Oklahoma Drive-ins

Oklahoma got a late start as a venue for outdoor theatres, in the
40's, whereas several of the American states were already hosting
one or more Drive-in theatres during the 1930's ..  but by the end of the
Second World War however, there were a couple of dozen Drive-ins open
in The Sooner State, and in the course of the next ten years, as if making-up
for lost time, Oklahoma would have four times that number .. nearly a hundred.

Since its heyday as one of the better Drive-in states, in Oklahoma as
elsewhere across the land, the majority of the Drive-ins have gone dark
or been demolished. Meanwhile in contrast to most other states, the rate
of decline was not as steep here as elsewhere. For example, twenty years
after its 1955 peak - in the mid 70's, Oklahoma was still hosting more than
70 Drive-in theatres.  At present, attrition has reached 91% -   8 remain open.

Here are the recent closings and all Oklahoma Drive-ins that remain
in operation for you to enjoy and which will appreciate your support:

    photo:  Wesley Horton
 Chickasha, Oklahoma

  • Chickasha (Grady County) Oklahoma
    Chief Drive-in:  405-224-1515
    located on Rural Route 2 (south of town)

    Open weekends only Fri-Sat-Sun screening double features.
    Admission: $5 adults; ages 12 and under admitted in free;
    Sunday nite is carload nite ($12/carload).

    photo:  Wesley Horton
 Guthrie, Oklahoma

  • Guthrie (Logan County) Oklahoma
    Beacon Drive-in:  405-282-4512
    located at 2404 South Division Street

    The Beacon opened-up in 1950 and has been operated
    continuously in central Oklahoma by the Powell family ..
    for half a century; handed down through three generations.
    Open 7 nites during peak season (Memorial Day - LaborDay);
    and on the weekends only September and October. Screening
    single features each nite; with traditional Drive-in speakers and
    a local vicinity FM radio broadcast for soundtracks.  Admission:
    $4 for each adult; free admission for children age 11 & under.
    You'll find them 15 minutes north of Edmond (exit 153 on I-35).

  • McAlester (Pittsburg County) Oklahoma
    Cinema 69 Drive-in Theatre: 918-423-6969
    located on the Highway 69 bypass

    During the heyday of the American Drive-in, there were
    several Drive-ins in McAlester and general vicinity. This
    was the last of them to be built (1973), and it was erected
    in conjunction with an indoor cinema on premises. Over
    the years since, the expansion of the indoor cinema to
    a quad, has encroached on the parking lot, cutting the
    capacity to where McAlester now qualifies as smallest
    of Oklahoma's remaining Drive-ins. Also, owing to the
    existence of a local curfew, double features are not as
    common as they once were, and most screenings here
    are now single features, while audio is FM (89.3) radio.
    ITEM: Cinema69 is the the only instance in America of
    an indoor and an outdoor cinema sharing the same
    projection room (they also share the same snackbar).
    Admission: $4 for adults; children under 12 who are
    with an adult will be admitted here at no charge.

  • Oklahoma City (Oklahoma County) Oklahoma
    Riviera Drive-in:   405-631-1600   CLOSED
    located at 8 S.E. 59th Street

    The Riviera had been open for the last season of the
    20th Century, but its screen blew down during the first
    winter of the new Millenium .. making it the first Drive-in
    fatality of the 21st Century. The Riviera did not reopen for
    Season 2K; there are no plans for its reopening at this time.

    photo:  Wesley Horton
 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

  • Oklahoma City (Oklahoma County) Oklahoma
    Winchester Drive-in:  405-631-8851
    located at 6930 S. Western Avenue

    This is the only Oklahoma Drive-in screening triple features
    on a regular basis. Their season runs from April - October;
    weekends only during spring and fall, and lit-up all 7 nites
    during peak summer season. Their gates open up at 7:30PM,
    a good thing, since it's advisable to get here early on wknds.
    Admission: $5 for each adult; $2 for kids aged 4 - 10 years.
    You'll find them within a ten minute drive of either the
    fastlane (I-40) .. or Memory Lane (Route 66); though we
    recomend Rte.66, which just works so well with that ol'
    neon cowboy presiding over the Winchester's entrance.

