Longtime readers know that I love any drive-in video that I can embed for you. In this case, the story is a windstorm that damaged the former main screen of the Sky Vue Drive-In in Winchester KY.
You can see by this not-that-old photo at CinemaTreasures that the Sky Vue’s big screen and sign were still in good shape when it closed in 2015, one of the few casualties of the conversion to digital movies. Reportedly, there were fans who were trying to find a way to reopen the drive-in. Sadly, any of those plans just got more complicated.
Thanks to WLEX, Lexington’s News Leader, for giving us all a glimpse of what’s left of the Sky Vue. I wonder whether any of those marquee letters are still laying there along US 60.
Maybe it’s just that time of year, but I’ve been reading way too many stories lately about drive-ins closing or otherwise in trouble. Today’s entry comes via WJHL, Johnson City’s News Leader, which reports that the Stateline Drive-in in Elizabethton TN is for sale.
Stateline owner Andy Wetzel said, “Obviously I’m getting older. I’ve done this for 27 years, my wife and I realized our kids are grown. They’re in the military, they’re moving different places and we would like to have the opportunity to go visit. It’s just more freedom.”
The good news is the Wetzel would prefer to let the Stateline remain a drive-in, and that some of the prospective buyers sniffing around have been theater owners. And maybe the best news is that the Stateline should reopen as normal next month.
For a discussion of the Stateline’s history, check out the virtual visit I made there in 2017. And if you want to experience this 75-year-old drive-in in person, better make plans soon, just in case.
Procrastination. I’ve been busy the past couple of weeks putting Drive-Ins of New Mexico to bed. After I get a proof copy next week and count the mistakes, the book should be available for sale by the end of the month.
But I have to admit that I wasn’t in a hurry to relay this news. Preston Brown, the owner of Hound’s Drive-In in Kings Mountain NC, announced on Facebook a couple of weeks ago that he would not reopen this year. The Shelby Star reported that Brown sold the site to Albemarle Corp., a Charlotte-based chemical company, and that it may become a lithium mine.
The closure was widely reported, such as on WCNC, Charlotte’s News Leader, but I had to turn to its brief YouTube summary to find a video to embed.
In his post, Brown wrote that “We started this journey together with a vision of a campground and drive-in movie theater that ultimately turned into the #1 highest-grossing drive-in theater with the largest screens in the nation. We broke attendance records not only with other drive-ins, but walk-in theaters also.”
If you want to reflect on happier times, go back to my virtual visit there in November 2017, barely a year after Hound’s opened. Back then, they were just building a second screen to handle the enthusiastic crowds. It’s a shame to see all that hard work sunk into a mine.