photo from the Stateline Movie Time web site
Great news! A new drive-in has opened in Tabor City NC, just northeast of the South Carolina border. The Stateline Movie Time is the brainchild of Sherry Barnes, and she told her story to WWAY, Wilmington’s News Leader.
“I believe the Good Lord put this idea in my head,” Barnes said. “I would have never thought of it on my own.”
She says she did just about everything herself including building the housing for the projector, installing the projector, designing and painting the screen, leveling the ground, and setting up the sound system. And all along, it was about giving back and giving thanks after a long recovery from an auto accident.
“I don’t expect to make a lot of money; that’s not the issue here,” Barnes said. “The issue is a wholesome family environment.”
I’m impressed that this shoestring-looking operation is running a digital projector and showing some fairly fresh movies. Here’s hoping that the Stateline grows and prospers for many years to come.
Now that another hurricane has come and gone, my thoughts linger on North Carolina. Of course, WTVD’s thoughts always linger there, since it’s Raleigh’s News Leader. And a couple of weeks ago, before Florence passed through, WTVD ran an article about some of the recently closed drive-ins of the state, along with a discussion of Henderson’s Raleigh Road Outdoor Theatre, which is still very much alive.
There’s a nice rundown of some old drive-in histories, and enough insight to show that author Heather Leah knows what she’s talking about. Speaking of a couple of old theater sites, Leah wrote, “The only clue to their former life is the quintessential pie-slice shaped lots, fanning out from a single point, where the screen once stood.”
The article provides a few details about Raleigh-area drive-ins, including the Tower, the Forest, the Starlite, the Cairo, and the Raleigh Road. It ticks off the usual suspects for the reasons why most of them closed. Perhaps best of all, it includes a few photos and a slideshow video, which I embedded here. Check it out!
The couple that owns the indoor theater in Graham NC says that they’ll soon be able to break ground on a new drive-in there. Sitting on a 34-acre lot just north of the interstate, the I-40 Drive-In will have room for about 1000 cars watching five screens, plus a restaurant, a playground, and mini golf.
Jennifer and Chuck Talley announced the project last March, as shown in the embedded video above from WFMY, Greensboro’s News Leader. (By the way, that’s a fine video if you were ever curious what a drive-in looks like before they break ground for it.) Back then, they had hoped it would be ready to open this spring. However, the Burlington Times-News reported this week that progress had been slowed by land preparation issues.
Chuck Talley told the News Leader that the drive-in had to have proper facilities to handle water drainage. “We’re making sure we have the retaining ponds and other things in place,” he said. Groundbreaking is now expected to take place this spring, followed by “six to eight months” of construction.
When the Triad Business Journal interviewed Jennifer Talley in March, she said the plan was inspired by Martin Murray, a co-owner of Graham’s indoor theater. She said Murray, a native of Alamance County NC, owns the four-screen Town and Country Drive-In Theatre in Abilene TX and the seven-screen Galaxy Drive-In Movie Theatre in Ennis.
“She said they’re optimistic the venture will succeed, and believes the Triad’s relatively mild climate makes conditions ideal for a drive-in theater,” wrote the Business Journal. Jennifer also said they hope to host car shows and music festivals at the I-40. Sounds like they’ve got a solid plan together, and I look forward to hearing more about it later this year.