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Route 66 Drive-In Changes Ownership-Still Promises Family Value - KOAM TV 7

Route 66 Drive-In Changes Ownership-Still Promises Family Value

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CARTHAGE, MISSOURI -


An iconic landmark in Carthage is seeing a change in ownership.   After twenty years of operation by the Goodman family, the Route 66 Drive-In has a new family taking the reins.


Former owner Mark Goodman said, "This is the last original Route 66 drive-in theater on Route 66. A couple other drive-ins have changed their name to 66 drive-in but this is the real deal."

Goodman bought the drive-in property thirty years ago and restored and reopened it in 1997, maintaining its original look and feel from the playground to old fashioned speakers. Those don
t function now as drive-in goers tune to the radio. Operating it was a family affair.

Goodman explained, " Its a great place to raise kids my kids were eight, ten and twelve when we redid   the theater and they all got to work here it was just great family. My wife Dixie was in the concession stand."

And it will be family run with the new owners. Nathan McDonald worked security at the drive-in for ten years before buying it with his wife and three kids. McDonald said, "Over that course of ten years, I just fell in love with the place, and the people. I made a lot of good friends along the way.  We just had this opportunity and jumped on it."

Aesthetically the McDonalds don
t plan to change anything  at the Route 66 drive-in  and  they say it will continue to be one of the best values for families in the area.

McDonald said, "It
s a great value for what you get. If you compare the drive-in movie  theater to a walk in theater, its half the cost easily. And its just safe. Its friendly. We dont show any R rated movies.  We dont plan to show any R rated movies. Its a focus on the family, what we need to get back to."  

McDonald explained aspects of the digital movie system allowing them to program for showing trailers or doing without them. The Goodman
s installed the digital system a few years ago. It was a big investment to switch from film, but necessary.
Goodman said, "We had to do it because of the way movies on film have gone away. It was either convert or quit."
 The result was keeping alive a piece of iconic history with the drive-in, something Goodman admits is tough to let go. He said, "We're gonna miss the customers.  We had great customers and the help we've had over the years, they
ve made it easy for us. And yeah it is kind of hard to give it up, but we'll be around."
And McDonald is just glad the Goodmans are passing the baton.
"It
s just a great venue, great experience. It's the uniqueness. It's the family environment. Its just a great opportunity," said McDonald.

The Carthage Route 66 drive-in opens March 31st. It has a facebook page and website to find out what's playing. McDonald hopes to add Thursday night showings in the summer and extend the season into October.






 

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