North Star Drive-In

Highway 2,
Shelby, MT 59474

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North Star Drive-In

The North Star Drive-In was listed as open in 1956. The theatre parked 250 cars and was still listed as open in the late-1970’s.

Contributed by Chris1982

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

MichaelKilgore on December 1, 2019 at 2:15 pm

If this note is accurate, the North Star was built by HMK Corp. in 1954. Boxoffice, July 15, 1974: “Interstate Amusement, based in Twin Falls, Ida., and owned by Roy Roper, has leased the Roxy Theater and North Star Drive-In here (in Shelby MT), along with the State Theatre and Derrick Drive-In at Cut Bank, Mont., and the Orpheum Theatre and Star Drive-In at Conrad, Mont. … HMK Corp. constructed the area’s first drive-in about 1950 between Cut Bank and Shelby. It was closed in 1954, when the corporation built drive-ins in Shelby and Cut Bank. The ozoner at Conrad was purchased in 1956.”

MichaelKilgore on March 27, 2022 at 1:33 pm

In the 1955-56 Theatre Catalog, the only drive-in listed under Shelby was the Prairie, Exec: Tom Grady, capacity 210. The 1956 Motion Picture Almanac’s only Shelby entry was also the Prairie, 250 cars, owners Orpheum Thea. Corp.; Theo Kluth.

The 1958 MPA added the North Star next to the Prairie. The newer drive-in had a 300-car capacity and was owned by Orpheum Theatre Co. However, the circuit listing for Orpheum showed only the North Star in Shelby, plus the indoor Roxy, so it’s possible that Orpheum renamed the Prairie the North Star.

In 1977, when the MPA rebooted its drive-in list, there was only the North Star, capacity 250, owned by R. Roper. The owner changed to Interstate Amu. in the 1980 MPA, and that’s how it stayed through the final drive-in list in 1988.

MichaelKilgore on March 27, 2022 at 2:20 pm

As its name suggested, the North Star was north of town on the west side of US 91, now Business I-15, where the Lewis & Clark RV Park is today at 1535 Oilfield Ave.

No drive-in was there in a 1953 USGS photo of the area, but it was there in a 1975 photo I uploaded. A 1984 aerial photo showed the screen down and much of the viewing field torn up, so once again, the Motion Picture Almanac was slow to recognize the demise of a drive-in.

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