Sooner Drive-In

10991 US-69,
Miami, OK 74354

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Video Independent Theaters Inc.

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Sooner Drive-In

Located on the NW corner of US-59 and Old Route 66. The Sooner Drive-In was opened on July 2, 1953 with Tony Martin in “Two Tickets to Broadway”. It was operated by Video Independent Theaters Inc. as a single screen with a 300 car capacity. It was closed on June 12, 1954.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

MichaelKilgore on May 31, 2019 at 7:35 pm

It’s true. This Dotyville Sooner is what I’d call Sooner #1, not #2, since it was a Sooner first.

MichaelKilgore on July 17, 2019 at 6:58 am

From the August 12, 1953 issue of The EXHIBITOR: “Video Independent Theatres opened the Sooner Drive-In, Miami, Okla., and the Airline Drive-In, Ponca City, Okla.”

dallasmovietheaters on July 17, 2020 at 3:23 am

The Sooner Drive-In was damaged in a rain storm and appears to have been closed following the June 12, 1954 showing of Richard Widmark in “Take the High Ground!” An ad lists the theatre as closed indefinitely until the screen and the ramps can be repaired. Those repairs do not appear to have occurred and the sign was moved a decade later to the Tri-State location.

MichaelKilgore on April 11, 2021 at 8:59 pm

Although I love the idea of the flooded Sooner’s last show being “Take the High Ground,” it actually continued to advertise through Friday, June 18, when it added, “Notice To Our Sooner Drive-In Patrons! Due to heavy rains and damage to drives and ramps surfaces, the Sooner Drive-In will be closed after last show Saturday (19) for resurfacing of parking area, and will remain closed until all repairs are complete! Attend the Tri-State Drive-In for the Best Movies Under The Stars!”

Assuming it never reopened, the Sooner’s final movies were “Titanic” (1953, Clifton Webb) and “Roar of the Crowd” (1953, Howard Duff).

MichaelKilgore on May 17, 2021 at 8:32 pm

Thanks to a visit to the Miami Public Library’s microfilm collection of the Miami Daily News-Record, I now know that the original Sooner opened on July 2, 1953.

I’m not sure which was the first movie it showed, because its ad that day promised the 1951 flick “Two Tickets to Broadway” … “starring Virginia Mayo, Gloria DeHaven, Dennis Morgan, Gene Nelson”. Except that none of those performers were in that movie; they were all in the 1951 film “Painting the Clouds with Sunshine”.

Kenmore on November 21, 2022 at 12:35 pm

A 1958 aerial shows the drive-in to be intact. It doesn’t seem that the area is flood prone, but it may be that the ground was unsuitable for parking vehicles when wet (not that uncommon in this part of the state).

By 1980, the screen and projection booth/concession stand were gone.

Today, the drive-in is completely overgrown with trees. The only remaining indication is a few feet of the entrance road still visible next to Route 66.

MichaelKilgore on November 21, 2022 at 8:33 pm

Kenmore, you’re much better at reading these maps than I am. Looking at the elevation maps and seeing Coal Creek to its west and the Neosho River to its north and east, I can’t see any indication that the original Sooner site wouldn’t be flood prone. (Then again, my experience is tainted by my visit to Miami OK in 2019 during a serious flood.) What are you seeing?

Kenmore on November 22, 2022 at 6:23 am

The creek and river are relatively close by, but the drive-in is still a good half-mile to mile away from each.

There are businesses on the site. Including a One Stop convenience store and several businesses just across the road. If the area was flood-prone, those buildings would not be there. That tells me the ground in its natural state becomes a big mess when wet.

Sounds like from the story you posted earlier, the ground itself needed to be paved or properly reinforced and that was not worth the cost. A high water table combined with soft ground would turn the land into a mucky mess without necessarily flooding it.

I live about 30 miles south and on my property are areas that are “swampy”. There are no nearby creeks or standing water, but the ground is mucky because the soil and rocks below keep the moisture near the surface.

Seems the same thing is true about the drive-in. If it was built during a drought which it seems it was (1953 was a pretty hot and dry year), then it might not be noticed until the rain returned.

MichaelKilgore on May 1, 2023 at 11:19 am

Belated thanks for that note, Kenmore. I understand much better now.

And hey! finally digitized the 1953 News-Record. As I mentioned earlier, the cast in the ad doesn’t match the movie.

Sooner Drive-In Theater (first version) grand opening adSooner Drive-In Theater (first version) grand opening ad 02 Jul 1953, Thu Miami News-Record (Miami, Oklahoma)

Kenmore on May 1, 2023 at 12:01 pm

MichaelKilgore - You are right, the cast does not match the movie. Only Gloria DeHaven was in “Two Tickets to Broadway”, a film that came out in 1951.

It seems they mixed in the cast of “Painting the Clouds with Sunshine” which includes Mayo, Morgan, and Nelson and also came out in 1951.

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