Maine Drive-In Theaters That Are Open And Those That Have Closed
The first drive-in movie theater opened on this date in 1933 in Camden, New Jersey. At the height of the drive-in's popularity there were 4,063 in America, now there's almost 400, including 5 that are left here in Maine.
The drive-in theater in Jersey opened because someone's very large grandmother had complained about cramped movie seats, and had wished that she could park her car in a movie theater. It was called the "World's First Automobile Movie Theater" and the first film that was shown was 1932's "Wives Beware."
CLOSED: One of the more popular drive-in theaters in our area was the Ellsworth-Trenton Drive-In that was located on the Bar Harbor Road. That theater had a capacity of about 250 cars and opened in 1949 as the "Auto-View Drive-In", and closed in 1984.
CLOSED: The Brewer Drive-In was located on Wilson Street, in what is now a very big empty field to the right of Ruby Tuesday. It opened in 1956 and closed in 1986.
OPEN/CLOSED/RE-OPENED: The Bangor Drive-In out at the end of Hammond Street in Hermon opened in 1950 then closed in 1985. Demand for an outdoor theater reopened the Drive-In in 2015, and it's open to this day, showing Captain Underpants, Wonder Woman and The Mummy this weekend.
OPEN: By the time the 1950s rolled around, Maine had 36 Drive-In theaters, with the first being The Saco Drive-In, which opened in 1939. It was one of the first in the country as well. The first movie shown there was a Jimmy Durante flick titled "Forbidden Music." This weekend the Saco Drive-In is showing The Boss Baby and Alien: Covenant.
OPEN: The Skowhegan Drive-In on Waterville Road open in 1954, and today features digital projection. This weekend they're showing Captain Underpants and The Boss Baby.
OPEN: The Bridgton Twin Drive-In on the Portland Road opened as a single screen outdoor theater in 1957, and then added a second screen in 2000. Today you can see Wonder Woman, Baywatch, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 and the latest Pirates Of the Caribbean movie.
OPEN: Skylite Drive-In in Madawaska is showing The Lego Batman Movie, Power Rangers, Logan, and John Wick: Chapter 2 this weekend. The theater has a capacity of about 300 cars.
CLOSED: Pride's Corner Drive-In in Westbrook opened in 1953 and instantly became very popular. The family run business closed in 2016, although optimistic messages were left on the business' Facebook page about reopening at some point. Seems the family didn't have the funds for today's digital projection.
CLOSED: Rockport Drive-In on Route 1 served the mid-coast area for years until it's first demise during Hurricane Edna in 1954. The theater made a brief return for a few years before closing.
Other Maine Drive-Ins that popped up briefly over the years included those in Milo, Mattawankeag, Lewiston, Lisbon, Detroit, Milo, Presque Isle and Belfast.