Cahaba Twin Theatres
211 Highway 80 E,
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Previously operated by: Cobb Theatres, Jerry Lewis Cinemas, Regal Cinemas
Previous Names: Jerry Lewis Twin Cinemas, Selma Twin Cinemas, Taylor Twin Cinemas
The Jerry Lewis Twin Cinemas opened on December 20, 1972. Seating was provided for 350 in each aduditorium. On May 8, 1974 it was renamed Selma Twin Cinemas, but this was short lived as in July/August 1974 it was renamed Taylor Twin Cinemas. Cahaba Twin Theatres opened on January 31, 1975 by Cobb Theatres. Seating was listed at 450. Regal operated the theatre from 1997 thru 2000 when it was taken over by an independent operator. It was closed on March 1, 2005. It became a church and by 2019 it is a synagogue.
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The Cahaba Twin, operated by Cobb Theatres, was listed in the May 3, 1976, issue of Boxoffice as being among the 285 new theaters built in the U.S. in 1975.
This opened as the Jerry Lewis twin cinemas on December 20th, 1972.
Jerry Lewis cinema opening Sun, Nov 26, 1972 – 22 · The Selma Times-Journal (Selma, Alabama) · Newspapers.com
Here’s what I found out about this cinema. •December 20th, 1972 opened as the Jerry Lewis Twin Cinemas
•May 8th, 1974 renamed Selma Twin Cinemas
•July-August 1974 renamed Taylor Cinemas
•January 31st, 1975 reopened by Cobb Theatres as the Cahaba Twin Cinemas
•1997 sold to Regal Cinemas
•Early 2000’s bought back by Cobb theatres after Regal goes bankrupt
Grand opening ads posted.
In March of 1972, Automated Theatres' co-owners Gordon and Ruth Zuck along with H.L. “Tooty” Taylor announced Alabama’s first Jerry Lewis Cinema in the state. The Jerry Lewis Twin Cinema was adjacent to Taylor’s Pizza Pronto and opened with “Cabaret” on one screen and “Snoopy Come Home” on the other on December 21, 1972. As the automated, family-friendly theatre approached its first anniversary, the situation had turned grim for both the circuit and its franchisees, the Zucks.
In December of 1973 just shy of the Selma’s Jerry Lewis Twin’s first birthday, Jerry Lewis Cinemas and its parent, Network Cinema Corporation, had dissolved in bankruptcy. Furthermore, Automated Theatres' employees had a discussion in the theater’s lobby about the failing Selma Jerry Lewis Twin. They decided Gordon Zuck needed to be killed for the insurance money to keep the operation afloat and improve conditions, generally. And that’s just what happened with Zuck’s murder. But when one of the theater’s employees admitted to the plan and the details of using a tire iron to kill Mr. Zuck, things sort of fell apart for the operation and the defendants to be.
The theater owners were locked out after failing to pay rent in 1974. Tooty Taylor took over the business – which had changed names to the Selma Twin Cinemas on May 8, 1974 – in July of 1974 under the caveat that neither the former living owner or her family could enter the premises. Taylor changed the name on July 11, 1974 to the Taylor Twin Cinema. Taylor closed on January 15, 1975 with an announcement that Cobb Theatres Circuit would take on the location.
On January 31, 1975 Cobb took on the operation changing its name to the Cahaba Twin Theatres on a 15-year leasing agreement. As the lease got close to expiring in 1997, Cobb transferred the venue to Regal Cinemas Circuit which operated it under the moniker of the Cobb Cahaba Theatre 2 for a year before shortening it to the Cahaba Cinemas 2 in 1998 and then the Cahaba Twin in 1999. Regal closed the Cahaba Twin at the end of its lease on January 31, 2000 with “Star Wars Episode 1” and “Trippin'.”
The venue launched as the Cahaba Twin Theater on March 3, 2000 under local, independent operation of Maureen Greene through October 21, 2004. The theater closed again but reopened November 12, 2004 with William “Billy” Dinkins taking over the operation. But on March 2, 2005, Dinkins unfortunately became the second operator of this theater to be murdered. The theatre closed on March 1, 2005 with “Because of Winn-Dixie” and a split of “Hitch” and “Hotel Rwanda.”
The Praise Ministry of Ministry Tabernacle moved into the location in 2009. And while convictions were brought in the murder of owner Gordon Zuck, sadly the William Dinkins murder was still listed as a cold case into the 2020s.
Wow! Now that is some story. Thanks Dallas. Like many others I have heard of managers being killed in robberies. I even remember a case where the owner / manager was killed by employees, but that was a case of an inside job robbery going bad when the manager resisted and was killed after he shot one of the robbing crew. (It is doubtful he ever knew that his masked killers were his own employees.)
I know most of the people on this site have very fond recollections of their days working in theaters, and in the lucky cases those jobs were as enjoyable at the time as they are in our memory. However, I don’t think I have ever heard of anyone thinking the job was so great that it was worth killing the owner just to keep the place open. I do recall a few instances of people wishing they could kill the owner but those thoughts seem to fade as they sobered up.