, an area crawling with thousands and thousands of little baby boomers, so it was THE place to be on a Saturday afternoon. I, too, was there when the manager came out onstage and told us that our parents would have to pay $50,000 for a new screen if we got caught pelting it with candy (or cups full of soda!). As newer theaters sprung up from Randolph Hills to Wheaton Plaza to Aspen Hill, Viers Mill was forced to go porno around 1968. I was working at Rodman’s when they took over in 1976, and by that time, the place was really gross. Rodman’s owners called an employees' meeting in the theater to explain their plans, and I can tell you nobody wanted to sit in those seats! I still have a mint condition National Bohemian can that we found during the demolition, inside a wall where some worker had entombed it during the original construction back in 1949. The stage became the pharmacy, and the old theater lobby now housed the optical department. The rest rooms were retained in their same location, but were updated for the employees. The marquee was kept for awhile and displayed store specials, until it caught fire a couple of times and had to be demolished. I believe the old poster frame shown in the photos was actually installed later for the drug store’s weekly ad, but it is possible that it was salvaged from an original location next to the box office. If you stand on the sales floor and look up, you can see perhaps the last remaining vestige of the original theater: the projection booth became the manager’s office, allowing them to watch for shoplifters using the same projection window through which such classics as Old Yeller and The Shaggy Dog once shone onto the silver screen (well, silver accented by orange Nehi and assorted colors of Jujubes!).

Lannesman
Lannesman on January 24, 2008 at 10:15 am

Thanks for the update, Jack. Wow, I remember the old Rodman’s Drug Store in the back of the shopping center. I am amazed it is still there! The theatre now…just a ghost. Life goes on.

JackCoursey
JackCoursey on January 17, 2008 at 5:41 pm

Here are then and now photos of the former Viers Mill Theatre. The interior has be completely gutted and nothing, save for an old poster frame,remains of the theatre.

Lannesman
Lannesman on September 7, 2007 at 10:05 am

I barely recall attending of of those matinee shows like you described. I was born in 1962, so I was on the latter end of that time. I vividly remember being annoyed by the other loud, raucious kids around me. I wanted to see the show, dammit!
Needless to say I grew up to be a serious film buff. Cannot stand cell phones in theatres today.

carolsim
carolsim on September 6, 2007 at 9:36 pm

I grew up in Glenmont and often walked to the Viers Mill theater to see Saturday afternoon matinees. They even had intermissions when local live acts performed.

It was a pretty raucous crowd and I recall the projectionist stopping the film a few times. One time kids were throwing popcorn boxes and other debris at the screen because the movie was boring. The manager came out and said our parents would have to pay $50,000 if the screen was damaged in any way. He got a lot jeers and profanity, but no one threw any more stuff at the screen that day. Just at each other.

Lannesman
Lannesman on March 6, 2007 at 5:20 pm

Hey Joe S.
Paul here. I grew up in the Rockville/Wheaton area but maybe a decade ahead of you. Attended St Jude as a student. Oooh, those scary nuns! Give me a hey back at :

bocajoe
bocajoe on February 14, 2007 at 9:59 am

We lived in Randolph Hills in the 50’s and I loved that theatre. Saw many Disney movies there. I remember the old woman who worked the concession stand there, and the dark tapestry carpet in the lobby.

We even went to mass there when St Jude’s got crowded. when we moved to English Manor (near Georgia Ave and Bel Pre) in 1960, my next door neighbor’s uncle was Sidney Lust (her mom’s brother), the owner of the Sidney Lust theatres. Good memories , simple times.

Would love to email others who grew up in the area.

rlvjr
rlvjr on May 26, 2006 at 7:20 pm

Since you asked, soft-core porn was played at the Viers Mill and every other theatre in the Sidney Lust chain (no word-play intended) when the chain fell on hard times. Films like the western “Hard On the Range” were pertty tame stuff, however.

Saratoga
Saratoga on May 20, 2006 at 6:44 am

I lived in Viers Mill Village from 1950 til 1955 when we moved to upstate NY. I remember as a little kid loving that marquee that would change from a happy to a sad face. I also remember going to Mass there while waiting for St. Catherine Laboure church to be built. I have lived in NY since 1955 but still have fond memories of Selfridge Rd.

Lannesman
Lannesman on May 14, 2006 at 6:50 pm

I grew up in Rockville (just down the road), 60’s-70’s kid.
Early memory of this simple but BIG single screen theatre in a rather nondescript shopping center. Mom and Grandma took me to see the rerelease of the Ten Commandments. Being a catholic tot at the time, THAT was damn impressive!
I also saw the 7 year cycle rerelease of Fantasia there. The screen was looong (2:35 to 1), but not concave, I don’t think. Could be wrong. I know the seats were the typical low-back, flip-up seat, no cup holder (didnt exist then), type. And the grey painted cement floor was always, always sticky. Ahhh…. bliss.

It closed in 1975. Could not compete with the new multiplex and mall theatres popping up. Then, it reopened for a brief while as a porn palace. Funny driving by the V shaped jutting marquee with my Mom trying NOT to let her see me read the sordid titles listed there upon.
Needless to say, whitebread, conservative lil' Rockville area did not support this local pussycat theatre. You had to go downtown D.C. for that red light district. It shuttered. Nothing for years. Then totally gutted, leveled (God, I hate when theatre floors get leveled) and turned into a drug store.
But… The Aspen Hill Theatre a few miles away was my favorite, anyway. More on that later.
Toodles.

FunkD
FunkD on May 14, 2006 at 5:30 am

I live just around the corner now. However at just 36 years of age I always remember Rodman’s being there, but my father said it was a theater before then. He said they showed soft core porn there. Can anyone back that up?

rlvjr
rlvjr on August 10, 2005 at 6:32 pm

The VIERS MILL, where I saw maybe 30 movies, was an undistinguished el cheapo modern theatre, but one of the very few new theaters built in the 1950’s. No reason to miss this one.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 1, 2005 at 1:20 pm

Thanks for the additional info on this theater. There is a photo of the Viers Mill Theater on the website where I found this theater. Its at the bottom of the page.
View link

KenRoe
KenRoe on January 1, 2005 at 11:40 am

The Viers Mill Theater opened on 3rd August 1950 with the film “The Good Humour Man” starring Jack Carson.

The architect was Richard L. Parli and it was built as part of the Viers Mill Village Shopping Center. It had a seating capacity of 900.

It was operated throughout its existance by the Sidney Lust organisation.

After closing it was converted into a drugstore.