Thursday, April 29, 2010

Happy Birthday, Barco!

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.


  1. Very cool!

    One Drive-In theater is still open in my area. They make extra money by having a "swap meet" during the day on the weekends, which used to be a good place to find vintage, but became a place for newer junk to be pawned off. Too bad.

    I have fond memories of going to the Drive-In as a kid. There were about 5-6 different one's in the area. We always rushed our parents because we wanted to see the cartoons before the movie!

  2. Wow! Looks like fun, Ya know as ccrazy as this is going to sound... as Eat up with drive-in Movie theaters and having the worlds smallest.. iv only been to a REAl Honest to God Drive-In movie 1 time! On my 13th Birthday. Its so cool that yours never closed and almost everythign is original. :)

  3. Clay has a thing for drive ins, he found one about two hours away that is showing a double feature of Saturday Night Fever AND Planet of the Apes the next two nights and he's trying to convince me we should go.

  4. Happy B-day to the Barco. There still are several drive-ins in Central Kentucky. I love the names. Sky-Vue, Twin Hills (no real hills anywhere around it), Bourbon Drive-in (in Bourbon County, where the liquor of that name originated), and the Judy Drive-in, which is a good retro name.


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