Jan. 11: Cinemagic, Athens AL

Cinemagic Theatre marquee

photo by Brad Smith, from the Carload Flickr pool

It’s Day 11 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey, and my easy drive was mostly a straight shot up I-65 from Leeds (by way of Birmingham) to Athens AL, home of the Cinemagic Drive-In Theater.

The Cinemagic’s steup is such a good idea that I often wonder why more drive-ins don’t try it. There’s an indoor theater (with five screens) along the back wall. It includes the projection window for the single drive-in screen. It seems like such an obvious way to hedge a theater owner’s bets on weather and to share facilities with more screens.

The concession stand was pretty basic but not expensive, and the rest rooms were clean. Nice to have management that cares about the moviegoing experience.

I didn’t expect to find the movie Fences, with its serious Oscar buzz, available anywhere along my odyssey, but that’s what was showing here. Decades ago, I saw the play, so I knew it’s not an action-packed story, nor a comedy, nor a box-office smash, and maybe not even a feel-good movie, but it’s a fine character study.

Miles Today / Total: 109 / 1013 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Fences / 9

Nearby Restaurant: The two closest restaurants were the Samurai Steakhouse (half a mile northwest) and the Ninja Japanese Steakhouse (less than a mile northeast). Is this a neighborhood trend? I picked the Samurai, which doesn’t look like much but serves some tender steak in between all of its sushi dishes.

Where I Virtually Stayed: All the closest hotels are 2.5 miles east by the interstate. The best combination of low price and good accommodations was the Best Western Athens Inn. I especially enjoyed the pancake machine at breakfast.

Only in Athens: According to Wikipedia, Athens is the home of Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant, a Tennessee Valley Authority installation first operated in 1974, that was once the world’s largest nuclear plant. On March 22, 1975, the plant was the scene of the second-most (after Three Mile Island) serious nuclear accident in United States history after a worker using a candle to check for air leaks started a fire among the control wires.

Next Stop: King Drive-In, Russellville AL.