Legacy of the Drive-In
The Joy-Lan Drive-In Theatre opened on October 31, 1950. The admission of 35 cents per person included a short subject, a cartoon and the latest newsreel.
The Joy-Lan was operated by Floyd Theatres until 1995, many of those years under Harold Spears’ guidance.
Over the years, many of the drive-in theatres in the country were closed and property sold for other uses. Joy-Lan’s fate looked similarly doomed in the 1990’s. Floyd theatres was sold to Burnup and Sims, which was later sold to Mastec. The Joy-Lan was closed in early 1995. In 1996, Mastec told Mr. Spears to close the remaining drive-in theatres in the circuit. In an effort to save some of the drive-in theatres in central Florida for future generations, Mr. Spears formed Sun South Theatres, Inc. and purchased the Silver Moon in Lakeland, FL; the Joy-Lan in Dade City, FL. Both theatres operate as drive-ins and Swap Shops.
In 2000 the Joy-Lan Snack Bar caught fire, and was remodeled, while the projection booth was unharmed in the blaze.
In 2011 it became apparent in the movie business that the digital format was going to replace 35 mm. film in the near future. With the success of the digital changeover in the Silver Moon, Lakeland, the decision was made to convert to digital format at the Joy-Lan, which required quite a large investment for this small town drive-in. In 2013 a storm ripped off nearly 30% of the screen just weeks before digital was to be installed, but was repaired and continued to operate. The Joy- Lan screen is the largest digital screen in Pasco Co.
Today, the Joy-Lan continues to operate successfully, showing first-run movies. Our refreshment center is nostalgically decorated with photos of our staff and guests over the years.