East 70 Drive-In

12600 E. Colfax Avenue,
Aurora, CO 80011

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East 70 Drive-In

Opened in 1947. 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 an 850 car capacity.

Contributed by John Gillen

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

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.

Greg Albertini
Greg Albertini on January 11, 2016 at 1:37 pm

The East Drive-In opened on July 4, 1947 and was still open in 1977. Also when it opened it had a capacity of 850 cars. Never 1700.

Greg Albertini
Greg Albertini on January 12, 2016 at 9:11 am

Thanks to compassdriveins you are the only on to get the history of the East Drive In story right. And thanks for mentioning Leonard Albertini as the founder of the East, it was a great accomplishment for him and he loved the business for 28 years. Leonard passed away in June of 2011 at the age of 93.

DavidZornig on January 16, 2016 at 8:14 am

1975 photo added, photo credit & copyright Save the Signs, via their Facebook page of the same name.

Wolfy on April 1, 2016 at 7:33 am

Enjoy reading all these comments. Would be interested in any pictures,scrapebooks? On all the drive- Ins we owned. NANCY WOLFBERG A shout out to Greg Albertini remember the Evergreen cabin “ incident”? Sorry about that😊!

MontyM on May 4, 2018 at 7:56 pm

Maybe the 70 in East 70 drive in name came from Colfax Avenue being the I-70 Business loop thru metro Denver.

kennyjames on June 15, 2018 at 9:50 am

Hi MontyM – I thought the new East 70 had a connection with I-70 too until I was doing research for a series of books I’m putting together on the history of the Denver area’s drive-ins and theatres. Turns out the “70” was added to the name on 5/11/65 after the installation of a new 70mm screen. I-70 was built a few years later. Another fun fact – the East was simply referred to as “Drive-In Theatre” when it first opened on 7/4/47. It was given the East name shortly after it opened its second season in April 1948. If anyone reading this has questions about drive-ins or theatres, please feel free to get in touch. I’d be happy to share my research with you. Thanks ! .

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