Parkaire Twin

Lower Roswell Road and Johnson Ferry Road,
Marietta, GA 30068

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50sSNIPES on February 1, 2023 at 11:33 am

Closed on January 5, 1986.

CB1971 on June 11, 2017 at 11:36 pm

I grew up with this theater. I remember seeing “Star Wars” there numerous times, as well as a couple of different James Bond films, “The Terminator”, and countless others. It became the place to go for most local kids that moved into the area as it developed, on weekends and birthdays especially, until the Merchant’s Walk development sprouted up.

I remember that the interior of the mall was a 2-level structure, or was on one side at least, and for a short time, there was a restaurant/bar on the upper level, and not much else…don’t remember the name. I recall having a cheeseburger there one time, and thinking it was pretty good. A drugstore (Wender & Roberts?) and Hallmark card shop were focal points, as were a small video arcade and ice cream shop at various times. Seems there were always more vacancies than permanent businesses, however, which probably had something to do with why it was redeveloped. The mall also joined to the Kroger grocery store on the west end, which was the primary business in the area, at least early on, and is still there today (though long ago repositioned upon redevelopment).

The layout of that development was strange. There were several satellite buildings down on one end, past the Kroger store. Various businesses populated them at various times, including a dance studio, an auto service shop (which I think might still be there in some form…Goodyear?), and a small, dimly-lit pizza joint that didn’t last very long. They were arranged such that unless you knew what you were looking for and where to look for it, you would probably never know that most of those places were there. It was definitely not geared toward presentation, in terms of sight lines.

It always seemed to me that the cinema was on the wrong end. It seemed tucked away and hidden from sight from the main roads, and I often wondered how it did any business beyond us locals who knew where it was…I guess it didn’t, after all. Oddly enough, after the mall was torn down and redeveloped into a strip, they did the same thing with the ice rink, and moved it back behind the main development where you can’t even see it from the road. I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked by people unfamiliar to the area how to get to that place.

Thanks for the background, Stan. Interesting stuff.

cccmoviehouses on February 12, 2014 at 7:45 pm

I only remember one movie I saw at this theater in the 70’s and if you saw this movie you only wanted to see it one time and one time only——————-Deliverance.

galateasca on July 9, 2013 at 2:13 pm

I remember this theater mainly for the ice rink around it. At the time, that was a novelty. We attended one of our Cobb County friends ice skating/movie party there- and there was nothing else around Parkaire at all. It was a strange little mall, with low ceilings and I seem to remember having to walk up a lot of ramps to get out but that could be my imagination. I do remember the popcorn because there was no place to eat in the mall and we were starving.

jphill76 on June 2, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Growing up in Indian Hills, this was the theater closest to me as a kid. I remember seeing “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century”. This was also where I saw my first R-rated movie. It was the original “Friday the 13th”. I thought I was 13, but since it came out in May 1980, I must’ve been 12 instead. My friend and I were the ‘good kids’, so our moms had no problem letting us see our fill of gory/titillating horror movies of the early ‘80s. I specifically remember a triple feature of “Blood Beach”, “Humanoids from the Deep”, and a third movie I can’t remember…maybe “The Boogens” playing there one weekend. We were in heaven.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on February 11, 2012 at 10:55 am

Great stories, that Billy Jack flick was a dog, we got stuck with hundreds of Billy Jack Hats at the IMPERIAL in Augusta,bet this twin had the same problem….

rivest266 on February 11, 2012 at 9:23 am

I posted the June 28th, 1974 grand opening ad in the photo section.

JackCoursey on June 8, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Does anybody know the name of the architect or firm which designed the original Parkaire Mall?

kencmcintyre on January 24, 2008 at 6:24 am

I went with my parents to see “Animal House” in 1978, when I was sixteen. They had a good time, I didn’t. I was cringing at some of the scenes knowing my mother was sitting next to me.

ToddEvans on January 23, 2008 at 11:02 pm

My dad took me to see “Trial Of Billy Jack” at the Parkaire Twin in the fall of 1974. I was in the 5th grade, and I remember being upset by the shots of students being shot in the back repeatedly. My dad took me to many movies in Cobb County in the 1970’s (including “Star Wars” at the Franklin 3), but that was the only time I ever heard him say “I shouldn’t have taken you to see that.”

