Chapter 52: Sex in the South: Part 2- The Queen of the South

Like fashion, new movies, ethnic food and just about everything else, the Sexual Revolution came late to Danville, Virginia.

However, given the sexually repressive atmosphere, it should be no surprise it led the way in one area:  Outdoor Porn Drive In Theaters.

The South Drive In Theatre was just over the North Carolina line just a few feet outside of Danville.

Just past a row of Hot Sheet Hotels.

Right on Highway 29 South.

Every time we went on a trip with my Mother at night, she would scream: “Don’t look over there!” as we drove past- in case we might catch a glimpse of something…

Of course, since it was supposedly so evil and forbidden, we were all fascinated by the place.

One of our major pastimes in High School was plotting ways to sneak in…

Some of my braver friends would get someone who was 18 years old to drive in while they got in the trunk of the car until they were inside.  Being claustrophobic, this was not an option for me.

There was also a way to sneak in through the woods.  You had to park on the side of Highway 29-practically in a ditch- and climb up a steep embankment and take a trail through the woods.  Then you could sit on the embankment above the theatre and watch the films.

This was not an easy journey wearing leather soled Bass Weejuns and carrying a cocktail.  I think we even took lounge chairs once…

Once we found this trail, we frequently dropped in over the weekends and took others to see the flicks.  With our guidance, several SBV and JSJ SubDebs made the journey.

Of course, we quickly got bored with the movies.  It was the adventure and seeing something forbidden that was fun.  For most of us, it was our introduction to sex.  Not having it, but watching it.  We still weren’t that brave….

But we wanted everyone to think we were- or were at least think we were much more decadent than we really were.  We worked very hard to appear worldly as only 17 year olds can…

Of course, we were quite pleased to find we actually fooled some of the people at our High School.  When we heard one of our more uptight peers had said our group was disgusting, amoral and probably all spent the weekends having group sex, we were just thrilled…

We could get away with all this because we were all very smart and ran so may of the extra-curricular activities at the High School.  And the some of the key teachers/advisors, who only saw us during school hours, loved us and/or thought we were gracious Southern Ladies and Gentlemen.  We weren’t stupid enough to cross them.  We had blackmail material on several others…

Image was everything in High School.  Being Southern, we knew how to play different roles in different places.  That is now a lost art….

One of our friends took it upon herself to push the reputational envelop even further.  She insisted on wearing a home-made crown around school one day that said “Queen of the South”.  She quite enjoyed explaining the meaning to our French teacher.

In later years, at a party one night, this girl threatened to make all the boys sign up with their, uh, measurements on a chalk board and measure with her six-inch ruler at midnight.  She said she was sure that would be more than sufficient…


Our Senior Year in High School we had a major break through.  One of the guys in our group got a job working at the Snack Bar at the South Drive In.  Of course, he told his parents he was working as a bag boy at Bestway and they never knew any better…

With this new entrée, we could have even more fun at the South.  It became a weekend destination and a means to terrorize people.

One of our favorite past times was to page local ministers, business or civic leaders, teachers, members of the THE SubDebs and anyone who had pissed us off that week over the loud-speaker system during the films.  Remember, there were no cell phones then, so you had to use the loud-speaker system for “emergency” calls….

A few times someone we paged actually sheepishly came into the Snack Bar thinking it was real.  And a lot of people seemed to hear that they had been paged at the South from their friends who were there….The place was always packed.

We also would sometimes recognize cars and go over to knock on the door and to try to chat over our cocktails.  This really annoyed some people, but we were bored with the movies by this point and it was just another social occasion to us….

The fact that everyone knew we went there and we were putting one over on our parents by going somewhere forbidden was much more important.

During the summers home from College, we went a few more times, but it wasn’t the same.  Most of us probably weren’t any more sexually active or aware, but we were free to start our own journeys.  We were finding out things on our own in the bigger world outside Danville.

We were realizing that what was deadly important in Danville didn’t mean a damn thing to anyone outside of that little town…The Danville games we played at The South- and in Danville in general- just weren’t fun anymore.

We left The South to the younger folks behind us…

But I must say, we were all more than a little sad when it closed and they tore it down.  I think there is some sort of antique or furniture place there now…

The lonely marquee still stood for some years on the side of Highway 29 after The South itself was gone.

It always made me feel nostalgic for a time when we were so young, so innocent and trying so hard not to let anyone know…

And we had a lot of good, clean fun there!

No matter how hard we tried to hide that fact and make it appear otherwise…

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4 Responses to Chapter 52: Sex in the South: Part 2- The Queen of the South

  1. Aunt Lily says:

    Everytime I ever went (just to see my friends) there was the same guy who wore a long Tee shirt and no pants!!!

  2. Van says:

    This was really entertaining! I DO remember hiking the trail and watching from the woods! Again…something I had not thought about since college! I bet I know who wore “Queen of the South,” but that is something I do NOT remember! Keep on writing as I have forgotten so many of the “fun” things we used to do!

  3. gail says:

    The funny thing is this: I couldn’t possibly tell you what ever happened in those movies. We just weren’t interested in the movies. It was more about the beer and the paging of people from the snack bar.

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