Route 22 Drive-In

3215 South 74th Street,
Fort Smith, AR 72903

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rruth53
rruth53 on July 17, 2018 at 2:00 am

The 22 Drive in sat at the corner of State Highway 22 and Wildcat Mountain Road. It was called Wildcat Mountain for back in the day, the old timers would set up their stills and run off whiskey and they were called wild caters hence the name. I worked there from the age of 14 t0 16. I did everything assoiated with the movies. I ran the front gate, snack bar and on an occasion, I helped run the old arc fed projection machines. I live about one mile from where the theater was located. It was demolished in 1974 for I hve pictures of it. I also have one of the “house” reels with 22 Drive-In Theater stamped into the steel with the owners initals stamped in it also. CDB (Carl David Burton) was the owner and JMS (James Mark Smith) was the manager. I also have a complete set of speakers that came from thee as well.

Mr. Smith had an arrangement with all of the other theaters in our area that if there was a movie showing at another theater we wanted to go see, we got free admisson. Mr Smith wrote a note on 22 Drive-In stationary stating that we were an employee and that was all it took for us to get in. It is sad to see it go for there is a damn bank sitting there now as if we need another one. I got to go and change the marquee every week which was a joy for a young person because we got to climb at lrast 30 foot off of the ground to do it.

Oh the memories. I could go on and on and on but I just don’t feel like it right now for I just had surgery and am tired. Hope this gives you a little insight into the 22 drive in.

Oh. This story cannot be complete without telling about the raid. The theater had no septic system they only had a big cesspool. One night, we were raided by the Fort Smith Police Dept. for they thought we were showing a film that we shouldn’t be. Now, were talking back about 1965 0r 66.There were people climbing the back fence not knowing that cesspool was there and guess the surprise they got?

The offical address of the 22 Drive-In was P.O. Box 1081 Station A, Fort Smith, ArK. (No Zip Codes Back Then) Phone number Sunset 26535

NYozoner
NYozoner on January 12, 2015 at 9:00 pm

Please update address to: 3215 South 74th St Fort Smith, AR 72903