NE CORNER CHURCH AND PARRISH / 201-203 EAST PARRISH STREET / 202-204 NORTH CHURCH STREET

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NE CORNER CHURCH AND PARRISH / 201-203 EAST PARRISH STREET / 202-204 NORTH CHURCH STREET

201-203
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
/ Demolished in
1974
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

Comments

  • Submitted by Anonymous on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 8:40pm

    I believe the top line on the XXX marquee reads "Daringly Different"

  • Submitted by Anonymous on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 8:47pm

    Following-up, the Criterion might not have been a XXX theater -- "Love and the Frenchwoman" was a 1960/61 collaboration between seven notable French directors, at least according to the IMDB: http://imdb.com/title/tt0053833/

    The 'Adults Only' marquee might be due to the apparently frank take on sexuality expressed in the film.

  • Submitted by Gary on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 9:04pm

    Anon

    You're right - don't know why I transcribed it differently. I think it was an XXX theater. Check John Martin's comment under "Trinity Methodist". I don't know how tame or shocking their content was. I looked both up under IMDB as well - and couldn't find "Daringly Different". Given that title and it's non-appearance, I thought that was fairly consistent with, ahem, 'independent' film.

    GK

  • Submitted by John Martin on Thursday, August 9, 2007 - 1:27am

    Gary asked me to repost my previous comments about the Criterion. Instead of just copying them, I'll repeat them by responding to anon's comments.

    I came to Durham in 1967 as a Duke freshman, and the Criterion was definitely a porno theatre at that time. Lots of male undergraduates went there at least once, often as a kind of stag outing with other guys. In 1967 the movies were legally soft-core porn, which meant simulated sex and no shots below the waist. As I said, today you see more on HBO or Showtime. The last time I think I ever went was in 1971 with a few other seniors, and the films were hard-core by that time: real sex, and you saw everything.

    If the movie, Love and the Frenchwoman, was made in 1961, then the photograph may be from that year as well. It's entirely possible that, in 1961, the Criterion was showing foreign films or independent films or something other than standard Hollywood fare. I was once looking through some issues of the Durham Morning Herald from the 1950's and there was an ad for Criterion and it was showing a Walt Disney movie as I recall. But as newer theaters were built, older theaters lost the opportunity to show big-budget Hollywood movies.

    When I came to Durham, there were three downtown movie theaters that were still functioning: the Carolina, the Criterion, and the Rialto. All were old and fairly run down. Other newer theaters had opened away from down town: the Center at Lakewood, a theater at Northgate, and about 1969, the Yorktown on Chapel Hill Blvd. South Square Mall also had a theater when it opened in 1975 or 1976. Big budget Hollywood movies tended to go to the newer theaters. The downtown theaters tried to compete with other types of movies. By 1967, the Rialto was showing foreign films, arty films, and independent films. The Criterion was showing porn. The Carolina tried a lot of things including Blaxploitation films at one point.

    I always thought that the Criterion was a handsome building. It doesn't show itself particularly well in this picture, but I think you would need a closeup to see some of the decorative detail.

  • Submitted by Anonymous on Wednesday, April 8, 2009 - 1:38am

    I saw "Tom Jones" at the Criterion around 1965 or 66. The theater wasn't in good shape then. The joke was that it was becoming a "two stick theater." One stick to hold your seat up and the other to keep the rats at bay...

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Last updated

  • Sun, 07/31/2011 - 3:38pm by gary

Location

35° 59' 41.7912" N, 78° 53' 55.6656" W

Comments

201-203
,
Durham
NC
Cross street: 
/ Demolished in
1974
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 


(Courtesy Durham County Library)

The northeast corner of North Church and East Parrish Sts. which had addresses of 201-203 East Parrish Street as well as 202-204 North Church Street, was the location of the Typewriter Exchange building.


"New City Parking Lot Area, 01.17.63"
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun)


"New City Parking Lot Area, 01.17.63"
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun)

These buildings were torn down during the mid 1970s - not urban renewal - evidently just a sublimated desire, expressed as wanton Durham lust for parking spaces. And we're still in that bad relationship.


Looking northeast, 2007.

The city should put out an RFP for the development of this lot tomorrow. While I think the parking capacity exists to compensate for the loss of this lot, back in December, Michael showed how you could preserve parking and develop this lot with some creativity. It is time we did something 'daringly different' with our vacant land - like breathe some life into it.

Find this spot on a map.

Comments

I believe the top line on the XXX marquee reads "Daringly Different"

Following-up, the Criterion might not have been a XXX theater -- "Love and the Frenchwoman" was a 1960/61 collaboration between seven notable French directors, at least according to the IMDB: http://imdb.com/title/tt0053833/

The 'Adults Only' marquee might be due to the apparently frank take on sexuality expressed in the film.

Anon

You're right - don't know why I transcribed it differently. I think it was an XXX theater. Check John Martin's comment under "Trinity Methodist". I don't know how tame or shocking their content was. I looked both up under IMDB as well - and couldn't find "Daringly Different". Given that title and it's non-appearance, I thought that was fairly consistent with, ahem, 'independent' film.

GK

Gary asked me to repost my previous comments about the Criterion. Instead of just copying them, I'll repeat them by responding to anon's comments.

I came to Durham in 1967 as a Duke freshman, and the Criterion was definitely a porno theatre at that time. Lots of male undergraduates went there at least once, often as a kind of stag outing with other guys. In 1967 the movies were legally soft-core porn, which meant simulated sex and no shots below the waist. As I said, today you see more on HBO or Showtime. The last time I think I ever went was in 1971 with a few other seniors, and the films were hard-core by that time: real sex, and you saw everything.

If the movie, Love and the Frenchwoman, was made in 1961, then the photograph may be from that year as well. It's entirely possible that, in 1961, the Criterion was showing foreign films or independent films or something other than standard Hollywood fare. I was once looking through some issues of the Durham Morning Herald from the 1950's and there was an ad for Criterion and it was showing a Walt Disney movie as I recall. But as newer theaters were built, older theaters lost the opportunity to show big-budget Hollywood movies.

When I came to Durham, there were three downtown movie theaters that were still functioning: the Carolina, the Criterion, and the Rialto. All were old and fairly run down. Other newer theaters had opened away from down town: the Center at Lakewood, a theater at Northgate, and about 1969, the Yorktown on Chapel Hill Blvd. South Square Mall also had a theater when it opened in 1975 or 1976. Big budget Hollywood movies tended to go to the newer theaters. The downtown theaters tried to compete with other types of movies. By 1967, the Rialto was showing foreign films, arty films, and independent films. The Criterion was showing porn. The Carolina tried a lot of things including Blaxploitation films at one point.

I always thought that the Criterion was a handsome building. It doesn't show itself particularly well in this picture, but I think you would need a closeup to see some of the decorative detail.

I saw "Tom Jones" at the Criterion around 1965 or 66. The theater wasn't in good shape then. The joke was that it was becoming a "two stick theater." One stick to hold your seat up and the other to keep the rats at bay...

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