1526 Tryon Road,
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The Carolina Pines inaugurated what they called the first Drive-In Theatre of the South on August 16, 1933. The opening film was Eddie Cantor in “Palmy Days”. The theatre had space for 500 cars with Simplex projection and RCA sound. A 40'x30' screen tower was used and late patrons could park on the outer periphery. The concept was part of Herbert Anderson Carlton’s dream to have a retreat for persons of all income brackets to be entertained and have recreational pursuits.
Carlton ’s hotel had launched on July 23, 1933 situated within a mineral spring that had two 18-hole golf courses, a horse riding club with a stable of 35 horses, lit tennis courts, a lake, swimming pool, café, cottages, casino, girls’ and boys’ camps, pet farm, fishery and two theatres showing films - the indoor, 250-seat Carolina Pines Theatre and the outdoor Drive-In Theatre.
The Drive-In had good attendance although sound was spotty with a large speaker blaring the audio of the films instead of individual speakers. The Drive-In experimented with live music programming following the shows. On September 24 and 25, 1933, following John Barrymore’s “Bill of Divorcement”, Viola Holden’s Revue with music by the Royal New Yorkers was an attraction. On October 12th, the 4H staged a milking contest prior to the films.
On February 5, 1934, the project went into receivership and that appears to have been the end of the drive-in theatre at the Carolina Pines Resort. The indoor theatre closed, as well, according to the trade press but did reopen briefly thereafter.
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