Mar. 9: Stone Drive-In Theatre, Mountain View AR

It’s Day 68 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. Actually it was the night before when I drove a bit less than an hour from Marshall AR to the Stone Drive-In Theatre in Mountain View, home of more hotels than Marshall. This wraps up the third of the three active drive-ins of Arkansas.

The Cinema Treasures page on the Stone says that it opened in 1965, holds 300 cars, and runs from March to October. My Motion Picture Almanacs suggest the date was right but maybe it only holds 200 cars. According to the Stone Facebook page, they closed in early September 2016 to convert to digital projection. On February 27, they posted, “It’s all coming together and I promise I will let y’all know as soon as we get it going and set a date for opening!” A positive sign, but not for my visit.

What else can I tell you? How about a CNN Money article from 2003? That story profiled people in “old-fashioned jobs,” including Stone owner Bobby Tompson. It mentioned that time in the 1960s when his father “came home one day with a used Ford truck, small popcorn machine and two movie projectors. He drove the Ford throughout Arkansas, stopping in towns to sell tickets to films that he projected on the sides of churches and school buildings.” Eventually, Dad built the Stone, and the family keeps it going to this day.

Miles Today / Total:  40 / 8680 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: dark / 38

Nearby Restaurant: It was just a short drive to the middle of Mountain View to reach PJ’s Rainbow Cafe. I chowed down on some chicken fried steak and green beans, being careful to save room for coconut pie for dessert, and everywhere I looked in there, I saw more Elvis stuff.

Where I Virtually Stayed: It’s not often on this odyssey that I get to stay two nights in the same place. The Econo Lodge rescued me the night before with an older, clean room with a decent continental breakfast and a low price. It was nice to have had one day where I didn’t have to pack everything up and hit the road again.

Only in Mountain View: Every October, the Mountain View Area Chamber of Commerce hosts the Annual Bean Fest & Great Arkansas Championship Outhouse Races, which happens just about as it sounds. The family event features beans and cornbread, music, dancing on the courthouse square, handmade crafts, and “outrageous outhouse races.”

Next Stop: Calvert Drive In, Calvert City KY.

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