Auto Park Drive-In

3612 Causeway Boulevard,
Tampa, FL 33619

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mrjonesfl
mrjonesfl on August 29, 2013 at 1:50 pm

I remember watching many movies at this drivein as well as going to Seabreeze across the street. the last two movies i remember seeing here were Indiana Jones and Bruce Lee “Enter the Dragon”. My aunt worked here in the early 80’s.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on April 21, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Eyerock4ever: thanks for commenting! It very rare to see comments from former managers of Tampa area theatres. Oh yes, I remember the deviled crabs at the Seabreeze which for many years were probably the best in Tampa. I’ve always thought both the Auto Park and Tower Drive-Ins could still be open today since the land they were located on remain deserted and undeveloped, whereas the properties of all other former Tampa drive-ins have been redeveloped for other uses. No doubt it would be a risky venture, but someone with enough cash and true desire could rebuild both drive-ins on the same property where they once stood!

eyerock4ever
eyerock4ever on April 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm

This brings back memories! As a child we frequented the Auto Park, and before we went in, we used to go across the street to The Seabreeze, and get a sack of deviled crabs for $1.00! And, I was honored to be the last manager, 1983, before it closed, permanently. Mr. Berry was my supervisor, and after cleaning it up, getting it sprayed regularly for mosquitoes, and having the local state trooper on hand for security, we had record ticket sales again! What great memories!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 7, 2011 at 10:17 am

Thanks Nick.Left you a post on Springs Theatre.

Nunzienick
Nunzienick on April 12, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Here’s a current aerial of the former lot as it looks today…54 years later…still vacant:
View link
Enlarge to super-size by clicking on image and clicking “view all sizes” on upper left.

Nunzienick
Nunzienick on April 11, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Here’s an aerial from 1957:
View link

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 10, 2011 at 5:45 pm

April 7 1963 has at this Drive-in the Road Show Engagement,un-cut,“EL CID”.

Nunzienick
Nunzienick on February 2, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Thanks for the HistoricAerials link NYozoner! Nice view of the Auto Park lot.

NYozoner
NYozoner on January 28, 2011 at 9:49 pm

3612 Causeway Blvd, Tampa, FL 33619

The above address will map accurately to the location of the drive-in. The road was renamed from 22nd St, and the address currently in the heading takes Google Earth somewhere out near Busch Gardens.

Here is a 1969 aerial photo of the drive-in, courtesy of HistoricAerials.com.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on November 29, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Nick, what great John Wayne triple feature,Folks down your way knew how to book a Drive-in.

Nunzienick
Nunzienick on October 14, 2010 at 11:48 pm

The Auto Park opened on June 24, 1948 with “CARNIVAL IN COSTA RICA” as the opening attraction. Since it was located on 22nd Street Causeway many people often referred to it as the Causeway Drive-In. Located directly across 22nd Street from the drive-in was the locally famous Seabreeze Restaurant now long gone. I didn’t frequent this theatre often as it wasn’t near to where I lived.

The drive-in was owned and operated by S. E. Britton for several years and later by Tampa Bay Theatres, Inc. which was acquired by Floyd Theatres. The original screen sat near the entrance off of 22nd Street. Years later (probably in the mid-1950’s) a larger screen was installed at the opposite end of the lot and the entire drive-in was turned around to face the opposite direction. This new screen sat on a small patch of swamp land that was slightly separated from the lot. I’ve heard stories about how the projectionist would not sit on the toilet in the booth without first looking inside for water moccasins which had been known to surface in the bowl every so often. The open sewage pipe dumped right out into the bay allowing easy access for the critters to crawl in. The manager would sometimes drive to the theatre during the day with a pistol and shoot moccasins that were laying on the shore sunning themselves.

In many ads the drive-in’s tag line was “located on the shores of beautiful Tampa Bay.” In reality it was located off a small section of the bay and was surrounded by mosquito-filled swamp lands and marshes. The mosquitos were so bad especially during the summer months that every car entering received a free PIC Mosquito Coil. And believe me you needed it! Looking across the bay from the drive-in you had a nice view of industrial plants, smokestacks, and shipyards.

Although I didn’t see very many films here I remember seeing these: a Bob Hope Phyllis Diller comedy whose title escapes me, PSYCHO, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, THE GAY DECEIVERS, a midnight showing of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (advertised on the marquee as NIGHT OF THE FLESH EATERS), HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP (possibly the last film I saw here.)

Today the land where the Auto Park stood is empty and desolate. The box office, concessions, booth, and screen were all torn down. No trace or outline of the theatre or parking ramps are visible and nothing remains of the entrance or the road leading to the box office.

Opening day ad dated June 24, 1948:
View link
Program from 1964:
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Program from 1969:
View link

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 18, 2010 at 3:36 pm

nick,you gotta get working.TLSLOEWS and Robin are wanting some new material.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on March 18, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Admission 44 cents what a deal.

Nunzienick
Nunzienick on March 6, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Here’s a photo of the entrance dated 6/21/48 at the rear of the original screen. Years later a new screen was erected at the opposite end of the lot. More to come on this one.
View link

Nunzienick
Nunzienick on February 22, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Thanks Mike. I’ll try and get to this one after the Dale Mabry which I’m doing now.

Nunzienick
Nunzienick on February 22, 2010 at 10:05 pm

I saw several movies at the Auto Park. Yes, it was a Floyd Theatre for many years. I’ll be doing a little write-up on this one in the near future so stay tuned! It was one of Tampa’s earliest drive-ins.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on February 9, 2010 at 5:20 pm

I read the 20th Century story.GREAT ! Hope others will.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 2, 2010 at 1:43 pm

NIck, Can’t believe you haven’t added to all these Tampa Theatres.I keep looking for some of your great writings. Happy 2010.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 2, 2009 at 4:15 pm

I won’t have to use my MOTION PICTURE ALMANAC in Tampa! Nick, will answer them ALL.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 2, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Here’s another one NICK.