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» Cinematour Forum   » Cinemas in the News   » Saint Joseph, MO: Horseshoe Drive-In opens

Author Topic: Saint Joseph, MO: Horseshoe Drive-In opens
Adam Martin

Posts: 1090
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Feb 2003

 - posted June 30, 2004 09:35 PM      Profile for Adam Martin   Author's Homepage   Email Adam Martin         Edit/Delete Post 
From the Saint Joseph News-Press:

Horseshow Drive-In opens on Friday

Thursday, June 24, 2004


Jay Kerns wanted to build a drive-in theater in St. Joseph because he thought the town needed entertainment. Plus, he got to revisit fond childhood memories.

"St. Joe has always been a good drive-in town," Mr. Kerns said. "Everyone who grew up here grew up going to the drive-in."

The Horseshoe Lake Drive-In Theatre will open Friday, showing a double feature, "White Chicks" and "Shrek 2" beginning five minutes after dark.

The opening of the theater is the end of a three-year process for Mr. Kerns. Despite having a perfect site; flat, away from city lights and along a major road, the property was missing sewer service.

So although Mr. Kerns dreamed of a drive-in on the 20-acre property near where Frederick Boulevard meets the 102 River, his dream was going to have to wait.

Then, last October, city officials agreed to build a sewer line to the land and the Horseshoe was on its way to becoming a reality.

Although he would eventually like to have four screens and room for about 1,000 vehicles, Mr. Kerns is opening the theater Friday with one screen and the capacity for 300 cars.

"There's been a big change in drive-ins," Mr. Kerns said. "They are moving to that multiplex concept. That's what the successful ones have done."

Mr. Kerns said he'd like to open a second screen this year and have all four screens operating next year.
The number of drive-in theaters peaked in the late 1950s and then dropped dramatically throughout the 1980s. In 2003, Missouri had 13 drive-ins, according to Drive-On-In, a drive-in research company.

"Drive-ins are coming back," Mr. Kerns said. "In the past they've taken a dive, but it's slowly going in the other direction. New ones are being built and old ones are re-opening. It's a good time."

Despite the strong nostalgia that goes along with drive-ins, outdoor movie theaters have changed with the times. Sound is no longer projected through speakers on poles. It is now broadcast through FM radio.

"A lot is still the same though," Mr. Kerns said. "It doesn't matter if the kids are quiet. You can smoke a cigarette if you want, you can bring your own popcorn, but it won't be as good as ours."

St. Joseph is no stranger to drive-ins. The town was once home to the Belt and Sky-Lark drive-ins on the Belt Highway and Parkview Drive-In on Parkview Avenue. Mr. Kerns is banking on that history and moviegoers' memories to make his business a success.

"Nostalgia is a big part of it," he said. "There's a certain kind of freedom you feel when you're outside under the stars."

The Horseshoe will show two films nightly beginning five minutes after dark. Admission is $7.50 per person. There is no admission charge for children age 11 and younger.

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Jim Rankin
(Jim passed away in December 2006)
Posts: 123
From: Milwaukee, WI
Registered: Oct 2003

 - posted July 01, 2004 04:12 AM      Profile for Jim Rankin   Email Jim Rankin         Edit/Delete Post 
It's a nice story, Adam, and I hope the Horseshoe Outdoor succeeds. Maybe it is part of being as far south as St. Joe which will presumably allow a longer season than in my area, and therefore a greater possibility of success. I remember when some of the outdoors here tried to stay open longer by providing in-car electric heaters attached to the sound poles. It was a fiasco; as the price of electricity increased, it abosrbed all the price of the ticket, I was told.

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