5200 Williamsburg Rd. (US 60, just west of Richmond International Airport), Sandston, Va.
years of operation: 1950-85
currently: three motels and an Arby's
Opened April 14, 1950 as the Richmond Drive-In; changed name to Airport in the mid-'50s. Rambo
and Runaway were the final movies on
its screen on August 25, 1985, after it was sold to developers.
"My biggest treasure is a video tape we made when the Airport closed in August 1985. Yes, it was Rambo playing with the 2nd BIG hit, Runaway. If my memory serves me, that was one of the Tom Selleck mega-hits!!!! Ok, it wasn't huge but probably better than Quigley Down Under. The video captured everything about the property. We even saved the intermission concession reel and video-taped that at an indoor location. The friend of mine is heavily into video-taping and he might possibly be able to somehow get some still images from the videotape. The Airport was a nice place to work." -- John Peppers
UPDATE: "Finally I ran across a couple of photos of [the Airport]... The photos are from late August 1985. One is of the marquee showing the last 2 movies ever played there. The second photo is a shot of the back of the screen tower. Your website was correct in saying that the Airport was originally the Richmond Drive-In. If you enlarge the back of the screen tower photo, you can actually faintly see where the word 'Airport' was placed over 'Richmond'. The last couple of years that I worked there, we all knew the land was for sale. We knew the owners weren't going to pay for any improvements. We just kept it patched together and hoped for the best. It helped that the same company had recently closed the Plaza, Patterson and Fairfield Drive-Ins nearby. We could scavenge for parts and equipment there. My biggest fear was that the Airport marquee would fall apart and need replacing before the sale. I had envisioned my company calling me on the phone and sending me down the street to get the old Fairfield marquee to replace it with. And to avoid confusion with the name, my plan was to remove the 'F' and now call the 'Airport' the 'Airfield'. It would've been close. But our luck held out and we were sold and the marquee made it to the end." -- John Peppers
Click here for an interactive 1968 aerial photo of the drive-in (zoom in or out, or compare to older or newer photos of the same site).
Got some additional information,
or some pictures or stories about this drive-in
you'd like to share? Email me -- thanks!