Bud Davis Drive-In

1329 W. 15th Street,
Panama City, FL 32401

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Bud Davis Drive-In

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The first drive-in theatre to open in Panama City was the Bud Davis Drive-In. It opened on March 27, 1948, featuring the 1946 comedy/musical “Meet Me on Broadway” with Marjorie Reynolds, Frederick Brady and Jinx Falkenburg. It was opened by M. A. “Bud” Davis. Before opening the drive-in he was the city manager for all the Martin-Davis Theatres in Panama City. Since 1935, Davis had been working in several positions for Martin-Davis Theatres in Alabama and Florida. The Bud Davis Drive-In was his first theatre venture on his own. Built at cost of $40,000, it featured a car capacity of 370 cars. In August of 1950, high winds from a tropical hurricane that made landfall in Alabama had ripped away several panels from the screen tower and some fencing around the drive-in. The screen tower panels and the fencing were replaced.

In December of 1953, a new 72 ft. x 38 ft. curved CinemaScope screen was mounted in front of the old flat screen. Also upgraded, were the lamp houses for the projectors with a total cost of $16,000. In October of 1956, the concession stand was remodeled. In looking at movie advertisements it looks like Martin Theatres started operating the Bud Davis Drive-In in June of 1962 and it closed at the end of the year for good. The Bud Davis Drive-In was demolished and the property was sold for new retail businesses.

Contributed by Randy Studer
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