Remembering Hannibal’s Ski-Hi Drive-In Movie Theater
If you grew up in Hannibal in the 1960's or 1970's, you likely remember the Ski-Hi Drive-In movie theater that was located on what is now MM. I found some information that may bring back some memories of that golden era of movies in cars in Hannibal.
One of my fondest childhood memories involved walking up West Ely Road in Hannibal and through Pioneer Trail to the Ski-Hi Drive-In movie theater. I was too young to have a car at the time and also not of age for many of the movies I wanted to see. (*ahem*) My friends and I would stand across the road where we could barely see over the gate to see what was on the screen. No sound that way, but you get the idea.
Cinema Treasures has some pics and details about what Hannibal's Ski-Hi Drive-In used to be. The exact address was 3736 State Highway MM. This is the view now from where Pioneer Drive meets the location of what is now Lomax Trucking, but used to be the Ski-Hi.
According to Cinema Treasures, the Ski-Hi Drive-in used to hold up to 350 cars. It opened back in 1952 and there is a pic showing that even church services were held there. This was a time before there were many other movie options other than the Huck Finn Theater in the Huck Finn Shopping Center. As I recall, it only had 1 or 2 different screens. This is where I saw the first Star Wars back in 1977.
There is very little history I can find about when the Ski-Hi Drive-In finally closed. I remembered it closing in the early 1980's, but there's nothing solid I could find online to verify. One friend mentioned 1985. Another friend mentioned that he recalled a storm took down the screen and it wasn't cost-efficient to repair it, so it was never fixed and reopened. For some reason, our memories aren't what they used to be.
We also recently shared a throwback to Quincy's old drive-in movie theater, too.
I was hopeful that this awful pandemic might actually lead to the comeback of these classic theaters since it allows distance from others thanks to vehicles. CNN wondered the same thing last year. The problem is that new digital formats makes it difficult to show new flicks in this outdoor format.
Would you support a new version of what used to be a staple on MM in Hannibal? I know I would. I'd have my wife and kids in the family vehicle so fast, they wouldn't be able to open soon or often enough. Even if it could only show retro movies, I'd gladly put one of their old speakers in my window again.