Monday, June 2, 2014

Drive-In Theater Nostalgia

     The first drive-in theatre I went to was as a kid in New Jersey, 1972 -- a double-feature of "Night of the Giant Lepus" and "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes." (yikes).  I still remember the concession stand, and fighting for room in the station wagon! 

    What drive-in movies did you see? What are  your stories? 

Ad for early Charlotte drive-in theatre.
1942 City Directory says 'Wilkinson Blvd, beyond city limits.'

1997. 'Belmont Drive-In owner Peggy Lawing works the ticket booth as she talks with before the 7:15 showing of 'Liar Liar.' '  - Robert Lahser/Staff

1980. Viking Twin Drive-In. 

1999. '78-year-old Mozelle Stinnett and her husband Gay started the Bessemer City Kings Mountain Drive-In in 1949. Mozelle retired from running the drive-in 1984. Her youngest son Rick Stinnett now runs it with his family.' 
- Robert Lahser/Staff

1988. 'Ah, summer and a hundred window speakers blaring 'Theme from Love Story' in the night air. But right now, the evenings are silent at the Viking Twin Drive-In on Freedom Drive. Helping prepare the theater for those hot summer nights is Buddy McCracken, who has the unenviable chore of rewiring all those speakers taken down for the winter.' - Tom Franklin/Staff

1977. Fox (adult) Drive-In. Old Statesville Rd., Charlotte.

1978. Theatre not named. 'Jimmy Tillman, 8, and mom, Lana Tillman.'

1983, Gastonia. 'Rick Stinnett, manager of the Monte Vista Drive-In, changes marquee.' 
- Dan Huntley/Staff

1950 ad for two long-gone local drive-ins.

1991. Belmont Drive-In. 'Bill Lawing changes reels between 'City Slickers' and 'The Rocketeer'.'
- Laura Mueller/Staff

1990. Belmont Drive-In. 'Karen Patterson, 12 (left) and Lisa Patterson, 9, finish off a game of pinball during intermission as Paula Teague, Danielle Parker, 6, and David Conor, 5, (front) see what's available at the concession stand.' - Laura Mueller/Staff

1954. Thrift Drive-In Theatre. Mount Holly Rd.

1991. 'Bain Lingerfelt, 67, an employee of the Bessemer City Drive-In, takes money from a customer.'  -Diedra Laird/Staff

1976, near the corner of Central and Kilborne in Charlotte. 

Read more here:

1952, Charlotte News ad.

1982. Theatre not named. 'Eating dinner on the car hood are (from left) David Vaughn,7, Susan Riser, 8, Valeria Vaughn, 6, and Mary Riser, 7. - Chuck Burton/Staff

1999. 'On left Bill Campbell sells a movie ticket to Norma Oxendine from Shelby for a triple feature at the Bessemer City Kings Mountain Drive-In. The drive-in is celebrating its 50th anniversary.' - Robert Lahser/Staff

1951 Charlotte News ad.

2010. 'Roger Pentecost, Lane Pentecost, Casey Lee Pentecost, Melinda Pentecost (daughter of Peggy Lawing) and Melinda's brother Wayne Lawing in front of the vintage Belmont Drive-In Theater sign. The Belmont Drive-In Theater opens for another season after its owner Peggy Lawing died earlier this year. Her children have decided to try and keep the old theater going. It's a dying breed but they feel like they owe it to their mom.'
- Diedra Laird/Staff

2014. 'Drive-in theater owners are being forced by studios to spend big bucks converting to digital projection, which may force some like Rick Stinnett of Bessemer City to close. Stinnett runs the Kings Mountain - Bessemer City Drive In theater, which has been in his family since 1949.'
- Jeff Wilhelm/Staff


Anonymous said...

is there a nearby drive-in we can go to currently?? I checked the Belmont one but their website hasn't been updated in ages.
And the Bessemer/Kings Mountain one isn't dog friendly.
We need a decent drive-in that allows you to bring your pet!!!

Maria David said...

Anon - I think Belmont is still open:

Great idea about allowing pets!