802 E. Martintown Road,
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The Hilltop Drive-In was located in North Augusta across the river from downtown. It sat high upon a hill that overlooked downtown Augusta. Of all the drive-ins this one had the best scenic location right on the Savannah River.
It was owned by Holland-Boston Theatres, and would later be sold to Georgia Theatres. It was Augusta’s second largest with 631 parking spaces. Being located by the 5th Street Bridge, as you were going up the hill there was a large neon sign sitting below the drive-in showing the way.
On April 27, 1963 it played "Goliath" with Steve Reeves. Also showing was a cartoon carnival and "Teenage Millionaire" with Jimmy Clanton. I saw the Vincent Price horror movie "Theatre of Blood" there, along with the second feature "For A Few Dollars More". I later took my girlfriend Karen Anderson to see "Star Wars" not that we watched much of the movie. I remember the one drawback watching a movie in summer were the killer mosquitos that ate us up.
The booth was carbon arc, same as the others. Chuck Dray pretty much handled the projection, and he would also fill in at the Imperial Theatre. He would also watch for people sneaking in the back exit. One night a bunch of ushers drove up and changed the marquee to a rather dirty title. Years later we told Dray about it – theatre pranks!
One item of note: Chuck Dray told me when the Hilltop Drive-In got a soft porn R like "Student Nurses" or "The Teacher", he would take the print to the Modjeska Theatre where he would run it and mark the spots where he’d have to clip out any nudity. There was some North Augusta law that wouldn’t allow it, and the screen did face a busy highway. I take it that he edited the print back after showing it to restore what he had cut out.
The theatre closed in the late-1970’s. I had a chance to visit afterwards. Georgia Theatres had taken an axe to the booth chopping up everything in sight. I have a picture of the booth/concession stand.
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