    photo:  Larry Naymik
 Ponca City, Oklahoma

  • Ponca City (Kay County) Oklahoma
    Airline Drive-in:   580-765-4000
    located at 1800 West Highland Avenue (@ Waverly)

    Situated in north-central Oklahoma a short spell from
    the Oklahoma/Kansas state line, the Airline Drive-in
    was named for its close proximity to the Ponca City
    Municipal Airport. Revived - after having been used
    for 12 years as a cattle feed lot, the Airline Drive-in
    has a capacity for up to 500 cars and screens double
    features every nite of the week during peak summer
    season, and on weekends during the spring and fall.
    Movie audio is provided via FM radio broadcasting.
    Admission:   $4.50 for adults; $3 for children.

  • Poteau (Le Flore County) Oklahoma
    Tower Drive-in:  918-647-3606
    located on Highway 271 North

    The same owners have a 3screen indoor cinema
    in addition to the single-screen Tower, which is lit
    with a single feature movie each of seven nites
    during their peak summer season; weekends only
    during spring and fall; audio provided by FM radio.
    Admission: $4 for adults (age12&up); $2 for kids 3-11.

  • Sapulpa (Tulsa County) Oklahoma
    Teepee Drive-in Theatre:   CLOSED
    located at 1705 West Highway 66 - near Tulsa

    The Teepee was pitched on the outskirts of Tulsa in 1950
    and had a series of different owners over the course of
    the last 50 years. It's current owners purchased it in
    '97 and did a nice job of restoring it, although after
    trying to make a go of it in '98 and '99, a lukewarm
    response to their revival had discouraged them from
    reopening it for Season 2K. Still, the possibility exists
    that they will reopen the Teepee however; and they've
    remained optimistic that a subsequent attempt to do so
    {given the current resurgence of interest in Drive-ins},
    might be better-supported by the community next time.

  • Tahlequah (Cherokee County) Oklahoma
    Tahlequah Drive-in:  918-456-4015
    located on Highway 82 (North of the city)

    Oklahoma's oldest remaining Drive-in has been in operation
    seasonally since 1949, can accomodate just over 200 cars and
    alternates between screening single and double features of
    current releases.   Admission: $4 per adult; $2 for children.

    photo:  Wesley Horton
 Tulsa, Oklahoma

  • Tulsa (Tulsa County) Oklahoma
    Admiral Twin Drive-in: 918-835-5181
    two screens; located at 7355 E. Easton (north of I-244)

    Oklahoma's largest Drive-in is a twin screen venue with a capacity
    for more than a thousand cars, which opened originally as a single
    screen in 1951 called The Modernaire. A second picture show and
    additional parking was added by new owners who had renamed it
    The Admiral. Their West screen has traditional speakers as well as
    a local vicinity radio broadcast for the movies' soundtrack, while
    their East screen has radio sound only; and they are screening
    double features East and West. Admission: $5.50 adults;
    free admission for kids under 11 years of age.

  • Weatherford (Custer County) Oklahoma
    66 Twin Drive-in:  580-774-2428
    located on Route 66

    Revived by the same owners who have Weatherford's
    Showest-3 indoor cinema, the 66 Twin Drive-in is one
    of Oklahoma's two recent revivals, and the only one
    of the two that remains in operation for Season 2K
    (the other, Sapulpa's Teepee closed again after '99).
    Lit-up 7 nites in peak season, they're screening double
    features on each of their twin "East" and "West" screens.
    Admission: $4.75 for each adult; $3 for students & seniors;
    and free admission for for children 5 years of age & under.

 Make use of this stamp:  
 send us a Letter about 
 the Drive-ins of Oklahoma!

If you are aware of any Drive-ins
that we seem to have missed, or
would like to contribute any
information to our efforts,
please use this envelope
to send a letter to us.

 The Guide to Drive-in Movie Theatres

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