Grande Drive-In

101 Grande Drive,
Sullivan, MO 63080

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MichaelKilgore on June 26, 2019 at 11:24 pm

I don’t have a good closing date for the Grande except for what I read here on CT. USGS aerials showed in active in March 1980. The Motion Picture Almanac listed it through its final drive-in list in 1988, which means almost nothing. The MPA said it was owned by Eli Schwartz in 1955-66, Grande Invs. in 1977-82, and J. Jaeger in 1983-88. The ownership change in 1983 suggests it was open at least that long. A 1996 aerial showed the Grande dismantled by then.

Separately, Myron S. Woodcock’s obituary said he “owned and operated the Berwan Theatre and the Grande Drive-In, at Sullivan”.

MichaelKilgore on June 26, 2019 at 10:59 pm

A small Grand Opening ad for the Grande ran in the Franklin County Tribune (Union MO) on Aug. 22, 1952. The trade magazine The Exhibitor chimed in on Sept. 3 to say “In Sullivan, Mo., the Grande Drive-In has been opened by A. Schwartz, who also owns and operates the Grande Cafe and the Grande Tourist Court. His son, Eli Schwartz, is manager.”

But the local Sullivan Tri-County News, which should have had the best knowledge of the place, wrote that the Grande Drive-In finally opened on Sept. 10, 1952. I’ve uploaded the Grand Opening ad from the Sullivan Tri-County News of the Thursday before and checked the following week to see a normal ad for the Grande – no mention of any further delays.

The News' Sept. 4 front page story about the Grande said that Mr. A. Schwartz was the owner and E. Schwartz was the manager. The screen tower was 60 feet high, and there were “individual car speakers at each of the 300 parking stands.”

MichaelKilgore on June 26, 2019 at 10:06 pm

I found the answer to that motor court. Sure enough, it was the New Grande Courts Motor Hotel, built in 1949 by Abe Schwartz. (Postcard here.) Since he owned both, I’ll bet that guests on the west side could see the movie.

The New Grande Courts later became the Hitching Post Motel, then the Family Motor Inn, and as of this writing, it’s a Motel 6.

MichaelKilgore on June 23, 2019 at 7:04 pm

“Exhibitors seen along (St. Louis) Filmrow included … A. Schwartz, Grande Drive-In, Sullivan, Mo.” —BoxOffice, Aug. 29, 1953

MichaelKilgore on April 17, 2019 at 3:05 pm

An even better address is 101 Grande Dr, since the drive-in was at the corner of the Service Road and present-day Grande Drive.

What was that building that jutted into its viewing arc on the northeast side? It looks like a motor court, which would have given a third of its tenants a view of the screen.

Kenmore on November 16, 2014 at 4:35 pm

The Drive-In was located where 295 N Service Road W is today. There is nothing left of the drive-in.