It’s Day 75 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. It took less than an hour to drive down I-59 from Centre to the Henagar Drive-In Theatre in Henagar AL, the epicenter of the largest national drive-in news story since Honda’s Project Drive-In in 2013.
According to Cinema Treasures, the Henagar was built in 2002 and converted to digital projection in 2014. Apparently it was sold to Carol Laney, who posted to Facebook, “As of December 16th (2016) the Henagar Drive-In is under new ownership.” As summarized in the Kansas City Star, later sentences in that Facebook post sparked a national discussion. “When companies continually force their views on us we need to take a stand,” it said, announcing that the drive-in would not show Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast because it includes a gay character.
During all the discussion and jokes, I’ve stayed silent about this issue. Each theater should be free to avoid any movie it doesn’t want to screen for any reason or no reason at all. I’m certain that decisions like this have quietly played out in drive-ins across the country. The difference here was the announcement, which was naturally going to separate folks who agree with it from the folks who don’t. Dozens of other drive-ins will premiere Beauty and the Beast this coming weekend, at least one with special ballroom dancing, but none of them will generate a tenth of the press that the Henagar’s post inspired.
The Henagar is only open Friday through Sunday at this time of year, and for once I was glad that I wouldn’t need to show my support or opposition or indifference. On this Thursday night, it was closed, so I was free to watch basketball all evening.
Miles Today / Total: 44 / 9275 (rounded to the nearest mile)
Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: dark / 41
Nearby Restaurant: I can see why the drive-in advertises its food; I couldn’t find anywhere else to eat in Henagar. Since I was staying in Rainsville, I chose Topher’s Wings as a great place to gorge on mancave food while watching basketball on TV. Oh, and they have salad, so I could blend in a little healthiness too.
Where I Virtually Stayed: There aren’t any hotels in Henagar. The closest decent place I could find was 14 miles away, the Super 8 in Rainsville. My room and a mini-fridge and good wifi, and the continental breakfast was all I needed in the morning, all at a great price.
Only in Henagar: As I wrote this post, I kept having trouble with the middle vowel in Henagar. According to Wikipedia, I’m not alone. George Henegar was an early settler here, but a postal worker misspelled the name in 1878 and it stuck. Also, every year they hold the Sand Mountain Potato Festival in Henagar.
Next Stop: Wilderness Outdoor Movie Theater, Trenton GA.