Jolly Roger Drive-In

24745 Van Born Road,
Taylor, MI 48180

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Jolly Roger Drive-In

The Jolly Roger Drive-In opened September 15, 1954 with Burt Lancaster in “Apache” & Cameron Mitchell in “Gorilla at Large”. It had a pirate ship painting on the rear of its 122 feet wide screen.

There was a play area with ten rides, including a merry-go-round and a ferris wheel. Operated by Nicholas George Theatres Inc., it was closed in 1990. The drive-in had a capacity for 1,600 cars.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 3, 2005 at 4:52 pm

Posted from another site. The question was, where was the most unusual place you ever made love? When I read this response, I had to post it here! (I cleaned it up a little)

I would have to say in a car, at drive-in show. In the back of the lot, while we were in the front seat, a worker from the drive-in walked up to the speaker post to turn off the other speaker that was not being used. I can say he had a surprised look on his face. I think he was expecting to to see some chick with a guy but instead saw two dudes. This was about 1977 at the Jolly Roger Drive In – Taylor MI – near Detroit. Butch

dallasmovietheaters on August 26, 2015 at 5:39 pm

Correct date of opening was September 15, 1954 as the Jolly Roger adorned the giant curved screen that featured a 60 foot rocking pirate ship on its tower. Nick George claimed to have installed the first three-channel stereophonic sound north of the Mason-Dixon line using speakers that were invented and used in Texas drive-ins. The innovative theater would also opt for a distinctive gas-fired central heating system to keep patrons warm in the winter months. The theater lasted 36 years and is still greatly missed.

rivest266 on November 7, 2015 at 5:39 pm

dallasmovietheaters, you were right about the opening date. Grand opening ad in photo section.

MichaelKilgore on November 15, 2019 at 2:37 am

Billboard, Sept. 11, 1954: “The new Jolly Roger Drive-In at Detroit has been scheduled for opening tentatively over the Labor; Day weekend by circuit owner Nicholas George. The Jolly Roger is said to be the first to introduce the highly ornamental-type screen, tower, common in the South, into this part of the country, and is said to have the first true Stereophonic sound equipment in a drive-in ‘within 1,600 miles,’ using three-cone speakers in each car.”

davidcoppock on November 15, 2019 at 5:08 am

Opened with “Apache” and “Gorilla at large”.

davidcoppock on November 15, 2019 at 7:05 am

The driveway that goes across the ramps leads to a carpark for the school(Quest Chester Academy) behind the ramps.

MichaelKilgore on November 15, 2019 at 10:07 pm

More details on “the largest curved screen tower in the world” in the Oct. 2, 1954 Billboard: “A moving pirate ship, 60 feet long, rocks on the waves on the screen tower, and the theme of the theater name is carried out in the ‘galley’ (concession booth).”

GRC on December 27, 2022 at 6:03 am

It is curious: the three-way speakers were unusual when they opened, but if you look at the photo of the man adjusting the revolutionary hot-air heater system, notice that the speakers some 7 years later are standard speakers found in any drive-in at the time. The heater system was an expensive flop. Probably, the thought was air-conditioning could be added in the future, but about a year later, the theater was advertising “electric in-car heaters”, meaning they abandoned this hot-air method as impractical.

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