Tri-Cities Drive-In

W. 4th Street,
Lockwood, MO 65682

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The April 15, 1966 issue of Boxoffice mentioned, “A 50-car drive-in will be built (in Lockwood) adjacent to a new golf course. Cozy Theatre operator Charles Burton said he has acquired five acres of choice real estate for the property. Burton plans to have the airer in operation by the drive-in season next year. It will utilize a small low-power transmitter to relay the sound from the projection booth to each patron’s car radio. Construction is to begin next month.”

According to The Vedette, a newspaper serving Dade County MO, “The Tri Cities Drive In Movie in Lockwood opened Sunday, April 21, 1967, with 75 cars watching the show. Owner was Charles Burton.” (That was in a “Looking Back” note published April 23, 2015.)

A full-page story in the Jan. 12, 1970 Boxoffice on the novelty of radio-delivered sound said that Burton built the Tri-Cities for about $5,000, and that it was making money. In the “200-car theatre,” he first ran 1,000 feet of antenna wire under the ramps, but that broke during septic tank repairs - “he now uses two wires strung overhead.”

In 1972, Burton took the same technology to a site north of Lebanon MO to open the 80-car Mini-5 Drive-In there.

The Motion Picture Almanac listed the Tri-Cities Drive-In in its 1969-76 editions, capacity 100 cars, but the drive-in fell off in 1977 when the MPA rebooted its list.

If the Tri-Cities Drive-In was truly adjacent to the Lockwood Municipal Golf Course, that would put it just west of the city limits on US 160, aka West 4th Street.

Contributed by Michael Kilgore

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Kenmore on June 23, 2021 at 5:11 pm

If the drive-in was located adjacent to the golf course, then it was completely demolished with no trace by 1985.

Sitting just to the west of the golf course is what appears to be a quarter-horse racing track or something similar. That area is large enough to hold 75 vehicles, so that is a possible location. It may also explain why no trace of the drive-in remains.

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