Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – The Drive In

The film building is all that’s left of our old drive in movie. Since it’s on the way to town from Brasstown I rode by it my whole life, but it was only as a teenager that I actually went within the walls. In my running around years-come Sunday night the place to be was the drive in. Oh there wasn’t much movie watching, there was lots of standing around talking and sometimes a little meanness. I’m ashamed to say among all the times I went to the drive in I can only remember seeing one movie-Arachnophobia. The only reason I remember that movie was I went to see it with Paul and Maria-and it wasn’t on a Sunday night.

What I do remember is standing around talking, laughing, seeing who was there and being seen-just the usual silly teenage stuff. I do have one extra special memory that will forever exist somewhere in that now empty exposed field. A memory of an older brother who cared enough to send word to me that I was hanging with the wrong crowd of people and I better remove myself or he would. I can still feel myself standing there trying to act like I didn’t care, but knowing he was right and I should know better.

Any drive-in-movies left where you live?


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    March 14, 2011 at 9:56 am

    I love the fact that your brother cared enough to give you a choice before he forcibly removed you. Gotta love those older brothers. The drive-in in my hometown has long been removed and a dealership sits in its place.
    But I do think there is one still in operation not far from me now.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Tipper, we still have a drive-in about ten minutes from my farm. It has been in business forever and my parents even used to go to movies there. Of course now you don’t hang the speaker from your window, you just tune your radio to a specific station to listen to the movie. It re-opens for the season next month.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    March 11, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    There was drive-in in Red Bank, Tn when I was growing up-my mom said only common,trashy people went so I never got to go. My friends next door went with their parents every Friday night and ,oh,I was sooo jealous! I made sure my kids got to go to the old Woodzo Drive-in in Newport,TN when they were young, but sadly it closed before they were old enough to really enjoy it. It sure was fun to pack a picnic, put on our jammies and go to the movies,though! Back to the common and trashy-I hear Newport had a naughty drive-in everyone could see from the highway.Cars lined the road bumper to bumper every weekend to get a free peek!I didn’t live there then, but apparently it was something.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    We still have a nice drive-in theater near here. It’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas & it’s open from spring through the fall.
    They play good movies that have been out a month or so at least. It’s a family place that never shows anything over pg13. They play two movies a night, you pay $12 for a car load & can watch both movies. Their concession stand is priced about like most theaters but the servings are very big.
    Some teens like to bring pick-up trucks & back them in. They set up chairs in the back to sit back & watch the movie.
    I’ve never been to a drive-in. My son goes to this one & my husband used to go when he was young.

  • Reply
    kenneth o. hoffman
    March 11, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Tipper: we called it ” pollocks passion pit” i worked for mister Pollock, he gave me a free pass to all of his theaters. people thought i was loaded, the way i took in movies. its now a memories. k.o.h

  • Reply
    March 11, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Iremember going to the drive-in in Sylva as a teenager but I have the fondest memories of taking my two youngest children to the drive-in on Saturday nights in Hendersonville (my husband worked the 3-11 pm shift) so I would take the two boys in their pj’s with lots of pillows and snacks and we would go the the Sat. night scary movies. I will never forget the announcer ( we would play Bingo during intermission ) and he would say ” good luck to you, we have some great C-o-n-s-t-e-l-l-a-t-i-o-n prizes and we would laugh like crazy. We had great fun on those Sat. nights.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Got a lot of fond memories of the
    old Hen Drive-ins at Andrews and
    Peachtree. Wish they were still
    there, maybe so many kids wouldn’t
    be so mixed up in dope…Ken

