Newmarket Theaters

08 Mar

Let’s Go To The Movies!

By Silver Blue

I remember when going to the cinema didn’t mean having to take out a second mortgage on your house, when you could get popcorn and a drink (and some candy) for less than $5, and how you could just “escape” into another world for a short while.

Most of the smaller theaters these days have closed, having been consumed by the conglomerate megaplex chains of Regal, AMC, and the like.  Still, I recall when, in Newport News (or was that section Hampton? It’s RIGHT on the dividing line), in Newmarket South, there were the Newmarket Cinemas (1 & 2). They did so well that they expanded to  3 & 4, also known as the Rocking Chair Cinemas because in 3 & 4, the chairs literally were like gliders.

Times change, however. Nothing stays the same. I wanted to capture these memories before they were torn down in the name of “progress”.

Cinemas 1 & 2, boarded up and in a serious state of decay. These cinemas were in long halls, as if someone had backed up a tractor trailer and you watched inside.

A gentler memory came out of the conversion to black and white:

Then, there were theaters 3 and 4, built next door. Different format, with the rocking chairs and the theaters being put in round buildings:

Now home to the Antioch Christian Center (and Daycare), I recall seeing “First Wives’ Club” in the theater on the left.

Of course, the buildings were not egg yolk yellow then, but an off white. I’m hedging my bets that these (which were the newer of the screens) buildings long outlast the original.

Silver Blue, who wishes I’d gotten into photography, oh… about 30 years ago in order to save history.

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