Comments from Mike Durrett

Showing 26 - 44 of 44 comments

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett commented about Cine Showcase Cinema on Oct 29, 2005 at 7:03 pm

I believe you are confusing the Peachtree Art with the Peachtree Playhouse, which was across the street and belonged to a women’s organization. Theatre of the Stars, a live production company, staged some of their plays in the Playhouse during the ‘60s and '70s. I was in it as late as April, 1978, when my wife to be and I saw BAREFOOT IN THE PARK with Lyle Waggoner, Molly Picon, and Lou Jacobi. It was our first date.

The Peachtree Playhouse was a small venue, probably in the neighborhood of 300-400 seats. I also saw EQUUS, which, believe it or not, may have actually starred Paul Michael Glaser.


Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett commented about WANTED -- c.1970s General Cinema "Coming Attractions" or "Feature Presentation" Trailer on Sep 14, 2005 at 11:28 am

As a projectionist for GCC in Atlanta, I was told the 1986 versions of the logos and related materials were produced by Lucasfilm. That would include the Candy Band animations with the flying Gummi Bears in space and the follow-up with the dating Pepsi and Popcorn characters.

Those snack bar plugs and the Feature Presentation strips were always shipped as one package; there was no splice between them.

My friend, Scott, another projectionist and a musician, always marveled at the ‘70s Feature Presentation strip. He thought it was sloppy because he says there’s an offkey note in the audio.

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett commented about North Dekalb Twin Theater on Jun 3, 2005 at 11:57 pm

My recollection is this theatre opened in early 1966. It showed the occasional first-run movie (FANTASTIC VOYAGE) at the beginning of its life, but was more of a deluxe suburban run house with semi-exclusive titles before the movies trickled down into the neighborhood theatres and drive-ins. The first movies I saw at North DeKalb were THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING, THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING and THE GREAT RACE, but I don’t recall the order. THE GREAT RACE played around March, following its first run at the downtown Rialto. The movie went to the neighborhoods in June.

At Christmastime 1966, I was borrowed from the Emory to help in the concession stand at the North DeKalb during the first suburban run of THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Two shows per day and it was a mob scene, selling out time and time again. I hated working all day because it meant I was one of the chosen ones to sweep out that auditorium during the two-hour dinner break each day. It was very hard work, but I fell in love with that big screen and the theatre.

I’d attend movies every chance I could. I vividly remember BORN FREE (1966) and, later, CHARLY (1968), which was what we saw on my first date.

The North DeKalb was very successful and Storey Theatres management risked larger guarantees to nab bigger first-run titles and Atlanta exclusives. I remember hearing talks of twinning it as early as 1971, but their exclusive on DIRTY HARRY stopped that for awhile. It was a monster cash machine.

While in college, I jumped at the chance to become the full-time projectionist in November, 1972, although it was one of the lower paying jobs, a Storey trademark.

That Christmas, the North DeKalb had the Atlanta exclusive of JEREMIAH JOHNSON. It ran 8 weeks with turnaway business every weekend to the end. It could’ve played much longer, but Storey let it go when the movie went wide the next day. That was an astonishing decision to witness.

The funny thing about JEREMIAH JOHNSON was the company considered backing out of the first-run exclusive near opening day. They had a big guarantee down and were worried about making their money back. They decided to raise ticket prices from $2 to $2.50, a huge increase and price for Atlanta. They were worried customers wouldn’t pay the exhorbitant admission.

I quit in June, 1973, after HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER opened. I had had only two days off in all those months, which I had to beg for in order to fulfill schooling needs. (That was a grievance with my Union, not the management.)

I saw a few films on the big screen afterwards, including SHAMPO0 (1975). I worked relief a few times, showing THE HINDENBURG (1975). It wasn’t long before the dreaded twinning occurred. I ran the sad, cluttered booth with the destroyed auditorium once, maybe twice. The thrill was gone.

The North DeKalb was one of my favorite booths and theatres in my career.

As for the comparison to the Emory, I don’t get it. See the Emory Theatre thread for details.

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett commented about Cine Showcase Cinema on Jun 3, 2005 at 10:21 pm

DUNWOODY FOR THE DEAD. I’m calling George Romero…

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett commented about Marietta Star Cinema on Jun 3, 2005 at 10:15 pm

Gee, I dunno, shouldn’t that built date be after 1968? Eastern Federal didn’t invade the metro Atlanta area until 1964, as I recall, at Toco Hill. Then, they built a lot of locations fast. They were Meiselman Theatres in those days.

