Patterson Drive-In R.I.P

 When I was a kid, there was NO cable, NO internet, NO Sony Playstation, no phone, no lights, no motorcars, not a single luxury.  Well, the last part, I quote The theme from Gilligan's Island of course.  But I digress.  There weren't even movie rental places around the Richmond area until the late 70's.  I remember the first movie I ever saw available for rent was Star Wars, the original, unmolested by George Lucas, no extra cgi junk. None of that nonsense.  The box clearly said, "hi fi stereo".  Remember, this was like 1979 or something.  Movie rental memberships could go for well over $100 a year, and overnight rentals were like $5 I think. My memory's a little rusty on that last part.  Maybe somebody can EMAIL ME and help refresh my memory.  Also, if you have any wild stories about that local mom and pop video store, do tell.  Weren't late fees like a million dollars a day back then?

Well, since I was too young, barely, to go out for a night to the local drive-in, which were all over the Richmond and surrounding areas up until the late 70's, I missed out.  My older brother and sister would hang out with their friends and hit the drive in's, and I would sit and home and watch Star Trek re runs.  This was pre vcr of course, with three network channels to choose from and your local PBS station.  Then there's that classic Jeff Foxworthy routine, how we were all screwed if the president was on tv, on all networks of course.  Oh boy, better break out that Mattel handheld electronic football game!

Anyway, after Star Wars came out, this seemed to be the age of modern technology, or the space age, or whatever you want to call it. So along comes the vcr, which by the way, I think a Sony executive laughed at one of his people when they suggested the idea of programming a device to record your favorite television program.  I believe he suggested this idea in maybe 1975?  Again, anybody knows the full story or finds a link for this, EMAIL ME.  

So, what does this have to do with the price of tea in China? Well, the drive-ins pretty much bit the dust after people started buying vcr's, and I think this eventually helped to kill pinball and shortly after that, many arcades felt the hit too.

What I want to show you here is what's left of the Patterson Drive-In which opened in 1966, and closed up in 1981, according to Cinema Treasures.  A comment from this site, and I quote, "Car capacity was around 630. Opening night movies were Disney's "That Darn Cat" and Elvis in "Harum Scarum."  This site also mentions the new route 288. With this new highway, I bet you can kiss the remains of this drive-in goodbye pretty soon as more people move out that way, so check it out while you can.  Go down Patterson from Parham and Patterson, heading West, and you'll see it on the right, I think as you are crossing into Goochland, or maybe just before.

I've found some awesome pictures HERE to show the stuff that I missed. The internet rocks!  Look closely at those pics. You can see even more detail of the equipment that is rusting away. I would love to see somebody buy this stuff and restore it and maybe put it in museum or in their garage or gameroom to show others.  All I know is, if my former neighbor from when I lived out in the sticks could restore a 40's high speed go kart from a rusted frame, I imagine anything's possible.  I would grab this stuff if I had the space, which I don't.  I know somebody that knows the owner of this property if anybody is interested. If not, it will be crushed by bulldozers, probably not too far down the road, like when the Thunderbolt in Coney Island was demolished, with the signs and everything, in September, 2000.  On a side note, I have rare video of The Thunderbolt covered in weeds before it was demolished, featured on my "Hershey 2004 and More" dvd, available HERE.

The late fall shots are from a Sunday in November, 2002, approximately, using a Sony Mavicam disc camera.  I had these online for a brief time in 2003, but ran out of cable space, and had to remove them, but now they're back.  The summer shots are from July, 2006, taken right after I got back from hanging out with some collectors in Maryland.  I rushed back to the house, dropped off some stuff, grabbed the camera: a Vivitar, some more batteries, and on a Sunday morning, I was off to the drive-in!

This is a project I am glad to finally complete.  Covering shows back to back, I finally shelved this project for several months and thought it would NEVER see the light of day.  Glad I was wrong.

I almost forgot to mention, if you would like to learn more about drive-in's, or see which ones are closed up and which ones are still around, you MUST visit  Tell him Pingeek sent you.  Why, I don't know. Just humor me, ok?

After you look over everything, I'd like to hear your feedback.  So EMAIL ME and let me know, please. I hear all kinds of feedback about my site at the shows, but there's really not much time to talk there, so I'd like to hear from you.  Enjoy!  Pingeek


This was my first good look at the drive-in. Normally, I drive right by it on the way to the golf course, which has mini golf too.  My girlfriend and I went there last summer, and made total fools out of ourselves, which I took pics of and shot some silent video, but that's another story.

This is a shot from underneath the screen, which is gone now.  I have no idea what happened to it.  The main building in the distance, where they ran they had the concession stand and showed the movies reminds me of that building in The Land Of The Lost, I think in the city of the Sleezestacks or whatever.

A closer look at what's left of the drive-in.  

 Open to the elements.

Another view.  Really not much to see inside though.  


At this point in time, it was a landscaping business. 


Here are some rare photos of the original screen, as seen from the street.  Last I checked, the other stuff remained, but one day, the screen vanished. And since developers care about nothing but how to make a buck, I bet this screen was bulldozed, regrettably.  I bet if this had been on Ebay, someone would have bought it. The illogic of waste.

I regret having no digital camera, not high resolution anyway. They were quite expensive back in 2002.  So, this is one of the few pictures in existence of the screen, fortunately taken using a film camera, and the light was just right.  I used a Walgreen's cheap camera for this.

I really hoped this screen would have been saved, and like us all, had dreams this drive in would be restored to it's former glory, but from an economical standpoint, not necessarily the best choice. Real estate = Caveat Emptor.

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