National 4-6-8

4887 Old National Highway,
College Park, GA 30337

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brazilianjiujitsu on May 15, 2023 at 2:09 pm

Bad news. Just a month ago, I drove by the front of the theater and it was encased by a construction company fence. This only means it will be torn down soon.

pauladdis on May 17, 2021 at 4:26 pm

I worked here from 1983-1988 (on-and-off after 1985). I started off as an usher at age 16, and ever did only a little work in the concession stand. I was quickly trained as a projectionist by Tony and Charles, who were also very young at that time. The projection room floor was painted gray, but there were spots where the paint was thinner and you could vaguely discern some red letters underneath. The story I was told is that they used to have union projectionists there, but eventually cancelled their contract and trained other workers to run the projectors. When that happened, the angry former projectionists came into the building one night, grabbed all the films off the platters, brought them down to the projector at theatre #1, dumped them out the projectionist’s window and piled them up behind the screen. I was told that it took some time to find them.

My manager’s name was Mike Wilson (if I remember correctly). One time he had placed a cigarette butt on the floor in the lobby, which I picked up with my broom and dust pan. He came over to me and said that he had placed it there and watched as various workers went past without picking it up. I have never forgotten that lesson, and always remember to do my work as if someone is watching me. He said he had a pilot’s license, and I think that made him very much an ‘attention to detail’ person. He once told me about the importance of paying attention to detail because, as a pilot, he had people’s lives in his hands. He said I should do my work with the projection equipment the same way, even though it wasn’t life-and-death. Another lesson I never forgot, which served me well later in my 4-years active duty in Army Intelligence.

I loved my time here. Mostly because of the people, and I love movies.

I remember that, because we got the movies in cans days prior to the first showing, we would sometimes have a ‘midnight showing’ for employees and their friends. This was especially true if it was a big blockbuster. I remember sitting in the theatre after closing, watching the movie while the employees put ice in a mop bucket with beer cans, which would be rolled up and down the row as people picked up their feet so folks could grab a beer. Of course, we had all the popcorn and coke we wanted, as long as we didn’t use the company drink cups or popcorn buckets (those were counted).

I once met President Jimmy Carter when he and his wife came by to see “Greystoke the Legend of Tarzan Lord of the Apes”. I remember seeing the secret service cars parked out front. After the show, he was standing in the lobby waiting for Rosalynn to come out of the ladies room, and I walked over to chat with him. I asked him how he liked the movie. He said fine. I said, “Yeah, that guy does a great job acting like an ape.” Nice guy.

I was there when they added the two theatres on top. The stories mentioned by others are true. The roof constantly leaked, and during that winter, it got very cold (wind chill below 0 at times). Even the lobby was open in some places, so the temperature in the lobby was about as cold as outside. At one point they brought in these big portable kerosene jet heaters (like 150,000 BTU units), and the ushers would take turns warming our hands at the heater while the other would tear tickets or clean up the lobby. I’m really surprised they stayed open during that time.

I also remember around the time we were playing “Breakin’” and “Beat Street” we had a kind of perfect storm, which led to some of the crime issues mentioned in other comments. Just before that time there was a shooting at the local Krystal on Old National Hwy, which had been a hangout for rowdy high school ‘gangs’. The police started patrolling the Krystal a lot more after that. So, they were looking for a new hangout spot. “Breakin” and “Beat Street” brought large crowds of young folks, and our theater parking lot became the preferred spot for hanging out. With all the car break-ins going on, the ushers were offered a bit extra pay if they would go up on the roof and watch out for criminal activity. If they saw anything they were advised to tell the off-duty College Park Police officers who were hired as security. I remember Mr. Wilson had a bullet proof vest for when he took the cash deposit to the bank (accompanied by the security officers).

Among the crazy times, I have a lot of great memories of all my coworkers. There were even a few marriages that came out of that group. Good friends, good times.

JFB on January 10, 2019 at 7:38 pm

I never worked there but I went there many times to see a movie. Originally there were three screens. One large screen, one medium and a smaller auditorium between the other two.

Around 1980 a fourth auditorium was added to the left of auditorium 3. It was a little larger than the one beside it. It was here that during the 1980’s three-d Old National would show the 3-D movies. I do not think the screen in this auditorium was curved like the other three.

During the mid 1980’s two additional auditoriums were added above the lobby. This was the time that the theater looked terrible. It was like they took out the roof over the lobby and had tarps over it. I do not believe that the top two auditoriums had curved screens.

After this time, they split the large auditorium. I remember seeing the remake of The Blob here.

After this, I do not remember them having an eighth screen. I did see Terminator 2 at a 12:30 am opening day screening. The last movie I saw there was Bebe’s Kids.

It is sad to see what was once a good place to see a movie go to seed.

rivest266 on April 15, 2018 at 5:50 pm

Closed 1998 by Regal.

rivest266 on April 14, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Opened with six screens on June 17th, 1984 and seven on May 22nd, 1987. Grand opening ads posted.

robboehm on April 8, 2018 at 12:58 pm

It started as 1,2,3 and wound up as 4,6,8 even tho' there were eight auditoriums? I don’t get the name.

mcone1 on June 21, 2008 at 6:23 pm

I actually helped with the closing of this facility and then was responsible for it as a projection warehouse. It was very unique in design, but seemed to be anightmare from an operations standpoint. The projection stairs going to the third floor were VERY thin, to the point a film could not be moved there in clamps, but had to be broken down first. The element in the shoping center became extremely rough in 1997/1998 and there were several assaults and robberies in the parking lot, one right outside the front door where a customer was actually injured. The location was still profitting when it closed from what I was told, but it was too much of a liability and is now used as one of Regal’s warehouses.

JackCoursey on March 9, 2006 at 5:50 pm

Here are a couple of photos of the Old National from the Stan Malone collection.

JesseBrantley on February 13, 2006 at 4:39 pm

In the 70’s this was definitely the place to see a movie on the South side of Atlanta. Auditorium 1 was very large and had a curved screen. The other two auditoriums were not as large but each had a curved screen and any movie was good there.

I liked the way instead of splitting an auditorium, the owners added new auditorium. Unfortunately the large auditorium 1 was eventually split.

I still enjoyed goint to this theater.

brazilianjiujitsu on December 16, 2005 at 10:03 am

I grew up going to this Theather. I saw movies like Grizzy, Phantasm, Empire Strikes Back , Terminator and the list goes on. It was a tripple in the early 70s and added another auditorium in late 70s. In ‘83, The theather added 2 more screens. As time went on, the area started to get rough and in '97 , Service Merchidise (which was next door to Old National) closed along with other stores in the large complex. That was the nail in the coffin for Old National. Now the theather and the shopping complex is a wasteland/Ghost Town. The Theather is all boarded up and I find it a disgrace that it died out. Very sad.