I’ve always thought of the T&C as circa 1970. My first viewing of BLAZING SADDLES was in that original auditorium and the theatre had the ‘70s drapes thing going on. I went there a few times, but don’t recall doing so as a triple. What a horror that must’ve been. Very basic, and non-inviting. I’ve avoided it for decades.

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett commented about Emory Theatre on Jun 3, 2005 at 9:34 pm

>>does anyone know the name of the little brown theatre that is now a ballet studio that is about a ½ mile from Emory? My friend who lives down there can’t find the name of it. Everytime I visit Atlanta I go to that really good pizza parlor near the little brown theatre and see if I can get a name for it.<<

Hmmm, if you’re talking about it being in Emory Village, I’m stumped. I moved nearby in 1958 and my brother still lives there.

There was only one movie theatre within ½ mile of Emory Village or Emory University. That would be the Emory (and stretching, maybe the Toco Hill).

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett commented about Emory Theatre on Jun 3, 2005 at 9:29 pm

>>does anyone know the name of the little brown theatre that is now a ballet studio that is about a ½ mile from Emory? My friend who lives down there can’t find the name of it. Everytime I visit Atlanta I go to that really good pizza parlor near the little brown theatre and see if I can get a name for it.<<

Hmmm, if you’re talking about it being in Emory Village, I’m stumped. I moved nearby in 1958 and my brother still lives there.

There was only one movie theatre within ½ mile of Emory Village or Emory University. That would be the Emory (and stretching, maybe the Toco Hill).

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett commented about Emory Theatre on Jun 3, 2005 at 8:38 pm

Storey built the Lakewood within a year or so of the North DeKalb. I suspect both were furnished somewhat the same, but not necessarily in the physical layout. I worked in the Lakewood booth two days in 1976, after it had been twinned. I don’t recall too much about the Lakewood other than it was based on a red color scheme.

The Fox is equipped with two 35-70mm Century projectors, the very pair from the Loew’s Grand, circa 1960s. The Fox was a 35mm operation throughout its movie palace heyday.

(The Fox purchased the Loew’s Grand AND the Martin’s CINERAMA/Atlanta (pre-Columbia) booth equipment when those theatres shuttered. Other than the Grand’s projector heads, most everything else is in storage. Until the (ugh!) platters were installed around ‘97, there was a third projector in use, a 35mm Simplex set-up, which we basically used for trailers and cartoons when running 70mm on the other machines. The platters assumed the Simplex’s floor space.)

Lenox Square was equipped with 35-70mm projectors in the original auditorium. Over the years, those heads made the rounds to other Georgia Theatre Co. locations, including the Cobb Center. When I was one of the operators at the Lenox, 1980-85, we only had one of those heads, as I recall. During my stay, it eventually ended up in the big auditorium after the final reconfiguration of many, where we ran INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM in 70mm via Christie platters. Seems like we showed 2010 in 70mm, too. But, of course, after a few weeks, the movies moved to smaller auditoriums with 35mm prints.

I opened the Merchants Walk 8 for General Cinema in 1986 and stayed until 1998, when I semi-retired from the booth, working a few film events at the Fox, which I haven’t pursued in several years because of moving away. I was one of the regular operators there from 1979 on, but it was never a full-time job for any of us. The last 70mm I ran in the Fox was TITANIC, in 1998. A few 70mm have played since, but they are very rare due to print availabilities and — hate to say it — being a dead format and all.

Merchants played only two 70mm in all those years I was there. Opening weekend, Oct. ‘86, we were scheduled to show a revival of TOP GUN in 70mm. I prepared the print and recall looking at it, but I’m not positive it ever saw an audience. Seems like at the last minute they decided to use the big auditorium for a newer release. We definitely ran TOP GUN in 35mm for a week or so. By the time of that booking, TOP GUN was a long ago hit and dudded out.

Years later, the first few weeks of DICK TRACY at Merchants Walk played in 70mm and shrunk down to 35mm a.s.a.p. That was the last of them, although I sidestepped a 70mm midnight show of ALIENS in 1997. The power of griping!

