Ayr-Vu Drive-In

E. 30th Avenue and N. Plum Street,
Hutchinson, KS 67502

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Ayr-Vu Drive-In

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The Ayr-Vu Drive-In opened on July 27, 1949, featuring 1946 comedy “The Return of October” with Glenn Ford, Terry Moore and James Gleason. It was built and operated by Jay Wooten, Fred Moden and Charles Embick dba Wooten Theatres. Jay Wooten was a well-known name in the theatre circles in Kansas. Jay Wooten and Charles Embick theatre manager, held a contest to choose the new name for the drive-in theatre. Out of a thousand entries, Mrs. Sam Stanberry from Wichita, Kansas, was the chosen the winner. Her entry was the “Ayr-Vu Drive-In”.

The Ayr-Vu Drive-In was the only drive-in theatre in the area with a two-story concession stand/projection booth that was located at the rear of the 350 car capacity parking field. The picture throw was 400 feet to the screen. In May of 1958, Commonwealth Theatres took over the operation of the Ayr-Vu Drive-In along with the Southutch Drive-In Theatre from Jay Wooten. Wooten joined Commonwealth Theatres as a district manager for all of the new theatres that Commonwealth Theatres added in the district. In July of 1972, Jay Wooten and Dennis Montee dba Farmington Drive-In Theatres Association sold the Southutch and the Iris Drive-In Theatres to Commonwealth Theatres.

Wooten closed the Ayr-Vu Drive-In on July 31, 1972. This allowed the property to be redeveloped into the Alco Shopping Center which included a new indoor twin screen theatre. The new theatre was named the Cinema Twin and it was built by Wooten and Commonwealth Theatres. Wooten wanted to close the Ayr-Vu Drive-In with the movie “The Last Picture Show” but the scheduling did not work out. Instead he chose to screen “The Graduate”. Wooten was quoted as saying “The Graduate" is almost as fitting.”

Contributed by Randy Studer
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