Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Where in Bowie? #2 - Answer revealed.

In a previous post, I asked where this picture was taken in Bowie.

The picture shows a portion of the Showcase Market Place Cinema 6 sign on Annapolis Road (Rt 450) in the Market Place Shopping Center. The theatre has not been in business for years, but the sign remains. The original sign said "market place cinema", but the portion of the sign that says "cinema" has been flipped over so the sign now reads "market place."

Kudos to Val for correctly guessing the answer.

One mystery remains. What used to be displayed on the East side of the sign? Was it the name of the last movie to play in theatre 1? Was it something that was put up after the theatre closed? My first inclination is to think that it was the name of a movie, but one might think that whoever removed the word "cinema" from the sign would have also removed the letters.

The sign includes the letters "S", "T", "I", "G" and "M". I think the theatre closed sometime in the 1990s. I wonder what was playing then.

Here is the main entrance to the theatre - now boarded up. There used to be an arcade near this entrance.

A larger sign hung on the wall to the left showing the movies that were playing. An electric wire hangs from a hole in the wall where the sign once hung.

The back of the theatre.

Here is the exit along the side of the theatre. You can see a faded 3208 - part of the theatre address at 3208 Superior Lane. You can also see the outline of an arch that used to hang above the doors.

Plans for renovating the Market Place Shopping Center are being discussed. I'll have more on the renovations in a future post.


  1. Beats me. Last movie I remember seeing was Apollo 13 - that was in '95.

  2. L.A., You might have figured it out. According to this link at IMDb, there was a movie called Stigmata that opened September 10, 1999. I'm not sure exactly when the theater closed, but Val said it had to be after '95. Abbot, were you in Bowie then?

    There were multiple movies with the title Stigma, but they were on the screen well before this theater closed.

    Thanks Mike Golch!

  3. There used to be a side door open to the abandoned area, and most of the interior was remarkably intact up to a few months ago. Unfortunately it has recently been mostly destroyed by vandals. If you ever get a chance to sneak inside check out the old laser tag arena!

  4. Anonymous, That would be interesting to see the inside of older sections of Market Place and take some pictures before it's eventually torn down, but I think my days of sneaking into abandoned buildings are over. Too bad someone vandalized the place.

  5. I'm a little late to this game, but I remember seeing the remake of PSYCHO there in late 1998. Wiki says it was released in December 1998.

  6. Just found this post, as I was trying to find photos of the old MarketPlace and old FreeState Mall from when I was growing up.

    I remember going on a date to see a movie in 1998. I think it was a cheap stupid comedy, but I do remember seeing the place begin to fade out in 1999. I remember that mall like it was yesterday though. I can still remember the insides so perfectly. The pizza place, the arcade, the Peebles, the Music and Arts, the video store, the dollar store, the chicken place next to the book store. Even the water fountain that was there in my early years. I just wish...WISH someone had photos of the old place.

  7. @Dream Weaver, here are some pics that you might be interested in:

    Belair Shopping Center 1
    Belair Shopping Center 2
    Free State 1
    Free State 2
    Free State 3
    Mr. Chicken (on Facebook)
    Pantry Pride (on Facebook)

    Click here to see links to a bunch of early 70s pics from around Bowie.

  8. I remember when this place opened up around 1985 and seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger and Alyssa Milano in 'Commando.' There was an ad in the Post about its opening and 70mm projection in one theater. As it turned 70mm films were ever played and that ONE auditorium..I think it was #4 or #5 had stereo surrounds. The rest were all mono. DTS came around '94 or so..the last movie I saw, of course in the DTS theater, was the Lost World sequel in '97. This was around the time when the Regal Multiplex opened...back then it was Hoyts. WIth the competition from a newer, larger multiplex, it was just a matter of time before this place closed a few years later. I think it could have survived with counter programming such as indies, foreign films since no other local theater booked them. By then, the mall was already in decline and stores were leaving one by one. There still could have been an attempt at revitalizing the mall by making it an outlet-type mall destination if they could've hooked up with a major retailer such as a Macys (well, Hechts back then) as perhaps an anchor for an outlet, then others would/could have followed suit.

  9. So this post is, good lord, nearly 8 years old... but hey, Googling random things takes you to old articles :-P I also thought How Stella Got Her Groove Back could've been one of the titles... and the reason why I bring that up is because that was the film where apparently 3 ceiling titles fell and landed on 4 unfortunate patrons at the Cineplex Odeon. Also from 1998. I do remember seeing Lethal Weapon 4 there in summer '98, and I could've sworn I saw Payback (ironically also with Mel Gibson) in early 1999. Hell, that might've been the last film I saw there.