Varsity Twin Theatre

705 N. Dixie Avenue,
Cookeville, TN 38501

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Carmike Cinemas

Functions: Retail

Previous Names: Varsity Cinema Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Varsity Cinema Show Card

The Varsity Cinema Theatre was opened in 1969 as a single screen theatre. On January 4, 1980, it was opened as twin screen cinema.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

mmelody on December 19, 2005 at 11:15 pm

It was a 1 sceen theatre, which closed in 1999(I think). It was running as a discount movie theatre before it closed. Not sure why it closed, it appeared to doing ok as a discount, especially being next to Tenn Tech

bdudney on August 12, 2006 at 12:46 pm

it was a 2 screen. It was named the “Varsity Twin”

scyscyscy on July 31, 2007 at 2:19 am

According to “WAY BACK WHEN: LOOKING BACK IN HISTORY, Happenings in the Cookeville area as recorded in the pages of the Herald Citizen Newspaper, Cookeville, TN.” By Bob McMillian at, the Varsity opened as a single screen in September, 1969 featuring “the latest in theater design, a soft brown interior, high lobby, rocking seats and interior ticket sales.” The “interior ticket sales” were a small booth just inside the large wooden doors. By the time I started going to the Varsity, in the early 80’s, there were no rocking seats, and it had been converted to two screens by building a wall straight up the center of the auditorium. Apparently the original room had continental seating, so when it was split, each new auditorium had a center aisle that was off-center. This also led to the auditoriums being really deep for the size of the screen, with lots of rows of 10 or 12 seats, if I remember correctly. Carmike owned it by then, and used it for films they thought would attract the university audience, while the big comedies, etc played their Highland Quartet, now the Highland Ten.

uneaixoise on August 20, 2007 at 4:31 pm

Varsity Twin is now retail space (sadly)

TLSLOEWS on July 1, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Cumberland Business Journal is now listed at this address.

GMNash on March 20, 2011 at 5:16 am

A theatre operator by the name of Leon Hurst owned and operated this theatre, as well as the Highland. He was well-known in the business, and active in NATO of Tennessee. Leon had these theatres until the mid-1980’s when he sold them to Consolidated Theatres of Charlotte NC. The Varsity was already a twin theatre then, the Highland had also been ‘twinned’ under Leon. Consolidated added two screens to the Highland. Carmike bought out Consolidated in 1989. I believe Carmike focused on expanding the Highland location, as most of the areas restaurants, etc. was nearby. The Varsity may have still attracted good crowds as a discount house, but it’s difficult to a desirable profit like that. I’m sure Carmike wanted to drive all the ticket buyers to one location.

GMNash on March 20, 2011 at 12:35 pm

CORRECTION TO ABOVE…. The owner’s name was Leon Delozier, not Hurst.

varsityfilm on August 26, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Carmike wanted the Varsity to run without putting any money back into it. The platters were old and were prone to “brainwrap” the film and cause problems. Also, at times it was necessary for a person to hand spin the platter to keep the movie running. Towards the end movies were fouling up and causing refunds. I suppose Carmike decided to end operations rather than invest money into an old discount house. Such a shame too. Good things could have come from a property so close to the University.

staffandcasting on March 20, 2014 at 1:29 am

The Princess Theatre should also be added to this site’s list of closed Cookeville, TN theatre. It was closed in 1977, and was immediately replaced by the Highland Cinema. Meanwhile, the Varsity Cinema adjacent to Tennessee Tech University continued operation until closing in 2001.

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