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66 Drive-In Theater

17231 Old 66 Blvd, Carthage, MO
Phone: 417-359-5959
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There aren't a lot of Drive in theaters left in America, but the 66 Drive-In in Carthage still operates on weekends in the summer months. The open frame sections on each side of the screen house were added as part of widening the screen to accomodate the wide format Cinemascope movies sometime after1953's. The widened screen measures 48 x 95 feet. It seems like the theater could accomodate more or less 500 - 550 cars. The liitle glass block ticket booth only measures 5 x 9 feet. The roof is ringed with dual neon tubes.

There were only 16 drive-in theaters in Missouri in 1948, but by 1954 there were 124 and that was the high point, by 1987 there were only 23 left in operation and by 2002 that number had fallen to even farther only 14. The owners of the 66 Drive-In also owned the indoor Roxy theater on the Carthage town square.

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The theater opened on September 22, 1949 and operated until 1985. After that it served as a salvage yard until it was restored and reopened in 1998. The theater was host to a showing of the movie "CARS" during the 2013 Route 66 International Festival in nearby Joplin. The sign shows the movies being shown when we took this photo in 2012.

The theater was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. It is located on the west side of Carthage on the 1930's alignment of Route 66.

Photo(s): 2012

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