How To Research a Drive-In

Don't Know Where To Start?

If you don't know what drive-in to research, pick a theater that interests you: maybe a drive-in from your past, a local drive-in, or one where little of its history is known.

Find Out What Is Already Recorded

To make sure you don't work harder than you need to, determine what is already know about your chosen drive-in. Use the search tools to locate our page for the drive-in and see what we know so far. This way you can focus your efforts on the missing pieces.

If you can't find the drive-in in our database, let us know. We'll take a look and if we don't find it either we'll create a page for it.

Make a List

We recommend making a list of the most critical pieces of missing information and find these items first. Factual data points are first and foremost: opening and closing dates, significant events, like when a screen was added. Street addresses are particularly useful since they improve mapping and can lead to further discoveries through the county assessor's office (like operating years and owners). Photos are a great source of information... images help jog other people's memories.

Sources of Information

There are lots of places to look for information about drive-ins. Try your local library, old newspapers (usually on microfiche), old-timers in town, Theatre Catalogs, historical societies, county records, topographic maps, and satellite images. Be prepared to hear some some stories... you'll find that more people have drive-in stories than you might think.

Focus On Accuracy

When doing your research, be sure to record your sources and focus on making sure your data is accurate. Bad data can be worse than no data at all. Think about each new source to corroborate what you've been told by another source. The is a great way to pin point the right information and to stimulate other people's memories.

Share Your Findings

Much of the information can be updated in real time by logging in and clicking the Edit button. You can also use the 'Submit an Update' link on the right hand side of the drive-in page for information in the top part of the page: name, operating status, address, phone, email, URL, owner, features, screen count, car capacity, operating season, sound system, and timeline information. Use the 'Post a comment' link on the right hand side of the drive-in page for stories, memories, or anything that doesn't fit into the factual information categories listed above.