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Atlantic Twin Theater, 3220 Two Notch Road: 1990s (?)   31 comments

Posted at 4:23 pm in Uncategorized

The Atlantic Twin theater was on Two Notch road across from what is now Dick Dyer Toyota. It was something of an "outlying" theater, neither downtown, nor in Five Points, and I think probably the "Oh, I always forget about that one" location probably played a part in its eventual downfall. The fact that that section of Two Notch gradually became rather down-at-the-heels over the years didn't help either. Nonetheless, The Atlantic was the site of the only movie birthday party I ever had. It would have either been in 1967 for my sixth birthday or 1968 for my seventh. I'd say 67, but IMDB says the movie came out several weeks after my birthday, so either I had a very late party, or the film came back for second-run showings the next year.

At any rate, my mother and father arranged to take two carloads of my little friends (you could never pack cars like that today!) to The Atlantic to see "Dr. Dolittle" with Rex Harrison. At the time (and today) the film was universally panned by critics, and the ability of the studio to secure an Oscar for it is often pointed to as the last time the "studio system" was able to rig the awards. Be we liked it!

If I could talk to the animals --
Learn their languages...
Maybe take an animal degree!

The songs were catchy, and the humor with things like the Pushmepullyou wasn't over our heads, and I think we all got popcorn and drinks. Then we went back to my house and had cake..

Anyway, as I alluded above, some time after that The Atlantic fell on hard times. By the late 70s, it had become a porno-palace, and eventually the building itself was torn down. Today there is some sort of social-services building with a DSS branch there. The actual theater was in the lower part of the parking lot, about where the last picture indicates.

Not a big step forward, you'll agree.

If I spoke slang to orangutans
The advantages why any fool on earth could plainly see!
Discussing Eastern art and dramas
With intellectual llamas
That’s a big step forward you’ll agree!

UPDATE 13 September 2009: Added showtime advertisement from The State, 15 April 1973.

UPDATE 12 April 2010: Added full street address to the post title.

Written by ted on July 2nd, 2008

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31 Responses to 'Atlantic Twin Theater, 3220 Two Notch Road: 1990s (?)'

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  1. "By the late 70s, it had become a porno-palace, and eventually the building itself was torn down. Today there is some sort of social-services building with a DSS branch there. The actual theater was in the lower part of the parking lot, about where the last picture indicates.

    Not a bit step forward, you’ll agree."

    Are you comparing the Richland County DSS office to a porno theater?


    3 Jul 08 at 11:23 am

  2. OK, now I see. I should have read the rest of your quote!


    3 Jul 08 at 11:24 am

  3. You got it the second time. I couldn't get this post to come out exactly like I wanted and it reads a bit awkwardly I'm afraid..


    3 Jul 08 at 11:46 am

  4. I've never heard of this one. I do remember hearing something about a porn theater on Two Notch in the 80s, I bet this was the place.

    Mr Bill

    3 Jul 08 at 2:13 pm

  5. Probably, though there was a drive-in on Two Notch out near Spring Valley that went porno sometime in the 70s as well.


    3 Jul 08 at 3:05 pm

  6. The Department of Social Services is literally built on top of the old theater. The screens and seats are gone, but there's still the sloped floor. it is (was) being used for storing surplus/salvage office desks, chairs, and other assorted junk.


    5 Jul 08 at 7:28 pm

  7. My family and I moved to Columbia from Richmond in the fall of 1965. I was 6 years old. We actually stayed at the Forest Lake Motel on two notch. While my dad was at work one day my mother sister and I walked down to the Atlantic Twin Theatere and saw the Dr. Dolittle movie. Maybe it cam back around but I remember it distictly. There was a deartment store next door called the Atlantic Thrift. I rember getting a "Cootie" toy on the same outing. Cootie was like Mr. Potatohead except he was an ant.


    17 Jul 08 at 1:17 pm

  8. Yep, Cootie is still around; my neice has one. I can vouch for the amazon reviews that say the new ones aren't built very well though. Quite hard to connect the legs, and they keep falling off..


