Southland Drive-In

3074 Lamar Avenue,
Memphis, TN 38106

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Drive-In Movies, Lamar Drive-In

Nearby Theaters

1949 Aerial View of the Lamar Drive-In

The Drive-In Movies was opened on April 30, 1940 with Marlene Dietrich in “Destry Rides Again”. It stood on Highway 78 at a present interstate interchange. Around the late-1940’s/early-1950’s it became the Lamar Drive-In and was operated by Dave and Abner Lebovitz who also operated the Skyview Drive-In in Memphis and the Sunset Drive-In in West Memphis. It was closed in 1970.

It reopened on March 22, 1973 as the Southland Drive-In screening adult movies. It closed in fall of 1977 and was occupied thereafter by a Treasury store, now closed, and a mini storage. An aerial view shows the footprint of the old property.

Contributed by Vincent Astor

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

vastor on November 24, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Some sources indicate that it also operated under the name Southland Drive-In.

Iceberg on October 10, 2017 at 8:19 pm

I believe this drive-in opened in 1940 or a year or two thereafter and closed in 1977. It was the first drive-in for Memphis, and it was originally just called Drive-In Movies. I guess that was due to its being the only drive-in for some years. The sign on the entrance had the name Drive-In Movies, and that was how the ads read in the newspaper. I don’t think the sign at the entrance was ever changed. However, the theater was later advertised (starting in the late 40’s or early 50’s) as the Lamar Drive-in once other drive-ins had opened and there was a need for differentiation. Sometime in the early 70’s the name was changed to Southland Drive-In and so it was until its demise. The drive-in was not on the site of the Treasury department store; that was nearby.

rivest266 on August 12, 2021 at 10:40 am

This opened on April 30th, 1940. Grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on August 14, 2021 at 2:30 am

Closed as Lamar Drive-In in 1970 and reopened as Southland Drive-In on March 22nd, 1973, showing adult and exploitation films. Grand opening ad posted.

davidcoppock on August 14, 2021 at 11:11 pm

Reopened on 22/3/1973 with “The graduate”, “Barbarella”, and “Good company”.

davidcoppock on August 14, 2021 at 11:16 pm

Whats the name of the drive-in theatre seen across the road from the Southland Drive-in site in the above photo?

MichaelKilgore on December 25, 2022 at 1:36 pm

Boxoffice, May 11, 1940: “Memphis - Bernard Woolner expects to open Memphis' first drive-in theatre this spring.”

Which illustrates the fallibility of memory. As I posted earlier, Dave Woolner was quoted in the May 30, 1966 issue of BoxOffice saying that the Woolners “built the South’s first drive-in at Memphis in 1937”.

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