Halsted Twin Outdoor Theatre

745 W. 138th Street,
Riverdale, IL 60627

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Halsted Outdoor 1966-1978

Opened in 1950 for the Essaness circuit as the Four Screen Drive-In and located on S. Halsted Street, at 138th Street in the southern Chicago suburb of Riverdale. Each screen could accommodate 300 cars and was the first quad screen drive-in to be built. It had a miniature train ride for the kids. This drive in was renamed the Halsted Outdoor Theatre by 1955, and it operated with only one screen.

By the early-1970’s, the drive-in was often playing blaxploitation films. In 1979, a second screen was added, and the name was changed to the Halsted Twin Drive-In. The drive-in closed in the late-1980’s, was briefly reopened for the 1991 season, and after that was closed permanently.

In 1994-95, the theater was demolished, and a post office was built on the site.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 22 comments)

rivest266
rivest266 on June 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm

1936, 1952, 1962, 1988, 1998 and 2007 aerial photos uploaded in the photo section for this theatre.

carl3615
carl3615 on September 13, 2013 at 3:26 pm

One of screens and some signage of the demolished Halsted Outdoor is presently (2013) in use by the Melody Drive In, Knox, IN. I’ve added an earlier article and a pic of Halsted.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 13, 2013 at 6:20 pm

good stories alanjw.

Kris4077
Kris4077 on July 8, 2014 at 8:38 am

This concept may have worked if all for screens came from one projector, then there would not have been any need for the projectionist to strike. If they could have taken the Cinema 360 concept with a screen for every car and scaled it down to four screens.

Thxpix
Thxpix on October 20, 2014 at 4:11 am

When the Halsted Drive In was a four screen operation, they used beam splitters so they were really only showing 2 movies. Their idea was to provide a closer image to each car. I worked on all of the drive in equipment in the greater Chicago area although at that time they were back to a twin operation. Jerry C. Local 110

Thxpix
Thxpix on October 20, 2014 at 4:11 am

When the Halsted Drive In was a four screen operation, they used beam splitters so they were really only showing 2 movies. Their idea was to provide a closer image to each car. I worked on all of the drive in equipment in the greater Chicago area although at that time they were back to a twin operation. Jerry C. Local 110

Billsko
Billsko on August 29, 2016 at 6:09 am

Summer 1986 was my best memory of the Halsted Twin.

Lethal Weapon, The Fly, Texas Chainsaw II,Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, etc.

I had HELLA fun!

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on May 20, 2019 at 11:27 am

To pick up on Joe Vogel’s comment here from 2008, here’s a note from the Motion Picture Herald of June 19, 1954 about how and why the Halsted got renamed and reopened:

Four-Screen Drive-In, 138th and Halsted, $325,000 installation that ran into projectionists trouble and remained closed last season, reopened with a single huge screen measuring 50 by 90 feet. The outdoor theater has been renamed the Halsted drive-in.

davidcoppock
davidcoppock on May 23, 2019 at 5:07 am

Why the name Halsted?

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on May 23, 2019 at 5:20 am

Because it was located at the intersection of Halsted Street and 138th Street. It is in the first sentence of the description/Overview at the top of the page.

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