    17 Jul 08 at 1:43 pm

  9. Amazing - I saw "Dr. Doolittle," and many other movies, at the Atlantic Twin, usually with my grandmother. It was cozy little place. More than once on a long hot summer day we'd watch the movie, then move to the other theater and see the other movie.

    In the front lobby of the Atlantic Thrift store (not actually what we now call a thrift store, they just meant "discount") there was a large glass box with a live chicken living in a smaller box inside it. If you put a dime in the slot, loud music would play and the small box's door would open, the chicken would come out and "dance" and get a small handful of seed. I swear I am not making this up. PETA would burn the place down today. I saw one of these dancing chicken things at Cherokee, NC, too.


    21 Aug 08 at 10:02 am

  10. Oh, this stuff and memories are great! The Atlantic Thrift was a magnet for me and my buddies back in the 60's. We spent many a quarter playing the arcade games up front. I don't remember a live chicken machine but the story is hilarious. The area was never great even back in the 50's or 60's. Prostitutes were a known problem around Carter and Pine Belt. The theater had a checkered past. I remember watching Bonnie and Clyde there in 1967. The nudie films started around 1970. We used to peruse the garbage canisters behind the theater to get film splices and my first glances at womanhood. It went straight again for a while but then went really hardcore and got raided at least once a year. I remember seeing a family oriented movie during the straight period and will never forget how disgusting the place was with the smell and general stickiness. The state finally bought the properties and forced the closure of the theater. This may have been in the 80's.


    4 Oct 08 at 2:44 am

  11. As a kid I wondered why the Twin's newspaper ads said "Call Theater"!

    Midnight Rambler

    16 Dec 08 at 2:28 pm

  12. I met my future bride at the Atlantic Thrift Center in 1965. We both had after school jobs there. I have fond memories of the place and some of the good people that worked there.
    The drive-in theater that was referred to by a previous poster was the Twilight Drive-in which was only a couple of blocks up Two Notch.


    10 Jan 09 at 9:44 am

  13. Saw many movies when I was little at the Twilight Drive In.

    When I was in the second grade we lived on Pine Belt a couple of blocks from it. My grand mother and my sister and I would carry lawn chairs up there and they let us in free. We'd play on the swingset right under the screen while my grandmother watched the movie. I don't even remember what movies we saw.

    Went back as a teenager and had some altogether different fun. Don't really remember those movies either. My high school gang more often went to the one on Beltline, near North Main. We would pretty much take over that place some nights. Can't remember the name of that one.


    10 Jan 09 at 4:16 pm

  14. Some how 2 of my under-age buddies and I got in to see Easy Rider at this theater and we sat through 3 showings one Saturday evening. Obviously I didn't have a life back then, either.

    Terry Edwards

    21 Jan 09 at 6:49 am

  15. Dennis--I don't remember that! But I do remember going to see Last Tango in Paris at the Atlantic--Rated X!


    11 Feb 09 at 7:17 pm

  16. I remember seeing the "Flipper's NEW Adventure" there back in 1963 or 1964, and then went to see the "Hey There! It's Yogi Bear" movie back in 1964 also. I really dont remember the Atlantic Dept. Store all that well since we never went that way unless we went to see a movie there or at the drive-in up the road. Is the theater building still there? or did they tear it down?


    12 Apr 09 at 6:10 pm

  17. Whem I was at Carolina in the late 70s - early 80s, a guy who lived upstairs from me on The 'Shoe actually worked there up front, selling tickets. If we were bored, we would buy a couple of cases of beer and all drive out there when he was working, and he would let us in for free and let us smuggle the beer in. It was seriously hardcore by then...the paying customers were these gruddy old men and Paul Reuben wannabes. But it was cheap (entertainment?)


    30 Oct 09 at 7:04 pm

  18. Before it was Richland County DSS and before it was the Atlantic Twin Theater, this site used to be the Atlantic Department Store. The last vivid memory I have was from about 1964 or 65. They had the most awesome toy department to be found in the midlands back then. As I was a little kid when I last went there, I do recall they had more toy guns and other things than any other place I had ever been to, before or since.

