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Five Points Theatre - Columbia, SC


5 Points Theatre - 1942

Photo from the collection of Malcolm Samuel Suggs, City Manager of the
seven Columbia Theatres in the Wilby-Kincey Theatre Chain - Charlotte, NC.
(Palmetto, Ritz, Strand, Carolina, 5 Points, Star-Lite Drive-In and later the Richland Mall.)

From The State newspaper, Columbia, SC March 9, 2005

"Movie theater a big hit during ’40s, ’50s"


When it opened on Harden Street in 1939, the Five Points Theatre was modern and popular, built much smaller than movie houses on Columbia’s Main Street because it only served people in the well-to-do neighborhoods nearby.

Twenty years later, its intimate size would be its undoing.

“The ladies and the seniors in the area loved to come, because you didn’t have to go uptown,” said Marion “Buddy” Biggs, 86, a Newberry resident who was a manager with the company that owned movie theaters in Columbia in the 1940s.

Children loved it, too. It was a place where mothers felt comfortable letting their little ones go in groups for a Saturday matinee, said Charles Dickerson, 66, a Columbia resident who spent his early years in Old Shandon.

For about 30 minutes before the matinee, a woman named Miss Ruth put on a stage show, telling stories and directing skits with the help of a small cast, he said.

Admission was 9 cents for kids in the 1940s, Dickerson said.

He and his pals would slip next door to the Eckerd drug store, where another dime would get them three candy bars, two more than they could buy at the concession stand.

In the 1950s, the theater started a foreign-film series the Columbia Finer Films Committee. A USC professor would travel to New York to see the latest films, then come back with his recommendations for the next month’s show, Biggs said.

The theater closed in the early 1960s because it couldn’t compete with larger theaters around Columbia, Biggs said.

In 2000, two businessmen acquired the building and restored its neon marquee, which had been covered in plain brown roofing shingles.

— Dawn Hinshaw

Five Points Theatre, Columbia, SC

Photo by Mark Tiedje - 2002

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