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Picturing the Past 106: 41 Drive-In

Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2011, at 12:13 PM

(Photo)
Remember these movies? They were on screen at the 41 Drive-In in October 1962. (Courtesy of Don Hoover)
Here's something a little different.

It's not actually a picture, but it's totally about pictures.

This is a handbill showing the 41 Drive-In's movie lineup from October 1962, courtesy of Don Hoover.

Go here for a larger view.

Believe it or not, an entire generation has grown up since the theater was demolished in the 1980s.

The big screen was on Madison Street where The People's Church and two apartment complexes are now located, and the screen itself faced away from Madison Street. I imagine quite a few people remember driving along Wartrace Pike, especially in the winter, and seeing bigger-than-life people suddenly appear in the distance among the leafless trees.

Some well-remembered movies showed that month: "Kid Galahad," another of the string of 1960s Elvis flicks; "State Fair," "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence" and Thunder Road."

The 41 hosted more than movies. I've heard for years that Jerry Lee Lewis played atop the concession stand at some point around 1956 or so. And several years ago we discussed in my blog and elsewhere the possibility that Hank Williams played there around the 1948-50 period; no one ever nailed that down for sure, but we couldn't find any written or photo record of it.

And I imagine many people associate the 41 with Clyde Jacobs, who managed it for so many years and was basically Shelbyville's "Mr. Movies."

So many people remember the drive-in days and the 41. Let's hear some of your memories.

Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog. Reader contributions are welcome.


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
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Ah, I remember it well. I have so many good memories associated with the Drive-In.

For instance, there was a time when you could get in on Wednesday nights for 6 Pepsi-Cola bottle caps per person.

I too remember going down Wartrace Pike and seeing the screen with moving pictures.

I missed Jerry Lee Lewis at the drive-in, but I can remember going to Tullahoma and seeing him perform at the old Air Base location.

The first time I ever ate Pizza was at the drive-in. I think that we were so dissapointed with it that we finally threw the rest of it away.

I can remember a time when admission was 40 cents per person. When a friend of mine and his future wife were dating they would save the two dimes that they got in change from admission. They kept them in a tobacco sack in the glove compartment. Later when they got married they cashed their dimes in to buy something for housekeeping.

I also remember Clyde Jacobs when he was at the Drive-In.

I also remember that after the movie was over we would go to Ray's Drive-In for barbecue.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Apr 12, 2011, at 3:04 PM

My parents used to take myself and my siblings to the drive-in when we were very young. Dad would always make sure the windshield was spotless for better viewing. The first movie I recall seeing there was the original "Night of the Living Dead". I believe the last movie might have been Star Wars. Seems like every one of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood's old westerns were shown there. The old drive was a place for good times and fond memories for sure.

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Wed, Apr 13, 2011, at 1:19 AM

All it ever took to end a drought was for us to go to the drive-in.

One of the last movies we saw there was a Hammer Studio knock-off for "mature" audiences.

Between the deluge obscuring the windshield and the rain-silenced speakers,we couldn't have detected any difference between the spicy vampires and Herbie the Love Bug.

The speakers must have tasted good because our livestock kept trespassing and eating the wires.

(Mr. Jacobs was a saint for not shooting any of his neighbors-hooved or otherwise.)

-- Posted by quantumcat on Wed, Apr 13, 2011, at 2:32 PM

I have several memories of the 41 drive in, one them is the night the texas chainsaw massacre was showing and my cousin opened his trunk took his chainsaw ouT(WITH NO CHAIN JUST THE BAR)started the engine and proceded to run towards cars revving the engine LOTS OF PEOPLE LEFT anyway it was fun for him,Idon't know about the other people

-- Posted by the hand on Wed, Apr 13, 2011, at 4:02 PM

One nite Glen Moore, Jimmy Hammond and I couldn't pool enough money for 3 so we "odd-manned" who would go in the trunk...Well, I lost so now I've gotta get in the trunk of my own '50 Ford Convert...I could tell where they were and after they parked I could hear their laughter...Not long thereafter I commenced to take out the back seat and a little later they let me out...Their excuse was they couldn't open my "Slick-Deck" with a pull cable behind the gas filler lid...Come on Guys (or Gals), let's here some Mushy Stories...Who's first???? DON'T TELL IT ALL!!!!

