see: Laurel, Montana
- Butte (Silver Bow County) Montana
Silver Bow Twin Drive-in: 406-782-8095
located off of I-15 @ Silver Bow Exit
(on Silver Bow Blvd., 10 mins sw of Butte)
Montana's first outdoor twin-screen picture show
came late to the party .. opening nearly 2 decades
after the peak of America's Drive-in boom, in 1977
(then adding their second screen three years after).
But in another context, it's a reincarnation story:
this Drive-in had lived previously, at Deer Lodge,
as a solo screen that opened in 1950, moving on
just ahead of I-90. The current concessions stand
projection building for example, was picked-up &
moved here from the original Deer Lodge location.
Movie audio is now provided by radio broadcast,
with some classic pole speakers for the nostalgic.
They are open seasonally, May thru September, on
weekends at first, then 7 nites during peak season.
Admission: $4 for adults; $2 for children.
- Columbia Falls (Flathead County) Montana
Midway Drive-in: 406-752-7800
located 5 miles west of town,
off Route 2, at 3115 Highway 40 West
Situated about midway between Columbia Falls and
White Fish, MT (not more than 20 minutes from either 1),
this solo screen Drive-in has a capacity for up to 230 cars.
The midway operates seasonally, May thru September, on
weekends only early and late in the season; and then 7 nites
during the peak summer months, screening double-features.
Movie audio is provided via radio (101.1 FM) broadcasting.
Admission: $12 per carload (covers up to six passengers).
- Kalispell, Montana
see: Columbia Falls
- Laurel (Yellowstone County) Montana
Amusement Park Drive-in Theatre: 406-245-3212
located at 7335 Mossmain Lane, next to Horse Palace;
East Laurel exit off of I-90 @ 72nd Street
(SouthCentral Montana, within 15 minutes of Billings)
Think we'll file this new entry under: 'Life After Death'..
being not merely a milepost in our ongoing chronicle
of the Drive-in renaissance sweeping America, but
a tale with a happier ending than the tragi-typical
'now a Wal-Mart!' etc .. in this case, the demise of
a Wyoming Drive-in, the Cookes (in Frannie, WY —
near Cody), gave rise to the realization of a dream
to restore the Drive-in experience to the vicinity of
Billings, Montana, which once had four Drive-ins.
And it had taken an ambitious husband-wife team
nearly two years to realize that dream, and now
both the nostalgic and the uninitiated will once
again be able to enjoy their movies al fresco, on
the BIG screen. The Amusement Park Drive-in is
lighting an 82' wide screen with a double feature
every nite this summer (wknds only for Sept-Oct).
They have a capacity for just over 300 cars in front
of this screen, with plans to add a 2nd screen for
next season. The 'Park' is not only new, it's also
different, with innovations reminiscent of Drive-ins
back during their 1950's heyday, including a mini-
ferris wheel for the kids, and what has to be the
most unusual projection 'booth' of any Drive-in; but
we'll leave you to see that for yourself! Movie audio
is provided direct to your car (or boombox) with radio
(88.5 FM) broadcasting. Admission: $6 for ages 16 &UP;
$4 for ages 8-15 and seniors; ages 7 and under are free.
Thursday nites are discounted: $10 per car Carload Nite.
- Lewistown (Fergus County) Montana
Westernaire Drive-in: 406-538-9509
located on Highway 87, 2 miles west of town
Situated 2 hours east of Great Falls, and a 2½ hour
drive from Billings .. outside a small farming town,
this is Montana's oldest operating Drive-in theatre,
built in 1944. The current owner acquired it back in
1960, greatly improved on the original facilities and
expanded their parking lot to accomodate 190 cars.
The Westernaire is also the only Montana Drive-in
that in addition to providing movie audio with FM
radio brodcasting, also maintains 3 rows of classic
pole speakers for the nostalgic-minded amongst us.
The snack bar is an attraction— loyal Westernaires
always rave about their grilled cheese sandwiches.
In recent years, the Drive-in has been operating on
weekends only - Fri/Sat/Sun, May thru September, but
they're considering going to 5 nites during peak-season.
Admission: $6 for ages 12 &up; $3.50 for ages 4-11.
- Libby (Lincoln County) Montana
Libby Drive-in: 406-293-2703
located on Highway 2
1286 U.S. Hwy 2 (¼mi west of town)
In operation here since July 8th, 1954, the Libby's
rural 60' wide screen — situated 52 miles east of the
Idaho state line, has a parking capacity for 220 cars,
a gorgeous backdrop, and the traditional playground.
Open seasonally, Memorial Day wknd thru Labor Day).
Audio for movie soundtracks is provided via FM radio.
Admission: $6 adults; $4 for seniors; $4 for ages 5-12.
Wednesday nite is Carload Nite - $10 per car covers all.
photo: Wesley Horton
- Missoula (Missoula County) Montana
Go West Drive-in: DARK
located on Highway 10 West
This is the most recent closing of a Montana Drive-in. Up until
the Go West went dark (2000), it was the largest of Montana's
operating Drive-in theatres, with a capacity for over 600 cars.
The outdoor picture show had operated here for four decades,
overseen each season by Robert Silas, who passed away in 1999.
And now, the nearest operating Montana Drive-in for Missoula
denizens and areans is: the Silver Bow, just outside of Butte.
- Plentywood (Sheridan County) Montana
Sunset Drive-in: 406-765-1233
located at 414 East Boundway (1mi east of Town)
This solo screen is providing the only Drive-in picture show
for northeastern Montana, and though it's been passed-down
through a few different owners over the years, it has remained
lit each season since 1952. Sheridan County's only outdoor
cinema is tucked way up in the northeastern corner of the
state, 18 miles from the Canadian border (Saskatchewan).
The Sunset has a capacity for up to 160 cars and operates
seasonally, from May (opens Memorial Day weekend) thru
September, with movie audio via radio broadcast (90.1 FM).
- Terry (Prairie County) Montana
Prairie Drive-in: FOR SALE
located on Brockway Road, east of town (off I-94)
This old solo screen (1955) with a scenic backdrop is Montana's
smallest functional Drive-in, with parking for up to 100 cars on
a true-to-it's-name prarie surface. Until recently (open in 2004),
it had been open seasonally, May thru September, with radio
broadcasting of the movie audio (88.9 FM). The most recent
admission prices were: Adults (ages 18&up) $5; discounted
admission for students (aged 12-18) and seniors- 65 &up: $4;
children (ages 3-11): $3, and under 3: free. Though the screen
is 'dark' at the moment, there is light on the Prarie's horizon ..
the present owner is offering to sell the Drive-in, providing it
remains in operation as a Drive-in. Given the condition of the
property, intact equipment, and the fact that it was operating
just last season, the possibility exists that it might be sold in
time for the Prarie screen to be lit again during Season 2005.