Holiday Drive-In

121 Tennessee Road,
Erwin, TN 37650

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50sSNIPES on November 7, 2022 at 6:03 am

The Holiday continued to operate into the 1970s and 1980s. It was closed in the 1980s and the screen was removed a decade later in the 1990s, although the concession/projection stand remains standing. The concession stand was removed in the early 2000s and was completely demolished to make way for what appears to be the Center of Aging & Health unit.

50sSNIPES on February 8, 2022 at 1:52 pm

The original 70ft screen that was used since its opening was used from April 2, 1953 until December 10, 1955 (Last features were “Shark River” and “Love Happy”). CinemaScope took over the Holiday and reopened on April 5, 1956 with “Glory”.

MichaelKilgore on September 19, 2021 at 7:18 pm

Boxoffice, April 21, 1969: “Joe Hendren, operator of the Holiday Drive-In, was cited by the Unicoi County resident hardest hit during a windstorm which disrupted power, uprooted trees and caused many broken windows. Hendren, who was at the drive-in when the storm struck, did his best to hold the fence tin, which had enclosed the airer, in place. Despite his valiant efforts tin was torn from many posts and airborne to resting places throughout the drive-in’s neighborhood.”

50sSNIPES on June 5, 2021 at 3:03 pm

The Holiday Drive-In opened on April 2, 1953 with Dan Dailey and Diana Lynn in “Meet Me At The Fair” with no selected short subjects.

There was a lot of details about the theater, but I’ll explain the most of it as follows: The Holiday covers a total of 261,360 Sq Ft covering all with limestone gravel, and the concession stand fits a total of 40 people. A space between 19 feet or more between speakers. The entrance back in 1953 was located off of Ohio Avenue, Asheville Highway 19-23, Mohawk Road, and Holiday Drive (or Martins Creek Road), but as on my worth, a map displayed on the Grand Opening advertisement that was more commonly off the Mohawk Road exactly a single block from Martins Creek Road since the enter and exit paths displays were shown. The attraction signs displays were off of Ohio Avenue and 19-23. There are 2 entrance lanes into the box office, where two cashiers take his role, and two other attendants to render service to the patron’s car by cleaning the entire vehicle. There was also a moonlight pole, a total of 85 feet high making the whole area as light as the brightest moonlight night. The screen was erected and constructed by the Golian Steel & Iron Company of Atlanta, Georgia. The screen is nearly 70 feet (840 inches tall) out of steel, and the steel tower is constructed to withstand a wind gale of 135 MPH. There was also a playground surrounded by a low white picked fence in front of the screen. There were swings, see-saws, slides, a merry-go-around, and a climb-a-round (monkey tree) just to name a few. The Salyer Candy Company of Johnson City, Tennessee and the American Popcorn Company of Sioux City, Iowa delivers the food galore at the stand. The projector that was used is a Simplex Z. L. with Execlite projection lamp providing maximum screen illumination, and it projects a distance of 400 feet on a screen over 60 feet square and maintain rock sternness without flicker, jump or blur. This is a magnification of approximately 520,000 times. Incidentally, some of the finest microscopes only 600 times, and the projectors at the Holiday project 1,440 separate pictures upon the screen every minute. The Super Snaplite is what the manager chooses from the market manufactured by the Killmorgan Optical Company in 1952. The Execlite purchased in early 1953 also featured the exclusive Lightronic Automatic Focus controls patented precision reflectors with velvet smooth power produced by a Hertner 25 Horsepower Transverter producing 125 amperes of 29,700 watts, equaling to a total of 297 light globes of 100 watts each. Its projection building with two large steel casement picture windows, asphalt tile floors and interior walls and ceiling decorated in chartreuse all constructed being of fireproof materials is on the second floor of the same building, a point of interest and education which the management planned to open at intervals for public inspection. The concessions building is a patio fo green masonry extending several feet in front of the building on which is placed comfortable metal porch and lawn chairs and tables for the benefit of those patrons who wish to sit on the patio, bite or drink and view the screen performance under a ceiling of fleecy white clouds and stardust. A canopy or overhang under which is installed a speaker system and recessed indirect lightning projects a few feet from the first roof extending the length and width of the building. There are 3 public entrances with double French doors in front and one standard door in each side. The manager’s room is well-equipped office with paneled walls in gumwood and carpeted floors is also on the second floor of the building where he can watch the operations and screen as well. The exterior doors were trimmed in verdas green and the walls are decorated in marine sea-foam with chartreuse, orange and canary trim. The interior walls are in the same buff colored tile in the concession building as the exterior The floor is in varicolored ceramic tile with the design of the letter “H” embedded in the center referring to “Holiday” (or “Hendren”, Hendren is the president of the Crescent Amusement COmpany). The smooth finished plastered ceiling is decorated in a pastel hue of green seaform and chartreuse. For those who prefer a free sip of H2O, a refrigerated water fountain is conveniently located in the lobby with a special attachment for serving children which is one of the multitude of advanced installations in the area. A metal line rail in front of the serving counter extends the length of the room. The serving counter, warmers, attachments, etc, are of stainless steel with the front of the serving counter in Chinese red and snow white baked enamel. The Snack bar is electrically equipped including grill, kitchen facilities, refrigeration, various machines, and dispensers. The kitchen and food preparation room has tiled walls and floor is entered by attendants from back of serving counter and is furnished with their latest equipment including refrigeration, electric grill, broiler, potato peeler, and slicer. The Rabbit Foot Minstrel with its 32-ft reserve show and seat parphnelia trailer from Memphis, Tennessee made a special trip there for its grand opening, including a golden horns sound and a parade car.

The manager of the Holiday is TJ Stansel, beginning in Texas by birth and started in the theatre business as a lobby artist and relief operator in 1922. His early hobby was amateur short wave radio which prepared him for the advent of sound films in 1927. He took advantage of every opportunity to learn the technical details of operation, and later worked as a projectionist. He managed a variety of theaters in both larger and smaller towns and he was the chief engineer for the Kansas-Missouri Enterprises, a chain of 25 theaters, which was under his engineering supervision. He would later move to Florida to become a service engineer for a theatre supply house. He also lived in Chattanooga, Tennessee as a general manager, a circuit of theatres and likewise filled important positions with some larger circuits in the states of Indiana and Alabama. Right when the announcement was heard, he and his son traveled down there to make their residence. The Holiday is owned by Capitol Amusements Incorporated which formerly owned the former Cherokee Amusements Company.

The Liberty Lumber & Manufacturing Company of Erwin have done their contractors and work of the theater. One of the biggest trailer, commercial, and snipe companies of the 1950s also extend their congratulations known as Filmack, and the Motion Picture Advertising Service Incorporated of New Orleans, Louisiana also extends the same way.

Chris1982 on August 27, 2014 at 9:12 pm

The address listed by jwmovies is the same as the display ads. 121 Tennessee Rd., Erwin, TN 37650

jwmovies on October 12, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Now a ballfield across from the county hospital. Approx. address for this drive-in was 121 Tennessee Rd.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 24, 2011 at 11:12 am

There are alot of Drive-ins in Tennessee that have not made it on Cinema Treasures just checking the Search.