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Alice Drive-In Theatre, 5801 Main Street: 1970s   11 comments

Posted at 11:16 pm in Uncategorized

Here's another of Columbia's vanished drive-ins. I don't think I was ever really aware of this one. North Main was not on any of our regular routes -- for years I had only the vaguest idea where even Columbia College was. I'm saying this closed in the 1970s because in the late 70s, one of my school groups would sometimes do fundraisers at lunch by selling corndogs, and I would go pick them up from the North Main Piggly Wiggly, where somebody's father worked. I think I would remember seeing a drive-in in the area, and I don't.

At any rate, this one seems not to have gone porno, at least in the time-frame we see here (the first ad is from 1971, the second from 15 April 1973): Nothing rated harder than GP (equivalent to the range covered by today's PG & PG-13). Yog is even rated G!

I went to North Main to see what's at 5801 now, and it's a small strip mall with a barber-shop and a tax office. I think the drive-in must have covered more ground, so it's possible some of the other structures at what are now 58xx addresses may be on parts of it as well.

Thanks to reader Terry for the 1971 ad!

Written by ted on April 1st, 2009

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11 Responses to 'Alice Drive-In Theatre, 5801 Main Street: 1970s'

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  1. My husband and I leased and ran the Alice Drive-in Theatre during 1960. We ran the usual drive-in fare and introduced a racy girls, girls, girls show near the end of our time there. Since the screen (the largest and sturdiest in Columbia at the time) was visible to the highway, and the drive-in had a fence around it, many on-the-road truckers almost took the fence down several times while trying to drive and watch the girls on the screen. Nor did our choice sit well with the area ministers. However, we enjoyed the experience.

    Shirley Williams

    1 Apr 12 at 3:57 pm

  2. Where was it located on North Main? I remember most of them, but dont remember this one for some reason.

    Saturday's child

    1 Apr 12 at 4:56 pm

  3. Going towards Charlotte, the Alice Drive-in was on the lefthand side of the road on the 5800 block of Main Street. The North 2l Drive-in was a short distance up the road on the left also. I can not remember any of the surrounding businesses. I do remember a telegram we received one day about arriving film. The young lady reading the 'gram to us over the phone read, "Houseboat and MONSTER arriving shortly", while she gasped and put a question mark at the end of the sentence.

    Shirley Williams

    6 Apr 12 at 6:51 pm

  4. What was the name of the Drive-In on the Sumter Hiway that used to be on the left side of the road? It was going towards Sumter, but I think there were car dealerships on the right side of the road. I remember there was a HUGE House that sat on the property also that looked like no one had lived in it in quite some time? Anyone else remember that? This would have been in the late 60's or very early 70's the screen was still there..but I dont remember more than that.

    Saturday's child

    9 Apr 12 at 7:56 am

  5. I did not know about the drive-in on the Sumter Highway. However, I am familiar with Hall's Drive-in, in West Columbia. Another interesting fact about drive-in movies in the 60's were the unknown "checkers" who would come from Charlotte (where the films were rented), buy tickets, park on the lots, and use a hand-held counter to count the cars which came through the box office. Each person in each car had to have a ticket, and the national average of persons per car was 2.4. If a "percentage" picture was running, this was a way to keep the operators honest and to assure that the film exchange got its fair share of the receipts.

    Shirley Williams

    11 Apr 12 at 6:14 pm

  6. I just watched a Drive-In special on PBS. It got me thinking about the drive-in I went to a few times when I was a boy in early 1970's. I couldn't remember the name but had some mental images. When I found a list of Columbia drive-ins I immediately knew it was the Alice Drive-in because the image of the sign popped right up in my head. Wow, what a great experience the drive-in was. No asphalt, just a dirt lot and big big screen. I miss good times like that. Some things should not be allowed to die. The only other one I recall is the Sunset Drive-in. Don't think I ever went to that one, but I remember driving by it a lot.


    2 Jul 12 at 10:07 pm

  7. There is still one drive-in sort of in the Columbia area, The Monetta Drive-In. I keep swearing to myself that this summer for sure I'll hit it..


    3 Jul 12 at 12:47 am

  8. The drive in near the Sumter highway was the Star-Lite Drive win and it became famous for its dollar a carload special nights.


    30 Dec 12 at 4:20 pm

  9. Thought the Starlight Drive in was on Two Notch Rd on right side headed away from Columbia.


    4 Jul 14 at 2:42 pm

  10. @Deb--The original Star-Lite closed at Jackson Blvd. and Cross Hill Road. The Twilight which was on Two Notch was then renamed to the Star-Lite.


    4 Jul 14 at 5:34 pm

  11. My grandfather ran the north 21 drive after his retirement,1954 to 1960.Just in front of and to the side was the starcastle. It was just like Doug Broomes.On top was a glass booth where a DJ took request and played on AM radio R&R of the fiftys.The summers were a great time for a 7 to 12 year old boy. Rock n Roll in the front cowboys and indians in back. Oh the food was the best ever.


    15 Apr 24 at 8:01 pm

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