Missouri’s Oldest Drive-In Damaged by Storms, May Close for Good
Missouri needs more drive-in movie theaters, not less. Sadly, the oldest outdoor screen in the state was recently damaged by thunderstorms and now may close for good unless repairs or replacement can be made.
No drive-in theater has been in business in Missouri longer than the Barco Drive-In and Plaza Theater in Lamar. Cinema Treasures says that the Barco Drive-In opened on April 28, 1950. Sadly, that run may be about to come to an end.
KSNF KODE just shared a report on YouTube showing that the structure of the screen itself is now in terrible jeopardy as supports were damaged by storms.
They spoke with theater manager Scott Kelly who said that this weekend will be their last weekend of the season as they're ending early due to safety concerns. A normal season would mean they'd be open through at least Labor Day. Not so this year.
He also stated that the screen can't be repaired, but would have to be replaced and the cost would likely be more than $150,000. That means the future of the Barco Drive-In opening for business in 2024 is now in great jeopardy.
The Barco Drive-In in Lamar, Missouri has survived for more than 73 years. It would be a shame for storms to end their era now. Let's hope that local committees that are coming up with ideas can help them survive for many more.
I've said it before. I'll say it again. Missouri needs more drive-in movie theaters, not less.