East 70 Drive-In

12819 E. Colfax Avenue,
Aurora, CO 80011

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Showing 1 - 25 of 37 comments

kennyjames on September 10, 2020 at 11:44 am

I’ve put together a booking history for the East Drive-in, from 1947 up to 1978 so far, in case anyone might like to know when a particular movie played there. I’ll be happy to share my research with you. Take care – Ken Mitchell ()

davidcoppock on May 4, 2020 at 2:16 am

Opened with “A night in Casablanca” and “Sunbonnet Sue”.

MichaelKilgore on May 3, 2020 at 3:13 pm

Thanks to HistoricAerials.com’s easy-to-use tools, we know that the East’s ramps persisted on the south side of Colfax through a 2011 aerial photo, but became a surface parking lot by 2013. The lot it became appears perfectly rectangular in my eyes, both in overall shape and in its rows of parking spaces. The fan-shaped lot is much closer to the hospital, on the other side of Colfax.

davidcoppock on March 29, 2020 at 7:03 am

The site might now be the car park for the Childrens Hospital Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus(it’s fan shaped like the drive-in’s ramps)?

MichaelKilgore on November 30, 2019 at 2:42 pm

Boxoffice, July 25, 1977: “DENVER – The East 70 Drive-In, which is Colorado’s first outdoor theatre, celebrated its 30th birthday this summer. … The East 70 opened July 4, 1947, with the double feature “A Night in Casablanca” and “Sunbonnet Sue” at a cost of 60 cents for adults and free admission for children, according to the Sunday Denver Post.”

MichaelKilgore on November 18, 2019 at 1:27 pm

Motion Picture Herald, May 17, 1947: “The newly organized Denver Drive-In Theatre Corp., headed by John Wolfberg and Harold Cohen, is building Denver’s first drive-in. Costing $115,000, the theatre will be a 750-car affair, to open about June 1.”

MichaelKilgore on November 13, 2019 at 10:12 pm

This note, from Billboard Aug. 14, 1954, could be posted on any Wolfberg drive-in: “Unseasonably hot weather has boosted drive-in business in the Denver area with nearly a dozen theaters making a bid for the trade. At Wolfberg’s Compass theaters, the Fuller Bros.‘ Drive-In Circus has been making a three-week stay, moving from one theater to another. Show has 30 performers who put on 10 acts. This attraction is in addition to full-length double bills, comedies and short subjects.”

MichaelKilgore on September 13, 2019 at 7:51 pm

The April 14, 1990 Rocky Mountain News had a short article about Steven Vannoy, who heard that the East was going to be demolished so he cleaned it up and opened it for that season as The East Drive-In Revisited. He added FM radio and armed guards, and planned to build volleyball courts.

The address was listed as 12819 E. Colfax Ave.

kennyjames on June 15, 2018 at 11:50 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 ! .

MontyM on May 4, 2018 at 9:56 pm

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

Wolfy on April 1, 2016 at 9:33 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 10:14 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 11:11 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 3:37 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 9, 2015 at 1:39 am

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 11:25 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 11:05 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 8:28 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 6:44 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 5:07 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 28, 2008 at 12:01 am

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 7:29 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 7:16 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 6:27 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 8:07 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..??