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I worked at this theatre as a projectionist from 1958-62 while attending Bethany College. It operated year ‘round. At the time I was there it was owned and operated by Al Lambert. After he left Lindsborg I believe he went to Smith Center KS to a theatre there.
This Drive-In was operational when I came to Wichita as City Manager for Commonwealth in 1975. I was told it was built during war time and had no metal in its frame. I do know I could stand in the concession stand and look through the walls in spots. It only operated during the summer and was not that well attended. It had a boxoffice completely separate from the rest of the theatre which was easy to rob, and frequently was! It was closed and sold to an investor who intended to make it into a trailer park but subsequently ran into zoning problems and I don’t believe the park was ever built.
This theatre has recently converted to all digital projection.
By the time I came to Wichita as City Manager for Commonwealth Theatres in 1975, this once high grossing Drive-In was on the downward slide. While still profitable it became obvious the value of the real estate was far higher than its earning potential and it was sold for a retail development. It was a twin Drive-in with two concession stands.
I officed in this theatre during part of my tenure as City Manager for the Commonwealth and later United Artists Theatres. As mentioned above, United Artists closed the theatre and turned off all utilities. That made ever reopening the theatre impossible as it had an artesian spring in the the office area which soon flooded the lower area of the theatre when the sump pump ceased to function. The main floor was reseated in the early 80’s to provide more comfortable seating but the theatre was not able to compete once the multiplex operations entered the scene.
This theatre recently converted to all digital projection. In addition all auditoriums have THX sound and waterfall curtains, including the 600 seat IMAX auditorium.
This theatre just converted to all digital projection a few weeks ago. All auditoriums also feature THX sound.
I have no pictures nor do I have a specific address. It was located approximately three miles south of Hoisington on the highway between Hoisington and Great Bend on the West side of the highway. By the time I was managing the Great Bend Theatres for Commonwealth in the late 60s-early 70s, the Drive-In was closed and I’m pretty sure Commonwealth no longer operated the Royal in town.
I remember attending this theatre as a boy but by the time I was in high school in 1954, it was closed. To the best of my knowledge it never operated after the early 1950s.
I worked at this Drive-In from 1956-1958. Cleaned and mowed the ramps (grass ramps) during the day and was a projectionist at night. It was still operated by Commonwealth Amusement Corp. when I left in 1958. At the time I was there it was only open in the summer, alternating operation with the downtown Royal Theatre. It was subsequently closed and torn down.
I worked at this theatre from 1956-1958 as a projectionist. It was still operational when I left. Commonwealth Amusement Corp. closed it some time later. It was totally destroyed by fire in the 1970’s. At the time I worked there it was open during the school year and closed during the summer when the Cheyenne Drive-In was open.