| In association with
Tulsa TV Memories presents:
Opening night ads, historical data, and some
pictures provided by Wesley Horton,
The drive-ins with links below have their own separate pages. The rest are
on this page.
Drive-In (originally the Modernaire) is at 7355 E. Easton,
the only Tulsa drive-in still in operation.
Out of service
9/3/2010-6/14/2012 due to fire; now with new screen and concession stand!
7500 E. Pine St.
Apache at 3700 E Apache
Bellaire at 709 W. 51st St.
(originally the Sand Springs) at 7600 W. Charles Page Blvd.
11th Street (originally the Hi-Way 66) at 9801 E. 11th St.
(originally the Broken Arrow) at 14007 71st St. NE
Riverside, east of Peoria on 71st St.
Drive-In at 4500 S. Sheridan
Skyline at 3800 N. Cincinnati
Teepee, one mile west on Highway 66.
Cardinal at N. Memorial and State Hwy 20 in Collinsville.
Related pages on this site:
Tulsa's drive-in theatres were built in the late 40s-early
50s, just before television took hold as a mass medium (our first station,
KOTV, began broadcasting in late 1949).
Drive-ins combine the pleasures of both at-home TV and sit-down theatre viewing:
low expense and privacy, plus an evening out and other folks to keep an eye
Despite the advent of home theatre and myriad channels in addition to broadcast
television, drive-ins retain a unique charm, especially when they remind
us of summer evenings past, spent in a secure environment under the
the locations of all Tulsa-area drive-ins, past and present online
in Google Maps. You can tour the current day sites by switching to satellite
view and zooming in, or zoom all the way down to Street View to take a virtual
The Tulsa World, July 7, 1948
|(IMPA=International Motion Picture Almanac)
Wesley: "As far as I know, there were only two drive-in theatres in the state
that ever advertised that they were 'Colored'".
Location: 3604 E. Apache (1971 Tulsa City directory), N 36.19136 W 95.937304
(Webmaster: I copied and pasted the above coordinates directly into Google
Earth, and landed exactly on the spot in the satellite photo below.)
1948-49 Theatre Catalog/IMPA lists L.E. Snyder as exec. or owner 1948-1979.
1965 IMPA lists capacity as 225.
Closed by June 1984, presumably end of 1983 season.
Google Earth satellite view of the former Apache site. Tulsa Community
College to the north.
What was left of the marquee, courtesy of
The Tulsa Tribune, Friday, June 5, 1953
|Location: 709 W. 51st, N 36 5' 27.42" W 95 59' 57.23"
Theatre Catalog/IMPA lists L.E. Snyder as owner 1955-1979.
1965 IMPA lists capacity as 600.
(from Guestbook 53) Liz Beall Eubanks said:
I don't see much about the Bellaire Drive-in. My cousin lived on the street
behind it and you could watch it from his roof. We lived 2 streets over and
could see it in glimpses from the tall swingset in our yard. My grandparents
lived on the street where when the drive-in let out, all the cars drove by
the house. It was hard to sleep at their house when the movie was over in
the summer with the windows open. I remember my mother popping a dishpan
full of popcorn, piling all 5 of us in the Rambler station wagon, and going
to see a triple John Wayne feature. I never made it through the first movie.
(Past my bedtime!)
(from Guestbook 99) Mitch Schauer said:
Recently, I had the opportunity to re-view "Godzilla vs. Hedora." The movie
brought back memories of going to the Bellaire Drive-in back in 1972 and
seeing the English-dubbed Japanese horror flick under its original title,
"Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster."
One thing I recalled regarding the Bellaire was its proximity to Tulsa's
waste processing plant. The pungent odor of excrement indirectly lent the
film's loopy villain a certain "air" of authenticity.
Now, nearly 30 years later, the movie STILL stinks, but I do miss the long
gone Bellaire drive-in.
P.S. The waste plant also prevented the Bellaire from becoming a top-notch
(via email, 9/13/2004) Bryan Crain said:
Turnpike Ford actually sits on the land that was once the Bellaire Drive-In.
It was an empty field up until the early-mid nineties..until Turnpike came
along. Me and some of my friends "scouted" around the lot in 1989 or so,
there were still bits and pieces of it still around (empty marquee,
66 Drive-In Theatre (later the 11th Street Drive-In), August 21, 1948
(Delner L.Curtis Aerial Photo Service)
(Hi-Way) 66 Drive-In Grand Opening, Aug 21, 1947
Brian Donlevy was co-star of
Oddly, the ad mistakenly credited Preston Foster, who wasn't even in the
movie. See Mr. Donlevy in Tulsa circa 1960
on Louise Bland's page.
Location: N 36.148107 W 95.867086
Entry on north side of street.
Satellite photography shows unknown industrial buildings on site, no
Operated by Griffith Theatres Aug 21, 1947 until Aug 14, 1960.
Rebuilt as 11th Street Drive-In Theatre, March 4, 1964.
