Bridge Drive-In

102 Newtown Road,
Groton, CT 06340

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Previously operated by: Brandt Theaters

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Located on Highway 1 at Route 117, southeast on the coast across from New London. The Bridge Drive-In was opened in 1954, when it was operated by Ed O'Neill. After it was torn down, a public library was put on its site. There are remnants of an old playground onsite.

Contributed by Dave Bonan

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

JayAllenSanford on July 27, 2010 at 4:10 pm

The Bridge entrance was across from a residential street called Indian Field Road, which ran along the back of an elementary school. When the Bridge started showing sexploitation movies in the seventies (Russ Meyer, etc), neighbors complained about young kids sneaking in – the DI closed shortly after that. The other drive-in in Groton, the Groton DI, went to hardcore X films in the late 70s, but its remote locale – across from a Railroad Salvage – seemed to render it fairly immune to civic outrage.

NYozoner on February 13, 2011 at 11:50 pm

Fort Hill Rd & Newtown Rd, Groton, CT 06340

The above address will map accurately to the location of the drive-in.

Here is a 1957 aerial photo of the drive-in, courtesy of Earth Explorer and USGS.

jwmovies on September 12, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Approx. address for this drive-in was 102 Newtown Road. It is now the Groton Senior Citizen Center.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on August 28, 2016 at 6:44 pm

The correct address is:

102 Newtown Rd
Groton, CT 06340

davidcoppock on August 31, 2016 at 12:11 am

“Where’s the bridge?”

Tom06355 on July 21, 2017 at 1:42 pm

Poquonnock Bridge is a part of the Town Of Groton. I grew up across the street and used to listen for the car horns. This happened often as they wouldn’t hire IATSE projectionists but instead they would hire inexperienced projectionists even in its day. It was managed by the McNaughton family. This was a beautiful Drive In with a v shaped fence that enclosed a beautiful garden that kept people from siloetting on the screen. There were Disney characters attached to the pickets. The snack bar was well kept n the day, and it had a great playground right below and in front of the screen. I loved the merry go round that was really just a spinning disk. Multi colored. I worked the booth myself a few times as I was sent by our business agent when they finally hired IATSE for its operators. The booth was in terrible shape by the time I got to work there. No x rated films that I remember, but I wasn’t the regular operator. It had RCA Brenkert projection and sound heads and RCA lamp houses. I had never seen RCA lamps before, but they resembled Peerless. They were really beat up. Sad ending to such a beautiful Drive In. By the way the address confusion might be due to the fact that the entrance seemed to constantly move. Where route 117 now is located was the original entrance. There was no 117 back then. Later the entrance weaved between the drug store and Sully’s Tavern which were on route one. Then they built 117 and the entrance was moved toward the back of the theater Right through what is now the Senior Citizen Center. There was a small sign that lit up and moved with the entrance. On the side facing route 1 there was a changeable marquee. By the way, they had the first in car heaters in our area. They were gas heaters, and they had a bernzomatic tank attached. The tank hung outside the window and the heating unit hung inside. One more thing I’m going to add. One night I was assigned The Bridge for a Friday night. I was busy doing my job when someone came into the booth to tell me I had a phone call. Pre-cell days. I would have to finish my change over and run all the way to the box office. II said hello and on the other end was Bruno Weingarten the owner of Norwich New London. He had a very distinctive accent. “ Where are you?” “Hi Bruno, Larry has me working the Bridge Drive In tonight.” Bruno says, “That is not a Drive In. This is a Drive In.” “ I know. I will be back tomorrow night.” “I certainly hope so, Bruno Replied. "I don’t want you anywhere but here.” “Yes sir.” Then I ran like there was a wind behind me, finished threading and made the change over in time. Tom Beebe

Jennybees24 on May 11, 2018 at 3:57 am

This theatre, was actually ran by the McNeely family not the McNoughtin family. It was ran by my father Alan McNeely, and his two friends. The snack stand and gardens were kept up by my grand parents. My father was the owner and manager. Around 1972sh they turned to X rated films because at that time VCRs were starting to come into more and more homes and people were less interested in going to drive in movies. X rated films were the only way my dad and his two friends figured they could keep their theatre open and up and running. Sadly around 1982sh/3sh even those films didn’t last and they eventually had to close. My father also was the owner of the Waterford drive in theatre in the 70s and 80s and the Norwich drove in theatre. They ran u see a name called the shoreline theatre. I grew up hearing the stores of these theaters from my dad, considereding this was before I was born. :) hope you enjoy.

MichaelKilgore on November 14, 2019 at 5:46 pm

Billboard, Sept. 4, 1954: “Associated Management Corporation has opened Connecticut’s newest outdoor project, the 850-car, $125,000 Bridge Drive-In Theater at Groton. Ed O'Neill, formerly general manager of the Markoff Bros.‘ Theaters, is serving as general manager of the venture.”

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