Woodruff Theater

Lindquist Road and Hero Road,
Fort Stewart, GA 31313

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Woodruff Theater

The U.S. Army Installation Fort Stewart is located in Costal Georgia, just North of Hinesville, and about 40 miles from Savannah. It is home of the 3rd Infantry Division(Mech). The Fort was started in 1940, it’s the largest Army installation east of the Mississippi, covers about 280,000 acres, has a population of around 11,000, with 2,000 families.

The Woodruff Theater is in Building 410. Military meetings are held in the theater. Flicks are shown Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 19:00 and sometimes at 16:00. It was closed in 2023.

Contributed by Chief Jensen

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on August 25, 2010 at 6:03 pm

You can see the Woodruff Theater on the (map) Satellite Photo it is Northeast of the RED DOT.

SPOK on April 29, 2011 at 7:25 pm

The Woodruff Theater was the main post cinema on Fort Stewart. It was/is located across the parking lot from the AAFES Post Exchange (PX) mall and the Commissary. Fort Stewart also boasted a second AAFES cinema, the Moon Theater, which was located in the “Brigade Area.”

The Woodruff Theater was typical of AAFES cinemas of the mid to late 1980’s. The theater was also used for briefings, club meetings, post orientation tours, flu vaccinations and pre-deployment activities. During my four year stint at Fort Stewart I recall the cinema showing movies most evenings of the week. The Woodruff regularly had two shows on Fridays and weekends and sometimes even had late night shows and double features. Even though the cost of movies began creeping up, five dollars would still buy you admission, a large soda, bucket of popcorn and pack of candy. Seeing movies at the Woodruff made for an economical evening.

Of the two theaters on Fort Stewart the Woodruff was the better of the two if you actually wanted to see a movie without too much distraction. The Moon Theater, which was in the middle of the troop area, tended to attract rowdy young soldiers who often yelled back at the screen or made those loud guttural animal sounds that were supposed to herald their high military motivation.

The projectionist/managers of the Woodruff were attuned to ticket lines outside of the theater. If the line was particularly long they would delay the start of the movie â€" or possibly show the coming attractions on time, but then turn the music back on until the last person entered the theater. This was quite different some of the AAFES theaters in Germany, particularly Bamberg and Kitzigen, where the film was started on schedule regardless of the line outside or tardiness in opening the cinema. About the only consistent faux pas at the Woodruff was that sometimes the air-conditioning was not turned up early enough to sufficiently cool the auditorium. The result was that the auditorium would get terribly muggy through the first half of the film.

The first movie my wife and I saw at the Woodruff was SILVERADO. Remember too that back in the 1980’s movies tended to run in civilian movie theaters for weeks if not months. A film could still be considered first run it if showed up several months after its release (unlike today where a film might spend a couple weeks in various theaters before it is immediately released on DVD and Blue Ray). AAFES theaters rarely hosted films immediately after their releases. This was partly due to economical concerns. AAFES theaters did not charge a lot for their movies and thus were not able to pay a fortune for a film on the day of its release. Secondly, and probably more importantly was the fact that the regulations of the day prohibited AAFES from directly competing with the local market. As such the films usually had to exhaust their runs in local theaters before showing up on an AAFES screen.

The truth of the matter was that there was not much of selection of movie theaters in nearby Hinesville. Hinesville had one run down multi-cinema with an old drive-in movie lot â€" turned flea market â€" in the back of the theater. Otherwise the closest movie theater outside of Hinesville was the Abercorn Cinema on the edge of Savannah. Ultimately the Woodruff Theater was not a bad choice.

One of my favorite memories of the Woodruff was the controversy that developed when the movie PLATOON was scheduled to play. AAFES and the garrison commander’s office actually received some pleas to not show film. AAFES went ahead anyway. Ultimately the movie played to sell out crowds. For weeks afterward the film generated discussion among officers and noncommissioned officers who had served in Vietnam as to whether not the film was a realistic. Our battalion executive officer flat-out said that the film was absolutely correct. A differing view was offered by one of the assistant division commanders who insisted that PLATOON was nothing more than communist propaganda. Everyone has an opinion.

The other benefit of the Woodruff Theater, and one common to many AAFES theaters in the United States and overseas, was that it shared the same parking lot with the AAFES Shoppette. The Shoppette was basically a convenience store. It was a great place to pick up additional snacks before the movie.

I enjoyed my four year tour at Fort Stewart and the Woodruff Theater helped considerably.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 29, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Spok,If you were Stationed at Fort Gordon,Ga. I have the two Base theatres on CT,It would be great if you could add to what little i put on CT.

SPOK on May 2, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Mike Rogers, I never made it to Fort Gordon. While stationed in Georgia my wife and I visited Augusta, GA a couple times, but surprisingly never got as far as driving onto Fort Gordon. This is surprising especially as we would normally check out Army posts or Air Force bases, such as Fort Lee or Fort Bragg, if we happened to be in the area for any length of time.

AndreasP on December 29, 2019 at 6:37 pm

Is this the same theater (maybe after a rebuilding?) as the one on my postcard named “Ft. James Theater”?

Link: http://www.andreas-praefcke.de/carthalia/id/4945

The Google Satellite image looks kind of similar, but I cannot really identify it with the one on the postcard.

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