Royal Drive-In

Petal, MS 39465

300 cars

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Royal Theaters MS

Previous Names: East Forrest Drive-In

Nearby Theaters

Royal Drive-In

The East Forrest Drive-In opened in October 1953. The drive-in was located between Petal and Hattiesburg. It was operated by E.W. Adams. It was renamed Royal Drive-In on November 3, 1961 with a double feature: Edmund Purdom in “Herrod The Great” and George Montgomery in “The King Of The Wild Stallions” in CinemaScope. It was closed in 1965.

Contributed by 50sSNIPES

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

kennerado on September 1, 2021 at 6:16 pm

Approximate address is 1014 S Main St, Petal, MS 39465.

50sSNIPES on September 2, 2021 at 4:25 am

I might check if the East Forrest is in that same address.

MichaelKilgore on September 2, 2021 at 12:27 pm

Motion Picture Herald, Sept. 26, 1953: “J. E. Adams, formerly associated with Mr. and Mrs. Petrey, Starlite Drive-In, Laurel, Miss., and lately with F. W. Corbett, Dixie Drive-In, Columbia, Miss., has opened his new East Forest Drive-In, Petal, Miss.”

Motion Picture Herald, Oct. 17, 1953: “J. E. Adams’ East Forest drive-in, Petal, Miss., has opened. It accommodates 300 cars.”

Motion Picture Exhibitor, Nov. 3, 1954: “J. E. Adams will again handle the buying and booking for tbe East Forest Drive-In, Petal, Miss., which he operates in partnership with Herbert Rushton.”

Motion Picture Exhibitor, May 16, 1962: “A. L. Royal, who acquired the East Forest Drive-In, Petal, Miss., recently has renamed it the Royal Drive-In.”

If drive-in started as the East Forest, I don’t know about the East Forest/Royal that CT lists in Meridian MS.

The drive-in at kennerado’s address was at least ready open in 1960, per the aerial photo I uploaded. It’s also definitely in Petal, which is about 80 miles away from the other “East Forest/Royal” in Meridian MS.

50sSNIPES on September 2, 2021 at 1:24 pm

So yes I believe this has to be the former East Forrest Drive-In which opened between the last week of September and the first week of October 1953 and continuing until closing as the East Forrest in May 1961, then it became the Royal.

MichaelKilgore on September 2, 2021 at 2:05 pm

50sSnipes, you are correct is spelling Forrest (as in Petal’s home county) with two Rs, but the drive-in advertised as the East Forrest through at least July 1961.

I went digging, and I’m not sure what to make of this Hattiesburg American note from Oct. 16, 1961: “A. L. Royal and H. E. Jackson, owners and operators of the Rebel Theatre in downtown Hattiesburg, have purchased a location at Harvey, between Hattiesburg and Petal, and will open a modern drive-in theatre Friday, Nov. 3. The new entertainment facility will be named the Royal Drive-In. Jackson, who manages the Rebel, said that the drive-in will be equipped with the latest stereophonic sound and speakers and a large cinemiscope (sic) screen.”

Maybe Royal and Jackson purchased the East Forrest as a “location” and refurbished it? Anyway, the “brand new” Royal opened on Nov. 3, 1961. Royal Drive-In grand opening adRoyal Drive-In grand opening ad 02 Nov 1961, Thu Hattiesburg American (Hattiesburg, Mississippi)

50sSNIPES on September 2, 2021 at 5:38 pm

All I know is that the theater was remodeled, I’ve seen advertisements dating back to late June 1961 and there is a sign that reads that the theater is remodeling. This continued into the following month in July. No other descriptions has been determined from the Hattiesburg American until the announcement of the Royal. I believe the Royal was named right after A. Lloyd Royal himself from the Royal Theatres (MS) chain. Also do you know the first attraction(s) the East Forrest Drive-In ran when it opened in the fall of 1953, including short subjects?

Both Royal Drive-Ins in Petal and Meridian were definitely one of the funniest histories I’ve ever seen in CinemaTreasures, because the Meridian’s East Forest opened around the time the East Forrest in Petal opened, and it closed exactly a month (or 2) apart for both East Forest/East Forrests before both becoming Royals later that year.

50sSNIPES on September 5, 2021 at 3:10 pm

Found it! Meridian’s Royal Drive-In’s page information is wrong, because the Royal in Meridian opened on July 21, 1949 and closed in the 1990s.

The town of Petal’s Royal Drive-In is the one that opened in September/October 1953 as the East Forrest before became the Royal Drive-In in November 1961, and ran until closing in 1965 (and yes its history contains a stolen car incident in May 1961).

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