Dixie Drive-In

3525 N. Vermilion Street,
Danville, IL 61832

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wdg on June 15, 2006 at 10:32 am

For most of its life the Dixie was one of 3 Danville area drive ins owned by Butler Enterprises (Jack Butler). The tri-screening project in the early ‘70s was a joint venture of Butler, Phil Gibson and Daniel Welsch. The original main (front) screen equipment consisted of two IPC Super Simplex projection heads w/Bausch & Lomb optics and fast intermittents, RCA optical sound heads and 6-KW xenon lamps from Optical Radiation Corp. Film handling was performed near-flawlessly by POTS air-system platters. The automation controller was homebrew but logged many hours of trouble-free up time.

When the 2 back screens were added a separate projection booth was built behind the concession stand. IPC heads again with ORC lamphouses but with what appeared to be a crude homemade wooden frame film delivery system using 28" reels. All very much out of character compared to the fairly deluxe operations on the front (primary) screen. The 2 back screens themselves were something to behold, with aluminum trailer siding nailed onto 2x4s supported on kreosote poles. Annual spring breezes frequently took their toll on the 2 back screens, as did occasional summer storms.