Parsons Drive-In

1754 24000 Road,
Parsons, KS 67357

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: B & B Theatres, Commonwealth Theatres

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Parsons Drive-In

The Parsons Drive-In stood east of the town on the north side of 24000 Road. Opened on May 6, 1948 with Walter Brennan in “Home in Indiana”, it was operated by Stein Theatres Inc. It was later operated by Commonwealth Theatres and finally by B&B Theatre who closed it on July 4, 1988 and sometime afterwards was demolished.

Today, there are three small businesses on the southern end of the property, but you can still clearly see the outline and the ramps of the drive in.

Contributed by Ken McElhaney

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Kenmore on June 1, 2017 at 5:29 pm

About ½ mile to the west of Parsons Drive-In, sitting on the south side of Main Street on Queens Rd looks the remnants of a drive-in. A 1958 aerial shows the outline and ramps, but no screen or projection booth/concession stand.

Today, the ramps and outline are still present and what appears to be the foundation for the screen. However, there is no indication that this drive-in ever opened or that it was even completed.

Does anyone have any information about this drive-in, assuming it ever opened?

Farmgal on May 6, 2019 at 6:40 pm

I was told those ramps are actually erosion terraces.

Kenmore on May 6, 2019 at 9:36 pm

Interesting. Erosion terraces are usually associated with steep slopes to help grow crops while preserving the soil. While the land does not seem to fit either description, I’m more than willing to accept it as the answer save for a couple of things.

You can clearly see what appears to be a screen foundation. In addition, the 1958 aerial shows what appears to be separate entrance and exit roads which are unnecessary for erosion terraces.

Oh well, if it was never completed, then it was never a drive-in. So, it would not have a separate entry here.

Farmgal on May 7, 2019 at 7:28 am

Well, now I have someone telling me that he went to that drive in in the early 50’s, and he thought it was called the Katy. The MKT railroad (also called “The Katy”) was in Parsons. This person also said it wasn’t in business for long. There was competition just down the road from the Parsons Drive In. I was born and raised in Parsons, btw.

Farmgal on May 7, 2019 at 7:31 am

The snack bar at the Parsons Drive In (which also held the projection room) burned down but was rebuilt.

Kenmore on May 7, 2019 at 7:59 am

The 1958 aerial shows the ramps and outline, but no foundation for the projection booth/snack bar. It’s somewhat unusual for such foundations to be removed unless the land is being plowed or used for new buildings. Which is why I believed it was still being built in 1958 and not already completed and then closed.

If more information on the Katy Drive-In can be found, it would make a good entry.

Farmgal on May 7, 2019 at 11:04 am

The only thing that I have found is that there was a Katy Theater in downtown Parsons in the 1940’s. You can see it in a picture on the page about the Parsons Theater.

dallasmovietheaters on December 7, 2020 at 12:51 pm

The Parsons Drive-In Theatre launched on May 6, 1948 by Louis Stein with “Home in Indiana” supported by a cartoon and newsreel. Stein Theatres sold the theatre to Commonwealth Theatres Circuit which - in turn - sold it to B&B.Theatres Circuit.

B&B closed it in the wee hours of July 4, 1988 citing lack of attendance. The Parsons went out in style with an all night lineup of “Crocodile Dundee II,” “Vice Versa,” “Dirty Dancing,” and “La Bamba.”

MichaelKilgore on May 10, 2021 at 12:08 pm

Joplin (MO) News Herald, Aug. 1, 1968: “Extensive damage was done to the concession stand and projection equipment at the Parsons drive-in theater by fire about 8 o'clock Wednesday night. The blaze apparently started in the vicinity of the popcorn machine. The Parsons fire department went to the scene and was there nearly an hour and a half. The theater was closed after the fire due to damage to the equipment. There were no injuries.”

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