(The writer of this blog wishes to apologize to Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, the original writers of the song for borrowing this song line for this blog entry – full credit will be below)
Saturday nights in Charlotte before WBTV went on the air in 1949 meant that you had a couple of choices to take your significant other. You could take them to a swanky restaurant in the Barranger, Selwyn or Charlotte Hotels, or if you belong to the Charlotte City Club or the local country clubs you could go there. If you couldn’t afford to do that or you didn’t belong to those clubs, you could take her to the movies.
For a town the size of Charlotte, we had plenty of theatres to choose from. In the Uptown area we had the Carolina Theatre on North Tryon Street near 6th:
There was the Imperial Theatre on the South Side of the Square located on South Tryon Street and the Charlotte Theatre located on West Trade Street. If you lived out in the neighborhoods of Dilworth, Myers Park and Midtown, you had your choices of the Dilworth located on South Boulevard, the Center on East Morehead Street and the Charlottetown Mall Theatre located across the street from Midtown Mall.
But because this was also the age of Jim Crow, they had to build separate theatres for African Americans. In the Brooklyn neighborhood of Second Ward, they had the Savoy and the Lincoln and the Grand on Beatties Ford Road near Johnson C. Smith University.
While making sure I got my facts straight for this blog entry, I found this website, which talks about movie theatres that are open, closed or demolished and has them sorted by state. You can find Cinema Treasures at http://cinematreasures.org. Now, for the song that I used as my title for this blog entry:
The Drifters “Saturday Night at the Movies” by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, written in 1964, released as a single by Atlantic Records.
The images that I used were obtained from:
The Carolina Theatre – from the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Image Collection. The photo of the Savoy Theatre is from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission via Google Images.