Showing 126 - 150 of 163 comments
According to one source I’ve seen, The Cardinal Drive In was also known as the 45 Drive In and the Hi-Way Drive In at various times, and was operated by the Malco Theater chain from 1961 to 1975. I went there quite a few times in the 80’s and 90’s, and it was the Cardinal Drive In then. It also doubled as a video store during the day, and I believe the video store is still in operation in the former concession stand. I also believe the screen and field are still intact so that it could be reopened.
There was an article in the BELLEVILLE NEWS DEMOCRAT this week that the owner of the Skyview is entertaining offers to sell the drive in property along with the now closed walk in theaters next door. He states the drive in is still profitable, but that the estimated value of the property is about 2.2 million dollars, which would be hard to turn down. There has also been outpouring of letters to the newspaper’s website, pleading with him to keep drive in open.
Do you know if the Horne Theatre and Horne Drive In were open at the same time or did the drive in open after the walk in theatre closed?
This theater is still open with all 6 screens, and is the last remaining theater in Martin. It is located near the Univwersity of Tennessee at Martin.
Those two are both in Middle Tennessee, as is the Valley Drive In in Waverly, which is even closer to Camden. West Tennessee means west of the Tennessee River. When I was growing up in West Tennessee there was at least one drive-in in virtually every county, but all had closed except for the Summer 4 in Memphis. Drive-ins survived much better in Middle and East Tennessee.
Thanks for sharing some great information! Mr Baumann must be a fantastic man to talk to. I no longer live in Knoxville, but was there last about 3 years ago. Now I’m anxious for my next visit to go by some of these sites now that I know a little more about their histories. The Horne would be the only walk in theater in South Knoxville that I had ever been aware of. Do you know if there were ever any others? I spent a lot of time on the Vestal community, and had always wondered if there had ever been a theater there.
I remember that house being on the left as you drove into the theater after you went through ticket booth, so it was not part of the screen tower. The screen was free standing and the back of the screen was very close to the bridge.
However, for a great photo of a screen tower house, go to listing for the Sunset Drive In in Shinnston WV to see an example in a still open 60 year old drive in.
The pool hall I remember was on the south side of Tennesse Ave, so obviously is not the same building. Probably had been torn down, as there were not many commercial buildings left on Tennesse Ave by the 70’s. Thanks for the information!
Thanks for the correction! Was there also a Horne walk in theater on Chapman Highway? The source that said the Horne Drive In was open from 1955 to 1975 indicated there was a Horne Theater from 1950 to 1955, but obviously they are not completely accurate. For what it’s worth, the same source states the Sunset Drive In was open from 1955 to 1961.
In the mid 1980’s, the Gem Theatre’s lobby was briefly opened as a video store, and one of the workers there let me take a look in at the auditorium. The seats had all been removed, but the huge screen was still intact. After the video store closed, the building has remained empty. The city of Cairo purchased the theater in 1995 with the intent to renovate it, but about all they have managed to do to this point is to restore the marquee.
The Cocomo was open as late as 1995, when I saw JURY DUTY with Paulie Shore there. I believe it was closed by 1997 or 1998, and still stands empty, though from the outside the building looks to be in good shape. It was an interesting little theatre.
Do you remember if the building was still standing and/or which side of Tennesse Avenue it was on? In the 70’s, there was a pool hall on Tennessee Avenue I went to a few times which was big enough to have been an old theater. I don’t remember exactly where on Tennessee Avenue it was, but it was on the left as you were driving towards Western Avenue.
The Osage Village 5 does not have stadium seating nor curtains that open and close before and after each show. It does have very good sound, and is well kept up, but otherwise is fairly plain looking.
The Lake Theater opened on August 25, 1950, and the first feature was SANDS OF IWO JIMA. It was advertised in the local newspaper as having “Colorama -The Magic Screen of the Future”. The newspaper noted it was “on the east side of the square between Kirby Cafe and the law office of E.O. Claiborne”. It was a “new cinderblock building with a stucco exterior 38 ½ feet wide and 100 feet in length”. It had large neon sign out front with LAKE spelled vertically above the entrance. I’m not sure when it closed as a movie theater, but was being used for a country music show for some time before it became a mattress store. The country music show had closed before the first photo above was taken.
The Lodge of the Four Seasons is located in Lake Ozark. There is no such town as Lake Osage although Lake Ozark and Osage Beach are adjoining towns. The Four Seasons Cine is not operated by Wehrenberg though they do oprate the Osage Village Theatres in Osage Beach,
The Grand Theater at 216 S. Central was an theater for African American audiences that was open from 1945 to 1950. The address is on the east side of Central, between Vine and Commerce. It was located in close proximity to the Gem Theater on Vine.
The drive in does not have a website, but there is a good picture of screen at:
The Shop City Drive In was open as late as 1979, as an article in BOXOFFICE magazine notes that the kung fu movie THE MASTER KILLS opened there on August 31, 1979.
I went to the Desert 5 Drive In a year or two before it closed. At that time, that section of Las Vegas was growing so fast, and there were so many lights in the neigborhood outside the theater that it was actually difficult to see the movie on the screen. It’s a shame, because it was a very nice drive in.
According to Ron Allen’s web page AFRICAN AMERICAN THEATERS IN KNOXVILLE, The DAWN THEATER was located at the corner of Ailor and Seventeenth Street, a block south of Western Ave. The DAWN was an all white theater while the nearby SUNSET began as a segregated theater (whites on the main floor, and blacks in the balcony), which later became the African American RITZ/SAVOY/BOOKER T Theater.
More information about the RITZ from Ron Allen’s web page AFRICAN AMERICAN THEATERS IN KNOXVILLE:
The RTTZ THEATER was located at 1301 Western Avenue, at the corner of Deaderick. The RITZ was opened as a theater for African Americans in the same building that previously had been the SUNSET THEATER. To accomodate the area’s African American patrons, the balcony at the original SUNSET THEATER was designated for black patrons. After the SUNSET closed, the same black population later provided the clientele that resulted in the opening of the RITZ THEATER. THe RITZ was later renamed the SAVOY THEATER, then the name was again changed to the BOOKER T THEATER. By then, both movies and occasional live entertainment were being offered at the theater before it closed in the early 1950’s. During those years, the surrounding communities were known as Western Heights and McAnnally Flats—the entire section today having again assumed the original nineteenth century name, Mechanicsville. THe RITZ~SAVOY~BOOKER T theater was the only Africna American theater that ever existed in what today is known as the Mechanicsville community…"
The Broadway Theatre is listed as being open from about 1940 to 1955. That location is just about a block from Fulton High School, and a few blocks from St. Mary’s Hospital.
The Capitol Theatre is listed as being open in 1950. 810 N Central is located right at the intersection of Central and Broadway, which would have been a major crossroads of Knoxville at the time.
Ailor Avenue is located just off Western Avenue close to University Avenue in the Mechanicsville neighborhood. This theatre was apparently was open between 1950 and 1955. The exact address does not seem to exist anymore, but Mechanicsville was pretty much decimated by the construction of I-40. From the location, it is possible that this was an African American theatre.
Between 1950 and 1955, apparently, it was called the Center Theatre, and I think it was still open in 1955. Don’t know how long after that it closed.