The Barco Drive-In Theater opened 60 years ago today, April 29, 1950, right here in my hometown. This is one of the few theaters in the state that has been in continuous operation and never closed. There are several open in the state at this time, as can be seen here, but very few have been in continuous operation all their life. Many closed and were then later reopened.
The Barco is a landmark in this small town. The screen was constructed so that there were living quarters inside it for the owner. That is why the screen is so deep, it doubled as a house. The only thing that has been replaced is the sign in front telling what movie is showing. The house next door is where the owner lives. In the past year or so, the theater began operation by the same organization that runs our historic Plaza Theater (I'll share the Plaza in a future post). The original owner passed away and the community desired the Barco to remain open. Find a need, fill a need, so the community stepped up and found a way to keep it open. 60 years under the stars (61 seasons)!
Happy birthday Barco! Here's to 60 more years. I've included photos of the theater as viewed from the highway, the sign by the highway, and a shot of the snack bar, projection house, and bathrooms, which are all in one building. The theater has a 400 car capacity. I've also included an aerial photo, found on Google Earth.
The original speakers which attached to the door of your car were replaced at some point with an FM radio transmission system so you can hear the movie over the stereo in your car.
It's such a fun place to go on the weekends, and there are always good movies showing. Most of the movies are family oriented, as they gather the largest crowds. One of the best things about going to a movie at the Barco? Playing chicken with the other cars to get out of the parking lot at the end (this is where driving an old car comes in handy)!
For more photos and information on the Barco, visit the Barco's Facebook page here.