SLIDESHOW: Moberly drive-in theater provides outdoor entertainment

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 11:27 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, August 12, 2009
An evening at the Moberly Five and Drive, a drive-in movie theater. Only a half hour from Columbia, the theater provides an easy, inexpensive evening adventure.

MOBERLY — Fifty vehicles slowly rolled into the gravel parking lot as drivers steered around families unloading folding chairs and coolers while groups of children skipped toward the indoor snack bar at the Moberly Five and Drive movie theater.

As the sun sank past the horizon, painting the sky with deep reds and purples, the lot filled with people wandering back to their cars with their hands full of soda, candy and popcorn. The day’s steamy temperatures cooled quickly with a lazy breeze as streams of light began to filter out of the enormous projector on the theater’s second floor, illuminating the outdoor screen with the beginning hints of movie trailers. Children hushed their parents and gawked at the screen, filling their mouths with handfuls of popcorn as the movie started.

The theater, which is about a half-hour drive from Columbia, has five indoor screens, one digital projector, and an outdoor theater that can host more than 200 vehicles. The outdoor theater is open during the summer months, usually from April to October.  

The Moberly Five and Drive drive-in projector waits until sundown when the double feature movies begin on Saturday. The drive-in still uses a manually operated film projector and employees who operate it must be trained extensively to re-thread the machines before every showing.
Families gather at the Moberly Five and Drive for an outdoor movie showing on Saturday. The drive-in offers nightly double features and attracts at least 50 cars a night. Many families find this a great alternative to indoor movies, especially during the summer months.
Children play under the outdoor movie screen at the Moberly Five and Drive on Saturday. Families come from as far away as Paris, Mo., to visit the theater because it offers them an alternative to indoor entertainment and they can talk openly and run around while the movie is playing.
Cars leave the Moberly Five and Drive drive-in movie theatre on Saturday. Not only does the theatre offer nightly double features, but frequently it offers an alternative "car load night" when families pay a flat rate per vehicle. The last "car load night" attracted over 200 cars.

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Troy Kite August 12, 2009 | 12:11 p.m.

Uh, I have been to the drive-in a couple of times. Once the bulb for the projector was out and blew the spare so no shows that evening. The other time the picture was so terrible I couldn't bear to watch the movie. I grew up here in Columbia where we once had 2 great drive-in theaters. The Broadway which is now occupied by Gerbes supermarket and the Sky-Hi drive in which is now Superior nursery. Granted I love the idea of a "real" drive-in the Moberly venue leaves much to be desired. My suggestion is a lot bigger screen and a lot better projector. On a positive note their sound system is fine as it broadcasts on an FM channel. I found their prices at the concession stand to be fair and the food good. Too bad the main attractions aren't up to par (the screen and projector).

(Report Comment)
Tom Fair August 12, 2009 | 3:31 p.m.

I must disagree with some of what the former post said. I too have been to a lot of drive in theaters and I think that there is nothing wrong with the one at Moberly. Every time that we have been is has been nothing but a great time had by all. The movie was wonderful and could be seen just fine. I would recommend it to anyone. It is too bad that there are not more drive in theaters.

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