Drive-In Movie Theaters are fading slowly as time passes.  This Popular Kentucky Town Once Had Five Thriving Drive-In Theaters & Now They're Gone.

WHY SO MANY DRIVE-IN THEATERS HAVE CLOSED

When the pandemic hit there was hope for drive-in theaters.  People could be in their own car away from others and socially distanced.  Their dream lasted a while until more conveniences were made, like being able to watch all the movies from the theater in the comforts of your own home.

According to Fox Business.com:

Drive-in movie theaters sometimes required more work than standard indoor theaters with visitors having to pack lawn chairs.Moreover, the speakers in old school drive-ins didn’t provide the best audio quality compared to indoor ones.

Get our free mobile app

REMEMBERING OWENSBORO'S DRIVE-IN THEATERS

Angel here and I have lived in Owensboro a good part of my life and had no idea.  I was having a conversation with Brent Gardner and he was recalling going to the movies when he was a teenager and I said "wait a minute, we had what?"  He began to tell me the locations and I was just blown away.

Here's what Brent had to say:

Cardinal Drive-In used to be where Glenn Funeral Home is now.  Star Lite was where the Parrish Avenue Kroger is now.  Owensboro Drive-In was where Don Moore is now across from the Mall.  Then there was one on Highway 60 East back in the '50s.

CARDINAL DRIVE-IN

CINEMA TREASURES
CINEMA TREASURES
loading...

According to Cinema Treasures:

The Cardinal Drive-In was opened May 7, 1953 with Rosemary Clooney in “The Stars are Singing”. Car capacity was listed at 550 cars. Malco operated this drive-in until its closing in the mid-1980’s. It has since been demolished. The drive-in was located on the corner of Old Hartford Road & Triplett Street. Difficult time getting it to map. There is a strip shopping center along Triplett Street and there is an open field behind the buildings where the drive-in was once laid out.

Mike Rivest
Mike Rivest
loading...

STARLITE DRIVE-IN

Brent said the reason that it was called Starlite was that in that section of town all together was The Big Dipper, Moonlite, and Starlite Drive-In.

CINEMA TREASURES
CINEMA TREASURES
loading...

According to Cinema Treasures:

The Starlite Drive-In opened March 18, 1949 with Tex Ritter in “Rolling Home to Texas” and Robert Mitchum in “Betrayed”. The car capacity was listed at 400 cars. It was initially operated by Anderson Theatres and finally by Malco Theatres. At one time Malco Theatres dominated the market in Owensboro. The drive-in closed in 1988 when the screen was burned by vandals.

CINEMA TREASURES
CINEMA TREASURES
loading...
CINEMA TREASURES
CINEMA TREASURES
loading...

 OWENSBORO DRIVE-IN

Apparently, this drive-in was Adults-only if you know what I mean.  It was located where Champion Ford is now.

According to Cinema Treasures:

The Owensboro Drive-In was open in 1961. Car capacity was listed at 750 cars. The drive-in was operated by Malco Theatres and was closed in the late-1970’s. It was demolished to build Malco’s Cinema 8 and a shopping plaza.

OASIS DRIVE-IN

Y'all I am in shock right now.  I had zero idea there used to be a theater right past Yellow Creek Park.

According to Cinema Treasures:

The Family Drive-In opened on Highway 60 just past the Yellow Creek Bridge on July 19, 1951 with Roy Rogers in “On the Old Spanish Trail” and Jane Frazer in “A Guy Could Change”. On July 24, 1953 it was renamed the Oasis Drive-In and closed in 1954.

This is the type of theater my momma would have loved.  She loved Roy Rogers and the old movies.

CINEMA TREASURES
CINEMA TREASURES
loading...

PARKWAY DRIVE-IN

Parkway is the most historic as it is the very first drive-in to come to Owensboro.  While it doesn't necessarily say this I think it might have been Adult-only as well or at least I hope it was!

According to Cinema Treasures:

This opened as the Leitchfield Drive-In on September 3, 1948 and renamed Parkway Drive-In on March 17, 1950 and closed in 1961. It was the first drive-in in the Owensboro area.

CINEMA TREASURES
CINEMA TREASURES
loading...

There are no more drive-in movie theaters left in Owensboro.  The closest one to our area is the Holiday Drive-In in Reo, Indiana.

13 Movies That Were Filmed in Kentucky

Kentucky hasn't gone ignored by Hollywood, with regards to the usage of filming locations. But there could always be more, right?

Vintage Photos from Trail-A-Way Lake in Owensboro

Do you remember Trail-A-Way? Here are some classic photos from the lake, which rested just outside Owensboro off Hwy 405 near Maceo, Kentucky.

26 Images That Show How Owensboro Has Changed Over the Years

While driving in parts of Owensboro that have undergone changes, have you ever said to yourself, "I can't remember what it used to look like here"? Well, I'm here to help.