23rd Street Drive-In

1600 E. 23rd Street,
Chattanooga, TN 37404

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Independent Theatres, Martin Theatres

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23rd Street Drive-In

The 23rd Street Drive-In was opened in spring of 1951, and was still open in the mid-1970’s when I last drove by it. I believe it was part of the Martin Theatres chain at the time. I never went inside, but it looked large and impressive from the outside. It was closed in 1981, but I don’t know what’s on the property.

Contributed by Bob Brown

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Theatrespawn on July 23, 2007 at 5:39 am

My dad, James A. Duncan, managed this theatre from the time it was built, I believe, until 1959. At one time it had cartoon character cutouts adorning the exterior of the fence facing 23rd St. He often did promotions by emceeing from the roof of the concession stand. My father died in 2001 and my mother recently died. As I can find photos, I will forward.

bvick777 on March 11, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Hello, my dad, Bill Vick Sr. was the projectionist there until the theater closed in 1981. He and I was the ones that went there after it closed and helped box up the reels and pack up the rewind motor and other related items. I wound up with the Orange Crush clock that was in the concession stand, I actually sold it on Ebay a few years ago, and now regret letting it go, if nothing else but the memory I had of being there with my dad. I remember well going there on the weekend with my friends and parking by the projection booth door and my dad coming out every so often and checking on us, plus hed bring us refills and huge bags of popcorn. My dad used to let me help switch over the projector when the cue would come up on the screen, for those that dont know, a little black dot appears at the upper right hand corner of the screen just for a brief second, and that means you have about a minute before the film runs out, you have to be ready and just the right instand to have the other projector ready to go. And back then it was the carbon rod that was brighter than the sun that provided the light to project it onto the screen. I remember the little metal bucket at the base of the projector where he`d toss the little short rods when they burned down. Wow where did the time go. My dad passed away in 1997. Thank God for the memories we had together.

TLSLOEWS on May 10, 2010 at 12:15 am

Nice story bvick777.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 10, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Great Story Bvick777,Should have kept that clock I have a whole collection of items from a theatre i worked at.Took them out one night before the wrecking Ball showed. Wouldn’t think of selling them.

50sSNIPES on March 22, 2020 at 1:21 pm

Actually, It Opened Sometime Between April And May 1951.

davidcoppock on March 22, 2020 at 4:06 pm

The site is now a grocery store(Food City).

kennerado on March 24, 2020 at 2:00 am

Closed in 1981 and was demolished and being redeveloped the next year.

MichaelKilgore on April 5, 2021 at 2:29 am

Boxoffice, June 9, 1958: “Independent Theatres has purchased the 23rd Street and the 58 Highway drive-in theatres from W. W. Fincher and J. M. Treadwell, North Georgia theatre operators … The firm now operates five outdoor theatres, the others being the Red Bank, Broad Street and Skyway.”

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