  • Reply
    March 11, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    We used to go to the drive-in all the time -when we had the money. I remember once a buddy wanted me to go on a double date -and a blind date at that – with him and his girl friend. I wasn’t very good with the girls so I didn’t really want to go but he just wouldn’t shut up so I agreed.
    He told me that she wasn’t expecting much so I should just be myself. I really didn’t know how to take that. Now in my day, around our neck of the woods, most of the boys were built like Hulk Hogan and I was a “Bean Pole”; not much of a confidence builder uh?
    When we went to her house to pick her up I really wasn’t all that impressed-don’t think she was either. I had had envisioned her to look like Sandra Dee. I can’t explain what it was but there was something about her that sparked my interest. When we got to the drive-in I was beginning to be smitten. In those days a girl would never allow a boy to kiss her on the first date. I thought about it for a while and I thought to my self, I don’t care if I’m spreading gravel on the road with the county prison work gang in the morning I’m gonna kiss this gal right on the beak! Well, finally I got my chance when we were going home and we went around a curve too fast and she fell over on my side. She looked shocked when I got a kiss and I thought oh no, now she’ll probably flag down a state trooper!
    That was a night at the drive-in back in the day! You might wonder what ever happened to her. She was such a sweet gal.
    You remember me saying I was smitten and I was. I have been married to that gal now for years! Who would have thought it?

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    March 11, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Tipper, you sparked many memories with the drive-in photo. Drive-in movies were a large part of the entertainment of my teenage years.
    I had a whacky friend who would hide in the trunk, get in free, and hang out at the refreshment stand with all of us.If someone bothered her she would say in a loud voice, “Leave me alone. I paid good money to come here.” We would all die laughing.
    The worst time ever: big brother and his date took my sister and me to the drive-in movie. He and date got in the back seat, put us kids in the front to watch the movie which was a horrible dark show and we couldn’t even keep up with the story. We wanted to go home, but we were told to watch the movie. A different kind of brother, Tipper.

  • Reply
    Debora Kerr
    March 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    There is a beautiful, BRAND NEW (almost) drive-in near me! Check out
    Drive-ins were a huge part of my teen years. I remember seeing the first Star Wars movie at one.

  • Reply
    Susan L
    March 11, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    There was a drive-in in my hometown that my mom took my brother and I to on Friday nights for the family double feature. I never staryed awake to see the 2nd one. I remember thinking how excited I would be when I “grew up” and I would be able to go on dates there. I was devastated in 6th grade when they tore it down and built a Walmart in its place! Oh, well, I found other places to go on dates. I haven’t been to a drive-in since then.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    We used to have a drive-in north of the farm where I grew up. It is gone now and has been for probably a decade, or maybe two decades? We used to have nothing but farmland next to the drive-in too, but that has since been developed to various housing complexes and shopping plazas.
    John Pallister
    Twitter @PointlessPicks

  • Reply
    March 11, 2011 at 11:49 am

    This sad picture brings back some happy memories! Our little town had a drive-in too. Being the backwards kind of place we are, the screen could be seen from State Street, so anytime we drove to the store or to Grandma and Grandpa’s on a weekend night, we watched a few complimentary moments of whatever film was playng.
    Sadly (or in my case it’s probably a good thing), the drive-in was gone before I was old enough to go with friends or dates. I sure do remember going as a family though! Mom would bathe us early and put us in pajamas, then she’d pop a ton of popcorn and put it in bags. We would take along a gallon of her iced tea and and off we’d go. I don’t remember much about the movies we saw, either. Mostly I remember how annoying it was when my little brother would fall asleep and flop all over the backseat! If I had a dime for everytime I was told to stop complaining about that, I could treat him to a movie today, we’re the best of friends now! Brothers sure are special people, aren’t they?

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    March 11, 2011 at 11:20 am

