I think I saw Saturday Night Fever about a dozen times at the Kenwood Drive-In in the summer of 1978. Me and a few pals would try hiding in our trunk, while one of us drove in alone. When we started getting caught doing that, we knew where there was a hole in the fence surrounding the Southside Drive landmark. Back then, getting away with sneaking in must have saved us $2.
Of course, this came after cruising around to several stores trying to buy enough Little Miller’s to get through the movies. Once inside, we’d hang out near the concession stand hoping to find a group of girls doing the same thing we were on a Saturday night.
The Kenwood, which is just a mile or so from the house where I grew up, closed in 2008 – the last standing drive-in theatre left around here. Back then, there was also the Preston and the South Park, and likely a few more. The Kenwood opened in 1949, and was still running until 2008, when National Amusements (its current owner) closed it. No one’s stepped forward to buy the property.
So here’s the news: Some neighborhood activists are bringing the Drive-In up for Landmark status tomorrow morning. This would prevent the evil owner (National Amusements, the same company that tore down the Showcase Cinemas on Bardstown Road) from razing what’s left of the Kenwood without first getting permission from the city.
The commission meets to decide the Kenwood’s fate tomorrow morning.