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Twilite Drive-In / Starlite Drive-In Theater, Two Notch Road at Pine Belt Road: 1970s   30 comments

Posted at 2:07 am in business,entertainment,historic

At one time, the area that is now the CVS & Food Lion plaza on Two Notch Road hosted a drive-in theater. I can't remember the name of the place now, but as I recall, the entrance was more or less where the CVS now is with the screen behind that and a tilted a bit leftwards. Growing up, we only saw a movie at a drive-in once (I think it was Cat Ballou somewhere on the Grand Strand), so I never made it to the place while it was in operation. I think a number of area drive-ins went porno in the 70s -- I know the one near Spring Valley did, and the one off of Sunset/River Road did, but I don't think this was one of them (though the nearby Atlantic Twin Theater did).

Anyway, after the drive-in business went under, the lot was used as a flea-market for a number of years, with the speaker poles still strewn amongst the tables -- I did stop by several times while it was in that configuration though I can't remember actually buying anything. I think the lot was vacant for several years after that with the heavy development of the strip mall starting in the 90s (and as you can see still continuing to this day). Personally I'd rather still have a drive-in (and one day I really will make it out to Moneta, this time for sure..)

UPDATE 6 Feb 09: Found out that the place was originaly called the Twilite and later renamed the Starlite, so I've updated the post title. I found that out here, which also has pictures.

UPDATE 19 March 2013: At some point I have to do some research down at the library to definitely untangle the Twilite/Starlite story, but in the meantime, the new Whole Foods has a photo mural of the old Starlite which used to occupy their location on Fort Jackson Boulevard:

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Written by ted on February 6th, 2009

30 Responses to 'Twilite Drive-In / Starlite Drive-In Theater, Two Notch Road at Pine Belt Road: 1970s'

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  1. I'm pretty sure this one was called The Twilight.
    The one at Sunset and River Drive was The Sunset.

    Mike L.

    6 Feb 09 at 6:27 am

  2. I thought the one at Sunset and River Drive was Hall's?

    Tom

    6 Feb 09 at 10:35 am

  3. (I am re-posting my comment here that is also on the Atlantic Twin thread)

    Saw many movies when I was little at the Twilight Drive In.

    When I was in the second grade we lived on Pine Belt a couple of blocks from it. My grandmother and my sister and I would carry lawn chairs up there and they let us in free. We’d play on the swingset right under the screen while my grandmother watched the movie. I don’t even remember what movies we saw.

    Went back as a teenager and had some altogether different fun. Don’t really remember those movies either. My high school gang more often went to the Beltline Drive In, near North Main. We would pretty much take over that place some nights.

    Dennis

    6 Feb 09 at 12:06 pm

  4. The Starlight was on Jackson Blvd. Hall's could have been the original name for the Sunset, but I'm pretty sure it was Sunset by the time it closed. When they went x-rated they had to put up real bright lights so you couldn't see the movies from the road.

    Mike L.

    6 Feb 09 at 1:13 pm

  5. So the name info on drive-ins.com is wrong?

    ted

    6 Feb 09 at 2:28 pm

  6. ted - drive-ins.com says it changed names from Twilight to Starlite in 1981, which I think would be about the time the original Starlite on Jackson closed.

    Dennis

    6 Feb 09 at 3:13 pm

  7. Was perhaps the one by the fairgrounds (who's concession stand became the Tally Ho) the Sunset?

    Let's not forget the Alice on North Main.

    Tom

    6 Feb 09 at 5:44 pm

  8. http://www.driveintheater.com/drivlist.htm

    This link has 7 "dead" drive-ins in Cola:
    Alice Drive-In, Columbia, Sc
    Beltline Drive-In, Columbia, Sc
    North 1 Drive-In, Columbia, Sc
    Skyway Drive-In, Columbia, Sc
    Sunset Drive-In, Columbia, Sc
    Terrace Drive-In, Columbia, Sc
    Twilite Drive-In, Columbia, Sc

    I'm thinking the one at the fairgrounds was possibly the Skyway.
    Skyway and Terrace are two that I remember the names but am foggy on the locations.
    Also the site doesn't say others that were nearby such as Ray's and one on Augusta Rd. in West Cola.

    Mike L.

    7 Feb 09 at 12:26 am

  9. I think "North 1" was on Two Notch somewhere near Spring Valley.

    ted

    7 Feb 09 at 12:42 am

  10. I remember watching movies from the hill of dirt at Keenan, next to the tennis courts. This was before they built the extension to it in 1973. The fare was the usual R rated movie but was plenty of excitement for a hormone filled 15 year old. On several occasions, the police would notice us and we would go running as fast as possible to Carter Street and to home.

    joe

    14 Feb 09 at 12:30 am

  11. if there was a drive in in lexington, would you go to it?

    mary

    11 Mar 09 at 8:57 pm

  12. Well, I still plan to go to Monetta sometime..

    ted

    11 Mar 09 at 9:27 pm

  13. ted - I just noticed your comment above about North 1 drive-in. It was very near the intersection of Two Notch and Rabon Rd. A huge health club was built on the spot (can't think of the name) about 20 years ago. You can't see it from Two Notch, but it uses the same entrance drive as the drive-in. Micato's is just to the left of it.

    Dennis

    12 Mar 09 at 4:51 pm

  14. Ah, that makes sense. I had thought maybe it was a bit more towards Spring Valley, but that's far enough out to seem like that at the time.

