July 24: Tibbs Drive-In, Indianapolis IN


It’s Day 205 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. Thanks to the interstate highway system, even though I never left Indiana, I required less than two hours to drive from Huntington to the Tibbs Drive-In in Indianapolis.

When the Tibbs opened in 1967, there were already 10 other drive-in theaters in Indianapolis: the South 31, Bell-Air, Lafayette Road, New Sherman, Northside, Pendleton Pike, Shadeland, Theatre Air Twin, Twin, and Westlake. (AXS says there used to be at least 18 drive-ins in town, but they’re probably counting suburbs.) The Tibbs outlasted them all, and is now the final active drive-in in this sprawling city.

United Artist Theatres opened the Tibbs with only one screen, then added two more screens in 1972. The current owners, Ed and Agnes Quilling, bought the place in 1995 and added a fourth screen in 1999. They also added a new marquee, and added other renovations including digital projection.

I embedded a nice 2015 visit from IN the Loop TV, which shows what the Tibbs is like these days. The drive-in also reopened in December that year to show Star Wars: The Force Awakens despite temperatures in the 30s.

I just missed the Tibbs’ 50th anniversary on July 16. Four screens offer a lot of choices, including a bawdy women’s movie, Girls Trip. I’d bet even money that I won’t encounter that movie again as I sample mostly small-town, single-screen drive-ins, so I was happy to give it a chance.

Miles Today / Total:  112 / 25868 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Girls Trip / 121

Nearby Restaurant: Those regional / local chain restaurants are so interesting. They’re big enough that they must be doing something great, but small enough to be quirky. That’s why I went over to Yats for some Cajun cuisine. I scored some chili cheese étouffée with crawfish that made my mouth water just from smelling it. It came on a bed of rice with a buttered baguette. Yum yum!

Where I Virtually Stayed: Indianapolis is sprawling, so I tried to stay close to the Tibbs, and that’s why I chose the Comfort Suites about a 10 minute drive away near the airport. My room was clean and comfortable, it had the full set of amenities, breakfast had sausage and eggs, and the price was better than the hotels downtown.

Only in Indianapolis: When I visited Boston last summer, I fell in love with candlepin bowling. There’s a place in Indianapolis, Action Duckpin Bowl, that features its cousin. As with candlepin, bowlers get three tries per frame to knock down the lighter pins with a fist-sized ball, but unlike candlepin’s tall skinny pins, duckpins are short and squat. If you get the chance, you should try it!

Next stop:  CenterBrook Drive-In, Martinsville IN.

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