East 70 Drive-In

12600 E. Colfax Avenue,
Aurora, CO 80011

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East 70 Drive-In

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in 1950. I lived behind the East Drive-In when it was in full operation (1955-1964). Many of us worked there during the summer washing windshields for tips and walking the back rows to clear out stragglers.

We had many a play hour there during the day, since the layout was quite amenable to go karts. We would race from Colfax Street to the entrance booth and whip around the corner into the vast sea of speakers on poles.

I happened to drive by on a visit to Aurora the day the wrecking crew was committing architectural homicide on the place and felt a genuine loss. I’m sure it was living on life support, but I still hated to see it go.

The North, South, East, West and Monaco drive-ins were part of the Compass chain of theatres when I was there. The East 70 Drive-In had a 1,700 car capacity.

Contributed by John Gillen

Recent comments (view all 23 comments)

compassdriveins on March 21, 2006 at 4:27 pm

The tragedy at the East was a robbery which resulted in the stabbing of 2 young teens. Both survived the attack. The way I understand that it happened is that it was some sort of inside job between an employee and her boyfriend (that did the actual robbery). The drive in remained open for the rest of the season but did not reopen the following spring. We looked in to re-opening the theatre but the city of Aurora was not too keen on the idea of giving the theatre a long term operation permit. I think the city was already looking down the road to the Fitzsimons redevelopment and the proximity of the drive in property to that project.

dBom on April 5, 2006 at 5:16 pm

Are there any closed drive-in theaters in the Denver area that may still have a screen up? I’m looking into this for a film shoot.


compassdriveins on April 5, 2006 at 5:29 pm

The only closed drive in that still has a screen is the Nor West in Broomfield. This is located at 120th and Perry street. Take I-25 North to 120th and turn left or West. The theatre will be on your right several miles down 120th ave. This is private property and is owned by the church that sits behind the theatre. If you would like to use an open theatre, I can probably get permission for you to use the Cinderella in Englewood.

WRSatch on December 27, 2008 at 10:01 pm

Does anyone have a copy of the Compass Drive-In Jingle?

“There’s a Compass Drive-In right near you
With two big features- count ‘em, two.
Delicious food for all the family.
Kids under 12 are free.
Tonight at Compass Drive- In, it’s the place to be!”

I grew up in Edgewater and WR and we had FOUR drive-ins within 5-15 minutes of each other! The Wadsworth (I-70/Wads), the West (6th/Kipling), the Colfax (Colfax/Oak) and the Lake Shore (19th/Sheridan).

larryk on February 22, 2009 at 3:07 pm

I have a matchbook from East Drive In Theatre 12600 East Colfax is the address on the book “Across from Fitzsimmons Hospital” Phone Aurora 880. I also have a scrapbook from Denver from a person who managed the Broadway Theatre in the early 50’s.Lots of b&w photos including photos of the construction of a Drive In. It is labeled Valley Screen. Also in the book is photos taken of Jimmy Stewart filming “The Glen Miller Story” At Holland Hall? Also are photos of the Audience Awards Parade Oct.7 1955.I will be selling this on e-bay in a couple of weeks.Interested let me know.

larryk on February 22, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Ask Ken If he would like a photo of the matchbook cover. I also have a matchbook cover for the Compass Drive In Theatres

USjamesbond on August 5, 2009 at 6:28 am

Also the Paramount Theatre, the Crest Theatre, Thae Arvada Plaza, were also part of the Wolfberg Chain. I worked at the Paramount Theatre from 1968 to 1978. I beleive they all went privately owned after the 80’s,not quite sure of commonwealth owning them.Allof the drive-in were under Wolfberg umberella for quite sometime except the Lake Shore Drive -in. Those were the good times.

JohninAurorasince64 on November 15, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Hi, I just viewed “Drive In Memories” with Leonard Maltin and Joe Bob Briggs (John Bloom) and googled this fine old drive in… Spent some fine evenings there!!! Great nostalgia! Anyone remember the Havana drive in across from the defunct Buckingham Square shopping center?

JohninAurorasince64 on November 15, 2012 at 9:25 pm

btw hope this isn’t a copyright infringement but you can see the marquee @: http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15330coll14/id/1403/rec/5

Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez
Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez on April 8, 2015 at 11:39 pm

The address for this theatre was 12600 East Colfax Avenue Aurora,CO 80011. There is a duplicate listing for this theatre listed as The East, which I have recommended be removed and combined with this page as they’re one in the same. Additionally, no one around here,including longtime Union projectionists and others in the theatre business locally, ever knew this theatre to be called the “70mm” East-just the East 70 or more commonly, the East. While there were indeed intentions of and even some preparations in the booth for showing 70mm, this theatre never did. The only drive-in theatre in the Denver metro area (and most likely the entire state of Colorado) to run 70mm was The North Star.

The theatre name listed really should be changed to just The East as that is what many remember it as or at very least, The East 70. As I cannot prove beyond a doubt that it was never called a The East 70mm, I’d be OK seeing that listed as a previous name pending some research from us all but still, I’m fairly certain here.

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