Flamingo Drive-In

4650 Rivers Avenue,
North Charleston, SC 29405

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Flamingo Drive-In

The Ebony Drive-In opened on April 26, 1950, featuring “Green Pastures” with Rex Ingram, Oscar Polk and Eddie “Rochester” Anderson. Green Pastures was originally released in 1936. The Ebony Drive-In was advertised as “The first drive-in theatre in the Carolina’s exclusively for colored folks”. The drive-in had a car capacity of 400 cars and had 300 outdoor seats. It was owned and operated by the Palmetto Drive-In Theatre Co. John H. Thomason was the president. There was a Palmetto Drive-In Theatre in Hollywood, South Carolina which opened in 1952. I am unsure if there is any connection between the two. The Ebony Drive-In was open less than a month and the drive-in was renamed to the Bonny Drive-In. The reason given at the time was for the inclusion of white patronage at the drive-in theatre.

The Bonny Drive-In reopened on May 11, 1950, featuring “Albuquerque” with Randolph Scott, Barbara Britton and Geoff Hayes. On May 27, 1950, the Bonny Drive-In screened its last movie and closed. It was sold to Consolidated Theatres Inc. Although the Bonny (aka Ebony) was just constructed, Consolidated remodeled the drive-in to feature the same design and standards as the North 52 Drive-In and the Magnolia Drive-In.

It reopened as the Flamingo Drive-In on June 8, 1950, featuring “Cheaper by the Dozen” with Clifton Webb, Myrna Loy and Jeanne Crain. The car capacity was 450 and it was open all year long up to its closing. During all the years it was open it screened family, westerns, monster, mature and teenager type of movies. The Flamingo Drive-In (aka Ebony and Bonny) closed in June of 1968, with the opening of the Consolidated Theatre’s new Gateway Drive-In. The Flamingo Drive-In was demolished and is now a new and used auto parts yard now.

Contributed by Randy Studer

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MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on May 31, 2019 at 7:55 pm

From the May 6, 1950 issue of BoxOffice:

CHARLESTON, S. C. – The Ebony Drive-In, one of the few outdoor theatres for Negro patrons, has been opened here by John Thomason and Andrea C. Patterson, president and secretary-treasurer, respectively, of the Palmetto Theatre Corp.

The Ebony, which accommodates 400 cars and 300 walk-in patrons, is the first of five drive-ins for Negroes planned by Palmetto. Thomason said the others will be constructed at Greenville, N. C., Savannah, Ga., Atlanta and Jacksonville, Fla.

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