Crest Drive-In

204 Crest Drive,
Beatrice, NE 68310

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Hillcrest Drive-In

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Crest Drive-In

Opened as the Hillcrest Drive-In May 4, 1950 with Glenn Ford in “The Return of October” (aka “A Date with Destiny”). It was renamed the Crest Drive-In April 8, 1952. The drive-in had a capacity of 420 cars and was closed in 1986. It was demolished in May 1990.

Contributed by Chris1982

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Kenmore on August 20, 2015 at 7:51 pm

There does not appear to be any evidence of a drive-in located at HWY 77 and W. Hickory Road at least in the topo maps & aerial photos I’ve seen.

The only drive-in I’ve found in the town of Beatrice was on the east side at 1 N 26th. You can see it in the topo maps dating back to 1959 and an aerial photo from 1993 clearly shows its remains.

Is this the Crest Drive-In?

Today, there is no trace of the drive-in left and N 26th road runs into the middle of the property.

dallasmovietheaters on August 22, 2015 at 6:01 pm

The Hillcrest Drive-In celebrated its grand opening May 4, 1950 advertising at 2061 E. Court Street in Beatrice, Nebraska. Opening feature was “The Return of October.” Allspice and Anderson constructed the 62 feet by 55 feet wide tower. The ozone could accommodate 408 cars at its opening. The service driveway was built to handle 40 cars to prevent highway backups.

New management came in in 1952 in the form of Sol Frank and Ward Pennington and renamed the ozoner. Re-launching as the Crest Drive-In Theatre on April 8, 1952, the theater showed “Boots Malone.”

Kenmore on December 19, 2016 at 3:31 pm

JWMovies is not correct about the address.

Google Maps clearly shows the entrance road as “26th Street” not “25th”. You can see it on the Google Maps street view.

I can’t speak for the business that is selling the property, but the street sign at the intersection is quite clear. The property itself is a new subdivision with different lots up for sale.

Please change the address to 1 N. 26th St, Beatrice, NE as it accurately maps the address, matches the street sign, and is in the same location to the old entrance road of the drive-in.

jwmovies on February 20, 2019 at 3:10 am

OK time for clarification. This drive in was never on N 26th. That is the cross street. This theater was on Hwy 4 (Court St.) AT N 26th St. Google Maps is not showing an address number. Also N 26th St. ended at the highway. The road south of Court St. did not exist when this theater was open.

A more accurate location would Court Street and North 26th Street, Beatrice NE 68310.

Please update.

MichaelKilgore on October 1, 2019 at 1:03 pm

Boxoffice magazine, always chummy with Film Row denizens, ran the saga of Ward Pennington over several issues in early 1952. He was a manager for Paramount (or was that the Paramount Theatre?) in Denver, but bought the Crest and moved his family and effects to Beatrice. Sounds like it was culture shock even then.

Kris4077 on October 2, 2019 at 1:12 pm

For Google maps the best address is 204 Crest Drive it maps right to the former site. It is one of the building that is now located on the property of the site of the old Drive-In. Looks as though the street was named after the drive in theater. I’m not sure why Google maps labels it as North 26th St but when you click on all but 2 of the 4 buildings it list them as Crest Dr. This also matches up with Historic Aerials. I think the address above needs to be changed to coincide.

dallasmovietheaters on November 3, 2020 at 1:28 pm

The Crest Drive-In appears to have gone out of business in 1986 perhaps closing with “Thunder Row” and “The Hitcher.” It was heavily vandalized in January of 1989 and demolished in May of 1990 likely at the end of a 40-year leasing period.

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