Cinema Drive-In

2668 Alcoa Highway,
Knoxville, TN 27901

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Cinema Drive-In

The Starlite Drive-In opened on November 3, 1949 with Bing Crosby in “Blue Skies”. It was closed in 1955. It was renovated and reopened as the Cinema Drive-In on June 15, 1956. It was closed about 1980. It was located on Alcoa Highway, about five miles south of Knoxville. It was on your left as you were driving from Knoxville to Alcoa. The Cinema Drive-In was run by the ABC chain during the 1970’s, and like most of the drive in’s in Knoxville, it did not survive the 1982 World’s Fair.

The drive-in was actually located behind a small group of businesses on the highway. There was only a small space on the highway with the marquee and the driveway that led back to the theater. The back of the screen was against the back of the businesses, and it had a pleasant "rural" atmosphere, as the land behind it was undeveloped.

I don’t know what is on property now, but probably has been swallowed up by commerical or business developement.

Contributed by Bob Brown

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

kencmcintyre on September 7, 2007 at 8:22 pm

In the early sixties ABC Theatrical Enterprises, Inc, referenced above by Bob Brown, ran the Cinema, Family and Knoxville Drive-Ins as well as the Skyway Drive-In in Fountain City. ABC was headquartered in Atlanta GA. President was R.J. Barnes.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 17, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Sept. 24 1967 it is a Sunday and the CINEMA DRIVE-In is playing “REDLINE 7000” and David Janssen in"WARNING SHOT" The next movies were “THE WAR WAGON” and “FLUFFY” what strange double feature.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 17, 2010 at 7:01 pm

“FLUFFY” had Shirley Jones starring in it.We know the two guys in the “WAR WAGON”.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 21, 2010 at 2:29 pm

OCt 20 1964 and “THE CHALK GARDEN” is playing with “THE SECRET PASSION”

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 9, 2011 at 9:52 am

Thanks tntim,K-town had some Great Drive-ins.

jwmovies on September 19, 2012 at 5:59 pm

This is now The Autism Center Of East Tennessee. Approx. address for this drive-in was 2890 Alcoa Highway. Although the center takes up most of the site, you can still make out some of the outline.

tntim on September 20, 2012 at 5:41 pm

The Autism Center is in the building that used to house Rush’s Music Store. There was also another building next door that had a boating and marine store. The drive-in was behind these buildings with the marquee and entrance just north of the current Hardee’s. The Mini-Storage units are now located where the north side of the drive-in was.

rivest266 on September 3, 2018 at 3:45 pm

This opened as the Starlite Drive-In on November 3rd, 1949 and closed in 1955. It was renovated and reopened as the Cinema Drive-In on June 15th, 1956. Both grand opening ads in the photo section.

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