E.M. Loew's Providence Drive-In
611 Pawtucket Avenue,
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Previously operated by: E.M. Loew's Theaters Inc.
Previous Names: E.M. Loew's Drive-In
Built on the site of the old Cycledome, E.M. Loew’s Drive-In was opened on July 21, 1937 with a capacity for 700 cars. This drive-in theatre was located off N. Main Street on the Providence/Pawtucket city line, with an entrance near the former Sears Roebuck store. It was closed in 1977 and was demolished in 1989. Interstate 95 was built close to it and may have even overtaken some of that property. One 1951-52 directory lists its capacity as 500 cars.
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From Boxoffice Magazine, December 2, 1950:
“Whoever directs the policy for E.M. Loew’s open airers must be something of a weather prophet. Amost simultaneously with the closing of E.M. Loew’s Drive-In at the Providence-Pawtucket City line, winter weather hit this vicinity with the thermometer dropping to the middle twenties. All other nearby ozoners were still operating, despite the frigid weather, when Thanksgiving had come and gone.”
[Note: an “ozoner” is trade talk for any drive-in theatre.]
From Boxoffice magazine, August 21, 1954:
“E.M. Loew’s Drive-In was the site of the New England premiere of "Three Forbidden Stories."
[This Italian film was being marketed for its frank depiction of sexual woes. It also played serious art houses in New York and elsewhere.]
E.M. LOEWS and LOEWS THEATRES were not the same company.
Elias M. Loew 1898-1984 from Austria once owned 70 theatres and 17 drive-ins.He also owned the Bay State Raceway and a chain of hotels and motels, One being the Gulfstream Drive-in,which had a motel built on both sides of the screen of the drive,it has its own page on C.T.
This drive-in was open well into the 1970s, if it is the same one I am thinking of. It was on the Providence-Pawtucket line and alongside Route 95. My father used to take a carload of us to the drive-in between July 1973 through 1973 and I remember going here many times during that era. It must have closed in the 1970s, sometime after 1972.
I was in R.I. last weekend and was researching some of the films that I caught at the drive-in back then and going through Projo I saw ads for this drive-in in 1971.
An article on the history of the location appears in The Providence Journal, August 12, 2012. It includes images of the Cycledrome that had been located there as well as a 1940 image of the drive-in’s entrance. Article with images.
Above is now incorrect. Approx. address for this drive-in was at what is now 611 Pawtucket Avenue in Pawtucket, RI 02860. The entrance is Ann Mary St. You can tell from the photo there’s a hill at the entrance. Powell St. runs through where the theatre stood. The screen was behind where Chili’s sits now.
This drive-in was definitely still there well into the 70s. I saw Jaws there in 1976.
Built on the site of an old velodrome(cycledrome). 700 cars. Closed in 1977. Demolished in 1989. Site is now a shopping centre(Dollor Tree).
WJAR, Providence, had a flashback segment last October showing that the drive-in suffered an extensive fire on Oct. 8, 1978.