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Down In Front – The Thunderbird Drive In And Swap Shop

A trend of adding other services on the same grounds and making a full “entertainment complex” seems to have developed somewhere in the 1960’s to the present at many drive in movie theaters. Such is the case with The Thunderbird Drive In and Swap Shop located in Lauderhill, Florida (just outside of Fort Lauderdale). Not […]

Down In Front – Al Ringling Theatre

The Al Ringling theatre was in fact owned by Al of the Ringling Brothers Circus. He picked the Rapp and Rapp architectural firm of Chicago to design the theatre in the French Renaissance style. It was meant to be the one of the largest and finest theaters in Baraboo, Wisconsin. It opened its grand opera […]

Down In Front – 411 Drive In

In the midst of the drive in theater boom, Emory Johnson built the 411 Drive In theater in Centre (Cherokee County), Alabama. Glover Johnson, Emory’s father, owned and operated the very first walk in theater in Centre, Alabama: The Cherokee Theatre. Thus began Emory Johnson’s lifelong interest in the movie theater business. Glover and Emory […]

Down In Front – Hollywood Forever

Have you ever thought that the theater you were viewing your movie in just didn’t have the right atmosphere? Did you ever stop and think, “Hey, this film is great but it would be super fine if I could watch it as it is projected onto the wall of a mausoleum amongst the graves of […]

Down In Front – Wellfleet Drive In

Now the only surviving drive in theater left in Cape Cod, the Wellfleet Drive In opened on July 3, 1957 on Route 6 in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Original owners John Jentz and Charlie Zehnder operated the drive in until 1998. The theater is now run by two long time employees who wanted to keep the tradition […]

Down In Front – The Lynn Auto Theatre

The Lynn Auto Theatre, located in Strasburg, Ohio, has been in continuous operation since 1937. Not only is it the oldest drive in theater in Ohio, it holds the honor of being the second oldest drive in theater in the world. Built at the junction of State Routes 21 and 250 just northwest of Strasburg […]

Down In Front – The Delsea Drive In

As I mentioned in my first column about the history of movie theaters, the first drive in movie premiered in the state of New Jersey. Most would logically think that there are still many drive in theaters there. Sadly, that is not the case. The Delsea Drive In located in Vineland, New Jersey is the […]

Down In Front – The Mission Tiki

Located off of Mission Boulevard in Monteclair, California, the Mission Tiki Drive In has been in constant operation since May of 1956. Originally called The Mission, they expanded to four screens by 1975. By 2006, the drive in received a full fledged refurbishment, giving it the Tiki theme (and name), repaving the parking lot, and […]

Down In Front – It’s The Atmosphere

I remember the very first movie I ever saw in a movie theater. I was 6 years old and the movie was E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial. I have been in love with movies and movie theaters ever since. There is just something about movie theaters that makes seeing a movie that much more exciting. So, […]

Down In Front – Hull’s Drive In

I have a confession to make. I did not even know that there are still drive in theaters in my beautiful home state of Virginia. Apparently, there are ten active drive in theaters there in all! To my credit, however, none of them are in the Hampton Roads area where I was born and lived […]

Down In Front – Amusement Park Drive In

What do you think you can expect from Amusement Park Drive In located in Billings, Montana? A sewing shop? No. A tap shoe repair? Wrong again. A fantastic and amazing flying trapeze artists of the world showcase? Not even close. Did you guess an amusement park AND a drive in? Do you know what I […]

Down In Front – The Raleigh Road Outdoor Theatre

In Henderson, NC, about an hour outside of the Triangle area of Raleigh/Durham, the Raleigh Road Outdoor Theatre began its life as the Moon-Glo Outdoor Theatre on July 15, 1949. The first film shown was “Ali Baba & The Forty Thieves” which included three color cartoons, because at the Moonglo, as this ad from the […]