I’m the first to agree 70mm looks great, but not for the operators, especially with ancient, junky prints to contend with. It takes forever to properly inspect and mount 70mm prints on platters. Also the sound system, auditorium settings, and projectors have to be aligned since they haven’t run 70mm in years, if ever. I found 70mm very stressful — plus, I had other screens to tend to. I never saw any evidence the public at large noticed or gave a flip about 70mm. It certainly did not sell enough tickets to pay its way.

General Cinema installed one Cinemeccanica 35-70, same as Merchants Walk, in the Parkside 8 in Sandy Springs in 1987. Ha, they had to run that 70mm ALIENS late show I dodged. Hee hee, that makes me giggle. Parkside may have shown DICK TRACY in 70mm, too, but that would probably be the only other movie in the format, at least in the GCC years.

The North DeKalb was a large auditorium for its era. It had those big rocking chair seats which negatively impacted seating capacity. I believe there was a sign on the street marquee that said “850 Rocking Chair Seats.”

When most theatres are twinned, only one or two chairs are removed in each row for the new wall. That’s if they don’t reposition the chairs for the new focal points. Lots of theatres were twinned without shelling out a day’s pay to a couple of laborers to reposition the seats. Loew’s 12 Oaks comes to mind.

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett commented about Hilan Theatre on Jun 3, 2005 at 4:37 pm

Along with a friend, I toyed with acquiring the Hilan around 1984, for an alternative / revival movie house. We had no money, so that was that.

The Hilan made it a little longer than 1969. I filled-in as projectionist for several days, running THE CORPSE GRINDERS (1972), and, perhaps, THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS (1967) on a remarkably bad double feature program. I distinctly recall the trailer for THE OMEGA MAN (1971) during that stint, too. The theatre was certainly in its last gasp.

The only other time I worked in the theatre was for the first suburban run of ITS A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD, summer 1964. I was borrowed from the Emory to help in the concession stand. They had huge business and were swamped. I spent most of my time popping corn and talking to the projectionist, Horace Biggers. Later, in 1971, I would operate the Village Theatre booth with him. He was a character, but kind and fatherly to me.

Horace is fondly remembered for his tenure at the Hilan. In the back wall of the booth was a door to the roof and marquee. Between reels, he wrangled a worm farm on the Hilan roof!

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett commented about Emory Theatre on Jun 3, 2005 at 9:36 am

The Rhodes installed new Century 35-70mm equipment in 1960 for CAN CAN. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA played its entire road show run in 70mm at the Rhodes.

I was told those projectors were the first 70mm machines in Atlanta. I haven’t been able to verify that item, but I haven’t found a contradiction either.

In 1980, I showed brief revivals of DAYS OF HEAVEN, 2001, and MY FAIR LADY (horrible, faded print) in 70mm at the Rhodes. Those were probably the last 70mm presentations at the theatre.

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett commented about Emory Theatre on Jun 2, 2005 at 8:41 pm

That should have said “pre-1968 Emory” design above.

I don’t know about Storey having theatres in other states, but they did have successful operations in Gainesville, GA over the years. I lost the inside track of them after 1980.

Curtains are goners nowadays because of the lucrative screen advertising during Intermissions.

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett commented about Emory Theatre on Jun 2, 2005 at 8:32 pm

The Rhodes was Storey’s flagship theatre until they sold the house in 1980 to Movies, Inc., which later consolidated with Landmark Theatres.

There were, perhaps, similarities in the Rhodes and Emory Cinema’s marquees, but mostly in the lettering. The Rhodes also had a ticket desk inside the front door which the new Emory did also. That’s about it.

Of course, the Rhodes also had me for its projectionist in 1980. That’s a similarity, right?!

The auditorium of the Rhodes was the icky Storey pink I mentioned above. It was that color in 1965 during my first visit and remained pink to the end, approx. 1983.

The Rhodes auditorium also had fancy light fixtures mounted to the walls which reminded me of chandeliers. They were on dimmers. This felt like a room Ben Franklin would watch movies in.

Okay, here’s how the pre-1998 Emory Theatre was designed.

On the sidewalk, there was a small ticket kiosk, barely comfortable for one cashier to sit. Customers bought tickets here and could walk around the box on all sides. About 10 feet from the sidewalk were a pair of exit doors and a pair of entrance doors.

Above the sidewalk, a traditional triangular marquee with two sides for letters (3 lines each). It said EMORY on the tower on the point and there was a modest amount of neon, backed by flourescent tubes.

On either side of the box office, two poster cabinets for 40 x 60 sheets on the sidewalk and in the alcove to the side and back of the box office, there was space for five more posters.

