Nov. 18: Hound’s Drive-In, Kings Mountain NC

It’s Day 322 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. Because I’m still connecting the dots for the only drive-ins still showing movies in mid-November, I drove over six hours from the Family Drive-In Theatre southwest of Stephens City VA to Hound’s Drive-In in Kings Mountain NC.

The Brown family opened Hound’s last year at its campground there. As documented at the Shelby Star, owner Mike “Hound” Brown previously owned the local indoor theater from 1978-90, and his son Preston worked there in his youth.

“We just miss the theater experience back when we were younger,” Preston said. “We liked it. It was fun and exciting and we’ve always wanted to get back into it.”

After another nearby drive-in closed in 2014, the Browns saw the opportunity to open their own. They built a 100×50 foot screen and a digital projection booth to serve it. The lot holds about 500-800 cars, depending on how closely they get packed. A concession stand serves fast-food dinners as well as the typical theater snacks.

The Gaston Gazette followed up in June this year, and it reported that Hound’s is a hit. “I expected it to do well, but I didn’t expect it to do as well as it’s done,” Preston said.

Thanks in part to overflow crowds, the Browns are building a second screen, which should be ready by the start of the 2018 season. You can see it on the embedded YouTube video of the day, which was uploaded just last month. The Gazette said that Preston also wants to add a third screen. The crowds he’s seen so far should support three screenings a night, he said.

The Hound’s Drive-In web site says that this is a “Double Feature Weekend” showing “Polar Express, Justice League and The Kingsman”. I hope that doesn’t mean that I can only pick two of those movies to watch. At any rate, I only count the earliest flick, which means it’s my first time this year to watch The Polar Express. I wonder if I’ll see it at any other Christmas special nights next month.

Miles Today / Total: 382 / 36846 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: The Polar Express / 193

Nearby Restaurant: After driving most of the day, I took my fast dinner at the other drive-in in Kings Mountain, Blackwood’s Drive-In restaurant. I skipped past all the burgers and ordered a ribeye steak sandwich and an order of fries. My order was delivered to my car, just like the drive-in restaurants of old. Great nostalgia, great sandwich.

Where I Virtually Stayed: It looks like the best place to stay in Kings Mountain is the Holiday Inn Express. It was nice in every way. There were warm cookies waiting at check-in. My comfortable room had all the modern amenities. And I’d forgotten how I’d missed the HIE cinnamon rolls as part of the very nice HIE free breakfast in the morning.

Only in Kings Mountain: The city of Kings Mountain was once called White Plains, but it was renamed in honor of the nearby Battle of Kings Mountain, which took place October 7, 1780. The decisive victory by the Patriot militia over the Loyalist militia greatly raised the Patriots’ morale. With his Loyalist militia beaten, British General Cornwallis was forced to abandon his plan to invade North Carolina and retreated into South Carolina.

Next stop: Raleigh Road Outdoor Theatre, Henderson NC.