Let’s Get Behind the Kenwood

The Kenwood. PHOTO: WFPK

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.


4 Comments on "Let’s Get Behind the Kenwood"

  1. I have so many great memories about Kenwood from my childhood. I can’t tell you how many Elvis and John Wayne movies I saw there with my parents and brothers.

  2. My parents used to take me and my brothers to the Drive-in in our Mercury station wagon with the genuine wood panels on the side and the fins in the back. We’d pick up a sack of White Castles (or a Shakey’s pizza)and g have a blast. Let’s see I remember seeing James Bond movies, and Swiss Family Robinson and the Sound of Music (which I was convinced was the longest movie ever made – I woke up and fell asleep like eight times during that movie)

  3. Not sure if we count as ‘local’ but we have a thriving Drive-In over here on the sunny side in Georgetown, IN.


  4. I don’t know if you realize, but National Amusements, and it’s owner, Sumner Redstone, is also the owner of Viacom and CBS.

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