4th Street Drive-In

West Helena, AR 72390

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4th Street Drive-In

The short-lived 4th Street Drive-In (or Drive-In Theatre as advertised) was operated by J.L. Anderson and was located one mile north of West Helena on Arkansas Route 242 (also known as North 4th Street).

It opened its gates on August 11, 1949 with Louis Hayward in “Walk A Crooked Mile” along with a cartoon, and closed on April 23, 1951 with Lloyd Bridges in “Rocketship X-M” along with a newsreel.

A newer drive-in would later open its doors less than a month later called the Airvue Drive-In(it has its own page on Cinema Treasures)

Contributed by 50sSNIPES

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Kenmore on August 26, 2023 at 7:35 pm

A 1957 aerial shows no trace of any drive-in along the highway to the north of the town. So, it not only lasted a short time, it was demolished and unrecognizable just 6 years later. This may have been a temporary drive-in which would explain why it left no trace.

One mile north of West Helena puts it roughly where North 4th Street intersects with AR-185, the road that leads to the airport. There is a property on the north side that looks roughed up as if cars had been parked on it. But that is not enough evidence to say that was it.

MichaelKilgore on August 27, 2023 at 9:19 pm

In a roundup of theater openings, the Sept. 17, 1949 issue of Boxoffice reported, under Memphis, Tenn., that the Fourth Street Drive-In, with a capacity of 300 cars, had been “opened by Ed Blair.” That was the same name that the magazine mentioned on Oct. 7, 1950 in a list of visitors to Memphis' Film Row.

MichaelKilgore on August 27, 2023 at 9:30 pm

First ad for the Fourth Street Drive-In Theatre, with no mention of a Grand Opening.First ad for the Fourth Street Drive-In Theatre, with no mention of a Grand Opening. 11 Aug 1949, Thu The Daily World (Helena, Arkansas) Newspapers.com

Here’s the ad that 50sSnipes probably found, the first I saw in the Daily World. The only previous mention I found in that newspaper was a front-page note on July 25, 1949, saying that the Fourth Street Drive-in Movie, Inc., could open August 1, weather permitting. It had incorporated by Sam Anderson, Ed Blair, Mrs. Irene Blair, and Mrs. Juanita Anderson.

Kenmore on August 27, 2023 at 9:59 pm

It’s unusual for a drive-in to be completely demolished with all traces removed unless something large is built on the property. Mostly because it’s not worth the effort. Ramps, entrance/exit roads, and the outline normally remain especially when only a few years have passed since its closing.

There is no large structure anywhere close to the area where the drive-in was located. So, that leaves a temporary drive in with no permanent structures. That’s my guess as to what this was unless an earlier aerial showing the drive-in can be produced.

Kenmore on August 27, 2023 at 10:21 pm

At 1103 N 4th, Lexa, AR, the 1957 aerial shows an open field behind two small commercial buildings. The field has parch marks that are sorta fanned-shaped. But more importantly there is a small structure in the middle that is about the right size and shape for a projection booth.

It’s still not good enough for me to say that this was where the drive-in was located. Mostly because I see no evidence of a screen or the support structure for one (assuming it wasn’t temporary).

So, this is just a guess.

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