Monday, May 12, 2014

Movie Theatres of Charlotte

     My first job in high school was selling concessions at SouthPark Cinemas, 1979. The Midnight Movies were a lot of fun to work ---- we'd sell a ton of, um,  munchies.  I remember 'Rocky Horror' and 'Harold and Maude' were popular. Did you go to the Midnight Movies in the '70s? What'd you see? Maybe I sold you popcorn and Pepsi! Hope y'all enjoy the photos...



Fox Drive-In, 1977, Old Statesville Rd. Commenter says movies here were 'instructional.' LOL! 
Will plan a Drive-Ins blog soon.



 Visulite Theatre on Elizabeth Avenue.  'On its way back to showing quality films, the Visulite made some stops, one of which was showing X-rated movies. Then, early this summer, a sign on the marquee, above, announced a new look.' - September, 1977.



'Even at midnight, the theatres at the Charlottetown Mall have lines of people waiting to get in.'
Fred Wilson/Staff. December, 1980.



Regency Twin Theaters, Albemarle Road near Farm Pond Lane.  1978



'We made a mistake," says Kermit High, operator of Dilworth Theatre on South Blvd. 'The sign should say 'Two horror-ible movies.' He didn't mean to say the movies were 'horrible.' Even so, High said, he'll let the wording stand as is. 'The pictures are doing too much business for us to change it,' he said. - Don Hunter/Staff


Caption just says 'Big A: On Auction Block'
1976



December 7, 1979.  'First they had to wait 10 years after the TV program 'Star Trek' was canceled and then Friday night people lined up two abreast outside the Capri Theatre on Independence Boulevard to buy tickets for the local opening of 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture.' A handful of people even waited more than 12 hours to be first in line.  - Jeep Hunter/Staff
(Thanks to reader for correcting date to Dec. 7!)


1970. Carolina Theatre. BofA recently pledged $5 million to restoration efforts.  Foundation for the Carolinas hopes to turn the boarded-up theatre on North Tryon Street into a civic meeting hall

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh wow..no pictures of The Viking (I think that was on Freedom or Wilkinson) or The Thunderbird? Two Drive-In theatres in Charlotte from the past.

Won't mention the "other" drive-in theatre...

Maria David said...

Anon - good idea! Will do a drive-ins blog soon.

Anonymous said...

The "Big A" was near the corner of Central and Kilborne. A church stands there now.

Maria David said...

Anon - good reporting on Big A!Tx.

James said...

I have been looking for a picture of the Big A Drive-in. My parents used to take me there. I remember they showed all of the Planet of the Apes movies one night.

Maria David said...

James - if I come across any other Big A pix I'll add to this blog. I saw my first Planet of the Apes movie at a drive-in in NJ. Tx!

Jim said...

I saw a lot of movies at The Capri. I saw my first 3D movie there, Friday the 13th 3D. I felt so stupid wearing those glasses. The Capri closed the week Hurricane Hugo hit. It was a dollar theatre the last year or so it was open.

Anonymous said...

I'll mention the "other" Drive-In, it was the Fox Drive-In. $5.00for a double feature, and if you got there early enough you could catch the first flick shown again after the second flick. Some of the greatest instructional films I ever saw - not good stuff, it was great stuff!

Mike Stanford said...

Good Times! Yeah, a bunch of my friends worked at Southpark Cinemas, Charlotte Towne and the Park Terrace over the early 1980's.

Rode my bike to go see Alien in 6-channel surround sound at the Park Terrace. Saw Star Wars there, The Blues Brothers and many others. The regency and the Capri were the Rocky Horror favorites. I wouldn't want to admit how many times I saw that at midnight..

Anonymous said...

Anon at 3:01

That "other" drive-in was on the way home from church. If we had a program or something, and didnt get out church until after dark...and we'd drive past that screen...and as a pre-teen...maan...I'd whip my head around to the back window so fast, trying to get a peek at that screen...lol.

I remember there was a house right beside it too. I can only imagine...

jaeller said...

I worked concessions, usher, tickets everything at Southpark Theaters in 1979...worked full time nearby at the Eastern Airline Res center and part time at Southpark Cinema...I'm sure we must have worked together during the Rocky Horror midnight screenings. Great memories and lots of fun...Jim

Anonymous said...

The Carolina! Former stage of the Johnson Family Singers and The Legendary Briarhoppers! 1936 Briarhopper member Billie Burton remembers the band performing with Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and other stars. She is happy the theater may be renovated. Maybe the Briarhoppers can perform there sometime in the future!

Anonymous said...

Would love to see photos of The Astor on 36th Street (now The Neighborhood Theater).

Bill Weir said...

No mention of The Plaza theater- Corner of Central & The Plaza Not the Xrated incarnation- but the 70mm 6 channel mag film with custom built JBL surround sound system that debuted "2001, A Space Odyssey" in 70MM surround sound back in... 1974...WAY ahead of it's time. This was the highest quality theater in the southeast US. Our family had issues getting the correct print of the film because the studio couldn't accept that a place like Charlotte could properly present that format. Also, the same group ran a high quality incarnation of The Visulite (which you DID mention, thanks) that also had 70MM 6 channel mag film surround back in the 70s... We debuted "Tommy" there. No History of film venues in Charlotte could be complete without these mentions. But if you weren't from here you wouldn't have known about it since the counterculture was involved. ;-)

Reel Gorilla said...

I am actually working on a project (in the early stages) at UNCC on this very subject and would love for folks to connect with me on this topic. I created a Facebook page to connect share stories and allow people to interact. Hopefully this will turn into a larger project and i hope to have some folks involved. So head over to: https://www.facebook.com/LostTheatersOfCharlotte and check it out. Best - j. morong

Maria David said...

Jim - SouthPark Cinemas was the best place to work! - M

Patricia said...

I am late in the game but the Regency Theatre was in the area to the right of today's Aldi's on Albemarle Road. (Aldi's is behind the Wendy's). Wendy's was there at the time I worked in the boxoffice. Thanks for the photo of it! I also worked at the Capri...and could go on and on about Charlottetown, Southpark, Eastland...but I won't.

Tiger Daughter said...

Love this post I was a huge movie goer in Charlotte as a teen in late 70s.

Can I offer a super belated correction to the date of the Star Trek opening at the Capri? If the pic is of release day in Charlotte the date would be December 7, 1979 rather than January, 1980. I should know because I am a big ol' nerd and I was there in the front row, no joke.

:)

Donna Gaither said...

I enjoyed going to some of these theaters. Any photos in the archives of The Grand Theater or the Ritz Theater on Beatties Ford Road (1950' and 60's)?

Anonymous said...

let's not forget the Queen Park cinema, which was originally drive in, on South Boulevard...

Maria David said...

Donna Gaither - I'll keep my eye out for those theaters!

Bryan J said...

Regarding the Capri, I was inside, tearing your ticket! The Big A was just down the road from us, and we went there in the late 60's in our station wagon.

Thanks, Maria, for posting and being the Charlotte "Queen of Flashbacks!"

KB said...

there was a theater way out Rozzelle's Ferry Road, on the right going out. My brother Frank and I used to go there when I was Soph/Junior at good old Central High (then Garinger). Can't remember name ! KarenB