    I didn’t grow up in this area, but where I was the drive-in was THE place to be on Saturday nights. Yep, I don’t remember much about the movies, just the standing around and talking and sharing tubs of popcorn and a giant Coke.
    My one son lives in Bessemer City, NC, and they still have a drive in and it thrills his 8 year old daughter to no end to go there on summer evenings! They park their SUV backwards and have somewhat of a picnic while watching the movies.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Hey Tipper,
    I remember every movie I ever saw at the Drive-In…NOT…ha
    Back then you didn’t pal around at the drive-in until you went into the restaurant to get popcorn, coke or were on the very back row…and most teenagers were on the back row in the 60’s…WHY! Don’t know! Don’t remember! Just like I don’t remember the names of the movies!
    In the county we live in now we still have a drive-in…at least it was open last year, but hear they are trying to sell it..Shame, hope whoever buys it will keep it open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights…
    My boys love it..they can take their families, popcorn, cokes and now-a-days their lawn chairs and the kids “blankies”…They usually have a double feature…one early for the kids and a later one geared to a more adult audience…
    We have been there ourselves a few times in the last couple of years..Love it..Cheap way to see a movie..
    In the summertime it is fun unless the “skitters” get bad then you have to take a can of Off..or Avon skin so soft…and rub down…
    Oh, by the way on our first date night of my husbands leave from the Air Force, we went to the drive-in..We had a lot of catching up..uhhh…talking to do! At the drive-in he asked me to open the glove compartment of the old “ratty ’50 Ford”!..I did…”Get out the box”, he said…I did…A ring and yep, he proposed and then one and a half years later I said, “I do.”
    Thanks Tipper for the memories

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    March 11, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Last Saturday night as Marolyn and I drove up to the Lake Murray Contra Dance (run by Susan Fort) we passed by “The Big Mo” in Monetta S. C. It was opening night for a new year and cars were lined up on the shoulder to get in. Brought back many memories and some temptation to just turn in, but Marolyn was calling that night, so we just went on and enjoyed the dance. As far as I know, The Big Mo is the only one still open around here (Aiken Co.).

  • Reply
    March 11, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Yes I remember the drive-in movies and on either Fri. or Sat. nite it cost $1 for a carload to get in. What fun times.

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    March 11, 2011 at 9:23 am

    No drive-ins here close but back in the 1970’s I used to work for the theater chain from Pittsburgh, I worked for an independent for a few years before that. I ran the projectors 6-7 nights a week till 1-2 in the morning all summer plus worked another job 63 hours a week. didn’t rest much because I helped Dad do some farming when I was not working my jobs. In the winter I ran another of the drive-ins in Aberdeen Ohio 3 days a weekend, the first drive-in was outside of Maysville Ky a few miles. Sometimes I would run the projectors at the Russel Theater in Maysville Ky when I could in a pinch. The Russel is still there not working though, they have a Rosemary Clooney memorial type weekend the profit goes to restoring the Russel. In the later years I managed the Park Drive-in outside Maysville. Sorry this is so long.

  • Reply
    Just Jackie
    March 11, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Can’t believe there was a drive in in Brasstown. Wish it was still here. We had a great drive-in in Clearwater. Spent a lot of warm nights watching second run movies. My dad was really hard on us, so when my brother didn’t get home from the drive-in until after 2 am my dad was waiting and yelling. My brother said the drive-in had burned down and the police would not let anyone out. My dad said it had better make the news the next morning. Took all I could do to keep my teenage smart-mouth shut the next morning when it was plastered all over the front page of the paper. Still gives me a chuckle.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    March 11, 2011 at 8:44 am

    I remember going to the drive-in movie when I was a kid, but the real memories come from the drive-in restaurant called The Bounty, near Kingston, Tennessee. It had a long carport on each end of it with all the kids’ cars parked under it and carhops going in and out with hamburgers and fries and root beer in a chilled mug.
    This was THE PLACE to be in the evenings 7 days a week. Once we got our driver’s license, if we were out at all, we had to take at least one obligatory lap around The Bounty to see and be seen. Couldn’t afford too many hamburgers and fries, but usually had enough gas to drive by there whenever we were out.

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    March 11, 2011 at 8:42 am

    We have an old Drive in about 30 miles away. It is open still on Friday and Saturday in the summer months, or at least still was last year.
    Brings back many memories.

