Going north on Highway 63, travelers can catch a glimpse of what for many Americans has become only a memory — the flicker of films projected on a 10-by-30 foot screen just off the roadway.

B&B Moberly Drive-In Theatre has been offering the community a novel movie-going experience since 1954. “I think the Drive-In in particular represents a valuable ideal,” Paul Farnsworth, director of public relations for B&B Theatres, wrote in an email. “There is a tradition in that place, and folks go there to escape, to relax, and to make memories.”

Nostalgic for the time of red and white striped popcorn containers and puffy poodle skirts, Elmer Bills Jr and Sterling Bagby, the founders of the theatre chain, got the idea in 1997 to add a drive-in feature to their Moberly location.

Now customers can pull up, purchase tickets at a drive-thru style window, follow the signs into a small grass lot facing a large projector and enjoy a viewing experience complete with the site of stars and sounds of nature. Parking is first come first serve and viewers must tune into an FM radio station to pick up the film’s audio.

Missouri native Luke Cormier and their partner drove up from Columbia to see “Joker” at the B&B Drive-In last weekend. Cormier said they have wanted to return to a drive-in theatre since they saw their first movie, “Terminator 2,” in one as a kid over 10 years ago.

“I’ve wanted to go to the Moberly drive-in since I heard about it,” Cormier said “I live in Columbia now, but I think it is so cool we have one that’s pretty close to Columbia. Drive-ins are one of my earliest memories.”

The drive-in theatre is a uniquely American experience. Its practice began in 1933 with a car salesman, according to history.com. Richard Hollingshead of Whiz Auto Parts in Camden, New Jersey was reportedly inspired by his mother’s discomfort sitting in movie theatre seats to create the first drive-in theatre where patrons could watch their favorite film from the comfort of their automobiles. After testing the idea in his home garage Hollingshead found growing success, and the young entrepreneur patented the idea in 1933.

The B&B Theatre was founded by Elmer Bills in 1924, almost 10 years before the invention of the drive-in movie. Bills is a Missouri native and renovated his first theatre in Salisbury, introducing the community to the Bills Theatre. It wasn’t till much later another ‘B’ would be added to the name.

It was at the Bills Theatre that Elmer met his future wife, Johnnie. She played piano to accompany the silent films played at the time. Bills also met the future co-owner of B&B Theatres, Sterling Bagby, through his first theatre. Bagby was hired into the business as a concession clerk at age 10.

Bagby went on to fight in WWII and came back to start his own theatre company with his wife, Pauline, opening the Bagby Traveling Picture Show in Higbee. Meanwhile, Bills continued the expansion of Bills Theatre, hiring his son Elmer Bills Jr and Jr.’s wife Amy to help run things.

The popularity of drive-in movies spiked after WWII peaking at 5,000 outdoor theatres across the nation, according to history.com. The drive-in quickly became an icon of American culture throughout the ’50s and ’60s seen as a destination for both parents and their privacy-seeking kids.

The Bagby Traveling Picture Show began roaming rural Missouri with projector equipment, seats, snacks and films, screening movies in schools, parks and barns. Sterling and Pauline gained success with their traveling picture show, and the company evolved into a drive-in and indoor theatres circuit in Kansas.

The Bagby Traveling Picture Show and the Bills Theatre company cemented their decades of friendship Jan. 1, 1980 by joining their two families and theatre companies to create the B&B Theatres company. During this time, the families literally became one when Sterling and Pauline's son, Bob, married Bridget, the daughter of Elmer Jr. and Amy. Bob and Bridget run the business for their parents today, operating the sixth largest theatre company in the nation. Sterling Bagby passed away in October 2000.

Over the next 10 years, B&B Theatres purchased a small theatre circuit in Kansas City called Dickinson Theatres. The company has also renovated several of their theatres and added luxury additions such as a dine-in and multiplex theatres.

Moberly’s is one of only 500 remaining drive-in theatres today. B&B Theatres has not constructed another since 1997. Out of the company’s 419 screens, only two are drive-in theatres. The experience began to decline in popularity after the 1960s due to the rising price of real estate combined with a rise in video rentals, walk-in theatres and streaming services. The Moberly theatre is an important part of preserving a piece of American culture.

“They [the founders] were both on the same page and felt committed to bringing that American tradition back to life in Moberly,” Farnsworth wrote.

Four generations of the family have now worked for B&B Theatres. Bob and Bridget’s children — Bobbie, Brittanie and Brock Bagby — currently serve as the company’s executive vice presidential positions.

The theatre in Moberly also has an indoor option for the less nostalgic. But for those who like their movies in the fresh air, B&B Theatre offers the chance to savor a classic audience experience, just remember to bring blankets, popcorn and to tune in.