Strand Theatre History
The Strand Theatre, a noted landmark on the historic Marietta Square in Cobb County, got its start as a major motion picture house in 1935. The Strand provided movie entertainment to thousands of people of all ages until it closed its doors as a movie house in 1976. Here is a brief history of the theatre from 1935 through 1976:
- 1935: Manning-Winks Theatre Company officially announced the opening of their new Art Deco movie theatre after seven months of construction. Embracing “modern technologies” such as heating and air conditioning, acoustical sound system, seating for 1,000 and a fireproof projection room, The Strand was the most modern theatre outside of Atlanta and cost $150,000.
- 1935: The Strand opened its doors on September 24 at 2 o’clock. All of Marietta attended the premiere of Top Hat, a musical starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
- 1936: A slogan contest was announced in June and the winner would receive free tickets.
- 1936: The winning slogan “The House of Smart Attractions” was selected but the contest winner was anonymous.
- 1936: The Strand’s one-year anniversary was celebrated in September with the premiere of the movie Swing Time, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
- 1947: Television and drive-in theaters were quickly gaining popularity. Manning-Winks Theater Co. sold The Strand to the Martin Theater Chain.
- 1947-1950’s: Martin Theatre Chain owned and operated the Strand up until the late 1950’s when The Georgia Theatre, Inc. bought them out.
- 1964: The Strand underwent a complete renovation.
- 1976: Herbert Goldstein bought the property.
- 1982-2002: The building housed a number of ventures.
- 2002: The theatre was vacated, displaying a “FOR RENT” sign in the box office window. The building deteriorated as it waited for a happy beginning.
- 2002: Community leaders explored the possibility of restoring The Strand Theatre. Shortly thereafter, the group was formally organized as Friends of The Strand, Inc.
- 2003: In October, Friends of The Strand received certification as a tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) non profit organization.
- 2004: A capital campaign seeking support to “Bring Back The Strand” was launched in July for the $5,000,000 restoration and start up operations of The Strand Theatre.
- 2005: The Friends added two reception rooms and roof top terrace to architectural plans.
- 2006: Launched “Grand for The Strand” seat campaign.
- 2007: Begin last phase of demolition and start construction in June.
- 2008: Launched brick fundraiser campaign. Completed construction in November. Opened to the public with the Atlanta Lyric Theatre’s showing of “Beauty and the Beast” on Dec. 5.
- January 2009: Official Grand Opening of the Earl Smith Strand Theatre
More than anything, The Strand is known for memories. They drift in faster than the aroma of buttery popcorn can drift onto the sidewalk on a Saturday night. In tribute to patrons’ memories, The Strand is proud to present “Historic Curtain Raiser,” taking a deeper look at memories of the late Mr. James Zimmerman.
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Historical images are compliments of the Marietta History Museum and the family of the late Mr. James Zimmerman, former manager of The Strand Theatre.