Keno Drive-In

9102 Sheridan Road,
Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158

850 cars

Unfavorite 6 people favorited this theater

Additional Info

Architects: Louis A. Arru

Previous Names: Keno Family Drive-In

Nearby Theaters

KENO FAMILY OUTDOOR THEATRE; Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.

The Keno Family Drive-In opened on May 18, 1949 with Dennis Morgan in “The Time, the Place and the Girl”. It had a capacity for 850 cars. Initially it was a second run theatre operated by the Standard Theaters Management Corp. chain. It featured a miniature railway and pony rides in the play area.

It was the oldest operating drive-in theatre in the State of Wisconsin. The Keno Drive-In showed movies every night from May to October. It was closed at the end of the 2014 season.

Contributed by Pete Christy

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

DavidZornig on April 14, 2015 at 3:53 am

April 10, 2015 Chicago Tribune article on the Keno. Copy & paste to view.

NYozoner on April 14, 2015 at 5:03 am

Status is definitely now closed. Extremely unlikely to reopen, as property owner has terminated the lease with the company which operated the drive-in, and has publicly stated that it will not re-open. Ever. Plans have been submitted to redevelop the property for retail.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on April 14, 2015 at 3:37 pm

That is sad to see it had to close. That is what happens when the drive-in theatre operators do not own the property where the drive-in theatre sits on. I know a few drive-ins like that. The operators own the equipment (screen towers, concession stand, etc.) but not the land.

LouRugani on April 14, 2015 at 7:00 pm

No Wal-Mart at Keno site; Plan Commission denies request to change land plan (Kenosha News, April 14, 2015)

PLEASANT PRAIRIE — The village’s Plan Commission on Monday night voted unanimously to deny alternatives to amend its comprehensive plan, including one that involved a proposal for a “big box” retailer at the site of the Keno Drive-In by property owner Steve Mills of Bear Development to change the comprehensive plan to allow for a 150,000-square-foot Wal-Mart supercenter. T The hearing was preceded by an informal two-hour “open village forum” which drew as many as 100 people, many supporters of keeping the drive-in open. Mills said that while his family enjoyed the drive-in, he acquired the property so it could be developed and said making the drive-in viability would require upgrades that would be “prohibitive financially.” Mills said people who want to support it should put together a non-profit organization, hold fundraisers to prove to donors that it can be viable. “But it’s not the responsibility of me or my family to provide that,” he said. Mills said he would be willing to support the community’s efforts if there was interest.

Eli Shai Riley, who attends LakeView Technology Academy, said he and a group of students have a proposal that would include the Keno Drive-In and want to work with Mills. Riley, Austin Skundberg and Nathan Davis described a plan to have a slightly downsized Keno Drive-In bolstered by restaurants. “We hope to work with Bear Realty to develop the best plan for everyone,” he said.

Joe Mangi, former Kenosha Unified School District superintendent, lauded the village for keeping the community family-oriented, though he said he did not want to see the village without the Keno.

“Why would we give up a 70-year-old jewel … for a big-box store?” he said. “It’s Pleasant Prairie. It isn’t Everywhere USA. Wal-Mart creates blight wherever they go. They’ll knock out the Piggly Wiggly. … They are like an amoeba. We have eight big-box stores in our community already,” he said. “We’ve got only one Keno Drive-In, and that is part of our history.”

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on February 14, 2016 at 2:16 pm

Here is you tube video about the death of the Keno Drive-In HERE

LouRugani on February 15, 2016 at 6:20 pm

It’s very well done … but they list the wrong name on the theatre.

Dave Lounder THE DRIVE-IN THEATRE PRESERVATION SOCIETY on November 5, 2019 at 12:27 am

@LouRugani: Mr. Rugani, Are you referring to the ‘Keno’ nickname? Thanks, Drive-In Dave Lounder

davidcoppock on November 5, 2019 at 1:36 am

Opened with 2 colour cartoons and “The time, the place and the girl”.

LouRugani on November 5, 2019 at 2:30 am

The original name and spellings: “Keno Family Drive-In Theatre”.

MichaelKilgore on November 3, 2020 at 4:41 pm

Boxoffice, April 1, 1950: “Although crop dusting is an established practice in the agricultural south, Thomas Finin, manager of the Keno Family Drive-In near Kenosha, Wis., applied the technique to his theatre area to rid it of mosquitoes. When the boring insects made it so uncomfortable for patrons in cars they began to abandon the drive-in, Finin employed a local crop spraying form who covers the area with DDT sprayed from a plane flying some 20 feet above the ground. The treatment has proved entirely successful.”

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