Moberly Five And Drive Theatre

3000 N. Morley Street,
Moberly, MO 65270

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Related Websites

B & B Theatres (Official)

Additional Info

Operated by: B & B Theatres

Functions: Movies (First Run)

Previous Names: Hi Way 63 Drive-In

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 660.263.2000

Nearby Theaters

Moberly Five And Drive Theatre

The Hi Way 63 Drive-In was opened in June 1950 by the B & B chain and remained in business until 1983 and sat unused for a decade on its ten-acre plot of land. It had a capacity for 295 cars.

When B & B decided to replace its two aging downtown movie houses with a new million-dollar multiplex, it was natural that the company consider building on land that it already owned. The drive-in site was considered a good location, but it was larger than necessary for the five-screen theatre. Someone at B & B had a bright idea: Build the indoor theatre at the back of the lot, and put the drive-in screen back to work as well. The new theatre would be called the Moberly Five-and-Drive Theatre

While the drive-in’s projection booth had been damaged by vandals, the screen was in good shape: It had been erected before the drive-in’s final season. The original screen was destroyed by a violent wind storm. During this time someone kept the playground in good shape probably for the children in the neighborhood to use.

B & B demolished the old snack bar and projection booth, replacing it with a projector aimed through a window in the new multiplex. They leveled the lot and spread it with gravel.

The five indoor screens opened in March, 1997. Each of them was decorated with a different cinematic theme: Western, Drama, Music, Tara (from Gone with the Wind) and Star Wars. The reconstituted drive-in opened a little later in the spring, just in time for the re-release of “Grease”. A 1950’s-themed grand-opening party proved very popular.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

MichaelKilgore on June 9, 2019 at 10:42 pm

The Hi Way 63 last appeared in the Motion Picture Almanac drive-in list in 1982.

Here are details of its opening from a note in the July 22, 1950 issue of BoxOffice:

MOBERLY, MO. – The new 300-car Highway 63 Drive-In erected by Elmer Bills on a 10-acre tract near the Omar Bradley airport north of here recently was opened. Bills is operator of the Lyric Theatre in Salisbury, Mo., where he lives, and eight other houses in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. The new drive-in is the first to be opened near here. …

Surrounded by an aluminum fence, the new open-air theatre has such features as a playground for children and a modernistic snack bar. The projection booth is situation in a portion of the building housing the concession stand. Equipment installed in the booth includes Century projection and sound, Strong lamps and RCA in-car speakers. The parking area is covered with crushed rock.

MichaelKilgore on June 20, 2019 at 4:35 pm

An Associated Press article, published Oct. 5, 1997 in the Springfield IL State Journal-Register, added more details about the drive-in’s restoration. B&B Theaters co-owner Elmer Bills Jr. said that when they were planning the indoor theater, “We went out and looked around the site and the old screen tower was still standing, and we said we might as well put the drive-in back in operation. We sure had plenty of room.”

The drive-in used FM radio for sound and used the indoor theater for snack bar, restrooms, and a second-floor projection room. At the time, Bills believed it was the only hybrid indoor-outdoor theater in the country.

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