Enter the front door, doorman on the right, concession stand in the center. The concession counter was three sided: drink machine and candy on one, more candy on the next, and the third side was the popcorn kettle and counter space. This general area for the concession was the size of a small bedroom. Opposing 40 x 60 posters were on the side walls.

Then there were six more doors going to an interior lobby about 12 feet deep to the back wall of the auditorium. This area was mostly a lounging space with two couches and a chair and a water fountain — and the crossover to the restrooms. Any noise in this area would be heard in the auditorium.

Men’s room on the left. Ladies room, slightly more elaborate, on the right. There were big viewing windows with Venetian blinds in them on the left and right sides of the central auditorium wall. We always kept the blinds closed, but I guess you could allow standing room only crowds to watch the movie from the lobby.

Enter the auditorium on the left or right aisle. Auditorium seats were in three sections. About six seats were on each row of the side sections and 12-14 on the middle section rows.

There was a respectable CinemaScope screen mounted on the stage which had a 4-foot wide walking area in front to the footlights. Behind the screen, there was a very shallow backstage which mostly housed the speaker and curtain, motor, and riggings.

There was an old-fashioned household-style radiator on the auditorium floor in front of the stage. That was the heater. The air conditioner was a water-cooled system, but ample.

The theatre was in grind mode until 1998, so we rarely ever stopped film all day long. Part of that practice was in order to keep the lights down low so customers wouldn’t notice the wear and tear and grime on everything. (A standard theatre lighting practice even today.)

There were two storefronts in the theatre building, too. The right side was the Emory Barbershop for years and years. The left side was numerous things, most notably Stan’s Sandwich Shop through the mid and later ‘60s.

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett commented about Emory Theatre on Jun 2, 2005 at 7:27 pm

Storey Theatres no longer exists. The chain was sold to Regal Cinemas in the mid-1990s.

Only the Town Center (Kennesaw) remains open in the Atlanta area.

Storey built Town Center as an 8 — then 12 — in the mid-80s, but Regal has reconfigured everything and expanded to the 16 screens of today.

Storey’s Delk 10 (Marietta) has apparently been closed by Regal. Seems like it was still open fairly recently.

The North 85 Drive-in, Atlanta’s newest drive-in, built by Storey in 1965, was demolished in 1998. Regal built the Hollywood 24 hardtop on the property.

The television group is Storer.

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett commented about Cine Showcase Cinema on Jun 2, 2005 at 6:49 pm

From MSN: “On August 16, 1949, Mitchell and her husband left their home, intending to go to a movie theater to see the Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie ‘A Canterbury Tale.’”

I have researched THE RED SHOES item tonight and although there are conflicting reports, Margaret Mitchell was most likely on her way to see A CANTERBURY TALE (1944), an earlier movie by director Michael Powell. Maybe the confusion started with his name included in the various stories over the years. By the way, Mitchell was struck by the taxi on August 11. She died August 16.

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett commented about Cine Showcase Cinema on Jun 2, 2005 at 4:51 pm

I’m not certain, but it’s stuck way back in my mind that Margaret Mitchell was either going to or leaving a showing of THE RED SHOES at this location when she was killed by a cab. I suspect that’s why this particular photograph exists.

I saw one film in the Peachtree Art, LILIES OF THE FIELD, on a Sunday afternoon in 1963. The house was jammed. There was a Mr. Magoo cartoon.

Since the theatre was full and I was with my mother, I didn’t get to snoop. I kind of think it was split level in those days, but not exactly a balcony or stadium seating. I’d sure like to know.

Weis Theatres acquired the Peachtree Art, renovated and reopened it as the Weis Cinema in 1970. The first film, CATCH-22, had an Atlanta exclusive for the duration of its run.

I also caught THE DAY OF THE JACKAL (1973) and UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT (1974).

The theatre was not a very special venue and probably had all of its charm removed by Weis. The sound was bad, muffled. I want to say the walls were carpeted. The place was forgettable in those days for sure. I remember it as small and cramped and dark.

The only reason for me to go there was to see an exclusive. It didn’t remain open too much longer.

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett commented about Emory Theatre on Jun 2, 2005 at 4:01 pm

>>As a boy I also attended Kiddie Matinees at the Emory (although not as often as at the Decatur or the Glen).>>

I only did Kiddie Matinees at the Emory, as I recall. I could walk there from my house less than a mile away. Can you imagine a 7 or 8-year-old kid walking alone to the movies today? I was lucky to grow up in those gentler times.

