Mar. 4: Beacon Drive-In Theatre, Guthrie OK

It’s Day 63 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. Fresh off actually seeing a movie for the first time in over a week, I didn’t mind that the 75 miles I drove from Chickasha to Guthrie OK, home of the Beacon Drive-In Theatre, was a little farther than I had expected when I thought I would spend last night in Oklahoma City.

The Beacon opened in 1950 and has been in operation ever since. From what I can tell, it’s the only drive-in Guthrie has ever had. It may be most famous for the 1996 movie Twister, when it was apparently destroyed by a tornado. According to a commenter on Cinema Treasures, a second drive-in was built nearby and destroyed especially for Twister. “The Beacon did send over all its trash for the movie to add realism. They also popped all the popcorn used, but the Beacon wasn’t used in the movie.”

The Beacon Facebook page promises that it will be open again, as usual, in mid-April. There’s also a mid-summer fireworks show each year. That reminds me – I always love the drive-in on July 4, because most of them have great views of any distant fireworks displays, all from the comfort of my car and with the convenience of a nearby concession stand.

Miles Today / Total:  75 / 8197 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: dark / 38

Nearby Restaurant: I don’t find too many great salad bars at barbecue restaurants, but that’s what they’ve got at local legend Stables Cafe. I guess that’s because they served their dinners “steakhouse style,” which is how I got my ribs, baked potato, Texas toast, and that amazing salad bar.

Where I Virtually Stayed: For the second straight night, I chose the Hampton Inn near the interstate. It’s a nice new hotel, and it delivered all the comforting, uniform Hampton touches that made me wake up and wonder what city I was in.

Only in Guthrie: According to Roadside America, Elmer McCurdy’s grave is in Guthrie. McCurdy, an inept outlaw, died in a shootout near the Oklahoma-Kansas border in 1911. When no one claimed his body, he was propped in a corner of a Pawhuska OK mortuary where for five years visitors could pay a nickel to see him. Then McCurdy’s body spent decades as a freak show attraction at various traveling carnivals. It eventually wound up painted to glow in the dark in a Long Beach CA amusement park. A workman filming an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man discovered that this was a real body, leading to an autopsy and rediscovery of McCurdy’s identity. He was finally buried in 1977 in the “Boot Hill” of Guthrie’s Summit View Cemetery.

Next Stop: Admiral Twin Drive-In, Tulsa OK.