Cinema 67, on State Road 67

Cinema 67 Drive-In

The era of drive-in theaters was ending when I was a kid way back in the 1970s. Yet even 50 years later, many drive-ins keep hanging on. The ones that survive have either had to spend enormous sums to convert to digital, or show only older films that they can still get on film.

The Cinema 67 Drive-In is all digital. You’ll find it on State Road 67 between Gosport and Spencer, in Owen County, Indiana. It opened in 1957 as the Records Drive-In, but changed to its present name in 1973. This single-screen theater broadcasts the sound for its movies over FM radio; just tune to 93.5.

Cinema 67 Drive-In

All of the trappings of a period drive-in are here, including the little ticket booth as you drive in.

Cinema 67 Drive-In

If you look closely at the sign, which could use a new coat of paint, you can see holes for neon tubing. I’m betting that this sign was repurposed from the original Records Drive-In sign. On the gray wall is a small tribute to Jon Walker, who owned the theater from 1973 until his death in 2017. He purchased it from a couple who tried to show porn on its screen, which can be seen from the highway. You can imagine how people in this largely rural county reacted to that! Read more about this theater’s history here.

Cinema 67 Drive-In

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Comments

17 responses to “Cinema 67, on State Road 67”

  1. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    Seems like the more rural drive ins lasted longer than the city adjacent ones. Trying to show porn happened at more than a few of them, and always never worked out.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The end of analogue films did a lot of drive-ins in, regardless of where they were located. It was crazy expensive to convert, and most of them just couldn’t afford it.

  2. tbm3fan Avatar
    tbm3fan

    Solano Drive-in not that far from me in the city of Concord. Been there twice in the 67 Parklane, of course. Opened in 1964 and there are six locations around California.

    https://www.westwinddi.com/About-Us/FAQ

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Nice. Where you are, you have better weather for it. Say, does your Park Lane have the cornering lights? Those are so cool on those cars.

      1. tbm3fan Avatar
        tbm3fan

        Yes, it does although right now the engine has been taken apart after a cracked in half exhaust manifold and then a discovered crack in one head that can’t be repaired only replaced. So with the top off let’s go all the way and rebuild the 410.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Good luck! Isn’t the 410 based on the 390? I’ve seen a few period Park Lanes at shows and I always thought Mercury did a better job styling this basic body than Ford did in this era.

    2. tbm3fan Avatar
      tbm3fan

      Oops, didn’t pay close attention. Three California, two Nevada, and one Arizona.

  3. John Roberts Avatar
    John Roberts

    This drive is just down the road from where we lived from 1979 to 1985, and we attended movies there from time to time. Thank you for the link to the history.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      You’re welcome!

  4. Steve Mitchell Avatar

    Wonderful post. Drive-in theatres never took off here in New Zealand, probably because of the weather, which often wet and windy, but they were still going strong in Australia when I moved there in 1982. Over the thirty years that I lived there, one by one they disappeared, replaced by housing subdivisions, except for one or two holdouts. The one at Yatala, south of Brisbane is likely still going, we saw the first Shrek movie there! Funny how things change over time!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Weather in Indiana isn’t favorable for drive-ins from about Oct/Nov through about Mar/Apr, so it’s a wonder we had as many as we did.

      I haven’t seen a movie at a drive-in since 1986!

  5. Karen Bryan Avatar
    Karen Bryan

    My uncle owned and operated a drive-in very much like this one until his death about 20 years ago. After that, his son took it over, but just this year, he sold it. I understand the new owners intend to continue the operation, but I wonder: the land it stands on has skyrocketed in value, and I’m certain the new owners could make much more money if they sold it to somebody who wanted to tear it down and build something else.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That’s real. I know of a drive-in in Springfield, Ohio, that just met the wrecking ball. A housing subdivision is going in on the land.

  6. andytree101 Avatar

    Hi Jim, I’m a big movie fan and it’s always been a dream of mine to see a movie at a drive in. We’ve never had them here in the UK, so this goes straight to my “things to do before I die list!” Great post! All best wishes Andy

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s definitely a fun experience, especially now that most drive-ins broadcast the sound on FM radio. In the old days, there was a lousy corded speaker hung on a pole that you brought into your car. Here’s hoping you get to make a summer US trip and have the drive-in experience!

      Here’s an article I wrote on another Indiana drive-in

      https://blog.jimgrey.net/2020/04/13/movies-on-the-michigan-road-the-skyline-drive-in-in-shelbyville/

  7. lasousa2015 Avatar

    Love these signs. Especially drive in movie signs!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Oh yes! From my research I think this sign is from the 1970s.

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