Address given as 9739 E. 11th (1971 Tulsa City Directory)
Operated until Sept 15, 1982.
Open 5 Sept 82, closed on 6-83
1948-49 Theatre Catalog lists Griffith Theatres as Exec.
1949-1950 Theatre Catalog lists Griffith Metropolitan Theatres as owner.
1955 Theatre Catalog lists Video Theatres as owner.
1965 IMPA lists Griffith Metropolitan Theatres as owner, capacity as 562.
1979 IMPA, lists capacity as 500. Owned by Video Theatres.
1984 IMPA lists Video Theatres as owner.
(from Guestbook 77) David Bagsby said:
A rating I remember seeing back when those things started up was "M" for
Mature audiences. Later this was supplanted by the ubiquitous "R". I remember
watching "Night of Dark Shadow" backed with "Fearless Vampire Killers" at
the 11th St. Drive-In and for my birthday present the year I turned 13, my
folks broke down and took us back to the 11th St. to see "Enter the Dragon"...my
first "R" movie. I was the envy of Troop 81.
(from Guestbook 92) David Bagsby said:
Help...this is a bit off topic, but I am trying to track down a movie from
the late 60s/early 70's. The style was like a serious Matt Helm-type affair
with strange guys in trenchcoats, hats and dark sunglasses going around and
shrinking people by pinching them on the neck then stuffing the vacated clothing
into a satchel. Anyone recall what this was?
(from Guestbook 100) Brian replied:
I'm 99% sure it's WILD WILD
PLANET, an Italian sci-fi film released to the US in 1967. It has to
be seen to be believed - very exotic, surreal and cheaply made. Mr. Webmaster,
you'll love the cliched yet ethereal electronic score if nothing else.
(from Guestbook 100) David Bagsby said:
Thanks a zillion! "Wild, Wild Planet" is indeed that film. Seems like I saw
it at the 11th Street Drive-In.
(from Guestbook 128) Steve
Speaking of Drive-Ins, our clan spent a lot of time at the 11th Street Drive-In.
Dad told me it was originally called the "66" and was one the first big landmarks
you saw before getting into town. I can remember Mom loading up a metal ice
chest with Cragmont Soda Pop (Sparkling Punch for David and me). Seems like
it was a big deal in the 1970s when they added a second screen on the West
Side. I do remember seeing a long line of tail lights stacked up on 11th
whenever they had a big feature.
It made you appreciate the strength of a Ford Galaxie to have seen me and
Dave climbing all over that car waiting for the show to start. Too much Sparkling
Punch and Oreos I guess.
The dulcet strains of "The Blue Danube" strained through the tinny speakers
at the 11th Street on Nov. 25, 1971, when "2001: A Space Odyssey" (which
debuted in 1968 at the Fox in Tulsa) was
on the bill.
Riverside Drive-In, circa 1956
Location given as: N 36° 3.64', W 95° 58.19'
Believe closer to N 36° 3' 37.71", W 95° 58' 22.75"
Location given as between Peoria and Lewis Ave. on 71st Street.
Satellite photo shows site occupied by buildings (apartments?)
Grand opening Friday, May 7, 1948
Operated By Griffith Theatres April 30, 1948 until Nov 10, 1977.
1948-49 Theatre Catalog lists Griffith Theatre as Exec M8-C602-D7-CH3
1949-1950 Theatre Catalog lists Ralph Talbot as Exec M9-C600-D7
1955 Theatre Catalog lists Griffith Theatres as owner C600
1965 IMPA lists Griffith Metropolitan Theatres as owner (Video Theatres)
1965 IMPA lists capacity as 604
1979 IMPA, lists capacity as 500. Owned by Video Theatres
1984 IMPA lists Video Theatres as owner.
The Tulsa Tribune. Friday, May 7, 1948
(from Guestbook 44) Frank Morrow said:
I dont remember exactly where the Riverside Drive-In Theatre was except
that it seemed to be out somewhere near where Oral Roberts University is
now. It might have been closer to town, though. But I do remember some of
the activities that went on there.
There were stories of people being smuggled into the place in the trunks
of cars. Other people supposedly tried to get in for free by backing in the
exit with their lights out to avoid notice.
I do know for sure that I got good use of my folks 49 Nash and later
my 51 Nash. For you youngsters who dont know about the Nashs
specialty, the front seats folded back to make a bed. (Studebakers had the
same feature.) It was great for drive-ins, because you could lean back against
the back seat and stretch your legs out to watch the movie in great comfort.
Sometimes, however, the movie could be difficult to watch if the windshield
was steamed up. That was no problem, though, because you werent watching
the movie anyway.
Two things still seem strange to me: I dont remember ever being bitten
by a mosquito (The owners must have been generous with their DDT spraying.),
and I dont ever remember being bothered by heat or humidity. I guess
we were made of tougher stuff back then. Also, air-conditioned cars were
not to be had at this time. We didnt know that we were uncomfortable.
