Mar. 15: 411 Twin Drive In, Centre AL

411 Drive-In sign

photo by Lamar, from the Carload Flickr pool

It’s Day 74 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. It was a nice, easy drive of less than an hour to get from Boaz to the 411 Twin Drive In of Centre AL.

According to its web site, the 411 was built in 1953 by Emory Johnson. (The 1955 Theatre Catalog lists Glover Johnson, his father, as its operator.) It was renovated and reopened in 2001, and is now operated by Rex and Carl Johnson, the sons of Emory Johnson. They added a second screen in 2008 and converted to digital projection a few years later.

For a lot of drive-ins, I have to do some detective work to guess the opening date. The 411 may be the only active drive-in that leaves me wondering when it closed. My references show its first life continuing through 1987 at least, but Cinema Treasures says it closed in 1983. When I asked the 411 folks, they agreed with 1983, so I guess those reference books just didn’t notice for awhile.

The 411 is only open Friday through Sunday at this time of year. Once again I found myself wishing that every night was a Friday night.

Miles Today / Total:  34 / 9231 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: dark / 41

Nearby Restaurant: The Centre Fuel City BBQ (formerly a Shell station) served up what it easily the best barbecue I’ve ever picked up at a gas station. Great baked beans, green beans, and a tater tot casserole made a very filling lunch. I guess you could call Fuel City a filling station.

Where I Virtually Stayed: The Days Inn here is very basic, but there aren’t a lot of choices in Centre. My room was clean, there was a little something for breakfast, and the low prices leave enough in the budget to splurge later elsewhere.

Only in Centre: I could talk about the three 10- to 12-foot high outdoor fish statues in front of the Weiss Lake Lodge (“crappie capitol of the world”), but that’s so commercial. Instead, we’ll turn to John Pratt Memorial Park, aka Pratt Cemetery, the final resting place of John Jonathan Pratt, who invented the pterotype, an early form of typewriter.

Next Stop: Henagar Drive-In Theatre, Henagar AL.