Cinema Park Drive-In

800 E. Missouri Avenue,
Phoenix, AZ 85014

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Plitt Theatres

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Cinema Park Drive-In

The Cinema Park Drive-In was opened April 22, 1949 with Jeanne Crain in “A Letter to Three Wives” & Randolph Scott in “The Walking Hills”. Car capacity was listed at 880. It was said to be the first air-cooled drive-in in the United States, making use of five helicopter blades to propel 500,000 cubic feet of water-impregnated air over the 10 acre site. The misty, circulated air did the cooling job. Using the same equipment as that used in citrus groves to combat frost, the air conditioned theatre was a success with patrons. It was operated by Plitt Theatres when it closed in the mid-1970’s.

The drive-in was demolished and a strip shopping center and apartment complex is now where the theatre once stood.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

rivest266 on January 3, 2011 at 10:09 pm

1970 (and other years) aerial photos at
View link
You must have SilverLight installed.

Siggy on January 28, 2014 at 1:45 pm

They had consession stand in back corner on 7th St to serve cars waiting in line to enter the theater.

rivest266 on November 14, 2015 at 1:48 pm

April 22nd, 1949 grand opening ad in photo section.

fearlessphil on October 13, 2017 at 12:03 pm

I got my first job at age 9 working there, cleaning the place for 75 cents an hour. In high school friends Kirk, Doug and I worked security there. Next door was a farm and a kid that lived there had a side view of the screen. They pulled speaker cable over so they could sit in lawn chairs and watch every night if they wanted to. Climbed that huge screen once. Lots of memories!

MichaelKilgore on September 18, 2019 at 6:42 am

Boxoffice, Feb. 5, 1949: “The drive-in now under construction by Fred Crockett (in Phoenix) was expected to have an opening March 1. To be known as the Cinema Park when completed, the open-airer is being built on a 12-acre tract at a cost of $200,000. It will be the largest drive-in in the state, with a capacity of approximately 1,000 cars.”

MichaelKilgore on January 14, 2020 at 7:26 am

Boxoffice, Oct. 3, 1953: “the Cinema Park Drive-In … Arizona’s largest ozoner was bought by Ted Karatz of Minneapolis, whose son Stanley will manage the showcase.”

Boxoffice, Aug. 11, 1956: “Pacific Drive-In Theatres of California has purchased an interest in the Cinema Park Drive-In at 5500 North Seventh St. from Ted Karatz, who remains as stockholder in the operation.”

MichaelKilgore on October 9, 2021 at 6:59 pm

Motion Picture Herald, July 5, 1952: “The Cinema Park drive-in, Phoenix, is the subject of an article in the July issue of Holiday magazine, in which this ozoner is names as one of the most best (?) open air theatres in the U.S.”

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