July 28: Canary Creek Cinemas, Franklin IN

It’s Day 209 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. It was time for one last drive through Indianapolis, going from M.E.L.S. at the Starlite Drive-In Theatre, just north of Mechanicsburg, to the Canary Creek Cinemas in Franklin IN, in less than an hour and a half.

Mike Rembusch built the Canary Creek Cinemas indoor complex in 2000, but he always wanted to own a drive-in. He straddled both worlds in 2004 when he built a 60 by 30 foot screen facing a parking lot and pointed a projector out of a back room. It opened in late September for a few weeks, and its first full season was in 2005. Since then, the drive-in has operated every summer, showing double features on weekends.

According to The Daily Journal of Franklin, the lot to the west of Rembusch’s new movie complex had been covered in stone as the building went up. “As Rembusch looked out over the area, he thought it looked perfect for a drive-in.”

“It was being unused,” he told The Daily Journal. “It was shaped like a drive-in, looked like a drive-in. The screen could face the right direction, and it’s worked out very well that way.”

The Canary Creek is just like all those old drive-ins that added an indoor theater, except reversed. The 8-screen complex hosts the concessions and rest rooms for the drive-in as well as its projector.

In 2010, the Indianapolis Star wrote that Rembusch’s father had built five drive-in theaters in Indiana. “I think people are still drawn to drive-in movies because they’re so informal,” Mike told the Star. “You can come as you are and just relax for the night, and people just seem to enjoy being outdoors.”

The movie this night was the premiere of The Emoji Movie. I’m not sure whether it was so bad it was good, or so bad that it’s just bad. I really hope I don’t have to watch it again to decide.

Miles Today / Total:  63 / 26072 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: The Emoji Movie / 124

Nearby Restaurant: For a hometown diner experience, I turned to Ann’s Restaurant. I enjoyed the breaded tenderloin (don’t call it schnitzel) sandwich with homemade potato chips and a side salad. According to the menu, money from the restaurant supports Tara Treatment Center, an alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility. Good thing I only drank iced tea with that sandwich.

Where I Virtually Stayed: The Quality Inn in Franklin is right next to a Waffle House, so that’s a plus. My room had a comfortable bed and the full set of amenities. Breakfast was good enough to skip the Waffle House. It was all good.

Only in Franklin: In its Dec. 2, 1940 issue, Life magazine spotlighted Franklin in the feature A Small Town’s Saturday Night. It followed the farming Dunn family for “a cross between carnival time, buying spree and holiday travel.” No drive-ins yet, but the Dunn boys enjoyed a matinee at the indoor Artcraft Theatre watching Pals of the Silver Sage.

Next stop: Starlite Drive-In Theatre, Bloomington IN.