Mar. 3: Chief Drive In Theatre, Chickasha OK

It’s Day 62 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. When I first drew up this leg of the trip, I had planned to spend Thursday night, March 2, here at the Chief Drive In Theatre in Chickasha OK, then Friday night at the Winchester Drive In in Oklahoma City. As I got closer, I saw that the Winchester was closed till April but the Chief is open all year, but only on Friday through Sunday nights. So I switched, which meant that I doubled back 40 miles down I-44 for a Friday night show.

The Chief opened in June 1949 and has been in operation ever since. From what I can tell, it’s the only drive-in Chickasha has ever had. Its tree-lined entrance driveway gives a glimpse of what that classic first wave looked like. More recently, during the NBA Playoffs last year, the Chief showed some Oklahoma City Thunder games on its big screen.

It had been so long since I visited a concession stand that I almost forgot what it was like. The Chief has the classics, plus Frito pies, mozzarella sticks, and beef jerky. I’ll bet they didn’t offer bottled water in 1949, but I was glad to be able to buy it in 2017.

Since I finally got to see a movie for the first time in over a week, it didn’t really matter what was on. Which turned out to be Logan, a pretty good movie and a great fit for a drive-in.

Miles Today / Total:  40 / 8122 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Logan / 38

Nearby Restaurant: Another day, another great burger experience. J&W Grill, a block away from the county courthouse, doesn’t look like much except if you notice that it’s packed with locals. The grilled onion burgers are a but like White Castle, except substantial, and a sunny afternoon in the 60s was a great time to eat at a table outside.

Where I Virtually Stayed: It had been far too long since I stayed at a Hampton Inn, and the one in Chickasha was as modern and efficient and the same as all the others, in a good way. The wifi and breakfast were solid, and there was coffee at all times in the lobby. No surprises, just a comforting stay.

Only in Chickasha: The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha has been through a lot of changes. It was founded in 1908 as the Oklahoma Industrial Institute and College for Girls. A couple of years later, a judge who thought “Industrial Institute” meant reform school, sentenced an “incorrigible young woman” to serve time there, so the school changed its name to Oklahoma College for Women in 1912. It went coed in 1965 and became the Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts. Then in the mid-1970s, the Oklahoma legislature moved to rename all public institutions of higher education in the state under a new system: 2-year institutions would be known as “colleges” and 4-year institutions would be known as “universities.” So even though it still offers just bachelor’s degrees, the school keeps the U in USAO.

Next Stop: Beacon Drive-In Theatre, Guthrie OK.

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