Tuesday, August 11, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT;
updated 11:27 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, August 12, 2009
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.
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.
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.
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.