Arroyo Drive-In

321 S. Broadway,
Cortez, CO 81321

300 cars

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Arroyo Drive-In

The Arroyo Drive-In was opened on April 17, 1952. It was closed in 1988

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

jwmovies on September 4, 2012 at 5:22 am

Approx. address for this drive-in was 321 South Broadway. It is now a mobile home park.

cc44 on December 21, 2013 at 3:36 pm

This drive-in opened in 1952.

MichaelKilgore on June 21, 2019 at 6:48 am

The Arroyo debuted in the 1951 Film Daily Year Book.

The 1952 Theatre Catalog listed the Arroyo, capacity 500, “Exec: Owen Maxey, Mgr.” The 1955-56 Catalog lowered the capacity to 300 and changed the Exec to Mr. and Mrs. Torenzio Gai.

Motion Picture Almanac appearances for the Arroyo:

  • 1953-66: capacity 300, owner E. H. Davison
  • 1967-76: 300 (no owner info)
  • 1977-82: 350, Allen Ths.
  • 1983-88: 1 screen, Allen Theas.

The Arroyo was not included in Allen Theatres' holdings in the circuits section of the 1977-82 MPAs, but arrived in the 1983 edition. Maybe for once the drive-in list guy knew more than the circuit list guy?

MichaelKilgore on June 21, 2019 at 6:57 am

Some kind of drive-in was open in Cortez in 1949. Did it become the Arroyo? From the Nov. 12, 1949 issue of BoxOffice: “CORTEZ, COLO. – The Independent Drive-In Theatre near here has been closed for the season, according to Phillip Belt, owner.”

MichaelKilgore on September 11, 2019 at 8:31 am

There’s a magnificent article by Mark Wolfe in the Winter 2007 issue of Colorado Heritage, although he mistook the Arroyo’s April 17, 1952 season-opening ad (clearly marked as “Spring Opening”) for the grand opening. The article, “Silver Screens Under Starry Skies,” is hard to find (cough Google), but here are the high points:

Edward Davidson built the Arroyo, which held 300 cars. In 1952, Terenzio and Anna Gai bought a half-interest, and they eventually became its sole owners. In the “early ‘60s,” their daughter Margory acquired the Arroyo along with the rest of the town’s theaters.

In 1967, Margory Gai sold the Arroyo along with Cortez’s indoor theaters to Allen Theatres, started by Lane Allen of Farmington. “In 1988 Lee (sic?) learned that it would cost him $7,500 to repaint the screen, and he decided to close the theater.” He gave the sign to a local collector.

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