Chapman Highway Drive-In

7406 Chapman Highway,
Knoxville, TN 37920

200 cars

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Chapman Highway Drive-In

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Chapman Highway Drive-In was located on Chapman Highway (Highway 441 South) in South Knoxville. It was close to the current intersection of Chapman Highway and John Sevier Highway, on the left as you were going out of town.

When I lived in Knoxville in the 1970’s, the Chapman Highway Drive-In was run by the Simpson chain. They ran almost exclusively “hard R” or “soft X” sexploitation movies: not really pornography, but drive-in sex movies, where the titles sometimes sounded “dirtier” than the actual movies. I know that for over a year, they showed the sexploitation classic The Cheerleaders, with revolving second features. I’m not sure how old the Chapman Highway was, but it looked older than most of the other drive-ins in Knoxville, so I assume they at one time showed more mainstream movies. I think it closed in the 1980’s, and I’m not sure what is on the property now.

The Chapman Highway Drive-In was at the time, and may still be, the only movie theatre, indoor or drive-in, in South Knoxville (south of the Tennessee River), unless there was an unknown older theatre in the South Knoxville, Island Home, or Vestal neighborhoods earlier.

Contributed by Bob Brown

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

BannerJohn1954
BannerJohn1954 on December 9, 2007 at 1:54 pm

the marquee sign still exists,restored, and can be seen if you take the old highway 61 from Blaine back towards knoxville.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on October 1, 2009 at 2:14 pm

IN 1956 THE CHAPMAN DRIVE IN WAS OWNED BY R.S. SPURGEON. 200 CARS PRETTY SMALL FOR A KNOXVILLE DRIVE IN.
ON SEPT. 25 1967 THE CHAPMAN DRIVE IN WAS PLAYING .. HILLBILLYS IN A HAUNTED HOUSE… WITH THE SECOND FEATURE HERCULES IN A HAUNTED HOUSE. IT WAS BILLED AS KNOXVILLE’S 1ST RUN SHOWING.

ryderdvs
ryderdvs on November 23, 2011 at 9:54 am

The location of this theater is where the Super Wal-Mart now stands. The marquee was there until the late-1990’s – early 2000’s.

jwmovies
jwmovies on September 18, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Approx. address for this drive-in was 7406 Chapman Highway.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on October 7, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Pity no one in KNOXVILLE took a picture….

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