54 Drive-In

7801 E. Kellogg Avenue,
Wichita, KS 67207

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54 Drive-In

O.F. Sullivan opened the 54 Drive-In on September 4, 1947 with Gregory Peck in “The Yearling”. He also owned and operated a number of additional theaters in Wichita, Kansas and Oklahoma City.

The 54 Drive-In was permanently closed down in the 1970’s and demolished in January 1973.

Contributed by Billy Holcomb / Billy Smith / Don Lewis

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

rwconsp
rwconsp on February 10, 2011 at 11:31 pm

I lived behind it as a kid on Gilbert Street. Used to watch movies from my bedroom window, and went there more than a few times with my family. It was closed and torn down sometime in the early 1970s to make room for the East Side National Bank building and the Hilton hotel.

keysenior
keysenior on October 5, 2011 at 1:51 pm

My future wife and I went to the 54 Drive In many times in high school and college. The only problem was that the B-52 bombers from McConnel AFB coming back from missions flew over the theater and drowned out the sound for as long as 30 minutes at a time.

kwilkin1962
kwilkin1962 on September 12, 2013 at 3:41 am

The 54 Drive-In opened on September 4, 1947. It’s first showing was “The Yearling” starring Gregory Peck.

Lyndon
Lyndon on November 26, 2013 at 12:09 pm

For more memories of the 54 Drive In, see: “I Used to Drag Douglas”

jwmovies
jwmovies on October 18, 2014 at 9:53 pm

The above address is incorrect. This drive-in was located further east at 7801 E Kellogg Drive Wichita KS 67207. It is now Holiday Inn across Hwy 54 from the mall.

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on August 15, 2019 at 2:19 am

A three-page story about Merta and Truman Slothower in the July 4, 1960 issue of Boxoffice included: “The 54 and 81 drive-in theatres were acquired in 1956 from Nu-Vue Theatres of Kansas City.”

rivest266
rivest266 on January 28, 2021 at 3:56 pm

Last season: 1972

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on February 11, 2021 at 5:25 pm

Sometimes Boxoffice jumped the gun in its opening announcements. I wonder if this was one of those times.

Boxoffice, Aug. 23, 1947: “O. F. Sullivan’s second outdoor theatre in Wichita, with a capacity of 750 cars, … opened this week.”

rivest266
rivest266 on April 6, 2021 at 3:45 pm

Grand opening ad posted. It opened on September 5th, 1947

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on April 8, 2021 at 4:19 pm

Boxoffice, Sept. 8, 1956: “Mrs. T. H. Slothower took over the operation of the 54 Drive-In and the 81 Drive-In on September 1. The outdoor theatres were originally part of the O. F. Sullivan chain, but have been operated the last few years by Consolidated Theatres out of Kansas City. The Slothower theatre circuit consists of numerous other theatres in the Wichita and the surrounding area.”

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