East 70 Drive-In

12600 E. Colfax Avenue,
Aurora, CO 80011

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Showing 1 - 25 of 27 comments

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😊!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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?

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.

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

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.

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).

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.

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 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.

Celluloidkid on March 20, 2006 at 6:07 pm

…I moved to COlorado in around late 1995 after the drive-end theater was closed…I lived in an Apartment Complex behind the theater (The manager of the complex said a ghost of a woman walked the grounds of the drive-in late at night) (My living room window looked over the weed-infested parking lot, and the huge white movie-screen)… sadly I lost the photos I had taken of the once giant screen. I still have the letter “C” which I found near the old marquee.

I heard the main reason the theater closed was a “murder-robery”..? Is the true. I have lived in Colorado off and on for over 8 yrs and I have heard this form everyone. Please confirm..??

MickeyDal on June 8, 2005 at 1:29 pm

Compass Drive Ins?

My name is Jerry Dealey, and I was a Manager / Assistant Manager for many of the Compass Drive-ins in the mid to late 1970’s. You are so knowlegeable about the chain, that I feel I should know you. At your convenience, swing by my web site Dealey.org, where you should be able to get my eMail and drop me a line.

compassdriveins on June 5, 2005 at 12:07 am

The 12800 E. Colfax address is correct. It was called the “New” East 70. 70mm (Norelcos) were installed in this theatre but was used possibly once. It was removed years ago and replaced with a Simplex XL head and a platter system. The Simplex head is now in operation at the Cinderella drive in on screen one.

MickeyDal on June 2, 2005 at 7:58 am


Yes I remember you. Go to my website Dealey.org.

Kurent on June 1, 2005 at 6:12 pm

Nice to hear from you Jerry. You probably don’t remember me out of the hundres of employees you must have had but I worked for you at the North Star. My brother managed the West and the Wadsworth and you worked with his father in law. I would like to trade some e-mails but I am afraid of getting swamped with spam if I post it my address here. You were a great boss and fun to work for. I hope you are doing very well.

MickeyDal on June 1, 2005 at 12:29 pm

Looks like this thread is pretty much dead, but I had to add some comments.

I worked for the North Star (capacity was 1900 by the way) as both a Manager and Assistant Manager in th mid to late 1970’s. I also closed the Arapaho (1976), and Havana Drive-Ins (1981) (parts of the Wolfberg/Compass chains, later Commonwealth). At various times I managed the West, Valley and other drive-ins, as well as worked at the North, NorWest, East, and Wadsworth. Still know one of the owners of the Cinderella Twin, which is one of the remaining drive-ins in Denver today.

Jerry Dealey

pianoman on February 3, 2005 at 12:35 pm

Oh, well. Mr. Todd Swormstedt couldn’t have his cake or eat it, either. TOOOOOOOOO BADDDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

compassdriveins on December 24, 2004 at 6:08 pm

The Marquee was unfortunately destroyed when the theatre was removed from the property.

pianoman on December 24, 2004 at 5:44 am

Only one thing left to say or do (hint hint)– Donate it to the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio!

compassdriveins on October 19, 2004 at 10:48 pm

The Centennial was near the corner of Federal at Belview. It sat on the southwest corner. It was actually on the Centennial race track property. In fact you had to enter the parking lot for the race track to access the theatre. There was a strip center anchored by a Safeway store (now closed) built on the site. It was a beautiful twin screen theatre which ended it’s life as a single screen and a flea market. Opening night publicity was marked by the first feature (which was “The High And The Mighty”) to be flown in to the theatre by 2 little planes which landed on the Centennial race track parking lot. The Centennial had a very attractive neon marquee which sat on top of a fieldstone pedistal. A back-lit comedy and tragedy mask was recessed into the base of the pedistal on each side. They had a midget named “Zero” who would run around the theatre entertaining kids and promoting his famous “Zeroburgers” which were always “fresh at the concession stand”. It was a truly great drive in.

Kurent on October 9, 2004 at 8:57 pm

I am not familier with the Centennial, Where was it? Unless you meant to say the Cinderella Twin.
Some of my fondest memories are of popping and bagging the fresh hot popcorn, the warm summer nights when I was running from side to side of the box office collecting money and handing out tickets. Later opening the “back gates” and standing on the hill watching people try to thread thier way out (not even a T-rex traffic jam compared to that). Even working Christmas eve when it was cold and snowing and being suprised to see 5 or 10 cars come in. We never seemed to close.
There was the old man in the green 45 chevy with all his posessions in the car. He seemed to have visited every drive in the city reguarly. We would try and guess his story. We all knew him but not his name.
We even wore ties and slacks back then (1977). That would be strange to see now.