The Emory eventually played the same Saturday morning films as the Decatur. The Glen was too far away. I saw only one film there, a reissue of THE BELLBOY in 1967. I visited a friend in the projection booth a couple of times. The theatre was in huge neglect, but I think about it often, intrigued by its small balcony.

It’s funny to be reminded of the fact that most of the neighborhood theaters in Atlanta typically changed their programs twice a week.<<

In the ‘50s, the Emory changed movies three times per week, I’m told, on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Fridays and Saturdays were usually western double features. (Note: The westerns may have only played on Saturday, I’m not certain on this point, but they did change three times per week.)

I saw that Friday-Saturday booking pattern occur a few times up until, maybe, 1964. There didn’t seem to be a real need to do such changes anymore, but there could have been make-goods involved or a favor to some studio booker. Who knows?

>>The auditorium of the Emory reminded me a bit of the one at the Kirkwood Theatre at 1965 Boulevard Drive, SE, in Kirkwood.<<

I never attended the Kirkwood. It was an Adults Only house in my youth. I used to follow their newspaper ads, though. ;–)

>>The last time that I was in Atlanta in 2003, it appeared to me that DeKalb County is not very well served by quality movie theaters.<<

Yep. But the metro area keeps expanding and new megaplexes pop up to fill needs. It is shocking to me to look at the movie pages in the newspaper and while there may be more screens than ever, there are very few actual locations, compared to the old days.

>>The Decatur Theatre at 527 N. McDonough Street, just off the square in Decatur was seperate and distinct from the DeKalb Theatre.<<

I was also the projectionist in the Decatur Theatre on Fridays during 1966-67. It could still do good business, but the decline was underway.

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett commented about Emory Theatre on Jun 2, 2005 at 2:45 pm

I never heard anyone at any time compare the Emory to the North DeKalb, before or after the renovation. I was the final projectionist in the old incarnation and the first one in the remodeled operation. I was around during the preparation months, some of the construction and installations, and for nearly two years afterwards.

I assisted the Operations Manager of the company and another executive with the installation of the replacement screen. These were the guys handling the day-to-day on the remodeling and making the decisions. If anything, they were trying to make the theatre appeal to the Emory University students. That was their focus, not matching up to the North DeKalb, yesterday’s news. The Emory was all about being NEW, thus the name change to “Cinema,” considered NEW and swinging at the time — at least, by those gentlemen.

If anything, the North DeKalb was more akin to others in a long line of modern theatres pre-dating it in Atlanta starting at the beginning of the decade, including the Rialto, Martin’s CINERAMA, Westgate, Greenbriar, Lenox Square, Toco Hill, Eastgate (Suburban Plaza), and Village.

The new Emory design was a sign of the times, not the past. If there were any continuity connections to the North DeKalb, they were simply industry trends and to save money. Glossy white enamel is cheaper and less labor-intensive than fancy wallpaper — and certainly more economical to spruce up in the years to follow. Storey Theatres was notorious for squeezing a penny. If there was any similarity to these two theatres it was simply because management had learned certain ways to save money on the previous job.

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett commented about Emory Theatre on Jun 2, 2005 at 1:31 pm

The original North DeKalb had an all shopping mall theme when built in 1966. The lobby was sparse and flourescent with bench seating along the walls, similar to something you might find in an airport. The portion of the lobby over the concession stand (against the rear wall of the auditorium) was two stories high. Open air staricases went up for the Ladies on the left and right for men. The projection booth and manager’s office were nestled between these two areas.

The auditorium walls and screen curtains were covered in wide one-inch stripes of alternating dark blues and purple shades, colors continued throughout the building. The seats were plush rocking chairs; something the Emory never enjoyed.

There was no proper stage, but three or so small steps up to a narrow and carpeted landing beneath the North DeKalb’s large screen.

Neither incarnation of the Emory would be comparable, except the 1968 version did have glossy white walls in the lobby, but few theatres didn’t have white walls. The Emory Cinema’s color was bright red throughout, seats, curtains, etc. The older version’s interior favored browns. There were periods when the original theatre was painted in baby blue or pink on the outside. (Mr. Storey, reportedly, loved pink and most of his locations went through a pink phase.)

