Southland Twin Cinema

908 SW 24th Street,
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315

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The Southland Twin Cinema was a theatre that had a great run as both a first run and discount house for some 13 years beginning in late-1970 followed by a very contentious ending in 1984. The Southland Shopping Center was announced in 1967 and, in its first phase, 40 stores were inked led by a Walgreens drug store, Winn-Dixie grocer, and McCrory’s dime store. A ground-breaking took place August 2, 1968 with Southland Center developers Mr. and Mrs. James Casto on hand then again on hand when the Center launched theatre-less in early-1969.

In the second phase of the shopping center, a Jackson Byrons Department store signed on as well as Marmo Operating Company of Manhasset, New York which agreed to build what it thought would be its first Florida Theatre. Marmo had just opened the Camelot I & II in Makato, Minnesota (later the AMC Classic Mankato 6) and the Liberty Theatre in New Jersey on June 26, 1970. Silver Dollar Theatres launched the Southland Twin Cinema on December 2, 1970 with “2001: Space Odyssey” and “Patton” at a dollar for any showtime. The Southland Twin, however, was beaten to the opening date by Silver Dollar’s North Miami Southland Cinema that had launched on November 6, 1970 with “Airport".

The twin-screen Southland was said to have been popular with families and for those going out on date nights because of pricing and location. But at the beginning of the multiplex era, the cinema was dropped at the end of 1983 by its operator as customers were opting for new theatres. D&K Cinema Corporation took on the venue in January of 1984 moving the Southland Twin from new Hollywood films to a sub-run, ultra-discount house at just 89 cents for a double feature. When that didn’t bring in enough patrons, D&K then moved the price-point up to $1.50 for a double-feature with slightly newer titles. That policy ended November 15, 1984 with “Purple Rain” with “Purple Hearts” on screen one and “Red Dawn” with “Octopussy” on screen two. And nobody could have blamed the operators for walking away.

D&K Cinemas went another way the next day starting a policy of showing XXX adult films. They started with “Object of Desire” and “Oriental Hawaii” for $6 per show. The two films had been given positive reviews by Oui, Hustler, and High Society magazines. But despite the reviews, almost immediately, the neighboring businesses and their customers fought back with fliers that read, “Stop Porn… our hearts are torn". On November 27, 1984, the films played were Shauna Grant in “Flesh and Laces” and John Holmes in “Flesh and Laces: Part 2". That night Broward County Judge Steven Shutter watched every minute of the original film that was billed by its studio as “The Godfather of Adult Expression".

Judge / patron Judge Shutter disagreed with the tagline saying that “Flesh and Laces (Part I)” had no socially redeeming value. He ordered the police who were standing by to raid the place that night. Among those arrested was the projectionist and the cashier. The crowd of eight other patrons was shown the exit. The officers noted that the previous four non-adult, general release film titles including “Purple Rain” - as well as the already played “Object of Desire” and “Oriental Hawaii”- were still in the projection booth which additionally suggested lax return practices by the cinema management. It was just a bad day all around for D&K Cinemas and its twin screener.

Return policies aside, the Southland Cinema Twin’s controversy caused by the adult titles and marketing led to its permanent closure on November 27, 1984. Advertised Thanksgiving shows were not run and the forthcoming booking of Samantha Fox and Vanessa Del Rio in “Angie, Undercover Cop” - also impounded by the local police - would not be seen for its booked December showings. Southland’s projectionist would make a career move hired by the Cine I & II adult theatre in Hollywood, Florida, only to be arrested again on the same charge. He was given a 2.5 years probationary sentencing. The Southland Twin was converted for other purposes. The Cinema I & II would move onward to general release Hollywood titles.

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

dallasmovietheaters on September 30, 2022 at 1:54 pm

Pat R. on November 29, 2014 at 2:56 am wrote the following:

Lived in Hollywood and started driving in ‘77. Saw Cannonball, Texas Chainsaw Massacre(!), Scanners and a few more at the Southland Twin! Though Texas C.M. was released in ‘74, I believe, it was apparently re-released a few years later! Great place! Not huge, but never too crowded and very lenient in admitting under 17 year old kids to R rated films! Yaaaay! haha!

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