Pontiac Drive-In

2435 Dixie Highway,
Pontiac, MI 48328

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Pontiac Drive-In

The Pontiac Drive-In opened in May 1950 with Guy Madison in “Massacre River” & Leo Gorcey in “Blond Dynamite”. It had a 794 car capacity. It was operated by Elton Samuels and William Clark of Clark Theatre Services, Detroit. By 1952 it was operated by Mutual Theatres, Detroit. In the 1970’s, capacity was 1,200 cars. The drive-in closed in 1990 and was demolished after a series of fires.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

MichaelKilgore on April 19, 2020 at 9:12 pm

The 1949 Film Daily Year Book was the first edition to include a Pontiac MI drive-in, and it had two – the Blue Sky and the Starlite. Both remained through at least 1951. We know the Blue Sky was really in Auburn Hills.

The Starlite, capacity 300, was also included in the first Theatre Catalog drive-in list in the 1948-49 edition. Its address was Williams Lake and Airport Rds, and sure enough, a 1951 aerial photo shows a drive-in at that intersection. Aerials through 1973 showed that location intact, and the 1999 aerial still showed the ramps. Topo maps for 1971-84 also showed that drive-in.

As I type, Bryan Krefft’s description of the Blue Sky, which was actually in Auburn Hills, says, “The Blue Sky Drive-In opened in 1948, around the same time as two other drive-ins, the Walled Lake … and the Pontiac Drive-In.”

From its location, the Starlite, actually in Waterford Township, must have become the Waterford Drive-In. Were folks also calling it the Pontiac? And if not…

I just uploaded a photo from the June 19, 1948 issue of Boxoffice, which published a note about the “new changeable program sign recently installed in the Pontiac, Mich., drive-in.” Which drive-in was that?

MichaelKilgore on April 19, 2020 at 9:23 pm

Also, an entry in a construction roundup in the March 18, 1950 Boxoffice said, “Pontiac, Mich. – Construction of 750-car drive-in on Dixie highway begun by Elton L. and Marjorie Samuels. To open in May.”

graymatters on July 15, 2022 at 11:26 am

Michael, I’m researching my grandfather’s (Johnson Construction Company’s) early 1950’s Michigan drive-in jobs. My uncle listed a “Dixie” drive-in that Al Johnson built in “Waterford,” and I’m wondering if this is the one he referred to. Unfortunately, Al left no Kodachrome slides behind of this job. Online views of the screen tower closely resemble the towers that Al’s men built on several of his other drive-in jobs.

If you still have access to the 1950 Boxoffice article, I’d be curious to learn more about what it might say - if anything - about the builder of the Pontiac Drive-in.

Feel free to email me with any info:
-Andy Gray

rivest266 on June 4, 2024 at 9:08 am

Opened July 1st, 1950. Grand opening ad posted.

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