Indiana, Oklahoma drive-ins survive storms

Winchester_FacebookWNDU, South Bend IN’s news leader, ran a story about the storm that took out one of the two screens at the Melody Drive-In (Knox). There’s a nice video of the damage and reaction, but I wasn’t able to embed it here. The good news is that the Melody re-opened last weekend, and the owners hope to rebuild the damaged screen by July 4.

And Oklahoma City’s last drive-in, the Winchester, was also hit hard by storms according to a story in The Oklahoman. Winds damaged the theater’s new digital projection system and half the marquee, although the screen and the “historic neon cowboy sign” survived. Owner Lindy Shanbour says that insurance should pay for most of the repairs, and the Winchester will bounce back. “I don’t know how long it’s going to take, but we will reopen,” he said. “You get this in your blood, and you can’t get it out. I can’t tell you the feeling it gives me.”

I’m always a little shaken when storms and drive-ins mix it up. One of my favorites growing up was the drive-in in Sedalia MO, apparently called the Highway 50 or just Sedalia. I’m fuzzy on that, but I remember that it was in the median where US 50 split into east- and west-bound lanes just west of town. I always thought that it was so cool to have a drive-in in a highway median. And I also remember when I saw the news reports and photos in 1980 that showed how a tornado had blown it to shreds. The drive-in closed after that, and now not only does the highway not split any more, but it looks like there’s an indoor theater where the drive-in used to be. So it’s great news that the Melody and the Winchester are coming back.