Retro Charlotte

Viking Twin Drive-In: movies and rock concerts

“Freedom Park? Nope. It's playground equipment that has been installed at a new drive-in theater. An acre-and-a-half is being fenced off for the free use of children who come with their families to the Viking Twin Theater which will formally open Sept. 5.” August, 1969
“Freedom Park? Nope. It's playground equipment that has been installed at a new drive-in theater. An acre-and-a-half is being fenced off for the free use of children who come with their families to the Viking Twin Theater which will formally open Sept. 5.” August, 1969 The Charlotte News

The Viking Twin Drive-In Theater operated at 3123 Freedom Drive from 1969 until 1981. The site is now part of CMS’s Philip O. Berry Academy.

Did you know two rock festivals were held at the the Viking in 1970? According to news accounts the Charlotte City Council allowed them “reluctantly,” after being promised they wouldn’t be “like a Woodstock.”

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Here is what ran in the Observer when the theater opened -- and when it closed:

Twin Drive-In Is Ready

September 3, 1969 - staff report

The Viking Twin Drive-In Theaters will open Wednesday, Sept. 10.

The theaters, back to back with separate screens on the same huge lot at Freedom Village represent a half million dollar investment on the part of Consolidated Theaters Inc.

The theaters will feature the most modern equipment and some new diversions as well, all designed to upgrade the image of drive-in theaters.

The lot covers an area of 22.5 acres, with two wide Cinemascope screens at either end, and a large, modern brick and glass concession building in the center.

Among other features, there will be a cafeteria-style dining room, a game room with game machines, and a supervised playground.

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Viking Drive-In Showing Its Last Picture Shows

September 7, 1981

When the Viking Twin Drive-In, 3123 Freedom Dr., opened Sept. 10, 1969, Paul Newman and Dustin Hoffman topped the bill in “Winning” and “The Graduate.” “Angel In My Pocket,” with Andy Griffith, and “Interlude,” with Oskar Werner, played on the other side. Tonight, almost 12 years after the star-studded opening, the Viking Twin Drive-In will close permanently. “Cannonball Run,” “9 to 5” and “Deadly Blessing” will be the last picture shows.

Herman Stone, vice president of Consolidated Theaters Inc., the company that owns the Viking Twin, said, “We just lost our lease on it. We’re just going to dismantle it.”

The screens, tower, everything will be dismantled beginning Tuesday morning. The process could take two or three weeks, Stone said. The screens have been sold to a competitor. The playground equipment will be divided between two of Consolidated’s drive-in operations, one in Greenville, S.C., the other in Spartanburg.

If you want to catch the last shows at the Viking, the theater opens at 7:30 p.m., shows begin at 8:30 p.m.

- Mary Martin

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