The Blue Moon Drive-In Theater, 4690 Hwy. 78 West, Gu-Win, Alabama 45324 - (205) 468-8046

In late May 2003, Rick Stivers and I were on a business trip to Columbus, Mississippi.

We flew into Birmingham, Alabama and then rented a car for the drive to Columbus. The sky was overcast and we encountered occasional patches of drizzle. Every creek, stream and river that we drove over seemed to be swollen with rain. The water running fast and angry beneath the bridges.

We arrived in Columbus in the middle of the afternoon. After visiting the site of the old Fiesta Drive-In, we ate dinner and then headed to our hotel.

Rick had been in the area previously and discovered the Blue Moon. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to see the theater in operation on that trip.

After checking in to our hotel, Rick phoned the Blue Moon to see if it was open. It was! Having nearly an hour drive ahead of us, we rushed out to the car. Rick elected to be the navigator on this trip. Getting behind the wheel, I started the engine and we were off!

The drive wasn't without incident as we made a wrong turn somewhere and soon discovered that we had reached the end of a road ordered abandoned by the local county government. We skillfully recovered from our mistake and found our way back to the correct road.

It was about this time that the rain started. Sometimes just a drizzle, sometimes a heavy downpour. I have to admit that I never expected to be in Alabama, driving down county roads, at high speeds, in the dark, while it was raining. With apologies to an old song, "Mothers, don't let your babies grow up to be drive-in enthusiasts"!

Finally, we reached Gu-Win. Just around a bend in the road was the Blue Moon. As you can see from the pictures below, the Blue Moon is well lit at night. Driving up to the ticket booth, I bought our tickets and we drove inside the lot.

I have to admit that the Blue Moon is the most unique drive-in that I've seen so far. The Blue Moon is built on the side of a hill. The projection booth sits on the top of the hill. The screen tower, one of those older designs that is combination screen and living quarters, sits nearly at the foot of the hill. The surface of the hill has been terraced to provide parking for the cars. I'd estimate a drop of at least 20 feet, perhaps more, between the highest, and farthest, row to the lowest, and nearest, row to the screen.

We parked in the second row from the back and then exited the vehicle. Our first move was to examine the concession stand. In the dark, it resembled a small barn. As we moved behind the concession stand, we made an incredible discovery! The property is surrounded on all sides by large trees. Behind, and to the right of the concession stand, a large area had been cleared of trees. Along the fence line, we could just make out a pile of large poles. Our conclusion? The Blue Moon, a single screen theater, was in the process of being upgraded with a second screen!

Leaving the construction site behind us, we headed into the concession stand for some refreshments. Here we met Mr David Curtis, the owner and operator of the Blue Moon. He was extremely friendly and very willing to talk about his drive-in. We talked for nearly a half hour before we took our leave and returned to the car. Before we left, we asked if we could return the next day to take pictures. Not only did he give us permission to return, he promised to give us a tour of the property if he was on site when we arrived.

As we walked back to the car, our feet crunching on the wet gravel, I counted the cars in the lot. Given that it was a Tuesday (following a big weekend opening of the current feature, "The Matrix Reloaded") and the rainy conditions, seven cars was very impressive. Mr Curtis clearly has some dedicated customers!

I thought the picture was extremely bright and well focused. The sound quality was excellent. After a few minutes, I found myself crunching popcorn in time with the windshield wipers!

After the film ended, I drove cautiously down the hill at an angle until I reached the exit. Outside, I parked and took a few "night shots" of the theater with my digital camera. Not having a tripod, some of them turned out a bit "fuzzy".

The next day, we returned to the Blue Moon. I took nearly a hundred pictures. Mr Curtis took us on a tour of the property including the projection booth. Mr Curtis believes in being prepared. He has two of everything needed to operate the theater including two complete platter systems.

I enjoyed both visits to the Blue Moon. If you find yourself in Alabama with time on your hands, see a movie at the Blue Moon. If Mr Curtis is working in the ticket booth, say hello for me!

Below, and on the pages that follow, you'll find a selection of the pictures that I took during our visit to the Blue Moon. I hope you enjoy them.


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This is the new marquee at the Blue Moon. The old marquee had been up several months before when Rick visited.


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This is the back side of the screen tower. Notice the colored flood lights that illuminate the various sections of the tower. The tower itself is white.


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This is a zoom on the ticket booth from near the marquee. Notice the colored lights in the base of the ticket booth. Color is the theme at the Blue Moon!


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This is a view of the theater from across Highway 78. To the left is the town of Guin. To the right is the town of Winfield. During our drive to the Blue Moon the night before, we speculated wildly about the origin of the name "Gu-Win". Our theories turned out to be too fanciful. The town of "Gu-Win" was formed to prevent the area from being annexed by either Guin or Winfield. That explains the town but not the name. It turns out that "Gu-Win" is a combination of the first few letters of "Guin" and "Winfield". I'm guessing the hyphen represents the idea that "Gu-Win" lies between them. How does that impact the Blue Moon? Mr Curtis told us that if he were annexed into either city, he would have to start paying a 2% sales tax.


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This is a close view of the ticket booth. Notice the glass bricks at the bottom of the booth. An array of lights is mounted behind these bricks and is the source of the lights we had seen the night before.


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In this view, Mr Curtis has turned on the ticket booth lights. These lights are very bright as they are clearly visible even in the late afternoon.

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