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Since I haven’t been in Atlanta in nearly 20 years,the Madison Yards development is completely new to me. I’ll be very interested to see it the next time I’m in town. I wasn’t optimistic that anything would revitalize the east side of Atlanta. Having grown up in East Lake, I found the Eeast side to be frankly depressing. Hopefully, that is changing.
Well, I haven’t been in Atlanta since 2003. At that time what was once the Atlantic Theatre was still standing. Frankly, it was depressing to see it. Of course, Meiselman built the theatre & operated it for the first several years. As I understand it, Bailey acquired it. They still operated the Glen Theatre in ‘63 –'64. Honestly, I was never aware that Bailey was ever in the new theatre business. Of course, I could be wrong.
I never understood why Meiselman built the theatre in that location. By 1963, the eastside of Atlanta (which included Kirkwood & East Lake) was changing rapidly. Black families were buying houses along Boulevard Drive, east of Kirkwood. By 1965 they were moving further east through Kirkwood and into East Lake. The demographics were changing so quickly that I never believed that the Atlantic Shopping Center would be a successful location.
As Doug Malone also wrote, “Nothing ever lasts in Atlanta.” Sad but true.
So, the Atlantic Theatre is now demolished! As someone once wrote, “Living in Atlanta means watching your past being hauled off in a dump truck!” Well, I suppose it was about time.
Hi, letray98 – Looked up the Facebook page devoted to Grove Park & I was impressed. It’s nice to see the affection & nostalgia that the people from Grove Park still feel for their old community. I’m a native of Atlanta, but I grew on the opposite side of town – East Lake & Decatur. I haven’t seen any comparable outpouring of nostalgia from the people of Atlanta’s east side. You should be proud of your great memories!
Perfectly wonderful! Thanks for sharing! I have a number of happy memories associated with attending the Paramount in the 1950’s! Going to the movies was special in that era. Something about the experience was lost with the decline & fall of the great movie palaces. Going to a multiplex simply does not compare!
GREAT PHOTO, Stan! Thanks for sharing it! My dad remembered this era. He saw a lot of movies at both the Howard & the Capitol! There aren’t many people alive today who can remember the Atlanta of the 1920’s!
Great post, Joe! It’s almost certain that the location on Ponce de Leon near Boulevard was for the Ponce de Leon Theatre. My dad used to take me to see westerns there in the 1950’s. The Ponce de Leon closed in the mid ‘50’s and stood vacant for close to 20 years.
Sensational photo! Before my time (I’m a Baby Boomer), but really great! Thanks, Stan!
Hi, Patti – Since I was just a bit too young to have seen Elvis at the Paramount, I can’t honestly say if he threw a scarf into the crowd at any of the shows in that engagement. In later years, I believe that became a routine part of his shows. Those shows at the Paramount & the Fox in Atlanta must have been enormous fun in those days. Elvis was still fresh and in the process of making his mark. My dad told me about seeing Frank Sinatra at the New York Paramount Theater back in the 1940’s. The bobbie soxers screamed very loud, but there was no doubt that “Frankie” could sing!
Yes, Forrest Avenue (named after Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, who also founded the Ku Klux Klan) was changed to Ralph McGill Avenue in the ‘60’s, to honor the liberal editor of The Atlanta Constitution. Since I haven’t been in Atlanta in a number of years, I really don’t know about the street number.
The map location (on the current page) of Lake Forrest Dr. has nothing to do with the location of The Forrest Theater.
Actually, I did mention the fact that The Metropolitan Opera played the Atlanta engagement of its spring tour (the most important stop on the tour) at The Fox. The superb accoustics of The Fox made those performances especially memorable. If I remember correctly, The Junior League (that great bastion of snobbery) controlled the distribution of tickets. The only way that I got to see the Met in those years was to usher for the performances (through a friend who was a member of The Atlanta Music Club). Those performances hooked me on opera, too!
Thank you, Jester, for sharing those great memories!At that time, I was just about to enter the 3rd Grade at East Lake Elementary. Later, I went on to attend Murphy High School for two years, before transferring to another school. So, I knew East Lake and Kirkwood very well. The Paramount and the Fox were my favorite Atlanta theaters. Yes, I remember the Paramount ushers with their flashlights! If memory serves, their jackets were a wine color, like the ushers at the Fox!
