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There’s an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” in which Barney can be heard on the phone to Juanita at the diner, asking her out to the drive-in at Mt. Pilot.
What’s the story behind this photo? Was this storm damage or does the marquee still look like this? It looked so beautiful when I saw it lit up in 1997.
The old concession stand still stands as of 2013.
Closed in the fall of 2007; screen demolished in 2012. The marquee, ticket booth and concession stand (with owner’s quarters above it) remain.
It opened in July 1968 as a general release theater. Its first show was “The Texican,” and a few weeks later it showed the Don Knotts comedy “The Shakiest Gun in the West.” The blue fare (X-rated) came later and led to a falling out between Cecil Quarles and his partner. It didn’t help that the screen could apparently be seen from Highway 77.
Cecil Quarles, best known for owning and operating the longtime Piedmont Drive-In, co-owned this one when it played second run general release fare. Despite the second run nature of the Etowah, in 1965 he managed to outbid the larger first run theater in Gadsden, the Pitman, for the exclusive rights to show “The Sound of Music” in the area. It was this theater’s biggest hit ever.
Actually I saw some pics on Flickr indicating it had been beautifully restored with a white-trimmed-in-green color scheme just before the fire. What a heartbreaker. And a firefighter actually died in the line of duty in that fire.
Demolished to make way for a CVS Pharmacy.
So do I understand this drive-in is still standing and not demolished??
The ads for the Tower Drive-In disappear after the summer of 1956, so that’s apparently when it closed.
The screen was destroyed by straight line winds on June 30, 1977, on a week when it was showing the Joan Collins b-movie “Empire of the Ants.” An employee across the street at a Jack’s Restaurant was on the phone with her mother when she saw the screen go down, and suddenly started screaming.
The next day the marquee was changed to “Gone With the Wind.”
I saw all three of the first “Star Wars” films in this theater. Also got booted and threatened with being banned, for trying to sneak into “Alien” when I was 15!
The guy who managed this place, really, really, really wanted no one to take pictures. Supposedly he’d show up out of nowhere in his white truck at all hours whenever anyone even tried to photograph the marquee. He was really weird about it. So now that it’s gone, if anyone who has pictures would post them here, that history would really be appreciated.
The names of the streets and addresses have changed wildly over the years. “Attalla Boulevard” is another name for that portion of Forrest Avenue, since it was so close to Attalla. That portion of Van Courtland Street was eventually four-laned and curved into another street, becoming Vandell Boulevard. There have been a lot of changes in that area and multiple addresses but just about every one you’ve seen was correct at the time.
BTW my research indicates the Grove went dark in the summer of 1957. The dates on the re-opening and closing of the Rebel are correct.
The “West Ranch” is actually the often misidentified “Ranch W,” a drive-in located on the other side of Etowah County, Highway 278 near Hokes Bluff. It was called the “Ranch W” after its founder, Ward Wright. Some people mistakenly think the “W” stands for “West” or something. The Ranch W only lasted a few years, 1952-55 or so.