I-80 Outdoor Theatre
19100 Oak Park Avenue,
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Previously operated by: Essaness Theaters Corp.
Functions: Swap Meet
This drive-in, which was built for the Essaness chain, opened May 28, 1971 with a single, large screen. It originally had parking for about 1,200 cars and was located, as its name implies, off Interstate 80 at Harlem Avenue. It closed in 1987.
One of the reasons for this drive-in’s closing was its proximity to the World Music Center outdoor concert venue (today known as the Tweeter Center). The nearby night-time concerts would often be as loud or louder as the sound of the movies being shown.
Today all that remains of the theater is the concession stand; the screen tower and projection booth have been demolished. A flea market operates on the site, as it has for many years now, and a car dealership has also acquired a portion of the former drive-in property.
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