Last weekend, the Mary Slocumb Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) recognized 704 Shop with an award in the Media category at their annual meeting. The chapter is based in Mooresville and is the fourth oldest in North Carolina, having organized on October 1, 1903. The National organization was founded in 1890 with the mission of promoting historic preservation, education and patriotism. As such, we were awarded for our decision to include pieces of Charlotte history and facts in our newsletter! We are most appreciative of the recognition and the entire group couldn't have been any nicer and more welcoming! Thank you again!
This week, let's take a ride down memory lane and briefly highlight a few of the historical movie theaters in Charlotte.
The Big A Theater
The drive-in opened in 1949 at 3015 Kilborne Avenue, near Central Avenue. It changed names a few times and was the Big A when it closed in 1976. Calvary Christian Church now stands on the site. (1976)
People lined up outside the Capri Theatre to buy tickets for the local opening of “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.” The building is still standing, on Independence Boulevard near Bojangles Arena. It was home to Club Hush nightclub for a while, where Kim Kardashian made an appearance during the DNC in 2012. (December, 1979)
“Even at midnight, the theatres at the Charlottetown Mall have lines of people waiting to get in.” Harold & Maude, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Pink Floyd’s The Wall were some Midnight Movie favorites in Charlotte. (1980)
“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.” The theatre stood at 1609 South Blvd until it burned in 1984. Arson was suspected. (April, 1976)
Fox Drive-In, Old Statesville Rd. It operated from the late-1950’s through the 1980’s and showed X-rated movies at the end which could be seen from the road! The Fox was destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
Regency Twin Theaters
Regency Twin Theaters, Albemarle Road near Farm Pond Lane. The Regency opened in 1975, eventually became a dollar theatre, and closed in the mid-90s. A shopping center has taken the theatre’s place. (1978)
Savoy theatre, Second Ward, in the old Brooklyn neighborhood. Brooklyn, including this South McDowell Street theatre, was razed in the 1960s and 1970s as part of urban renewal. (undated photo)
Tryon Mall Theater
Movie goers wait in line to buy tickets to see "Jaws" at Tryon Mall Theatre. The theatre closed in 1996. The building still stands, adjacent to the Asian Corner Mall at North Tryon and Sugar Creek Road. (July, 1975)
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.” The Visulite is now a music venue. (1977)
We also briefly highlighted Visulite in Fact Friday 148 - Elizabeth Neighborhood.
Located on Pineville Road (today South Boulevard). The 21 South Drive-In was opened around 1949 when it was operated by the H.B. Meiselman Ct., initially with a capacity for 100 cars. By 1951, with a 400 car capacity it was operated by T.A. Little. By 1955 it was operated by Corbin Smith. Later renamed the Queen Drive-In, it was demolished to make way for the Queen Park Multi-Cinema.
Queen Park 6
The Queen Park Multi-Cinemas sat on what used to be the South 21 Drive-In. It opened on December 17, 1982, and was operated by Multi-Cinemas Ltd. Each auditorium seated 350. The Queen Park 6 remained a discount theatre until it was closed in 1998 when Piedmont Theatres folded. The theater was demolished in 2006.
A few others that we've already covered include:
The Carolina Theater
Park Terrace Theater