2106 Augusta Road,
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The Valley Drive-In was owned and operated by Sanford and Foreman and parked 305 cars. Bill Barkley was the projectionist and remembers the Valley fondly. Bill says, "about 1949 Curtis Tarlton built the Valley Drive-In and his wife operated the Orangeburg Drive-In in the next county. It was the second to open."
The Valley Drive-In opened April 1, 1950. Bill remembered the Valley Drive-In ran on a shoestring, "heck, it didn’t even have a soda fountain. A Pepsi driver told me in the days before TV that he would go to the Valley Drive-In on Friday morning and unload his entire truck. He would then go back to the plant and reload."
Bill figured they would pour Pepsi from the bottles in cups over ice and sell for a dime. Essentially he could get three cups from one bottle getting 30 cents for a drink that would normally sell for a nickle.
The Valley Drive-In had a small screen and in the early-1950’s, the owner installed strong mighty "90" lamps and enlarged the screen. Bill said, "he would boast the Valley Drive-In had the largest screen in the south. Whether or not this was true I doubt anyone challenged him!"
Saturday, April 27, 1963 the Valley Drive-In is playing Elvis in "Girls! Girls! Girls!" with a second hit, Mark Robson’s "Lisa" which may have been a bit more serious. The box office opened at 6:45 and the show started at 7:30. Admission was 75 cents and under 12 free!
September 1960 the Valley Drive-In had two big hits in color, "Tarzan The Ape Man" and "The Bramble Bush." And on July 4, 1965 the Valley Drive-In had "Goldfinger." All passes void – admission $1.00 per person.
A group of pine trees were just behind the side/back of the screen and when Bill made changeovers the cue marks would show on the banches.
Ray was always doing promotions. He had a game called Hollywood that had stars listed. It had a still projector and a meter that Bill operated. It would spin and stop on a letter. A take off on Bingo.
Ray had been having bad luck and wanted a large crowd to show up next Saturday night. He said they could play Bingo and spin until someone won $100.00! That Saturday he said it was possible to hit Bingo with 5 spins. Ray spun 1-2-3-4 and then 5. A horn blew and Ray almost had a heart attack!
His hands were shaking as he counted the cash out. He only had ninety dollars and so he gave the guy a check for $10.00! Bill said, "what were the odds – nobody could possibly get Bingo in only 5 spins." Naturally he had to back up next weeks promo and spin until someone won. In other words Bill said, "he had to dole out $200.00 two weeks in a row! Now that’s a theatre story. You just can’t make stuff like this up!"
I give Bill Barkley full credit for this story!
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