Speaking of bad movies, I also saw the wide break release of “It’s Alive” at the Parkaire Twin.

I remember feeling gyped as a child because whenever a “Sensurround” film played at the Parkaire Twin it was never in Sensurround.

StanMalone on October 19, 2005 at 9:21 am

This place was built by the Loews company in the Spring of 1974. There was nothing very remarkable about the theatre itself as it was about equal to the Loews 12 Oaks in its appointments. Though nicer than most of the theatres built during that era, it was still an example of bland 1970’s theatre design. An identical set of 500 seat twins with a large, spacious lobby, nice rest rooms, concession stand against the back wall of the auditorium facing the front doors, Loews “Hollywood” mural overhead, and standard Century 35MM projectors. What makes the Parkaire notable is the fact that it was built at all and the odd way it changed hands so soon after opening.

The location, while it may be the site of rush hour gridlock today, was nothing but cow pastures in 1974. The Parkaire Mall itself was odd in that it had no anchor stores and was really just a strip shopping center built in a circle with an ice skating rink in the middle and a roof overhead. The theatre did not open into the mall but had its own outside entrance and exit doors. Movie distribution wise, it was built in no mans land, just across the river into Cobb County, but well to the east of South Cobb Drive and Highway 41, which was the center of development in Cobb during those days. While actually closer to Sandy Springs and the Lenox / Phipps Theatres, it was in the same zone as the Miracle, Cobb Cinema, Cobb Center and Belmont theatres located on or near South Cobb Drive. Although Cobb County theatres could play day and date with Atlanta during those exclusive run days, it was easier for most of the movie going audience of Cobb to attend movies in Atlanta than it was to make the cross county drive to Parkaire. And, if you wanted to make dinner part of the evening then forget it. Years later, a McDonalds opened across the street, but until then it was either bring your dinner to work with you or drive the 5 miles to Sandy Springs.

Loews opened the Parkaire Twin in the early summer of 1974 with “Chinatown” and another feature whose name escapes me. In keeping with the bizarre nature of this entire episode, the showtimes, in an area where cattle outnumbered people, were 8PM and 10:30PM. Even in the most cosmopolitan areas of Atlanta in those days, you never tried to start a movie after 9:30 if at all possible. This situation was talked about among theatre managers of the time with amusement and many comments about how the New Yorkers who ran Loews must have quit listening to their local people. About 4 weeks later I was called in to work on my off day. It seemed the regular relief manager, Mr. Bill Stevens, late of the recently closed Bolton Drive In, had been pulled out and sent to manage Georgia Theatre Company’s newest theatre, the Parkaire Twin.

The story I was told was that as part of an anti trust settlement many years earlier which resulted in the splitting of Loews Theatres and MGM Studios (something to do with one company controlling distribution and exhibition), Loews was also barred from doing business in certain area, or maybe certain distances from certain areas. I heard it both ways. At any rate, Parkaire was in the forbidden zone and Loews had to get out. Georgia Theatre Company, which made a practice of buying up properties they really had no interest in just to keep the competition out, now had a new and very swank (for them) theatre. Later, when I went to work for Loews, I was told that this was not the case at all. The Loews story was that Georgia Theatre wanted the site so badly that they made an offer Loews could not refuse. Knowing the Georgia Theatre Company of that time, I tend to believe the former version of events.

Regardless, GTC now had the Parkaire. Booking wise, GTC was not about to take any exclusive run booking away from the Cobb Center or Belmont, so Parkaire, for the rest of its life, ran only second run or wide break first run movies. It even went through a period as a $ house. Although the area continued to develop, business was never great here or anywhere else around. In 1986 General Cinema opened the Merchants Walk 8 about two miles up the road, and a year later Cineplex opened the Merchants Exchange 5. While they both had their moments of good times, they were both closed by 1999. The new Georgia Theatre Company now runs Merchants Walk as a 12, and the Exchange is an independent $ house except on Tuesdays when tickets are 50 cents. As for the Parkaire, the entire mall and theatre complex was leveled in the mid 80’s and a brand new strip shopping center built on the site.