Sutton Motor-In

110 Worcester Providence Turnpike,
Sutton, MA 01590

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50sSNIPES on December 28, 2022 at 8:45 pm

The Sutton Motor-In closed for the final time on August 4, 1996 due to nonpayment of a $2,692 bill for police details.

Kenmore on December 28, 2022 at 6:03 pm

The screen was still standing as of July 2021, but by September of 2022 it was gone.

Dave Lounder THE DRIVE-IN THEATRE PRESERVATION SOCIETY on December 28, 2022 at 3:48 pm

Dan - Arson. Grass fire caught screen tower. The intense heat crumpled the inner, pre-scope screen structure. Also, fairly recently, the A-frame box office (not original) blew over in a wind storm. - Dave Lounder (Last operator, 1996)

dansdriveintheater on December 28, 2022 at 2:13 pm

Google maps aerials show the screen as gone! It was either torn down or what I believed happened fell down everything else is still there though.please update

naperson01 on December 28, 2021 at 6:29 am

12 minute video, published October 24, 2021, on the ‘Jason Allard’ channel documenting it’s history and current condition. Dave Lounder (commenter above and former operator) assisted in the research.

KenLayton on May 24, 2020 at 11:11 pm

With the coronavirus these days, it would make sense to open this theater again.

dansdriveintheater on November 17, 2018 at 4:23 pm

well drive-in theater preservation society i hate that the sutton police wouldn’t allow the state police to direct traffic for free. ti’s rude and correct me if i’m wrong but isn’t that illegal. state police officers have more power than municipal police officers. also the raising of the price due to retail interest was a bunch of crap. they were doing that so it wouldn’t reopen.

neenwatson on November 25, 2015 at 6:16 pm

I took my daughter here yesterday and it really broke our hearts to see the condition it was in. One quick question….what is the story behind the dam/waterfall in the woods behind the screen? I couldn’t find any info online. Aside from that the place is trashed. So sad the town did this to such an amazing place. I got a TON of great pics regardless. Just wish the town would stop being d-bags and let it open. Real potential and great place to keep kids out of trouble!

Wcastillo0707 on September 12, 2014 at 6:06 pm

I would like to contact someone about buying this property My email address is . If anyone can contact me I will give you my contact info

Trousercowboy on February 24, 2011 at 2:33 pm

My previous link no longer works. For pics from July 2008 see here:

View link

Dave Lounder THE DRIVE-IN THEATRE PRESERVATION SOCIETY on January 30, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Hey Phantom Screen, Yes, Mr. Coan and I were the two who tried to get the gate opened again in 2000. The asking price for the land was $400,000 in ‘96, but was raised because of some retail “interest” in the area. The third partner in '96 was Don Brown, who re-opened the “Diamond State Drive-In” in DE and operated it until the original owner passed and her heirs decided to sell the land in 2008. He evidently went on to purchase the “Dream Drive-In” in WV (I think), but then couldn’t open because of an archaeic law re. african-americans, or something along those lines. I’ve read that since then, he’s been involved in a NY Drive-In somewhere. The three of us had looked at the “Airport Drive-In” in NY (HUGE theatre) but it is four hours from my house, and during negotiations, the theatre’s power room in the basement completely flooded, and the landlord wanted nothing to do with repairing the situation so we backed-out. After 2000, Coan and I attempted to purchase the “Danielson-Putnam Drive-In” in CT (my down payment for Sutton + Coan’s was put down as a deposit). After careful reconsideration (the place required MAJOR renovations, it was almost completely in a flood plain, the state required re-timing of street signal lights, etc.), I decided to withdraw. Unfortunately, Coan “decided” NOT to give me my money back! We had been best buddies … I was forced to sue him (which I easily won), and haven’t spoken to him since. Brown doesn’t like me, probably because he had “used” Coan back in '96, and I didn’t like it. Oh well … life goes on! Oh yeah, as a sidelight, Coan and I had also attempted the re-opening of the decrepit “Hartford Drive-In” in CT. The late builder’s daughter’s attorneys demanded something like an upfront $75,000 cash for a four-month season (why just four months? who knows!), and required us to carry a million dollar insurance policy, so we gave it up. Oh well … life goes on …

MrDJDude on January 28, 2011 at 10:53 am

In regards to Drive-In Dave’s story above, that’s the one I remember being posted at, albeit with some details filled in. I think the name of the gentleman who posted it was Steve Coan; said he was involved in the last attempt to revive it. Unfortunately, has been in a state of flux for several years, and some information remains inaccessible.

Dave, does that name ring any bells for you?

And as far as the asking price, I checked again, and at least as far as the brochure on the broker’s(Kelleher & Sadowsky) goes, it’s still a cool $1,250,000. Good luck getting that for it.

It really is a shame, too. The lot is still in decent shape, and all the structures are still there, as well as all the equipment, projectors included(condition not withstanding). But between the town and the 14-screen theater 10 minutes up Route 146, I can’t see it ever opening again.

Dave Lounder THE DRIVE-IN THEATRE PRESERVATION SOCIETY on January 27, 2011 at 11:09 pm

I was one of the three partners who revived the shuttered, decaying Motor-In in 1996. Unfortunately, the town demanded a police detail. My two partners refused to pay after some of the on-duty officers were discovered sleeping on the property! Note: The state police offered to direct traffic for FREE, but the GREEDY Sutton cops wouldn’t allow it! The town then shut-down this beautiful, old (opened in 1947) theatre three short months after it was re-opened, and business was starting to boom. In 2000, I, along with one of the two other partners attempted to re-open the Drive-In again, but we were met with anger from the town council and the police chief, stemming from the 1996 debacle … this, along with a laundry list of EXPENSIVE, “necessary improvements,” caused us to regrettably withdraw our dream. The original owner’s son, Tom, has since passed away (nice guy, but very tough!). The land is currently owned by his two living partners — an attorney, and the G.M. of Polar Beverages. They are asking an obscene amount of money for the land!!! They’ll NEVER get it, as the property is in a desolate area, is among many other properties listed for sale, and just isn’t worth the money! Sad!

TLSLOEWS on May 19, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Very interesting photos of the Marquee and entrance,lots nicer than most drive-ins.

moviebear1 on May 19, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Love to see some pictures of when the theatre was in operation.

posta44b on October 26, 2009 at 11:17 am

Iam the grandson of the original owner W.P.Bernard and the son of Thomas Bernard who was the owner during the 70’S until it closed. I just wanted to say that all the photos look great. Keep it up. I have some original photos of the 10th aniv. If anyone is interested let me know.

Shawn Bernard

MrDJDude on July 24, 2009 at 9:23 pm

This land has been, and still is for sale. The listing is here. (warning: this is a PDF. For the basic listing, go here, second to last on page )

If someone’s got $1.250,000, there’s a lot there to work with, condition not withstanding.

I believe the last time this drive-in was in operation was the mid-90’s, but it didn’t lsat long – dispute with the town, according to the former owner. The marquee, which I see regularly, seems to be decaying at an accelerated rate. Seems such a waste, especially when it’s still mostly intact, and in a better location than the also shuttered-and-decaying Edgemere Drive-In. But, time marches on, I guess.

kencmcintyre on March 1, 2007 at 8:26 pm

This photographer took a series of photos: