Bengies Drive-In

3417 Eastern Boulevard,
Middle River, MD 21220

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1956 photo courtesy of PowerGlide Magazine Facebook page.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Bengies Drive-In opened on June 6, 1956. The screen is 120 feet by 52 feet and is the biggest theatre screen remaining in the USA or North America. At opening it had a capacity for 1,000 cars. There was also an enclosed seating area for 60 walk-ins. The current capacity is for 750 cars.

Designed by architectural engineer Jack K. Vogal for the Vogal Theatre chain. He designed and built many drive-in’s in the North-east US and also built the first drive-in theatre in South America, the Auto-Cine Drive-In in Lima, Peru in around 1954.

He designed and built all three drive-in’s in the Vogal Circuit, the other two being:
The Dublin Drive-In in Dublin (Columbus) OH
Salem Drive-In, Salem, OH

He was the architect for:
Winter Drive-In, Wintersville, OH (still existing)
and the following which have been demolished:
Atlantic Drive-In, Atlantic City, NJ
Edmonson Drive-In, Baltimore, MD
Frontier Drive-In, Annapolis, MD
Beltsville Drive-In, Beltsville, MD

Contributed by Lost Memory, D. Edward Vogal

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

randytheicon
randytheicon on June 16, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Belated reply to ken mc: Middle River is east of Baltimore, and is considered a suburb.

Twistr54
Twistr54 on October 12, 2009 at 8:47 am

www.CapriDrivein.com Coldwater, MI
Largest outdoor screen in operation, a Selby Tower, 75' X 150'
it shows a beautiful pitcure !

elkridgecinemas
elkridgecinemas on April 10, 2010 at 1:10 pm

this is the worst drive in theater ive ever been to. the man talks all over the radio during intermission when he is showing short subjects like the 3 stooges where you miss key points in the plot. mr vogel please funnel cakes and hot dog specials can wait to be mentioned during a preview and not a classic short like the 3 stooges.

elkridgecinemas
elkridgecinemas on April 10, 2010 at 1:10 pm

this is the worst drive in theater ive ever been to. the man talks all over the radio during intermission when he is showing short subjects like the 3 stooges where you miss key points in the plot. mr vogel please funnel cakes and hot dog specials can wait to be mentioned during a preview and not a classic short like the 3 stooges.

Silicon Sam
Silicon Sam on June 15, 2010 at 12:29 am

Picture of the screen:

View link

Looks like a stiff wind could knock this thing down…..

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 16, 2011 at 5:16 pm

The owner of the BIG-MO Drive-in does the same thing at intermission,gets on and yaks and yaks and yaks.Give me a break,but the BIG-MO; it is a mom and pop operation.

Archie1959
Archie1959 on March 16, 2011 at 6:33 pm

How dare some one talk over a 3 Stooges short. Unless it had Joe in the short.

Tine263
Tine263 on January 21, 2014 at 3:53 pm

I have some current photos of the outside of the theater on my blog, as well as some information! I agree with some of the posts though, I was not a fan of the commentary over the credits and film shorts.

http://driveinadventures.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/bengies-drive-in-theatre/

Chris1982
Chris1982 on September 24, 2014 at 8:42 pm

The Bengies has made the conversion to digital projection.

NeonMichael
NeonMichael on November 4, 2017 at 11:14 am

It’s strange that the summary here, at least partially written by “D. Edward Vogal”, spells that last name consistently with an A. Every other reference I can find, including CNN, the Baltimore Sun, his signature at the end of a lengthy complaint about the Baltimore Sun, and even the Whois record for Bengies.com – they all spell that name Vogel with an E.

FWIW, its first appearance in the International Motion Picture Almanac was the 1957 edition, in which it was listed in Middle River, spelled as Bengie’s, capacity 585, owner Frog Mortar Corp. That listing stayed the same through 1966.

During the period (at least 1969-76) when the IMPA didn’t include owners, it became Bengies (no apostrophe) in Baltimore, capacity 750. In 1978-88, the listing returned to Middle River, owner Vogel, capacity 600.

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