66 Drive-In Theatre
17231 Old 66 Blvd
Neon sign, Drive-in theater, Inspiration for “Cars” site
Originally built in 1949, four years before the first local television stations signed on in the Joplin-Springfield area. In an era before widespread adoption of transistors and before the invention of integrated circuits, car radios were not standard equipment in all vehicles. The few radios installed in vehicles were of vacuum tube design and power-hungry by modern standards. A series of poles in the car park of the nine-acre site were therefore deployed to hold loudspeakers so that viewers could hear the movie.
The neon sign appears to have provided inspiration for the Pixar team when they created the “Radiator Springs Drive-In Theatre” for the movie “Cars.” For more about sites that inspired “Cars” be sure to read Ron Warnick’s blog http://rwarn17588.wordpress.com/2006/06/09/a-route-66-guide-to-the-cars-movie/ Movie stills from 2006 Disney/Pixar movie “Cars.”
This was a stop on the 2002 Route 66 Caravan, a 66-day road trip led by preservationist and historian, Jim Conkle. He lead the The Route 66 Caravan from “pier to pier,” Santa Monica to Chicago to raise the awareness of Route 66 and the need to preserve it. He posted more than 50 Hampton “Save a Landmark” signs along the route.