Riverside Theatre

138 West Fourth Street,
Lumberton, NC 28358

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dallasmovietheaters on May 18, 2015 at 3:54 am

The Morris LeGendre theater was his 11th opening April 2d, 1939 with “Topper Takes a Trip.” It had three ticket booths, one for Caucasian audiences who could sit in the 500 seat main floor and then 250 seats in a split balcony with 125 for Lumberton’s large American Indian population in the East Gallery and 125 for African Americans in the West Gallery. The exploitation film, “Mom and Dad” set records to that point for the theater with the sold-out shows snarling traffic, leading to ticket scalping, and having five women faint. J. Paul Lewis was the Riverside’s manager from 1939 until its temporary closure in 1976. He said that “Vanishing Point” was the theater’s highest grossing film along with “Patton” and “Gone with the Wind.”

Lewis would help launch and manage the Town & Country 1-2 when it opened in 1977. Lewis also was the independent operator of the Riverside from 1961-1964 when LeGendre dropped the theater. On June 1, 1964, H.B. Meiselman Circuit added the Riverside to its portfolio.Meiselman changed everything in the theater including marquee, screen, projection, and 400 new seats. The theater was the stepchild to the superior Carolina though superior to the Pastime which closed decades earlier.

Under Eastern Federal Theatres Circuit in the mid-1970s, the theater would go for adult films while launching a more family-centric twin screen theater. With a twin screen and a three-screen operation supplying plenty of nearby free parking, the writing was on the wall for the aging downtown theaters. The Riverside would close at the the end of March 1977 and the Carolina would shutter just two months later ending a long run of downtown cinema history. And while the Carolina would be saved as a live performance venue, the Riverside would be razed.

raysson on March 13, 2015 at 11:45 am

“The Sound of Music” played here as well as some of the greatest movies of the 60’s including its first-run showings of Walt Disney’s “Mary Poppins”,along with the exclusive showings of “Doctor Zhivago” among others.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on March 15, 2011 at 9:43 am


1950-1964 Legende Circuit

1967-1969 H.B. Meiselman Theatres, of Charlotte, N.C., H.B. Meiselman, President & Gen. Mgr. In 1967 they had 26 theaters in Florida, Georiga, North Carolina and South Carolina.

1975 Eastern Federal Theatres

More info and photos always welcome.