May 10: Calvert Drive In, Calvert City KY

It’s Day 69 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. I knew I had a bit of a haul again, driving just over five hours from Mountain View AR to Calvert City KY. But I knew this would be worth it, getting a chance to actually watch a movie for the first time in a week, this time at the Calvert Drive In. Coming in from the west on I-24, I had to pass the Calvert, hit a cloverleaf, and then drive an extra couple of miles to get to its entrance on state highway 95. Its sign has improved a bit since the photo I’ve got on this post.

According to a story in The Christian Chronicle, Paul and Evelyn Harrington opened the Calvert in 1953. Drive-in Theatre. Now grandson John Harrington runs the place with his wife, Paula. They’re proud of their family atmosphere and the absence of R-rated movies on its screen. And of the great prices and food at the concession stand. “Granny’s hamburger has always been something people came out to get, and we sell a lot of hamburgers to people who don’t even stay for the movie,” John Harrington said. “The hamburger saved the drive-in.”

One thing I found most impressive about the Calvert sounds simple – the Upcoming Movies page on their web site. Most drive-ins barely know what movies they’re going to get week to week. The Calvert has every film planned for over three months. Some of them include a “subject to change” note, but that’s still handy and cool.

For a classic Friday night at the drive-in, I finally got around to seeing Rock Dog. It wasn’t unpleasant, but I don’t think the creators of this film need to work on their Oscar acceptance speeches.

Miles Today / Total:  274 / 8954 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Rock Dog / 39

Nearby Restaurant: Okay, I ate at the Cracker Barrel. I admit it. I’ve always been a sucker for this place, with its aggressively homespun gift shop and warm helpings of comfort food in the dining room. There aren’t a whole lot of choices in Calvert City, and although I eyed the Waffle House, I’ve found the experience at the Cracker Barrel to be even more dependable.

Where I Virtually Stayed: As I’ve written before, when the Super 8 is the best place in town, that means there’s not much competition or that particular location is really great. In Calvery City, it was a little of both. I always appreciate the mini-fridge in the room, and the hot breakfast was better than the average Super 8. And the only other place I saw was a Days Inn.

Only in Calvert City: Just a few miles away from the Calvert Drive-In, on the west side of Calvert City, you’ll find the Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden and Toyland along US 68. This place is in the dictionary under “quirky.” Lots of found art, reshaped into such pun-inspiring objects as the “Valley of Lost Soles.” A shed full of a visual cacaphony of vintage toys. And it’s all free, but they’d love it if you dropped a little something into the donation can.

Next Stop: Birdsong Drive-In Theater, Camden TN.