Tesuque Drive-In

4000 Pennsylvania Street NE,
Albuquerque, NM 87110

850 cars

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Tesuque Drive-In

In 1949 the Tesuque Drive-In was operated by Claude Graves with 320 cars. In 1950 the Tesuque Drive-In was operated by Cliff Butler still with a 320 car capacity. In 1952, the Tesuque Drive-In was operated by Tom Griffing and had a capacity for 780 cars and 100 seats for walk-in patrons.

In the 1955-1957 editions of Film Daily Yearbook there is a listing for Tesuque Twin Drive-In and the car capacity was 850. It was listed in the Film Daily Yearbooks of 1964 & 1968 as the Tesuque Drive-In and was still open in 1976.

Contributed by A.L. Vazquez-Hernandez

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

NeonMichael on April 1, 2019 at 8:50 pm

An article in the Oct. 6, 1977 Albuquerque Tribune said that the residents of the La Mesa neighborhood, with the help of the City Council, had purchased the Tesuque “at 500 Tennessee NE” to turn it into a park and community center. That became the present Mesa Verde Park.

I’m not sure of the exact closing date, but the Tesuque’s manager, Robert Millard, reported being robbed in August 1976.

The Tesuque’s first ad in the Albuquerque Journal, as far as I could find, was Aug. 7, 1949. It didn’t mention a grand opening but said it was “Albuquerque’s newest drive-in theatre”.

Historic Aerials shows a narrower field for the Tesuque in 1951, wider in 1959, then expanding to its full size by 1967.

davidcoppock on April 1, 2019 at 9:09 pm

Why the name Tesuque?

NeonMichael on May 14, 2019 at 3:55 pm

I just noticed that between 1951 and 1967 the Tesuque moved its screen from north-facing to northeast-facing. Offhand, I can’t think of another single-screen drive-in that ever moved its screen. Anybody have other examples?

A quick Google search led to a Wikipedia page about the place, the pueblo, and the literary references to Tesuque.

The 1952 Theatre Catalog shows the Tesuque with a capacity of 320, owner Cliff Butler. The 1955-56 edition includes the Tesuque Twin (cap. 850, Marlin Butler), but none of the aerial photos or topo maps show a second screen. I think someone at the catalog got it mixed up with the Terrace Twin.

Motion Picture Almanac drive-in list appearances:

  • 1950-56: capacity 368, owner Cliff Butler
  • 1957-66: 656, Cliff Butler
  • 1967-76: 656 (no owner info)
  • 1977-82: no capacity, Video
  • 1983: (finally) off the list
Kenmore on May 14, 2019 at 5:31 pm

The drive-in had the square screen in 1951 and 1959 aerial photos. Then built a widescreen by the 1967 aerial.

Many drive-ins simply replaced or put a widescreen in front of the older screen. It appears the Tesuque took advantage of the additional space and re-positioned the new screen.

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