January 2012

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    Flash Gordon lights up the screen in 1983.
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    The Gem Theatre has been a family attraction for decades, as seen in this photo from 1951.
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    Movie advertisements for The Gem in 1938 display the movie trends of the time.
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    In 1939, Roy Rogers and The Lone Ranger made an on-stage appearance at The Gem.
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    The Gem Theatre’s new lobby on opening day in 1948.
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    The view from the back of the theater on opening day in 1948.
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    The view from the stage on opening day in 1948.
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    An inside look at The Gem’s projection room in 1957.
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    In 1959, the line for The Gem stretched all the way around the block!
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    The colorful seating as seen from The Gem’s stage in 1973.
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    Movie fans pack the theater to see “Jaws” in 1978.
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    The Gem Theatre uses the marquee to welcome the president to Kannapolis in 1992.
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    The Gem recognizes Dale Earnhardt Day in Kannapolis in 1993.

Hidden Gem

By Cristina Wilson | Photography by The Gem Theatre

Posted: Monday, Oct. 31, 2011

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This Kannapolis ‘gem’ opened on Dec. 31, 1936. In 1942, the theater was almost lost to a fire, but it reopened in 1948 with a new lobby and balcony. The Gem is one of the oldest single-screen movie theaters in continuous operation in the country, and one of the few that still offers balcony seating. It has served as a community hub in Kannapolis; its marquee has highlighted some of the most memorable events of the last few decades. Visit this family-favorite spot to catch a modern film in a setting that will take you back to a different time. Even better, it’s a bargain, with $4 tickets for adults, $3 tickets for kids and seniors, and $3 matinee showings for everyone. www.gem-theatre.com.

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