Chapman Hi-Way Drive-In

7406 Chapman Highway,
Knoxville, TN 37920

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Chapman Hi-Way Drive-In

The Chapman Hi-Way Drive-In was located on Chapman Highway (Highway 441 South) in South Knoxville. It was close to the current intersection of Chapman Highway and John Sevier Highway, on the left as you were going out of town. It opened on October 18, 1951 with Betty Grable in “Wabash Avenue”.

When I lived in Knoxville in the 1970’s, the Chapman Hi-Way Drive-In was run by the Simpson chain. They ran almost exclusively “hard R” or “soft X” sexploitation movies: not really pornography, but drive-in sex movies, where the titles sometimes sounded “dirtier” than the actual movies. I know that for over a year, they showed the sexploitation classic “The Cheerleaders”, with revolving second features. I think it closed in the 1980’s, and a Wal-Mart is on the property now.

The Chapman Hi-Way Drive-In was at the time, and may still be, the only movie theatre, indoor or drive-in, in South Knoxville (south of the Tennessee River), unless there was an unknown older theatre in the South Knoxville, Island Home, or Vestal neighborhoods earlier.

Contributed by Bob Brown

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

BannerJohn1954
BannerJohn1954 on December 9, 2007 at 4:54 pm

the marquee sign still exists,restored, and can be seen if you take the old highway 61 from Blaine back towards knoxville.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on October 1, 2009 at 5:14 pm

IN 1956 THE CHAPMAN DRIVE IN WAS OWNED BY R.S. SPURGEON. 200 CARS PRETTY SMALL FOR A KNOXVILLE DRIVE IN.
ON SEPT. 25 1967 THE CHAPMAN DRIVE IN WAS PLAYING .. HILLBILLYS IN A HAUNTED HOUSE… WITH THE SECOND FEATURE HERCULES IN A HAUNTED HOUSE. IT WAS BILLED AS KNOXVILLE’S 1ST RUN SHOWING.

ryderdvs
ryderdvs on November 23, 2011 at 12:54 pm

The location of this theater is where the Super Wal-Mart now stands. The marquee was there until the late-1990’s – early 2000’s.

jwmovies
jwmovies on September 18, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Approx. address for this drive-in was 7406 Chapman Highway.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on October 7, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Pity no one in KNOXVILLE took a picture….

carol1946
carol1946 on December 28, 2016 at 9:23 pm

First Drive In Movie I ever went to with a Special Boyfriend and watched an Elvis Movie in 1962-1963

Fotomac
Fotomac on February 17, 2021 at 9:02 pm

Can anyone remember what the feature was for the week of 15 July, when Star Wars came to town?

rivest266
rivest266 on December 7, 2021 at 4:01 pm

Found the ad. It opened on October 18th, 1951.

tntim
tntim on August 28, 2022 at 3:56 pm

Fotomac, The double feature playing on July 15, 1977:“Felicia” and “I Feel it Coming”.

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