Subsequent generations owe a great debt to the drive-in movies. Without those
places many of the younger people wouldn't even be in existence today.
(from Guestbook 44) Bryan Crain said:
The Riverside Drive-in Theatre was located on 71st Street between Lewis and
Peoria where the Red River Apartments are today. There is an old auction
building (still standing) that was almost directly across the street from
the Drive in. I have a copy of an aerial photo from the Tulsa Historical
Society and you can see the auction building...of course nothing else was
(from Guestbook 246) Brian said:
I grew up on 64th between Peoria and Lewis. Been living in Colorado since
1980. I remember seeing the Riverside Drive-In across the soy bean field
and imagining the lights from the marquee were part of a spaceship.
The Tulsa Tribune, April 23, 1948
|Location: (Theatre) N 36.2096, W 95.9952
Location: (entrance) N 36.2092, W 95.9938
Located at 3800 N. Cincinnati.
Satellite photo shows very little remains.
Operated by Video Theatres from February 23, 1948 until September 15, 1970.
1948-49 Theatre Catalog lists Griffith Theatres as owner.
1949-1950 Theatre Catalog lists Griffith Metropolitan Theatres as owner.
1955 Theatre Catalog lists Capacity at 648.
1965 IMPA lists capacity as 662.
(from Guestbook 52) Lowell Burch said:
I wish that they could have broadcast the soundtrack on FM when I was growing
up. I could sit in my backyard at the bottom of Cincinnati Hill and see the
screen of the Skyline Drive-In, I just couldn't hear it. That was back when
the Capri and many others had playgrounds that included motorized rides,
many that were built, I understand, out of salvaged WWII bombers by Bob Bell
(Bell's Amusement Park).
(from Guestbook 54) "Lou Boils" said:
Speaking of drive-in movies, my first trip was to the, long gone, Skyline
at 36th St. N. and Cincinnati. Saw "The Great Escape" with my folks and the
next day tried out my Steve McQueen style of bike riding down at the dead
end. Got a little cut up on a barbed wire fence. I was a little cut-up!
(via email on 11/6/2002) Joe Johnston said:
There used to be playgrounds under the screens of the drive-ins. People would
get there early so the kids could play before the feature started. Remember
the giant cut-out cartoon figures around the playgrounds? They were at the
Riverside, the Capri, and maybe one more, all owned by Griffith Theatres.
My dad, C. Ray Johnston. painted those every year from about 1952-70.
Skyline Drive-In was on the north side of town;
Skyline Amusement Park (not associated with the
drive-in) was to the far south, near Jenks.
The Skyline Drive-In, courtesy of Wesley Horton
Friday, May 5, 1950
(From the Sapulpa Daily Herald, by permission of Don Diehl)
Sunday, May 7, 1950
Huge Crowd Happy at Opening of New Drive-in Theater.
"An evening well spent."
This was the general comment from patrons at the opening night of Sapulpa's
first drive-in theater, the Teepee.
"We have finally found some place to spend our evenings without being forced
to drive 15 miles during the hot summer months," said one of the pleased
The Teepee, located one mile west of Sapulpa on Highway 66, opened with an
overwhelming crowd and the staff managed to make each carload of visitors
welcome in a courteous, helpful manner.
After the first show, a glorious display of fireworks thrilled the audience
and a huge Hollywood flood light added to the "big time" atmosphere of the
Cool refreshing breezes and soft music added to a new Technicolor picture
and the privacy of your own car provided for the most humungous entertainment
acceptable to Sapulpa's Friday night and the best part, it will be available
any night this summer, rain or shine.
Two girls (Your choice of blonde or brunette) make the ticket sales at the
handy drive in window and first nighters were provided with clean windshields
by attendants of the Sheerer Service station. Just inside the grounds, other
courteous attendants directed the parking and arrangement of the easy to
use in-a-car speakers.
The grounds of the Teepee are arranged in rows just as are the urban theaters;
these rows are made of earth in the shape of mounds. Simply park your car
with the front elevated until you reach the desired position for perfect
Ample lights provide fast exit and attendants once again directed the traffic.
"You'll find Ma, Pa and the kids at the drive-in," said one of Sapulpa's
leading citizens upon leaving the gate. "We've found our summer's entertainment
at the Teepee."
Google Earth satellite view of the teepee-shaped Teepee site today.
More pics of the Teepee on this page at
The Cardinal Drive-In was where the upper-right polygon is now.
|The Cardinal was near Collinsville at N. Memorial Dr. and State Hwy 20,
north of Tulsa and Owasso.
Wes Horton: "The Cardinal Drive-in Theatre had its grand opening ad on Friday
July 3, 1953. I do have a copy of it...
"The only other thing I know is that it was listed in the 1955 Theatre Catalog,
Robert Downing as Exec. Capacity was given as 182 cars. It was also listed
in the 1960 International Motion Picture Almanac as having a capacity of
210 cars and R.M. Downing as owner."
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