Knoxville Drive-In

128 Forrest Park Boulevard,
Knoxville, TN 37919

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Knoxville Drive-In

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The Knoxville Drive-In was opened on April 2, 1949, and closed in 1982. When I lived in Knoxville during the 1970’s, it was run by ABC Theatres who later sold out to Plitt I believe.

When I visited Knoxville during the World’s Fair in 1982, it was being used as an RV campground, for fairgoers, and I guess it never reopened. The World’s Fair ended up destroying a lot of older central Knoxville that I remembered from the 1970’s, and the Twin Aire was the only drive in to survive the fair, although it only survived briefly. The Knoxville Drive In was located just off Kingston Pike just outside the Sequoyah Hills neighborhood, and was probably the most “upscale” drive in in Knoxville.

They usually showed A list movies, but I did see some great horror movies like “The Beast Must Die”, “The Spectre of Edgar Allan Poe”, and “Let’s Scare Jessica to Death” there. I remember one time in the 1970’s, they ran a double feature of the original 1931 “Dracula” and “Frankenstein” there at a time when there were no “art houses” or retro movie theatres in Knoxville. I think there is a grocery store on the site now.

Contributed by Bob Brown

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on August 3, 2007 at 12:17 pm

The site of the Knoxville Drive-In was cleared and a shopping center built there in the mid-1990’s. The shopping center now stands almost completely empty with no anchor and only one or two small store-front tenants. There is a commemorative plaque mentioning the drive-in and the brick yard which preceded it.

The drive-in’s south edge bordered the busy Southern Railroad main line. Wonder what it was like to be sitting in the back seat of an un-airconditioned 1955 Chevy, not watching the movie, as a mile of heavily laden coal cars thundered past every half hour?

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 26, 2009 at 5:25 pm

I REMEMBER GOING TO THE KNOXVILLE DRIVE IN OR THE FAMILY DRIVE WITH MY COUSINS ONE NIGHT WHILE VISITING FROM GEORGIA. I CAN REMEMBER THE FILM BUT IT WAS A LAUREL AND HARDY FEATURE LIKE THEY EDITED A BUNCH OF FILMS FROM THE 30’S FOR A MOVIE. I ALWAYS WANTED TO GO TO THE TWIN AIRE DRIVE IN I SAW IT FROM THE ROAD ONE TIME. I HAD NEVER HEARD OF A TWIN DRIVE IN EVER!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on February 3, 2010 at 8:41 pm

NOW SHOWING AT THE KNOXVILLE DRIVE IN Sept. 18 1967

“IRMA LA DOUCE” and “TOM JONES” this was also playing at the FAMILY DRIVE IN Knoxville. Plus color cartoon.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 17, 2010 at 9:12 pm

It’s Sept. 24 1967 and the KNOXVILLE DRIVE-in is playing Craig Stevens in"GUNN" and a First run double feature with"THE HIRED KILLER"

Coming Next was"FORT UTAH" and Michael Caine in “GAMBIT”

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 20, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Thank you Tlsloews for checking out one of your fine state’s old Drive-ins.Still waiting on Robin and your pictures.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 21, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Now showing Oct 20 1964 “THE CHALK GARDEN” and “THE SECRET PASSION” these features are playing the same time at Four area Drive-ins!

tntim
tntim on August 3, 2010 at 12:03 pm

According to Boxoffice magazine, the Knoxville Drive-in opened April 2, 1949. It was designed by Park In Theatres Inc. in Camden, NJ and had a capacity of 512 cars.

The projectionist there had to be at his daytime job in the early morning, so my dad would finish at the Capri Cinema and then go to the Knoxville and cover the midnight show for him so he could go home and get some sleep.

I grew up only three blocks from the drive-in and vaguely remember them adding the “wings” to the screen tower for cinemascope. This would have been in the very early 60’s. I also remember when my dad would take me over there in the daytime to shoot off model rockets.

There was a shopping center on the other side of the RR tracks that had a bowling alley in it. When they put in the sodium vapor lights in the parking lot in the late 70’s, they would cast a shadow of a telephone pole on the screen. This was not a problem for the bright scenes, but on the dark scenes it was a big problem. I think light pollution was a big problem for the drive-ins that where built on the outskirts of town in the 50’s but found themselves in the middle of suburbia in the 70’s.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 20, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Great story tntim.knoxville had some Great Drive-ins.I thought RIVER BREEZE was one of the best.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on October 25, 2013 at 6:12 pm

REMEMBERING PLITT THEATRES is on FACEBOOK , check it out..

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