Movies return to Greenville

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Greenville which once had both the Camellia Drive-In and Ritz Theatre seems like a long, long time ago and a galaxy far, far away. So it was welcome news last Saturday that we reported on the impending arrival of an eight-screen movie theatre due to open in the city by mid-summer.

Which reminds me: If any of our readership can remember the actual closing dates for the Ritz Theatre and Camellia Drive-In please stop by, call us at 382-3111, or drop an e-mail to We're having trouble tracking down the dates and searching through our archives for something like that is almost like looking for a needle in a haystack.

I recall seeing a few films at the Ritz when I was a little boy (and you don't realize how much I hate typing the last part of that sentence). One was &#8220Pete's Dragon,” one was &#8220Bambi”, and the other was Walt Disney's &#8220The Scarecrow.” At the drive-in, I saw &#8220Star Wars” and &#8220Rooster Cogburn.” &#8220Cogburn” I remember because it was John Wayne and Kate Hepburn and for some reason they were in the middle of this raft on a raging river in the Wild West. &#8220Star Wars” I remember becauseŠwell, for obvious reasons. I was five years old. Imagination on the movie screen. Wow.

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Hard to believe that it's been almost three decades since the citizens of Greenville could view a Hollywood feature film on the big screen. Within the city limits that is. Obviously, the only place available, if you didn't want to wait on the tape (and even those have fallen out of fashion; as the cassette was replaced by the CD, so has the video cassette been replaced by the DVD) was Montgomery, where theatres open and close with all the regularity of rain on a hot summer afternoon. The Carmike this. The Twin Oaks that. The Eastdale Triple.

Or was it double?

The Wynnsong. The Martin.

Amazingly, the Capri is still going strong. Thanks to its love of independent artsy features and patrons consisting of independent artsy loving benefactors with big wallets.

We went to Andalusia once or twice. Before that city built a new theatre as well. Back when Andy had one small theatre, with a wall built between the one movie screen, thereby allowing for the showing of two features at the same time.

It was almost like watching a 20-inch television someone had set down a long, long way off.

Kevin Pearcey is Group Managing Editor of Greenville Newspapers, LLC. He can be reached by phone at 383-9302, ext. 136 or by email at: