Bellevue Drive-In

6016 W. Plank Road,
Bellevue, IL 61604

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The Bellevue Drive-In opened in 1948, and could originally accomodate about 750 cars. It was the largest drive-in in downstate Illinois at the time. It was operated by the General Drive-In Theatre Corporation.

In 1960, Chicago-based Kohlberg Theaters took over the Bellevue Drive-In and almost doubled its car capacity. In 1963, it had its moment in the spotlight when it hosted the world premiere of the drive-in kitschy-horror classic “Blood Feast”. However, later that decade and through the 1970’s, the Bellevue Drive-In would become known for screening mostly adult, and later, pornographic movies.

A fire in the late-1970’s destroyed the drive-in, and it was afterward demolished and replaced by what was to be a new K-Mart store. Oddly, K-Mart suddenly changed its mind and never opened the store. After sitting vacant for a number of years, the building became home to a mail order business, which it remains today.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

JeffCarlson on January 6, 2007 at 2:41 am

This drive-in opened on August 29, 1948 … it’s opening night feature was “Pirates of Monterey” starring Maria Montez and Rod Cameron. It’s original capacity was 750 vehicles but by the time it was purchased by Chicago exhibitor Stan Kohlberg in 1960 it had expanded to it’s final 1400 vehicle capacity.

scottfavareille on December 19, 2007 at 7:02 pm

The DVD of Blood Feast has both Dave Friedman & Herschell Gordon Lewis (producer & director of Blood Feast) talking about their “partnership” with Kohlberg on this film & two others. After that partnership dissolved, Friedman would partner with the late Dan Sonney & co-found the Pussycat Theaters chain of “adult movie houses”

JeffCarlson on January 22, 2010 at 1:32 am

Here’s a nice shot of the entrance:

View link

omalley on October 20, 2010 at 9:49 pm

I was captain of ushers at Bellevue Drive-In during my high school days in 1956-57. While at work one evening, a fellow usher and I decided to put our names up on the Hwy. 116 Marquee sign. Our purpose was to take a quick photo to submit to our high school yearbook. The sign read, “Bill O'Malley and Jerry White star in, The Life of Elvis Presley.” At work a month later, a girl concession worker showed the yearbook w/ picture to my boss Mr. Szold. (I was worried and thought I would be fired).
As it turned out Mr. Szold thanked me for my work done and complimented me on the publicity given to the Bellevue Drive-In.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on October 20, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Great Story.I too thought about putting my name on a Clint Eastwood Movie a couple of times.Snap a picture and take Clint’s name down,,oh I meant MINE.LOL.I had plenty of times to do it was just too lazy to go back up on the marquee,Really wish I had now,Hope you have the “ELVIS” picture.

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