Elvis Presley at The Paramount, June 22,23,& 24, 1956:
check out: www.scottymoore.net/paramount.html
Interesting photos and ads from this event. Here’s a quote from the site:
“On June 22nd thru the 24th, 1956, Elvis, Scotty, Bill and DJ appeared at the Paramount for ten performances in three days. A blurb on page 34 in the advertising section of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the 22nd advertised Elvis' arrival in Atlanta and announced the shows at the Paramount. It also said, "Appearing with him will be a variety show consisting of 16 vocalists, instrumentalists and comedians.”
A review of Friday’s performances appearing on page 6 on the 23rd read, “Elvis Presley rolled into Atlanta Friday, rocked through three performances at the Paramount Theater and had one of his $15 white jersey shirts ripped off by enthusiastic female fans. The rock ‘n’ roll artist received a welcome which he described as "great” upon his arrival in Atlanta from his home town of Memphis. He performed before capacity crowds at all three shows Friday. A majority of the spectators were teen-age girls.“1
“Presley moaned through seven of the most popular rock ‘n’ roll tunes, including "Heartbreak Hotel” and “Blue Suede Shoes,” at each of the Friday shows. He was dressed in a green jacket, black trousers, white jersey shirt, black tie and black and white shoes.“1
“Two guitarists and a drummer accompanied him. Presley wore a guitar around his neck throughout the performance but did not play it. He was preceded by a variety show which included the Jordanaires, a singing group which has made a number of records with him, a comedy routine and other vocalists."1
“Ten policemen were on duty at the performance, but other than the shirt-ripping episode and squeals from the elated female audience, nothing unusual happened. Presley, who always wanted to be a "truck driver,” has been in show business for one and a half years. He has a 1A draft classification and thinks he will probably be drafted in about six months.“1
“Presley is scheduled to do four shows Saturday, three Sunday, and then leave Atlanta for Savannah and another personal appearance."1
If anyone on this site actually attended any of these shows, I wish they’d share their memories with us!
Just to think, you might have been the fellow who handed me my popcorn and candy! Yes, those times were definitely simpler! Thanks so much for sharing your memories!
My uncle had a grocery store a few blocks west on Forrest Avenue, across the street from the site of the current Atlanta Civic Center. What I remember most about the Forrest Theater was the billboard above the theater that displayed 24 sheet posters for current or coming attractions. That was during the era of segregation, so I never actuallty attended the theater. But those posters were tempting …
Ron – Thanks for sharing your great memories – and for the link to the photos! Whenever I post my own memories of these theaters, I always hope that someone who knows more will join in the fun! I remember attending The Glen from about 1957-1965, when it was becoming somewhat seedy. Nevertheless, The Glen was great fun and I remember it very fondly!
Thanks, Dennis! That ad for DR. NO really brings back memories!
“Someone once said that ‘growing up in Georgia is like watching your past being hauled away in a dump truck’.
Sad but true."
That’s a quote from Doug Monroe’s column “The Monroe Doctrine” in ATLANTA MAGAZINE, for May, 2003. Let me urge you to look up the issue at the library and read the entire piece. He really sums up the dilemma of living in what he accurately calls “a temporary town”. Atlanta has sacrificed much of its character for dubious attempts at achieving progress. The results have sometimes been questionable, at best.
Here is a link to a photo of the East Point,including The Fairfax, from The Atlanta History Center Collection:
Thank you, Warren! Having grown up in Atlanta, it was the stuff of legends! Margaret Mitchell literally put Atlanta on the map! The newsreel footage of the event is absolutely remarkable! Make sure you see the documentary that Turner Television produced that is now included on the DVD edition. The color footage of Peachtree Street is worth the price of admission, so to speak!
Here are two aerial views of the Scott Drive-In from the Atlanta History Center collection:
The first one is dated 1969:
The second one is undated:
Here is a link to a photo of the fire at the Loews Grand in 1978:
Here’s a link to a photo of the original ATLANTA THEATRE:
The original release of BIRTH OF A NATION predated my father’s time. He remembered a burlesque house in Atlanta, but maintained that he never attended it (not that I doubt it). Theaters like The Criterion, The Forsyth, and The Metropolitan were long gone well before my time. Yet, it brings a sense of proportion about the theaters that I knew which were demolished in my time. It makes the survival of The Fox, and other vintage Atlanta movie houses all the more remarkable!
Thank you, John! What a fascinating piece of Atlanta history! It demonstrates the fact that as the city developed, theaters came and went. They faced competition from other theaters. Neighborhoods changed; the economy changed; real estate values changed; and, most of all, the times changed.