Mar. 25: Pink Cadillac Drive In, Centerville TN

It’s Day 84 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. I had postponed my visit to the Pink Cadillac Drive In, just northeast of Centerville TN, to grab a live movie viewing elsewhere on a weekend night. Now for a Saturday night, I drove less than two hours from Watertown past Nashville to get here.

The Pink Cadillac used to have its own web site, and here’s what it said in 2009, before it was abandoned: Ed Worley built the drive-in in the late 1950s and named it the Bel Air. Clement and Mary Warren operated it until the mid-80s. Lisa and Donald Forrester purchased the Bel Air in 1992. The Forresters built a new screen, replaced the projection equipment, and installed FM radio sound. Finally, they made it all pink and gave the drive-in its new name. In 2000, the Forresters sold the Pink Cadillac to Leslie and Melissa Curtis.

Having said all that, the Bel Air is in the 1952 Theatre Catalog (with Charles Fussell as the movie booking agent in Nashville), so it probably opened closer to Cinema Treasures‘ date of 1950. The old Pink Cadillac site also claimed that there were only 19 active Tennessee drive-ins by 1987, but my Motion Picture Almanac for that year lists about 60, so it’s best to read all histories with a grain of salt.

The Pink Cadillac doesn’t typically open until April, and this weekend was no exception.

Miles Today / Total:  94 / 9852 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: dark / 44

Nearby Restaurant: Everyone said I needed to make sure to try the fresh Tennessee River catfish at Fish Camp Restaurant, and I’m glad I did. I picked the all you can eat fillet meal with hush puppies and slaw and was absolutely stuffed when I left.

Where I Virtually Stayed: The only hotel in Centerville is necessarily the best, and the Quality Inn there lives up to that title. The lobby and breakfast area were newly renovated, my room was large enough, and everything worked out great.

Only in Centerville: In April 2016, a Centerville man ran a Kickstarter campaign to fund a chicken-wire statue of Minnie Pearl, arguably the best-known Centerville native. (She often referred to her upbringing in Grinder’s Switch, a railroad spur near Centerville.) Unfortunately, of the $10,000 goal, the campaign raised just $231.

Next Stop: Franklin Drive-In, Franklin KY.