Sunset Drive-In

Clinton Highway,
Knoxville, TN 37912

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Sunset Drive-In, Knoxville, TN

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Sunset Drive-In closed in the early to mid-1960s. I was told that it was located on Clinton Highway, not too far from the Merchants Road intersection on your right as you were driving towards Clinton from Knoxville. I suspect it was closed by the time the Twin Aire Drive-In was built a few miles north on Clinton Highway in 1969.

By 1972 there was a shopping center where the Sunset had been; maybe a K-Mart, but I can’t remember for sure. I don’t know much about it, but was told by folks that lived in that part of town in the 1960’s that it was huge, and the notorious "passion pit" for the teenagers! I would like to know more about it.

Contributed by Bob Brown

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

dking5 on August 12, 2007 at 4:35 pm

My Mom and her 3 young sons were sitting in her old ‘51 Chevrolet in the Woods Motor Company parking lot at the end of Bradshaw Gardens Drive looking across Clinton Highway down into the Sunset Drive-In Theater the night it opened. The first movie to be shown there was that night and it was a Roy Rogers western called Sunset In The West and we saw it free without any sound. I imagine that is where the theater name came from or so I was told then. Just past the cross roads in Halls Cross Roads is a chicken wing restaurant on the left and they have an original Sunset Drive-in pamphlet framed on the wall. Would love to have a copy of it. What about the Tillery Theater across the hill where Jim Claytons auto dealership is now. Anyone remember it?

dking5 on August 12, 2007 at 6:03 pm

Just looked up Sunset In The West and it was released in 1950 so the Sunset Drive-in opened in the summer of 1950. Yes, I would have been 8 or 9 and my brothers 6 and 11.

dking5 on September 6, 2007 at 2:51 am

Just visited the restaurant and the ad is actually a photo copy of an announcement of the opening of the Sunset Drive-In which had been put in the Knoxville newspaper. It opened September 1, 1950 and had parking for 1400. The movie, Sunset In The West, was shipped in by “special” shipping just for the opening.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 20, 2010 at 5:53 pm

It must have closed before 1967 because i can find no ads in the Knoxville papers i have. has anyone in Knoxville written up the Twin_air Drive-in on CT. When i search for it it states there is no theatre listed. Hopefully someone up that way will. I saw it once and it looked real nice.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 31, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Thanks for the info.everytime i searched for it I couldn’t find it.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 12, 2010 at 5:04 pm

It was a Howard and Howard Drive-in.[in 1956]

jwmovies on December 16, 2012 at 3:22 am

Approx. address for this drive-in was 6635 Clinton Highway. Now Chili’s & Home Depot.

tntim on August 23, 2013 at 7:54 am

JW, the Sunset Drive-in was in the 5000 block of Clinton Hwy. The Twin-Aire was in the 6600 block where Wal-Mart is now located.

BOTTLDIGGER on July 8, 2014 at 7:13 am


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