Movie Theatre Information:  Huntsville and Decatur, Alabama

©1998-2006, Evans A Criswell

Historical Information: Alabama: Cullman

Town Square Triple

Opening date: 1979/11/29

First movies shown:

The Town Square Triple was opened by Martin Theatres with three screens on Thursday, November 29, 1979 with a capacity of 650 people. G. O. Anderson was the city manager for Martin at the time of this theatre's opening. Harold Bernard, formerly the manager of the Marbro Drive-In, was the Town Square Triple's first manager. Richard Maze replaced him at the Marbro when the Town Square Triple opened. G. O. Anderson stayed at the Martin Twin as the city manager for Martin Theatres. The three movies playing on opening night were the following: ????Starting Over???? at 7:00 and 9:15 on screen 1, ????Running???? at 7:00 and 9:15 on screen 2, and ????When a Stranger Calls???? at 7:00 and 9:15 on screen 3. The Town Square Triple became a Carmike location when Carmike acquired Martin Theatres from Fuqua Industries. It is currently the only movie theatre operating in Cullman.

MarBro Drive-In

Opening date: 1966/07/15

First movies shown:

The Marbro Drive-In opened on Friday, July 15, 1966 at 6:30. It was located on Highway 31 north. Movies shown on opening night were ????Diamond Head???? and Elvis Presley in ????Fun in Acapulco????. The Marbro appears to have closed between July 1980 and July 1984.

Martin Theatre

Opening date: 1966/06/03

First movie shown: Thunderball

The Martin Theatre opened on Friday, June 3, 1966 at 7:30. It was located at 215 Loring Street (later 1211 Loring Street) next to the Cullman Shopping Center. The first movie was ????Thunderball????. The theatre featured Heywood-Wakefield chairs, a Vista-Vue screen, and tangerine and gold decorations. G. O. Anderson was the Martin Theatre manager at the time of opening. The Martin closed from December 9, 1974 through December 19, 1974 for remodeling and twinning. It reopened on Friday, December 20, 1974 as a twin with the movies ????The Longest Yard???? at 7:00 and 9:20 and Walt Disney's ????The Castaway Cowboy???? at 7:10. The Martin appears to have closed in the first half of 1987.

31 South Drive-In

Opening date: 1949/06/16

No longer in operation. Opened June 16, 1949. Cullman's first drive-in theatre. Built by National Theatres for James E. Jones and Howard Brown of Jasper. Covered an acre and has space for 400 cars. Closed in the 1960s.

Ritz Theatre

Opening date: 1949/05/31

No longer in operation. Opened May 31, 1949 by Cullman Amusements, Inc. on the corner of Second Avenue and Fourth Street East. Five years after opening, it was closed for a week while CinemaScope and stereophonic sound were installed. The theatre was sold to Martin Theatres and operated until December 28, 1968, after which it became a department store.

Cullman Theatre

Opening date: 1938/02/08

No longer in operation. Opened February 8, 1938. Cost was $40000 and the theatre seated 900. Owned by W. R. Griffin and Frank Merrit's company, Cullman Amusements, Inc. (which also owned the Lyric). The theatre closed in the 1950s and burned to the ground on December 8, 1962 along with several other buildings where the Downtown Plaza would later be located.

Strand Theatre

No longer in operation. Opened, without an advertisement, in March 1927. Owned by W. R. Griffin. Had a balcony and sometimes presented stage shows. This theatre closed 11 years later when W. R. Griffin and Frank Merritt purchased the Lyric in July 1938 and continued the Strand's continued bookings there. After the theatre closed, a five and dime store was located in the building.

Lyric Theatre

No longer in operation. Opened in 1914 by T. D. McMinn where Kuhn's variety Store would later be located. On March 24, 1927, T. D. McMinn opened the new Lyric Theatre at a different location on Thrid Street east, which later became a department store. The first feature at the new Lyric was ????I???? featuring Clara Bow, the first talking motion picture shown in Cullman. In July 1938, W. R. Griffin and Frank Merritt purchased the Lyric and closed the Strand and continued the Strand's bookings at the Lyric.

Princess Theatre

No longer in operation. Opened in 1912. Was located on Second Avenue West. Built by George Markland. Projector was hand-operated and an electric piano provided background music. On special occasions, an organist was hired to play mood music. Staged shows were also performed at the theatre. Closed in 1914 following the opening of the Lyric. The building became a pool room.

Howar Motion Picture Show

No longer in operation. Opened around the same time as the Esther Opera House. Was located alongside the Howar Photograph Shop in the Hanlin Building.

Esther Opera House

Opening date: 1908/01/17

First movie shown: As You Like It

No longer in operation. Opened January 17, 1908. Was located on Second Avenue East. Built By John Beyer. First performance was ????As You Like It???? starring May Stewart. The theatre was managed by Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lightfoot. The first floor was a skating rink, with the theatre above it. Later, in 1913, under the management of Tim Murphy, silent movies were shown. The Esther was later owned by Arthur Karfer and used as a warehouse and real estate office.

Unknown Name

No longer in operation. According to W. R. Griffin (mentioned in book Combing Cullman County), a theatre was opened by his father in 1909 where the Cullman Butane Company would later be.

Site created February 9, 1998

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