The Movie Theater that hasn’t Gone With the Wind

When I was working as a reporter and weekend anchor for WAGA-TV in Atlanta in 1968, a new movie theater opened, and since it  had the interesting name of Tara, I wanted to check it out.  But, alas, I never got around to it before I moved to Columbia, SC to work for WIS-TV.  Much to my surprise, that theater, now 43-years-old, is still in operation.  And while in the Atlanta area this past weekend, we went there to see The Guard,  a dark Irish comedy.  Yes, it is funny, though also serious, and I do recommend it, even though I did miss a lot of the dialogue because of the heavy Irish accents.

The theater itself, though, was also a great show for me, especially since I finally got to see it.  I didn’t get to see the original 1200 seat auditorium, because it was converted in the 70s to a four-screen multiplex, and eventually became the art theater that it is now.  But, the outside, and the lobby are the same as they were in 1968.

The lobby celebrates movie history with pictures of the great stars of the 30s and 40s, actors like Humphrey Bogart and Inger Bergman in Casablanca, and, of course, since the theater is named after the Tara plantation in Gone With the Wind, which premiered at Atlanta’s Lowe’s Grand in 1939, Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh are prominently displayed.  When Tara opened in 1968 it was owned by the Lowes chain. In fact, it opened as Lowe’s Tara.  At one time it was owned by United Artists, but now it’s owned by Regal Theaters.

Tara could hold the record for a movie theater that continuously showed movies uninterrupted, since it has done it  for 43 years.  The manager, David Perry, told me it never shut down even during its renovations. He also told me that business is good.

Do I recommend it? If you are a movie buff, one who is into movie history, and enjoy art movies, by all means.  I enjoyed it a lot. At one time the section of Atlanta where it is located got a reputation for being rough, but that’s changed. The area gentrified and is in with the young, hip,  intellectual crowd, which has gentrified a lot of old Atlanta, because they don’t have to fight Interstate traffic to get to work in the downtown area. Also, it puts them close to Atlanta arts, entertainment, and major league sports venues, and to Emory University, Georgia State University, and Georgia Tech.

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2 Responses to “The Movie Theater that hasn’t Gone With the Wind”

  1. larryfeltonj Says:

    My wife and I drove by the Tara yesterday, and were trying to remember the last movie we saw there.

    I don’t see movies in the theater often anymore. Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s in Atlanta, the theaters I went to were the Madison in East Atlanta, the Loew’s Grand, the Paramount, the Roxy, the Rialto, the Fox, Martin’s Cinerama, and the Starlight Drive-in on Moreland Avenue (which is still there, and the last remaining drive-in in the region, as far as I can tell).

  2. peg oberg Says:

    nice to get an updates about Lowes Tara. I worked for several months behind the concession stand back in 1979. the memory would have surely faded over the years, except that, I met my (now) husband there. we were fired together because our dating got in the way of good work habits. we learned our lesson and have since become dependable employees …

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