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No, davidcoppock, that’s not accurate. The undated season-opening ad that’s in this drive-in’s photo section here couldn’t have before 1955, because that’s when that movie, The Americano, was released.
The 1951 grand (or season-) opening ad I referenced above unfortunately included no details about the movies that night.
Looks like this was always the Edgewood. An ad/column in the July 2, 1950 issue of the Neosho Daily Democrat by Hugh Gardner mentioned that his 30th anniversary of his presence in town while “we are in the midst of contract letting for the new EDGEWOOD DRIVE-IN, that we hope to be able to open sometime in September for at least a few weeks operation before cold weather.”
Although the indoor Band Box and Orpheum theaters advertised regularly in the Daily Democrat, the Edgewood didn’t do so very often. One ad, on May 18, 1951, was for the Edgewood’s “grand opening”, though it’s possible that it was just a seasonal opening.
According to the March 26, 1952 issue of Variety, that’s about when Sol Frank bought the Starview, probably fro Alspach and Anderson of McPherson, who sold him the Hillcrest Drive-In of Beatrice NE.
According to the March 26, 1952 issue of Variety, that’s about when Sol Frank sold the Chief as part of a deal to buy the Hillcrest Drive-In in Beatrice NE.
The Exhibitor, Aug. 9, 1950: “Cannon Theatres, Live Oak, Fla., opened the Nova Drive-In, with room for 200 cars. This makes six theatres and drive-ins for this company.”
Boxoffice, May 6, 1963: “A new building containing projection booth, cafeteria, restrooms and concessionaire’s offices was constructed at the Quincy Drive-In, West Quincy, prior to the spring opening of the Kerasotes airer. The building, with completely new equipment in every area, replaces one destroyed by fire last December.”
Boxoffice, April 29, 1963: “Bob Baum has taken over management of the local Negro-patronage Skyview Drive-In.”
Boxoffice, April 29, 1963: “Joe Serugo of Key West, former owner of the Islander Drive-In, the southernmost airer in the continental U.S., died April 11 … The Islander is managed by Ed Chumley, former Paramount manager of this city.”
Boxoffice, April 29, 1963: “Effective Saturday (27), the Fair Oaks Drive-In, Marietta, will open after being remodeled and will have the new name of Smyrna Drive-In.”
Boxoffice, May 30, 1960: “Cletus Barton was enlarging and completely renovating the Starvue Drive-In at Cleveland, Tenn., bringing the capacity to 803 cars”
Boxoffice, April 29, 1963: “Tuesday (16) fire broke out at the Starvue Drive-In due to a short circuit. High winds prevailed and before the fire department could reach the theatre, the entire screen tower was destroyed. Construction was started Wednesday morning (17) by the owner, Clitus H. Benton. The Starvue expects to resume normal operation in two or three weeks.”
Boxoffice, May 2, 1960: “Wright Sanders has shuttered his Suburban Drive-In, Quincy”
Boxoffice, April 15, 1963: “The Suburban Open Air Drive-In, Bradenton, long operated by veteran showman K. T. Barfield, was acquired by Alan Iselin (April 5) as the newest unit in his growing circuit of Florida outdoorers.”
Boxoffice, April 15, 1963: “Gulf States Theatres has taken over the Algiers Drive-In from Wright, Lais & Co., and is renovating it. Mrs. Sammy Wright and R L Johnson had been managing the Algiers. Johnson has joined Ballantyne Co. in Omaha, Neb.”
Boxoffice, April 8, 1963: “John Gardner has notified all film companies that he will bid for first-run films - he also is increasing the capacity of his drive-in, to make it one of the largest in the south. It’s the Arrow Drive-In, state road 7, which now has been made part of Hollywood - it used to be West Hollywood.”
I think I found the Normandy’s closing date. According to a Boxoffice article two weeks later about the indoor theaters that would replace the drive-in, “its long-postponed closing (was) the night of March 24,” 1963.
Boxoffice, March 25, 1963: “Alan V. Iselin of Iselin Theatres has purchased the Gainesville (Fla.) Drive-In, and will spend $75,000 in renovating the ten-year-old 560-car situation. He acquired the Trail Drive-In at Sarasota, Fla., a year ago.”
Boxoffice, March 25, 1963: “LANETT, ALA. - A. L. Royal, owner of a circuit with headquarters in Medidian, Miss., has purchased the local Lanett Theatre and the Hi-Way Drive-In, Shawmut, Ala., from a Lanett company headed by L. J. Duncan. Royal took over the properties as of March 1 … The property on which the Hi-Way Drive-In is located is under lease from the Word family, Duncan said. The lease has around 20 years to run.”
Boxoffice, March 18, 1963: “MACON, GA. - This area will be enjoying a new drive-in theatre by early summer, according to James Herndon, city manager for Georgia Theatres. The 850-car theatre is under construction at Arkwright road and Riverside drive.”
This drive-in spent most of its life as the Rivoli Drive-In. The first reference that I could find in The Exhibitor was 1952. In February 1963, Gulf States Theatres sold it to W. A. Porter. Five years later in February 1968, Gulf States reacquired the Rivoli and announced that it would be renovated and renamed Showtown U.S.A.
Boxoffice, Feb. 11, 1963: “Maurice Hensler, one of Florida’s most widely respected exhibitors who has operated the Auburn Theatre and the Dale Drive-In, both in Auburndale in the heart of the state’s citrus belt, has relinquished his theatres to the Floyd circuit … headed by Carl Floyd of Haines City”
This photo was from the Feb. 4, 1963 issue of Boxoffice, which appears to be in the public domain.
Boxoffice, Jan. 25, 1960: “Adelaide Gawthrop, Palatka exhibitor who is now hospitalized, has leased her Linda Drive-In, Palatka, to Floyd Stowe, local theatrical broker”
Boxoffice, June 27, 1960: “Floyd Stowe, local booker for independents, has relinquished some of his accounts in order to move to Palatka to manage his Linda Drive-In, which he acquired from Mrs. Adelaide Gawthrop.”
Boxoffice, Feb. 4, 1963: “The Linda Drive-In at Palatka, now operated by Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Stowe, was scheduled to become a unit of the MCM Theatres circuit of central Florida February 3. The Stowes plan to Atlanta, their former home.”
Boxoffice, Feb. 4, 1963: “The Steele Theatre, Steele, Mo., burned early January 25. The fire also destroyed a house in the rear of the theatre and cut off power and phone lines over a wide area for several hours. The theatre, on Highway 61, was built 40 years ago. It was owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Clarence McCollum. The fire loss to the theatre was set at $50,000.”
Motion Picture Herald, June 5, 1955: “Erling Utoft opened his new Lincoln drive-in at Tyler, Minn., this week. Utoft was buying and booking on (Minneapolis) Film Row in advance of the opening.”
Boxoffice, May 11, 1959: “Joe B. Johnston and wife of Hooker, newcomers to the theatre business, have purchased the Mission Theatre from A. D. Brawner, who retired after 50 years with the Rock Island railroad. The Johnstons have renamed the theatre the Stardust.”
Boxoffice, May 11, 1959: “The Fox and Orpheum theatres in Atchison, Kas., and the Frontier Drive-In Theater in Winthrop, Mo., across the Missouri River from Atchison, have been leased by a new corporation formed by Harry Hixon in conjunction with Commonwealth Amusement Corp. The new firm, known as Commonwealth Atchison Theatres, has named Hixon as its Atchison manager.”