Sunset Drive-In

5078 Clinton Highway,
Knoxville, TN 37912

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Showing 18 comments

tntim on May 20, 2017 at 12:31 pm

I have posted newly found pictures in the photo section

tntim on December 13, 2014 at 11:40 am

I have added a picture of the highway entrance in the photo section.

NYozoner on November 27, 2014 at 11:10 am

5078 Clinton Hwy
Knoxville, TN 37912

The above address will map accurately to the location of the drive-in, which is now occupied by a retail shopping plaza anchored by Food City, Advance Auto Parts, and Ace Hardware.

BOTTLDIGGER on July 8, 2014 at 7:13 am


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.

jwmovies on December 16, 2012 at 3:22 am

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

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

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

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 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.

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.

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 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?

tntim on August 8, 2007 at 6:38 am

There was also the Lake Theatre located at 1100 Sevier Ave. It opened in 1947 and closed in 1950 and had 400 seats. It is now a small vacant lot that backs up on a railroad track. Maybe that is the reason it did not last very long.

bbrown1 on August 7, 2007 at 7:57 pm

Thanks for sharing some great information! Mr Baumann must be a fantastic man to talk to. I no longer live in Knoxville, but was there last about 3 years ago. Now I’m anxious for my next visit to go by some of these sites now that I know a little more about their histories. The Horne would be the only walk in theater in South Knoxville that I had ever been aware of. Do you know if there were ever any others? I spent a lot of time on the Vestal community, and had always wondered if there had ever been a theater there.

tntim on August 7, 2007 at 9:12 am

There was a Horne Theatre on Chapman Highway located near the northwest corner of Chapman and Young High Pike. Mr. Baumann lists it as being opened in1947 and closing in 1956 with a seating capacity of 600. I do remember the building after it had been closed for some time. It was a typical post WWII suburban move theatre built with cinder block and painted white. I do remember the faded name HORNE painted on the north side of the building. My father told me that a Mr. Horne (do not remember his first name) built both the theatre and the drive-in.

bbrown1 on August 6, 2007 at 8:20 pm

Thanks for the correction! Was there also a Horne walk in theater on Chapman Highway? The source that said the Horne Drive In was open from 1955 to 1975 indicated there was a Horne Theater from 1950 to 1955, but obviously they are not completely accurate. For what it’s worth, the same source states the Sunset Drive In was open from 1955 to 1961.

tntim on August 2, 2007 at 11:29 am

This drive-in was the Sunset Drive-in. I believe that it closed sometime in the early to mid 60’s. You are correct about the location; it was located where the Clinton Shopping Center and the former K-mart is now. I remember being told that it was a large drive in accommodating over 1000 cars.

There was a Horne Drive-In that was located on Chapman Highway just north of where the Chapman Highway Drive-In used to be.