Missouri Drive-In Movie Theaters

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Warm summer nights are perfect for a movie at the 66, the Barco, or the Phoenix: three of Missouri’s greatest drive-in theaters. 
In the 1950s, postwar car culture collided head-on with Hollywood’s golden age, and Americans flocked to the drive-in. Today, only a few of the hundreds of drive-ins that once spotted the American landscape are still playing movies. Nine of them are in Missouri
Here to introduce you to three of the most historic drive-in theaters in Missouri is Jerry, the car insurance comparison expert and broker app you need on your side wherever you’re headed—whether it’s out on the road or just to the movies!  
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66 Drive-In Theatre

Address: 17231 Old 66 Blvd, Carthage, MO 64836
Schedule: Seasonal (April to September)
Ticket prices: $8 for adults, $4 for kids 6-12
Number of screens: 1
Pet-friendly? Yes
Carthage’s 66 Drive-In is more than a movie theater: it’s a chance to step back in time. Originally opened in 1949 during the postwar drive-in craze, the 66 Drive-In is one of just a few drive-ins still in operation today that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Drive down Old Route 66 as the sun sets, and you’ll catch the glow of the original neon-and-steel sign, intact from the heyday of the drive-in. The old concession stand is still there, along with a playground built in the shadow of the screen in the Baby Boom era. 

Movies

The 66 Drive-In is dedicated to a vision of affordable family entertainment, so most of their movies are double features. The gates open about an hour before showtime, which starts at dusk. 

How to hear the movie

When the 66 Drive-In first opened, car radios weren’t standard equipment in most passenger cars, so the movie audio was broadcast to the crowd over huge loudspeakers erected on poles around the lot. 
Today, however, you’ll be able to tune into the movie on your car’s radio. Bring a portable FM radio if you’re worried about draining your car’s battery

Snacks

The 66 Drive-In allows moviegoers to bring their own snacks, but warns visitors that “if you bring outside food, you are contributing to the demise of drive-in theatres.” The historic concession stand sells everything from popcorn and candy to chili dogs and BBQ sandwiches, and the proceeds help to support the historic site
Pro tip: Watch Pixar’s 2006 Cars closely, and you’ll see a mockup of The 66 Drive-In in Radiator Springs! 

Barco Drive-In Theatre

Address: 57 SE 25th Ln, Lamar, MO 64759
Schedule: Seasonal (April to October)
Ticket prices: $8 for adults, $4 for children 3-11
Number of screens: 1
Pet-friendly? N/A
In April of 1950, Butler and Wanda Felts got married in Lamar, Missouri. The following week, they opened the Barco Starvu Drive-In Theatre, a 350-car drive-in located on a patch of open farmland just off I-49. The couple ran the theater together for over half a century, living for the first 16 years in an apartment built into the base of the movie screen!
After Butler died in 2008, ownership of the drive-in passed to the historic Plaza Theater on nearby West 11th Street. But the original sign still stands at the entrance on Route 160, welcoming visitors to watch a movie under the stars. 

Movies

After years of classic 35mm film technology, the Barco Drive-In went fully digital in 2013. Today, the theater plays double features of new releases as well as some classic films. 

How to hear the movie

The Barco switched from loudspeakers to FM broadcasts in 1990. Today, you can listen to the movie on 87.9 FM using your car’s radio or a portable FM radio. If you’re using your car’s sound system, make sure to run the car long enough to charge the battery fully before turning it off for the movie! 

Snacks

You may not be able to sample Wanda’s chili at the snack bar these days, but you’ll find no shortage of classic movie snacks. 

Phoenix Theater & Drive-In

Address: 16657 Co Rd B, Houston, MO 65483
Schedule: Year-round (variable)
Ticket prices: $6.50 for adults, $5.50 for kids 3-12 ($8 and $7 for double features)
Number of screens: 1
Pet-friendly? Yes
The Sunset Drive-In opened in 1951 at the height of the drive-in craze, but it finally went under in 1998 after struggling through the decline of the 1970s and 80s. Just three years later, however, new owners bought the old drive-in and reopened it as the Phoenix—rising from the ashes of the past to a new life in the 21st century!   

Movies

The Phoenix Drive-In operates in tandem with an indoor theater and plays new releases both as standalone films and double features. You can check the theater’s website for information on upcoming movies.  

How to hear the movie

The Phoenix stands at the intersection of the olden days and the modern age with audio played both over 87.9 FM and old pole-mounted speakers. If you’re skeptical about using your car’s radio for the whole runtime, you can bring a portable FM radio—or just listen through the speakers!  

Snacks

You can bring your own snacks to the Phoenix Drive-In, or choose from the treats on offer at the snack bar! 

How to find affordable car insurance in Missouri

While you’re parked in front of the big screen, take a minute to download the Jerry app—you could find a lower rate on your car insurance before the previews are over! 
Jerry’s more than an expert comparison shopping app—it’s also a licensed insurance broker! When you enter your information, Jerry will search for and analyze quotes from over 50 top companies, connecting you instantly with an average of $879 a year in car insurance savings. 
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FAQs

Missouri’s warm midwestern weather and open roads make fertile ground for drive-ins. As of 2021, there are nine operating drive-in theaters in the state.
When you go to the drive-in, you can turn your car off during the show—just leave the key in the ignition so you can use your car’s radio to tune into the movie’s audio. If you’re worried about draining the battery, bring a portable radio, or turn the car on briefly during the intermission to charge the battery.
In most cases, drive-in theaters will play movies rain or shine. However, if there’s severe weather in the forecast, it’s a good idea to call ahead or check the website for any cancellations.

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