I don’t believe either the North DeKalb or the latter Emory Cinema would be considered colonial. If anything, they were pushing for a modern, even a futuristic look. The Emory had been intentionally gutted from the sidewalk back to the stage in 1968. With the exception of some restroom fixtures, nothing the public saw was the original architecture or incidentals. Everything was redone or hidden.

Could you possibly be confusing the Emory with the more similar Decatur Theatre, Storey operated off the square in Decatur? I’ve heard it referred to as the Decatur-DeKalb, too. It was bigger and longer, but had a stage and fixtures similar to the original Emory Theatre.

At the time of its opening, everyone remarked on how modern the North DeKalb appeared. It was a new era for Storey Theatres, not a throwback.

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett commented about Emory Theatre on Jun 2, 2005 at 12:38 am

The Emory Theatre was my second home during childhood. I was in it every Saturday morning for the weekly kiddie shows of old movies and then stayed through to see the regular feature, as they didn’t clear the house between dayparts. I began this practice around the age of 7 in 1959.

By 1962, I landed a job distributing coming attractions flyers to the cars parked at the neighborhood stores. I got free passes to the movies for the weekly duty.

In the summer of ‘63, I became a regular errand boy of sorts and managed to infiltrate the projection booth that fall, befriended by the operator, who became my mentor and great friend through life. No kidding, it was CINEMA PARADISO. Our story parallels that movie.

In the summer of ‘64, I began to learn how to thread and operate the projectors in earnest. I remember this occuring during a two-week sub-run of CLEOPATRA. Two weeks was the longest planned engagement to date in the theatre, which generally changed films on Sundays and Wednesdays in those days. On rare occasions, a first-run film might be booked for an entire week.

Although I became a capable 35mm projectionist at age 12, I had to wait to grow older before being left alone to work the booth. This delay was felt necessary to not rock the boat with the corporate management of Storey Theatres. (Darn ageism!)

Meanwhile, I worked in the concession stand. Two months before my 14th birthday, I ran the movies by myself for an entire day on a Saturday in January, 1966, showing a reissue of SHANE. I became the theatre’s regular relief operator until I graduated from high school in 1970 — and in the summers of ‘67, '68, and '69 I ran the booth 7-days per week, full-time, as my mentor had moved to greener pastures.

I have never been able to determine when the Emory Theatre was built, but I did discover old receipts dating back to 1939. There were 492 seats in the original auditorium, very much considered a small theatre. Nowadays, 492 seat rooms are practically non-existent. They’re considered too big!

During the summer of 1968, the theatre shuttered for five weeks for an extensive renovation, following a retread double feature of THE SONS OF KATIE ELDER and RED LINE 7000. It reopened in August as the Emory Cinema. My memory is HERE WE GO ‘ROUND THE MULBERRY BUSH was the first film. The bookings became more arty, geared to Emory University’s students and the upscale neighborhood’s residents. The theatre’s new furnishings were bold and contemporary for the time with an enlarged lobby and all-new seats and screen in the auditorium. The exit was relocated and the revised seating approximated 450.

The two 35mm projectors (probably in use since the ‘30s) were standard Simplex heads with RCA soundheads. Great machines, warhorses. In 40 years around booths, I’ve never seen another pair like them. Peerless Magnarc carbon arc lamps were the light source until spring 1970, when reel-to-reel automation was installed utilizing Xenon bulbs. I ran that garbage a few times before leaving to work for the local projectionists’ union after I turned 18.

I recall showing MEDIUM COOL and EASY RIDER (Christmas ‘69), mentioned in the earlier post, at the Emory. It certainly was not the inspiration for the much larger, original North DeKalb Mall Theatre. There were no similarities at all except they were movie theatres with a lobby and a snack bar. I filled-in at the North DeKalb concession stand its first Christmas during the first non-road show run of THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Later, I was the full-time projectionist there from November, 1972, through June, 1973.

The Emory became a 99 cents house in the mid-‘70s — not a good sign for a long future. But an accidental grease fire in an adjacent storefront took out the entire strip of stores in the Emory Village. I’m sure the theatre’s wooden auditorium flooring didn’t help matters. The structure literally burned to the ground. I’m fuzzy on the time line, but I’ve been told recently that the final film was a sub-run of ANIMAL HOUSE, which would date the fire to early '79.

Today, a Domino’s take-out is on the site of one of the theatre’s two storefronts. The remainder of the theatre property is grassy and was never redeveloped. I revisit it from time to time.