North Carolina-Old Theatres-March 13


North Carolina People, Places, and Things-March 13

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special.

I rarely go to the movies but do have a fondness for older movie theatres. I am proud that my hometown of Lumberton NC has the Carolina Civic Center that shows films as part of their offerings. The State of North Carolina has some really neat old movie theatres across the state.

Carolina Civic Center.

Located in the heart of historic downtown Lumberton, the Carolina Civic Center facility opened its doors for the first time on June 18, 1928.  Then known as the Carolina Theatre, a vaudeville and silent film house it served the City of Lumberton and Robeson County as the area’s primary cultural arts center for more than four decades.  With the nationwide flight from downtown areas during the late 1960’s and 1970’s, the Carolina Theatre closed its doors for business in 1975. Averting plans to demolish the theater and replace it with a parking lot, a determined effort to save the historic structure by a group of local citizens resulted in the facility reopening June 18, 1985 as the Carolina Civic Center.

One of the oldest theatres to continuously show movies is located in Kannapolis, NC and is called the Gem Theatre.

Photos of the Gem below.

The Gem Theatre originally opened on December 31, 1936. A few years later, in 1942, The Gem Theatre was gutted by fire and the theatre was reduced to ashes.

The theatre was rebuilt in 1948 and featured a beautiful lobby and 916 
seats, including the balcony section. The Gem has been open ever since 
and is one of the oldest single-screen movie theatre in continuous operation today. The Gem is also one of only a few movie theatres that offers balcony seating.

This past week on WRAL-TV Tarheel Traveler Reporter Scott Mason profiled the Earle Theatre in Mt. Airy, NC. Click the link to see his neat profile.

There are many more old theatres in North Carolina including the Varsity in Chapel Hill, NC and one very unique place called the Graham Cinema.

Photo below of the Varsity in Chapel Hill, NC


The Graham Cinema located in Graham NC (below)  is unique for several reasons.

graham cinema

The Graham Cinema opened as the Graham Theatre in 1935. It was remodeled in 1941 and is still in operation.

The Graham only accepts cash-Shows are just $4.00 currently.

The Graham Cinema has an answering machine that provides jokes. Pick up your phone. Here’s the number: (336) 226-1488. Go ahead it is a riot.

The number will give you info about today’s show which is Daddy’s Home but it also is Tim Bob’s Famous Joke Line. The man behind the answering machine is Tim Matthews. Once a week, he sits down and records the message, no rehearsal, off the top of his head.

Trust me you have wasted two minutes of time doing something worse than listening to his joke line.

Great article on the Graham Cinema in a past issue of Our State Magazine.

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Message

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