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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 operating drive-in theaters left in America, but the 66 Drive-in in Carthage still operates on weekends in the summer months. The original owners of the 66 Drive-in also owned the long gone indoor Roxy Theater on the Carthage town square.

The open frame sections on each side of the screen house were added as part of widening the screen to accommodate the wide format Cinemascope movies sometime after 1953. The widened screen measures 48 x 95 feet.

xThe little glass block ticket booth only measures 5 x 9 feet. The roof is ringed with dual neon tubes.

The theater opened on September 22, 1949 with space for 400 cars and operated until 1985. After that it served as a salvage yard until it was restored and reopened in the late 1990s. The sign shows the movies being shown when we took this photo in 2012.

The theater was host to a showing of the movie "CARS" during the 2013 Route 66 International Festival in nearby Joplin.

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 even farther to only 14.

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



x About Us We started traveling Historic U.S. Route 66 as a destination in 2009. It's like a 2,400 mile long drive back in time from Chicago to Santa Monica! more
xDid You Know: Many parts of the old 4 lane Route 66 were reverted to a 2 lane road after 66 was realigned to the interstate. In many places the abandoned lanes are still there.