Jump to content


Photo

Last Drive In Theater in Northeast Florida Closes


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 Marty Hamrick

Marty Hamrick
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 543 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Oshawa, Ontario

Posted 30 May 2008 - 02:51 PM

Over the last 8 months,my wife and I have been running the last drive in theater in northeast Florida.The closest one to the area is several hours away,now there are a little over 400 drive ins left in the US.They are,however enjoying a revival with old drive ins being renovated and even new ones opening up,which we hope to do at a future date.Our last movies running will be Indiana Jones,Ironman and Narnia Chronicles.Here is a brief history of the Playtime Triple Drive In Theater in Jacksonville,Florida.Here is a brief history.

Saturday May 31,2008 will be the final show at the Playtime Drive In in Jacksonville,Florida,ending 60 years of entertaining Jacksonville and the surrounding areas.The property was sold to a church after the owner,Furman "Dempsey" Burchfield was shot in a robbery while working the ticket booth on September 21,2007.I was asked to manage the place and over the last 8 months we have enjoyed bringing back the customers.Mr. Burchfield has donated the equipment to us and as soon as we secure some property,we plan to re open at another location.

The Playtime Drive In was built in 1948 as the Twin Hills Drive In,but didn't open until 1952 as black out laws from the war were still in effect.It was owned by Cecil Cohen up until 1968 when it was bought by Ray Accord in a loose partnership with Furman "Dempsey"Burchfield.It was renanmed The Playboy and it offered adult fare,which at the time was soft core.After incurring legal issues by using the Playboy name,it was renamed The Playtime where it ran hard core adult films,offering such skin classics as Deep Throat,The Devil In Miss Jones and Behind the Green Door.They even had Marilyn Chambers make a personal appearance to sign autographs for her then new film,Insatiable.In 1981,hard core was prohibited in Jacksonville and the Playtime ran edited soft core X movies until 1989 when Burchfield took over and they began running first run general release movies.The Playtime enjoyed success,adding a thrid screen in the 90's,but managerial changes in 2006 brought about a rapid decline.I was asked to manage shortly after Mr.Burchfield was shot and due to failing health.Mr.Burchfield decided to sell out and retire after 48 years of running drive ins and an indoor throughout Florida.Burchfield had recently closed his other drive ins in Naples and Ocala.
  • 0

#2 Dax McKeever

Dax McKeever
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts
  • Other

Posted 01 June 2008 - 05:39 PM

There is a theatre drive-in along Hwy 280 in Harpersville, Alabama. I noticed it for the first time when I was home from California back in Febuary, 2008. Now I've relocated to Colorado Springs, and asking myself if/when I can take a date to any available theatre drive-in outdoors? Is there a list of available ones remaining? In my opinion, the theatre outdoor cannot compete if the surrounding community does not advertise it. I bet there would be 100's of guys n' dolls that could, and would, maintain the thrill if they knew about it.

On a side comment, bring back the 80's films. The arts has gone downhill since, and it is only the big money tech sfx that keeps it selling. How bad did the recent King Kong do?
  • 0

#3 Marty Hamrick

Marty Hamrick
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 543 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Oshawa, Ontario

Posted 02 June 2008 - 04:11 AM

Is there a list of available ones remaining? In my opinion, the theatre outdoor cannot compete if the surrounding community does not advertise it.



These sites are constantly being updated,so check and make sure the theater is still open before you make a long drive.

http://www.driveinth...r.com/index.htm

http://www.driveinmovie.com/
  • 0

#4 John Sprung

John Sprung
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4635 posts
  • Other

Posted 02 June 2008 - 02:34 PM

Mr. Burchfield has donated the equipment to us and as soon as we secure some property,we plan to re open at another location.

Wow, that's gotta be a lot of stuff to store. At minimum, you must have three projectors with lamphouses, rectifiers and platters, plus all the sound stuff and the individual car speakers. Are you running Simplex XL's? They seemed to be the workhorse for drive-ins. How are you going to store it all?




-- J.S.
  • 0

#5 Nate Downes

Nate Downes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1638 posts
  • Florida, USA

Posted 02 June 2008 - 08:08 PM

Wow, that's gotta be a lot of stuff to store. At minimum, you must have three projectors with lamphouses, rectifiers and platters, plus all the sound stuff and the individual car speakers. Are you running Simplex XL's? They seemed to be the workhorse for drive-ins. How are you going to store it all?




-- J.S.

If you need storage space, I have access to a decent warehousing spot. (in prep to turn it into a green screen)
  • 0

#6 Marty Hamrick

Marty Hamrick
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 543 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Oshawa, Ontario

Posted 05 June 2008 - 04:51 AM

Wow, that's gotta be a lot of stuff to store. At minimum, you must have three projectors with lamphouses, rectifiers and platters, plus all the sound stuff and the individual car speakers. Are you running Simplex XL's? They seemed to be the workhorse for drive-ins. How are you going to store it all?




-- J.S.


Right now we got it in my garage and it's 4 projectors with Christie lamp houses and three platter systems.One is a five tiered platter that serves two machines.We have three Century's and one Super Simplex.We also have the concession stand equipment.

f you need storage space, I have access to a decent warehousing spot. (in prep to turn it into a green screen)


Thanks for the offer,but we're OK for now.

Edited by Marty Hamrick, 05 June 2008 - 04:52 AM.

  • 0

#7 Marty Hamrick

Marty Hamrick
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 543 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Oshawa, Ontario

Posted 05 June 2008 - 04:57 AM

By the way,the individual speakers have been gone for over twenty years.They use FM radio sound now.
  • 0

#8 John Sprung

John Sprung
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4635 posts
  • Other

Posted 05 June 2008 - 01:02 PM

We have three Century's and one Super Simplex.

If you need, I can introduce you to Brian Kelly if you don't already know him. He's the top Century engineer in the business.

Too bad about the car speakers, they were part of that vintage '50's experience.




-- J.S.
  • 0

#9 Nate Downes

Nate Downes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1638 posts
  • Florida, USA

Posted 05 June 2008 - 01:18 PM

Right now we got it in my garage and it's 4 projectors with Christie lamp houses and three platter systems.One is a five tiered platter that serves two machines.We have three Century's and one Super Simplex.We also have the concession stand equipment.


Thanks for the offer,but we're OK for now.

Alright, but if you know anyone seeking a green screen space in northern FL I know of one being prepped. If in southern FL a friend of mine runs one as well.
  • 0

#10 Chris Keth

Chris Keth
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4427 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Los Angeles

Posted 06 June 2008 - 12:43 AM

On this topic, check out the motor-vu drive in in Ogden, UT if you're ever around Salt Lake City. It has 4 screens and is still VERY much alive, to the point that to get in and have a good spot you have to get there an hour early on weekends. A double-feature is $6 a person and you can bring all the food, drinks, lawn chairs, and other stuff you want as long as you aren't bugging other people. Standard practice for a lot of people is to show up when they open with a pizza, eat and play football or something until dusk, then watch a couple movies.
  • 0


Wooden Camera

The Slider

Paralinx LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Glidecam

Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Aerial Filmworks

CineLab

Tai Audio

CineTape

Opal

FJS International, LLC

Willys Widgets

Technodolly

Ritter Battery

Abel Cine

Metropolis Post

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Paralinx LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

FJS International, LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineLab

Wooden Camera

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Visual Products

Metropolis Post

The Slider

Abel Cine

Glidecam

Opal

Aerial Filmworks

Tai Audio

CineTape

Rig Wheels Passport

Willys Widgets

Technodolly

Ritter Battery

rebotnix Technologies