Maryville drive-in theater gets new digital projector


MARYVILLE (WATE) – The Parkway Drive-In has been in Maryville for more than 60 years, but times change and so do the ways movie theaters are run. The owner says they have recently spent tens of thousands of dollars just to keep up with the times.

“People come here, kind of let their hair down, let their kids run around, bring their dog, throw frisbees, just have a good time,” said owner Doug Freeman.

In Maryville, the Parkway Drive-In is a staple drawing people out every weekend April through September to catch a double feature.

“It’s not every day you can go out and find a family friendly environment for as reasonable price as you’re going to get. I mean two movies for seven dollars, you can’t beat that anywhere else nowadays,” said Caleb Allen.

But technologies change leaving the days of film and reels long behind and turning digital, costing some drive-ins more than they expected to keep up.

“That is the biggest change probably in the last 60 years of movies is going totally digital,” said Freeman.

Freeman owned two drive-ins, but had to close one down instead of making those changes–changes that cost nearly $80,000 at Parkway Drive-In.

“You don’t have to attend to it like you did film. Film was out there manually going through pulleys and through a projector, and it could cause you great problems very easily of you didn’t pay attention,” said Freeman.

But he says keeping up with the present is all worth it to keep the memories of the past alive at the drive-in.

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