Wilmington Drive-In

1129 North Route 134,
Wilmington, OH 45177

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dallasmovietheaters on August 28, 2015 at 12:16 am

The Northside Drive-In Theatre opened June 8, 1948 with spaces for 600 cars and open-air seating for another 200 patrons. The first film was “The Shocking Miss Pilgrim.” Jack Jossey and Kroger Babb were among the original operators of the Triangle Drive-In Theatres Company that launched the ozoner with Gene Lacey as season one manager. Its 42' by 31' screen was within the 48' by 48' tower.

In season two, the pair changed the corporation to the Northside Drive-In Theatre Corporation and Jack Dugan was the congenial second-season manager. Generally marketed as simply Drive-In Theatre, and after just two seasons, it was sold to Chakeres Theatres Circuit subsidiary Wilmington Theaters, Inc. The circuit would change the name to the Wilmington Drive-In Theatre for season three. The Northside Drive-In Theatre Corporation would be dissolved during that third season of operation.

The theater had six managers in just its first four seasons. But Queen, the pony, providing free pony rides and Playland installed at the base of the drive-in in opening the fifth season proved to be a winner with kids and families, alike. The theatre had live western star appearances, WLW hosted its Midwestern Hayride TV show once, dish night, fashion night, TV demonstration night, sunrise Easter services, and on it went as the theatre connected with the local audience. A turn to porno chic in the mid 1970s was met with resistance and the theatre turned back to family fare.

Chakeres would run the operation for more than 60 years to its digital conversion as the veteran theatre was still active in the mid-2010s. A truly amazing run for Ohio.

Chris1982 on October 2, 2014 at 6:29 am

This drive-in is still listed on the Chakeres website but closed for the season.

allanhowls on March 24, 2014 at 3:41 am

This drive-in reopened for the summer of 2013. Its status for the future is up in the air, as Chakeres has sold the Wilmington 5-plex.

jwmovies on January 6, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Sadly, this is now closed per Chakeres.


jwmovies on September 19, 2012 at 3:25 am

Correction: 1129 North Lincoln Street.