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Rock Hill , SC

 


The Cinema Theater on Oakland Ave in Rock Hill SC was bought by Oakland Ave Church. Rev Summers in front. October 10, 1988


Stevenson Theatre
109 East Main Street
March 3, 1945


Stevenson Theatre
April 14, 1955
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Robert Marshall Hotel, Capitol Theatre, Marshall Brothers Furniture Company - Main Street - 1940s
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Carolina Theatre - Trade Street
1950


Carolina Theatre - Trade Street
1971
All of Trade Street was raised in 1976 to make way for the new Dave Lyle Boulevard


Bob Bryant - 1938 Flying Record
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Bob Bryant built and owned the Pix
until it closed in the 1980s

Movie Theaters of Rock Hill
By Robert W. Ratterree, Sr.
December 4, 2009

The Cinema Theatre on Oakland Avenue in Rock Hill was right near Winthrop University. When it was new, I remember going to see the first Star Wars movie that came out. That was in 1977. It was sold to a church because all the theatres were moving to the Malls and becoming multi-grouped theatres in one building. The single theatres couldn’t compete anymore.

The Stevenson Theatre (seating 500) on Main Street up town was one of the best. When I was a kid I went to the Stevenson up until I graduated from high school. It was a good theatre to take your date. Mom would give us fifty cents apiece and send us to the Theatre. Movies cost twenty-five cents to get in and we could get a coke and popcorn and have a nickel left over. I saw the first movie that scared me back then. It was called The Blob. That night I dreamed that the Blob was coming through the heating vents to get me. Also saw the movie Them, about giant ants. Dreamed about ants too.

The Capitol Theatre (seating 400) was the oldest in town that I remember. It closed about 1950. I remember going to it one time. Saw the movie Amazon Women. Everything back then was in black and white and was very close to being a non-talking movie. This theatre was a large room with a screen at the south end. Kind of like a sheet hung on the wall. The chairs were straight back oak chairs. No padded seats. Can you see some seven-year-old kids sitting in oak chairs for two hours trying to watch a movie? That was the worst theatre I have ever been in. It cost a dime to get in. No drinks, no pop-corn! I don’t remember ever going back. I couldn’t take those chairs again.

The Carolina Theatre (seating 300) on Trade Street in Rock Hill was as good as the Stevenson. Good movies. The building was one of the original buildings on Trade. What I remember the most about the Carolina was your feet would stick to the floor from all the drinks spilled there. They must have never cleaned the floors in there at all. When you came in and went out, your feet would pop each time from breaking traction with the floor. The theatre itself was kind of dirty. Old dirty seats but the movies were good. This was in the early 1950s.

The Pix Theatre (seating 800) was one of the grandest theatres in South Carolina at the time. The Pix was owned by Bob Bryant and built in 1940. This ultra-modern, fireproof, air-conditioned theatre was one of the finest. It was designed by a team of architects from New York and was built for the cost of $100,000.00. I grew up going to this theatre. It was about a ½ mile from our home and we could walk to the theatre with no problem. I remember when the cost was fifteen cents and they raised the price up to a quarter. Everybody in town wanted to boycott the theatre. But they kept coming. Then the price went to fifty cents and the whole town was up-in arms. No movie was worth fifty cents! This was the best theatre to take your dates. Clean, nice and I can close my eyes and smell the popcorn and candy right now.


Pix Theatre - 1944


Pix Theatre - 1941


Pix Theatre - 1957


Pix Theatre - 2009


The Drive-In Theatres around Rock Hill

The two best drive-ins in Rock Hill were the Auto Drive-In located on Cherry Road at the northwest corner of Ebinport and Cherry Road (1940s to 1980s). I remember going to the Auto with mom and dad when I was a small boy.

The other was the Fort Roc Drive-In located on North Cherry Road or Hwy 21 North just before getting to the Catawba River. The name came from being halfway between Rock Hill and Fort Mill, SC. After the theatres took most of the business the Fort Rock became a X-Rated drive-in. During High School, me and the gang would all go to the drive in and just before getting there, everybody would get out and get in the trunk. One person would pay and a trunk full of guys would get in free. That was fun in those days.


Ft. Roc Drive-In - 1966


All photos above provided by Robert W. Ratterree, Sr.

Other Information
on theaters in Rock Hill

 

The Carver Theatre was an African-American theater located on West Main Street.

The Pastime Theatre is listed in the Julius Cahn and Gus Hill Theater Guide and Moving Picture Directory of 1921.

 

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