    Ray Price

    5 May 10 at 12:43 am

  19. The Atlantic Twin theatres were on the end of the building that the Atlantic department store was in. The parking lot sloped way down going toward the theatres. Also, "Uncle Sams" was across Carter street from the Atlantic store.


    10 May 10 at 12:33 pm

  20. I remember the toy department. You had to be fourteen to entire the section unescorted by an adult. This was humiliating to me considering that my buddies were a year or so older than me and the security guard left them alone but ran me away.


    16 Feb 11 at 11:30 am

  21. Yep, this is it Ted - thanks for re-directing me! I had totally forgotten about that chicken, but I too can vouch for it! I guess it's no worse than the tiger some Esso station used to keep caged up - on Percival? downtown? Can't remember, that was a long time ago.


    4 Mar 11 at 12:10 pm

  22. Debbi,

    That was Happy The Tiger at Constan on Gervais.


    4 Mar 11 at 12:20 pm

  23. I remember the car wash tiger on Gervais. This must have been in early to mid 60's. I would have hated to have been the guy assigned to clean the cage!


    23 Mar 12 at 2:58 pm

  24. Happy The Tiger was there at Constan until about the time the Zoo opened. Though I do remember for some reason they moved Happy to the Washington DC Zoo for a short period of time, but dont remember why. And with the Atlantic Dept. Store, I dont remember a whole lot about it since at the time I was young and all these places looked the same to me. As long as they had toys to look at, I didnt care.

    Saturday's child

    23 Mar 12 at 3:18 pm

  25. You can see Happy here.


    23 Mar 12 at 4:38 pm

  26. I worked at Atlantic Twin theater in early 70's while I was a HS student. I ran the projectors and cleaned that nastyazz place up (chicken bones & condoms) ... mostly all by myself. I recall "Shaft" played one side and "Kama Sutra" the other ... both for a LONG time. I had rather long hair & my share of pimples and was lucky to even get any job at all ... I lived across two notch in a neighborhood "Belvedere" w/ a distrurbed stepmother & alcoholic dad ... may-december drunks. My uncle owned&operated Carolina Parts junkyard about 1/4 mile up hill from theater. Ohter than a paycheck, about the only thing worthwhile there was a girl ... also a HS student ... she sold tickets and concessions ... her name was ... I think ... "LANAI" ... I recall Lanai had a very pleasant demeanor and was remarkably pretty. Seems, later, local (sadly late) guitar legend Ronnie A. Blizzard dated Lanai?

    jax dunit

    7 Aug 12 at 9:49 am

  27. Wasn't W.T. Grant next to the Atlantic Twin Theater at some period? They were something like K-mart and Rose's from those years.

    Jim Watson

    17 Mar 13 at 8:14 am

  28. @ Jim W. it wasn't W.T.Grant it was The Atlantic Thrift Center. I worked there in 65-66 most of it in the toy dept. I don't remember any age requirement rule mentioned by a previous poster, in fact it used to bother me to no end that parents would send their kids back to the toy dept. to play while they shopped. Maybe they implemented an over 14 rule after that.

    Mike L.

    17 Mar 13 at 6:13 pm

  29. I grew up in Belvedere in the mid sixties to mid seventies. I was a regular at the Atlantic Thrift store. Someone stole my bike there once while I was inside. I bought lots of Hot Wheels cars there. I wish I still had them for they are valuable today. I also frequented the Atlantic Twin Theater before it turned porn. I saw Ben Hur there for the first time. It was the only movie I can remember seeing where there was a fifteen minute intermission half way through the movie.


    28 Feb 18 at 7:14 am

  30. My cousin and I worked at Atlantic Twin in the mid 70’s when it was showing porn on one screen and B movies on the other. I remember newscasters from WOLO channel 25 Mackie Quave, Jerry England, and Dave Aiken would come in to the porn side after the Saturday night 11 pm newscast ended. We worked concessions and projected at night while going to USC by day.


    22 Feb 19 at 7:22 pm

  31. Remember going there to see " I am curious, Yellow". It was about 1972-3. The only place it played in Columbia. X-Rated!!

    John Nelson

    7 Dec 21 at 5:41 pm

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