-- Posted by FlaDon on Wed, Apr 13, 2011, at 4:36 PM

I had a "Wake up, Little Susie" moment at the

drive in!!!!!

-- Posted by caligal on Wed, Apr 13, 2011, at 5:51 PM

Most movies I saw at the 41 I remember watching from the playground. I can remember seeing The Thing, Coal Miner's Daughter and Blood Beach among other B movie schlock I was really too young to be looking at. I really had a thing for the french fries there and the Pepsi fountain drinks there were better than Pepsi from a can or bottle has ever tasted since. I also remember Mr. Thurmond, who was the African-American man that sold tickets for many of those last years and smelled of sweet pipe smoke.

This is the two year anniversary of Clyde Jacobs's death almost to the day. He didn't have much use for modern movies, he considered them mostly too violent and too vulgar. One film in the past year that he would have liked would be "Get Low." He would talk about movies of the past with great recollection though, especially ones that did really well at the box-office like "Thunder Road" (in the bottom right corner of the flyer). I was always telling him about some old movie I saw. The last time I spoke to him we talked about 1940's film noir, specifically the Alan Ladd & Veronica Lake films. I had just seen "The Blue Dahlia" and he told me about seeing it as a kid in Nashville while visiting his aunt. He'd always say, "Someday when I REALLY retire, I'm gonna sit down and watch all those old movies again." He never did. Next time I see him, I hope we'll be able to catch up on a few.

-- Posted by cortnerkin on Wed, Apr 13, 2011, at 9:40 PM

I remember the playground, but not the movies. We stopped going when TV came on the scene. I recall my Mother saying we could get a TV if we stopped going to the drive in. In the 1950's we would ride in the back of my cousins truck with a blanket over us and get in free. Do you think the ticket seller was blind? Great days and fun.

-- Posted by henrys on Thu, Apr 14, 2011, at 12:28 PM

The year was 1958, a typical grade B horror flick was lit up on the big screen. Tommy and his best friend Eddie were parked on the very back row. They had between them Tina, a young blond woman of questionable reputation and the beer was flowing freely. The boys committed an unspeakable act upon young Tina, that culminated in her neck being broken. She choked to death there that night and the boys discarded her body in a dry creek bed right behind the area designated for back row parking. The body was never found. It is now 1987, Tommy and Eddie have built a beautiful apartment complex where the 41 Drive In once stood. The grisly murder that took place there so many years ago it has been long forgotten and rarely spoken of. Then the unexplainable accidents started happening. An electrician with 20 years experience was found dead near a newly wired junction box. An experienced painter fell to his death from a ladder. Tommy was permanently blinded by a flash fire while grilling out. Eddie was paralyzed when a load of lumber fell on him. Tommy and Eddie both begin to believe they are being stalked by the young woman they murdered all those years ago....Not possible, unless of course, you believe in ghosts. Do you?

Of course, this is a work of fiction, excerpts are from a short story I wrote as they were building the apartments where the drive in once stood.

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Sat, Apr 16, 2011, at 12:57 AM

I had some great times at the 41. Many from the back row.

-- Posted by MyMrMarty on Sat, Apr 16, 2011, at 10:04 PM

Never had the pleasure of attending the 41, but I did have the pleasure of knowing Mr. Jacobs from his days at the Capri Theatre. He is greatly missed.

-- Posted by commissioner on Sun, Apr 17, 2011, at 4:03 PM

Mr. Joe Bailey worked there counting heads and taking in the money. We had lived next door to

him on Collier Avenue when I was a child so I was

fortunate enough to see some free movies but I had

to pay if my date and I had friends with us. Uptown merchants gave tickets for your purchases

and they had drawings at the Drive-In. I won a nice new bicycle there. If they called your number you had to blow your horn and run to the

concession stand to claim your price. I nearly fell in the loose river gravel I ran so fast, couldn't stop.

-- Posted by walrite on Wed, Apr 27, 2011, at 3:38 PM


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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.