US 29, Pelham, N.C. (0.6 miles south of the Virginia state line, outside Danville, Va.)
capacity: 350-400 cars
years of operation: 1954-87
currently: The Warehouse nightclub
The Danville area's outdoor XXX
venue in the '70s and '80s. The entrance road was between the
Virginia Manor Motel and the Green Tree Restaurant.
"I love old drive-in's, and your site really brings back some memories. As a young man, I was a patron of the area drive-in's, the Midway Drive-In in Reidsville NC (long gone), the Eden Drive-In in Eden NC (still open, matter of fact, I helped the guy reopen it), and of course, THE SOUTH DRIVE-IN just outside of Danville Virginia.
"Right now, there is very little to remind anyone that a motion picture drive-in stood in the out-of-the-way region just south of Danville at the North Carolina and Virginia state line.
"The South showed nothing but X-rated movies, so it was the perfect little 'getaway' because it was just off the two lane US29 bypass, it was a few miles out of town, and you didn't really worry about anyone that you knew seeing you there. Boy that was a joke! I live in Reidsville which is about 20 miles south of the old drive-in, and half the people there were from Reidsville! It's funny now, but it was embarassing then.
"Anyway, the South was a really nice drive-in theater, meaning that it was clean and neat, the operators took care to keep it clean. It had a really nice concession stand, the food was decent, but the prices were outrageous! Of course, the drive-in operator was making his money at the concession stand, but by the way people jammed in there, you would think that someone was making some money at the ticket box. Before the features began, the line of people wanting to see the movie would form outside the South's gates. For a drive-in that only showed X-rated movies, and for one that was in the 'Bible Belt' as they call it, it was very popular. Needless to say, the term 'passion pit' fit the South Drive-In perfectly. Rarely did you see people sitting outside their vehicles. Let's just say, they were more cozy inside their cars and trucks. Sometimes there was more going on in the next car than there was on the screen above!
"Progress caused the demise of the South Drive-In. US29 went from two lanes to four, and of course, swallowed up the drive-in property. And the availability of VHS tapes meant people could stay at home to watch their movies. Along with her sisters around the country, the flicker from the South's projector dimmed for the last time somewhere in the late 1980's.
"The South is nothing more than memories today. If you're in your mid 30's and older, mention the South Drive-In, and watch the smile that comes across people's faces. Oh they remember it, whether they will admit it or not.
"Only one sign still stands on the drive-in property, but it has nothing written on it to ever indicate a drive-in once stood there. A bar called the Warehouse recently opened on the land.
"Even today when I go shopping in Danville, I pass by that vacant lot and remember the stuff that made the South Drive-In Theater. X-rated movies or not, it's a shame that another really nice drive-in theater with a great screen tower and projection booth/concession stand went dark." -- Mark L. Childrey
Click here to see the 1984 USGS map depicting the drive-in and surrounding area.
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