New Broken Arrow Drive-In Opens With A Bang!
Truck Falls Through Septic Tank
Broken Arrow Ledger, Aug 12, 1953
Broken Arrow's new $10,000 Drive-in Theater failed to open on schedule July
31 because a large truck, loaded with gravel fell through their septic tank
and couldn't be extricated until the next day.
J. H. Rush, manager said "That wasn't the end of our troubles," he continued.
"The next night a faulty connection caused several speakers to go dead and
we had to refund everyone's' money. Now, however, everything is going fine
and we believe we have ironed out all of the kinks and are looking forward
to our formal opening soon" he said.
The theater is owned by Rush and Ken James. Rush is trying to find a place
to live here before school starts. At present he is living in Tulsa. Mr.
James is the former Francis Howard of Broken Arrow high school. They will
continue to live in Tulsa where Mr. James is district sales manager for the
Faultless Starch Company.
(from Guestbook 79) Steve Dallas said:
I had many pleasant nights in the seventies and early eighties watching flicks
at the little "51" Drive-In, west of Broken Arrow on 71st St. A storm took
the screen out shortly after I left the area, closing it forever, but the
fence and marquee were still there the last time I visited in '99.
Y'all take good care of the Admiral Twin and patronize it often, okay? I
had a lot of fun there, too. I loved watching those animated snack-bar ads
between features, with dancing hot dogs and popcorn, always mixed with reminders
like "3 minutes 'til showtime!" Americana at its finest.
(from Guestbook 128) Rich Lohman said:
Hey, I was just tripping around the drive-in page and I want to call attention
to a vanishing drive in on the 71st Street drag.
It's about 4 blocks east of 71st and 129th (if you are headed toward the
Wal-Mart Supercenter, it's on your right). The fence and the posts where
the speakers hung are still there, but a gated/new community is threatening
to swallow it whole.
I am either not old enough to have gone to any of the other DI's or I didn't
live here at the time, but I remember that one from my teenage years. Saw
Rocky 3 and SpaceHunter there, as I remember. Dad and I sat on the roof of
the family 1978 Olds Cutlass Supreme and watched them.
(from Guestbook 128) Andre Hinds said:
Regarding Rich Lohman's remembrance of the 51 Drive-In in Broken Arrow...
I was fortunate enough to see a movie at the 51 on one of the last nights
it was open. The screen was destroyed in a minor tornado (or as one of the
Tulsa meteorologists would call it, a "gustnado") in May 1993.
I was editor of the Broken Arrow edition of the Community World at the time
-- it had just started. The movie showing that night -- the Saturday before
the screen was destroyed -- was Disney's Aladdin. The place was just packed.
I always loved that drive-in. When I was a kid, we'd arrive really early
and chase the wild rabbits. The only disappointment was that they didn't
have any playground, unlike all the other area drive-ins.
Once I became an adult, I kept going to the 51, although I would usually
be asked to open the trunk of my mammoth 1972 Ford LTD so they could make
sure I wasn't sneaking anyone in.
The 51 being ingested by an army of private homes
Even though it was on 71st Street, it was called the 51 because, when it
opened, 71st Street was State Highway 51. They never renamed it when 51 was
moved to the Broken Arrow Expressway when it opened in 1965.
(from Guestbook 128) Bryan Crain said:
I was a news photog at Channel 2 when the 51 Drive-in closed down. We did
a story with the woman who owned it (her name escapes me). She and her husband
owned the theater for many years together. Unfortunately he passed away just
a few months before the screen blew down in 93, so she felt it was the 'right
time' to close it for good (despite offers from
several people/groups to purchase and re-open
51 Drive-In circa 1993, courtesy of Bryan Crain