    I've found some old movie ads, so I think I'll do a post on it, and update some of the other drive-in posts soon.

    ted

    12 Mar 09 at 5:26 pm

  15. I think the one that sat across from the Fair Grounds was the Skyway wasnt it? and it had an over spill screen in that vacant lot behind it incase there were TOO many people in the main lot. I remember seeing a movie there in the early 60's but dont remember which one. What year did they tear that one down? late 60s' or early 70's? I think it's appropriate though now where the Sunset Drive-In was, there's a Church that sits on the same spot..since it was a "nudie" movie Drive in..how funny is that?

    Del

    12 Apr 09 at 8:40 pm

  16. The Skyway was the one at the Fairgrounds. It was still open on April 15 1973.

    ted

    12 Apr 09 at 10:03 pm

  17. I do not know if the "Twilite" (at the location your photos show) became the "Starlite", but I do know the original "Starlite" was an entirely different drive in located at the corner of N. Beltline Blvd and Forest Drive, where a Walgreens now sits, over by one of the Fort Jackson entrances. If you look at the satellite phot0, you can see the plot Walreens is on is still shaped like a drive in theater plot, and at the north end of the plot it looks like you can still see the entry drive way to the theater. Saw Smokey and the Bandit there when it first came out.

    Shawn

    27 May 10 at 2:45 pm

  18. Yeah, I can't verify that link that claims the name changed in 1981 (though I have no reason to doubt it). I can say it was Twilite into 1979...

    ted

    27 May 10 at 3:57 pm

  19. Off topic, but Ted your picture shows the Jaws Seafood in Cayce being still open in 1979. Does anybody have any recollection of this? I remember it opening after the movie came out, I think in late 1975, and didn't know it lasted that long. Today the location is an office building, by the way.

    59 Ford Wheelman

    28 May 10 at 5:57 am

  20. I can't believe the number of ads for X-rated movies listed on that newspaper page that Ted referenced in his post nor the number of theaters in Columbia that showed those movies back then! Guess that can all be attributed to the "sexual revolution".

    The Bo Diddley article was a cool read. Perhaps he finally got the recognition for his musical accomplishments that he wanted when eight years later he was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame (not that the RnR Hall of Fame means jack now).

    Thanks for the site, Ted!

    kkaos

    3 Aug 10 at 10:03 am

  21. @kkaos. Not only that, but WCOS AM used to air radio ads for x-rated films too in the 1970s

    Tom

    3 Aug 10 at 3:45 pm

  22. There was such an uproar when I was kid because parents from the neighborhood by the North were complaining that their kids could see the films they were showing.

    Brian

    10 Aug 10 at 5:20 am

  23. In the early 70s there was a Drive in way out Hwy 321 that I went to a few times. It claimed to be the only "Air Conditioned" drive in in SC. And it WAS air conditioned. At the speaker pole was a concrete slab with an air conditioner on it and a flexable hose like one might use for a dryer vent. At the end of the hose was a sheet metal box with a vent blowing cold air that you would put into the window of your car, roll the window up until the vent was snug and there you had it, an air conditioned drive in, great in the summer time. Each parking spot had one. Also the beltline drive in is now an old Sams store.

    Rick

    16 Jan 11 at 4:18 pm

  24. Hall's Drive-In was located on Highway 1 in West Columbia roughly across from Lown Town. There's a mobile home dealership there now. It closed down during the period from 1975-77; the reason I know is I lived in the neighborhood. We moved away in '75 for two years. It was closed down when we returned. The screen stayed up for some time before the trailer people moved on to the lot.

    Also, I'm sure my memory is faulty, but wasn't the name of the drive in on Beltline and Fort Jackson Blvd called the Starlight instead of Twilight?

    Jerry B

    3 Jul 11 at 10:48 pm

  25. As teenagers we used to ride our bikes up there from Springwood lakes and go in the woods and watch for free. =)

    Pettis

    5 Aug 11 at 1:19 pm

  26. this is where the twilite drive in was. the entrance was the whole corner at the point where pinebelt met to keenan.
    Gary , myself and johnny warren ran the projectors , steve spigner was in the ticket boothe, and the tall prosser girl and mrs warren ran consessions. johnny and i use to drive to charlotte to get movies in these large metal cans that i almost couldnt lift. he also owned the drive in in monetta

    carl

    7 Aug 11 at 8:16 am

  27. I believe there was a "Alta Vista" Drive In Cola,sc....Hall's DI in Lex,SC

    Ed

    16 Feb 12 at 11:42 pm

  28. The Starlite Drive was located at the intersection of Jackson Blvd and Forest Drive. I worked there in the early 70s and my father ran the projector. If you look at Google maps at the intersection, you will see a Bojangles Chicken Restaurant. To the east is a driveway, which was the entrance to the drive inn. To the left is another driveway off of Cross Hill Rd, that was the exit. I do not know if the Krogers located on the former location of the Starlite is still open. The remnants of the fence from the drive inn use to be the back fence of the Krogers. If you look close enough in Google I think the fence is still there.

    We used to have certain weekends that movies were shown all night. We would show 2 feature movies and then show 2 or 3 Class B horror movies. The movies would be over at 3 to 4 AM.

    Gary

    17 Aug 12 at 7:42 pm

  29. Nope, that Kroger is long gone and well on the way to being Whole Foods.

    Wish I had gone to the drive-in some..

    (And it's not Forest Drive, btw)

    ted

    17 Aug 12 at 10:54 pm

  30. Oops I knew there was an F word in there. Garners Ferry Rd, or is it Divine St.

    Gary

    17 Aug 12 at 11:12 pm

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