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 Henderson Daily Dispatch announcing the theater’s opening day states: “there’s always something for the kids” and “it’s beautiful outdoors.”
When the original owner, Sonny Stevenson, sold the drive in to the Lyles family in 1977, the name was changed to the Raleigh Road Outdoor Theater. The drive in was sold in 2004 to Vito Andragna who then put the drive in theater up for auction on Ebay.com.
That’s right. Current owner Jim Kopp came to own the Raleigh Road Outdoor Theater by winning an auction on Ebay in February of 2006!
Raleigh Road Outdoor Theatre has received many renovations since it has been in the Kopp’s ownership. They installed a new playground, landscaped the grounds, and completely restored the theater, snack bar, and the restrooms. The screen tower was also given a new look by painting it to resemble a strip of film. The Raleigh Road Outdoor Theatre also holds the title of the oldest operating drive in theater in the entire state of North Carolina.
Open 7 days a week during the summer (weekends only during the winter months), year round, admission for your double feature is only $6. The Moon-Glo stage, named such in honor of the original drive in, was recently finished and events are held often, including local music acts. Most of the regular patrons favorite event is watching the ball drop on the giant screen every New Year’s Eve. During the intermission, you are welcome and encouraged to tour the projection booth. As with most drive in theaters, the Raleigh Road Outdoor Theater stays alive and kicking by way of its concessions, so don’t forget to visit the snack bar for some Papa John’s pizza, a lean cheeseburger, popcorn, or even some homemade ice cream!