4226 S. Florida Avenue,
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Previously operated by: Floyd Theaters
The Lakeland Drive-In opened on March 7, 1950, screening the 1949 comedy “The Life of Riley” with William Bendix, James Gleason and Rosemary DeCamp. In addition to the movie was a screening of a comedy and two color cartoons. The new airer was opened by Charles W. Murrell, (dba the Murrell Amusement Co.). The theatre manager was L.E. Eckoff. The car capacity was 530-cars with in-a-car speakers. The concession stand was sunken so as not to interfere with the view of the screen. Portable ‘buffeterias’ were pushed around the parking ramps for drive-in patrons that wanted to purchase refreshments without going to the concession stand. A popcorn booth was located at the ticket office for patrons who wanted popcorn without getting out of their car. The screen tower was made oversized. It was larger than the accepted size for drive-ins and was made of concrete blocks. In 1954 the screen was widened for CinemaScope movies.
In March 1960, Carl Floyd, (dba Floyd Theatres) purchased the drive-in. At this time Floyd Theatres were operating the Silvermoon Drive-In. On September 10, 1960, the concrete block screen tower was destroyed by hurricane Donna. The drive-in was closed until a new screen tower could be erected. The Lakeland Drive-In reopened on November 18, 1960, with a new screen tower, newly paved ramps/driveways and other improvements. The Lakeland Drive-In also sponsored the Lakeland Drive-In Church which started in the early-1950’s and continued until the drive-in closed. It was closed on April 29, 1984 to make room for the Palm Center Shoppes (including Lakeland’s first Wal-Mart) and Floyd Enterprises Palm Cinema III which opened on April 18, 1986 and has its own page on Cinema Treasures.
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