Hilltop Drive-In

1800 Maple Road,
Joliet, IL 60432

623 cars

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Hilltop Drive-In

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Operating since at least 1955, this popular 1950’s-vintage drive-in, with a large, single screen, and capacity for 623 cars, closed suddenly in the middle of the 2001 season and has remained abandoned since, falling victim to vandals and disrepair.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

TRAINPHOTOS on May 17, 2005 at 8:35 pm

To see great photos of this place as it existed in 2002, go to the following website http://www.geocities.com/chucksphotospot Then click on “Urban Exploration”, and then “Hilltop Drive-In. This guy has great pictures of urban ruins!

kencmcintyre on May 10, 2008 at 2:22 pm

Here is a photo from waymarking.com:

HilltopKen on October 31, 2008 at 6:30 pm

I worked as a security guard at the Hilltop 1970 – 1972 back when L&M Management Co ran it and the Rialto and either the Princess or Mode theater. The screen had 4 or five floors of storage space accessible with stairs and ladders. Mostly junk up there back then.

DavidZornig on October 31, 2008 at 8:59 pm

Wow, this place is haunting. Great location for a film’s climax of some sort.

Does anyone know if the nearby town of Lemont had any movie theatres of it’s own?
I know the old drug store on the main drag near the I&M Canal is still there. Budds or whatever it is.
Along with a few landmark taverns & restaurants.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 22, 2010 at 7:01 pm

SiliconSam,Great video of the Hilltop.

keycom on February 7, 2014 at 2:15 pm

My father Irwin Joseph owned and operated the Hilltop until his death in 1957. Judging by HilltopKen’s post, the theater must have been sold to L&M Management after my dad died (I have no personal knowledge of to whom it was sold, and my mom Marjorie-Lee Joseph is no longer around to tell me, sadly). My dad also was a movie distributor in the mid ‘50s, specializing in “exploitation” films including “She Shoulda Said No” (a/k/a “Wild Weed”), “Ecstasy” (Hedy Lamar’s first film, in which she appears nude) and four birth-of-a-baby movies (“Mom and Dad”, “Bob and Sally”, “Street Corner” and “Because of Eve”). Between the third and the fourth reel, a lecturer, the “noted expert on sexual hygiene Mr. Alexander Leeds” and other fictitiously named individuals — all ex-carnival barkers — would give a 20-minute talk that was actually a pitch for a sex-hygiene manual. Each movie had its own pair of manuals, one for women and one for men. My mom wrote at least one of those pairs. I remember as a teen-ager, tromping around the Hilltop lot carrying stacks of books, approaching each car with our standard pitch: “One of each?” It usually worked. We charged a buck each and the books cost a dime each to print. Another reminiscence: David F. Friedman, my dad’s “vice president in charge of vice,” filmed an early soft-porn film called “Lucky Pierre” on the Hilltop lot over a long weekend. I wasn’t notified until well after the deed was done, darn it — I’d certainly have made a point to be on hand. Cinephiles and students of exploitation and nudie films will recognize Dave’s name — he went on to become a leading impresario of the form and headed the Adult Film Assn. of America for a time.

Frank S. Joseph Chevy Chase MD

P.S. If you check out the CinemaTreasures entry for the old States Theatre at 3507 S. State St., Chicago, you’ll see my post there too. My grandpa Nathan Joseph owned and operated the States all his adult life. My novel TO LOVE MERCY (ISBN 0-9744785-3-9) is set in part in the “Calumet Theatre,” the stand-in for the States. Finally, my uncle Richard Salkin managed the old Jackson Park Theater at 67th and Stony Island Ave. The Jackson Park is famous in movie-industry lore for giving its name to a Supreme Court case that ultimately forced the major film companies to divest the movie theaters they owned.

keycom on February 7, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Correction: Thanks to IMdB.com, I now remember the full correct title was “The Adventures of Lucky Pierre.” From the IMdB entry: “A man imagines that everybody he sees is naked. He goes to see a psychiatrist to see if he can be cured.” The movie starred a baggy-pants burlesque comic named Billy Falbo and was directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis, later to make a big name as a direct-mail guru. I’m something of a DM guru myself, as it happens. Some years ago I was in Florida and looked Herschell up. He was then a very old man, but still writing copy for clients. He didn’t remember me, of course (I was a teen-ager), and didn’t actually have a lot to say about my dad or Dave Friedman either; he’d moved on and made a new life in direct marketing.

Frank Joseph, Mister DMâ„¢ Chevy Chase MD

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