  • Reply
    barbara gantt
    March 11, 2011 at 8:42 am

    There is one about 10 miles from us in a ittle tiny town. My kids loved it. They always have all night movies for Labor Day, then close for the season. A few years ago, my son and girlfriend went to the all nighter. They always take blankets and lawn chairs, all their friends are there. They fell asleep in the middle of the night. The car in front of them started up and ran over their legs. Thank God they werent hurt bad , They learned their lesson to stay in their car or awake and off the ground. Barbara

  • Reply
    Ed Myers
    March 11, 2011 at 8:37 am

    As Maurice might have said, “Ah, I remember it well.”
    My last movie was “Mash.”
    The most I remember about the place is the relative difficulty a newly minted driver had negotiating the bays (or whatever they were called), so as to get the speaker just right.
    There have been a few attempts (Waynesville, NC, Maryville, TN, to revive a drive-in, but it seems that the derivatives of “Dungeons and Dragons” have won.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 11, 2011 at 8:36 am

    The screen is still standing here and a car dealer’s vacant building and lot are where the parking lot used to be. My daughter would love to be the one to re-open the drive-in even though she has never been to one.
    We also had three drive-in restaurants that we would make a circuit through each parking lot to see who was there. Good thing gas was cheap then. :))

  • Reply
    Debby Brown
    March 11, 2011 at 8:33 am

    oh my yes.. what a sweet memory I have of the drive ins! There was one not too far down the road from our house and on some nights, you could hear the movie. That was just adding insult to injury when you couldn’t go.I remember us wanting to go so bad and having to wait on Papa (my granddaddy) to decide. He would walk around and take his pipe out of his mouth and put some more Prince Albert in it and then light it up and then look up and say he had to wait to see what the weather was going to do. Such anxious times having to wait to see what it was going to do before I could go! I remember every time that “Gone With the Wind” came on. I must have seen that movie 20 times before it ever hit TV. He had a thing for Miz Scarlet, it seems. Anyway.. I could write a book about the wonderment of going to the “picture show” and the drive in. Such great times. oh.. and when i was smaller.. what a playground! Tallest sliding board I ever did see! Like climbing Mt. Everest in my little head!

  • Reply
    benny terry
    March 11, 2011 at 8:20 am

    When I was growing up we had three (3) drive-ins in Rome. But, my favorite memories are from when we lived in Martinez, near Augusta. We would go to N. Augusta, SC to the all night movies on Saturday nights. My mom’s dad lived with us and he had never been to a movie. There was an ocean scene and he hung his head out the window; my dad asked him why and he asked “How did they get all that water up there?”. In the next movie a man slapped a woman and granddaddy called him a scoundrel. The closest drive-in now is over in Centre, Ala. We try to go two or three times a season. But it’s not the same.

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    March 11, 2011 at 8:05 am

    THe only one I’ve ever been to was the Dreamland here in Asheville. It was then turned into a flea market. Long since been torn down and Lowe’s has taken it’s place.
    Good brother you got there!
    Patty H.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    March 11, 2011 at 7:55 am

    I went to the drive-in theater up near Governor’s Island above Bryson City many times. They actually showed some good movies up there back in the 50’s and 60’s.
    There are a few times that I vividly recall.
    There were two times my parents went to a movie while I was growing up. One was “The Ten Commandments” (almost 4 hours long, as I recall) and the other was “To Kill a Mockingbird” – a great movie that is still one of my favorites, and should be required reading/watching for southern children.
    Another involved one of several times – and for me, the last time – that some of us snuck in by hiding in the trunk, violating the 8th commandment (Thou shalt not steal). We’d stop where the old Na-bers was located – next to the bridge, one or more of us get in the trunk, then go on up to the drive-in (about a half mile away), paying only for those who were visible, of course. On this particular occasion, I was one of two guys in the trunk of the car. The other guy in there with me purposely held on until we’d gotten positioned with the trunk lid closed and then released a prodigious amount of the results of eating too many pinto beans for supper. The price I paid that night for my sin was more than any ten admission charges.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2011 at 6:30 am

    I remember spending many Friday or Saturday nights at the drive-in movie when I was a teenager. We also used to meet up at the local hamburger joint too; none of us ever seemed to have much money so we pooled what we had and then ordered food and shared it amongst ourselves. I miss those good old times.

  • Reply
    Sara Jones Middlebrook
    March 11, 2011 at 5:55 am

    The perfect Murphy weekend, Hanging Dog to swim (walking thru the abandon cemetery) crusing town Saturday night,then heading out to the Drive In Sunday night!! I don’t remember one movie playing either!

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