17231 Old 66 Boulevard,
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66 Drive-In, Carthage (Official)
Previously operated by: Dickinson Theatres
Functions: Movies (First Run)
Originally opened in the early days of American post war drive-in boom on September 22, 1949. The 66 Drive-In had parking for 400 cars and a seating area for 18 walk-in patrons. It went dark in 1985 as eventually most drive-ins did after the boom had gone bust.
The story of the 66 Drive-In didn’t end in darkness though. In one of the most ambitious efforts of the dozens that have succeeded in resurrecting abandoned drive-ins, the old 66 Drive-In was brought back from brink and reopened in 1997.
Now it is open seasonally and the big screen shows double features with the audio provided by local FM radio broadcast. Admission is $5.00 for 13 and up. Children 12 and under are a $1.00. No charge for a child if they are in a car set.
It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.
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Recent comments (view all 12 comments)
I will be driving from Los Angeles to Chicago on Route 66 this summer. Here is another article with a photo:
Who built this drive-in?
I thought “you"did. I was a manager for your firm the 1970’s in Salina, Ks, and I was always under the impression that was a Dickinson house. Dickinson also operated the Webb City Drive-in a short distance from this theatre.
lostmemory, this another notice that you are illegally uploading my photos from flickr to this website. Please read and remove the photo>>>>COPYRIGHT NOTICE: All photographs, text and html coding appearing in this/my Flickr site are protected under United States and international copyright laws. No images are within Public Domain. Use of any image as the basis for another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright. Please do NOT steal my photos, scans or anything in my photostream for your little blogs or websites, Pinterest or Tumblr, Facebook or any other “social media”., or use them for any commercial or non-commercial, for or non-profit uses and please, don’t link to them AT ALL ANYWHERE. ALL photos here are NOT available for purchase. No, you may NOT use them for free, so please don’t waste your/my time asking. (That includes the “but we’ll give you a photo credit” crowd.)
All photos uploaded to this website attached to my name were personally taken by me and not pulled from any other source. If someone is linking to a flickr page it is not being uploaded or stolen from you, it is linking to your flickr page.
I guess I’m fortunate. I have a color copy of the picture at the top of this page. From the site “ComeVisit” in 1998. I think I’ll frame it.
According to today’s Carthage Press, Mark and Dixie Goodman have sold the Route 66 to Nathan McDonald, his wife, Amy, and three children.
McDonald said, “Since I started working here in the last 10 years, every time I would sit here on a nice Sunday evening in the warm sunset, I wanted to be a bigger part of it. I’ve been given an amazing opportunity, it’s something that the more you hear, the more you want to be here.”
The article details the ties between the Webb City Drive-In and the 66, and how an old drive-in lot could be a good place for a used auto parts store. Until the auto parts markets fades just as drive-in nostalgia ramps up.
Full story: http://www.carthagepress.com/news/20170313/mcdonald-family-takes-over-route-66-drive-in
Another data point about inaccuracies in the International Motion Picture Almanac series: That Carthage Press article states definitively that the Dickinson theater chain closed the 66 in 1985, but the 1987 IMPA still lists it.
One gray day in 1988, I asked the operator of the 66 “Auto Graveyard” in Carthage, MO, if I could walk around and take pictures. He agreed, and those pictures show a pre-restoration 66. It was a thrill to revisit the 66 many years later and actually see a movie with throngs of other happy drive-in fans, just like the old days.
The Sept. 3, 1949 issue of BoxOffice reported an optimistic opening date. “William Bradfield of the Roxy, Carthage, Mo., was (in Kansas City) for several days buying and booking films for the Roxy and his new 66 Drive-In, one mile west of Carthage, which will open September 11. Friends in the industry have been invited to attend the opening.”
And the Nov. 5 issue told of a problem overcome. “CARTHAGE, MO. – Mechanical difficulties handicapped the opening of the 66 Drive-In west of Municipal park here recently. One of the sound amplifiers went out and a short in the arc furnishing light to one of the projectors caused faint images on the screen. Bill Bradfield, one of the owners, said the troubles were corrected the following day and shows went off as scheduled.”