Pleasant Valley Drive-In

47 River Road,
Barkhamsted, CT 06063

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Pleasant Valley Drive-In

The Pleasant Valley Drive-In in Barkhamsted, having opened in 1947, is one of only two drive-ins remaining in the state of Connecticut, as of 2014 (the Mansfield Drive-In in Mansfield Center is the other one).

Its single screen, 250 car capacity, is open seasonally on the weekends and Thursday evenings in peak summer, and shows first run movies. The McGrane family, who also own a local diner, bought this drive-in in 1995 when it was being sold due to its owner fearing competition from a new multiplex being built nearby.

Contributed by Roger Katz

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

movies10063 on September 5, 2009 at 4:07 am

This place is great the McGrane family is friendly and make you feel at home its awesome getting a burger or fries at the concession stand the kids play ball or frisbee before the show reminds me of old simpler times they even play the old intermission snack ads between shows if your in the area support it its a piece of americana that needs to be treasured.

jwmovies on November 10, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Above address does not map properly. Use River Rd & Morgan Brook Rd.

bicyclereporter on September 10, 2013 at 3:03 pm

i was in Cornwall Bridge in late July and saw a sign for movies on the gas station for the beginning of August for Wolverine and Turbo. I’m posting the pic now.

Scotty on June 13, 2014 at 2:34 pm

They went digital and the picture now is bright and super sharp. The sound went through an upgrade as well. It comes in deep and crystal clear over the radio!

Scotty on June 16, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Here is a link to their site so you can check out their weekly schedule! Pleasant Valley Drive In

MichaelKilgore on October 5, 2017 at 4:32 pm

There’s a superb story of the last weekend of the 2014 season with the current owner (Donna McGrane), the previous owners (Brady and Sally Miller), and the local guy who raised the money for the digital projector’s down payment (Travis Lipinski). The story’s at Entertainment Weekly of all places.

MichaelKilgore on October 5, 2017 at 9:28 pm

The 1948-49 Theatre Catalog listed the Rogers Corner Dr. in Bark Hamsted (sic), owner Vincent Yarmatz, capacity 300. The 1949-50 edition has the People’s Dr. in Winsted (5 miles west), same owner and capacity. By 1952, People’s was in Pleasant Valley, owned by L. Cintrella and V. Yarmatz. The 1955-56 edition showed it owned by just L. Centrella, capacity increased to 343.

The 1952-53 Motion Picture Almanac showed the Rogers Corner Drive-In in Pleasant Valley, owned by Peoples Drive-In Theatre Corp., capacity 300. It stayed that way through 1966. It became Rogers Corners in the 1969-76 editions. The 1982-88 International MPAs had it back to the singular Rogers Corner, owned by D. Heilbron.

A 2013 Hartford Courant article said McGrane had owned the drive-in “for 17 years”. A 2008 New York Times article said that McGrane bought the Pleasant Valley “11 years ago”. Both suggest the purchase happened a year or two after 1995.

The Times also mentioned that “In the ’70s, like many theaters, it survived by showing what the multiplexes couldn’t: X-rated movies.”

MichaelKilgore on October 5, 2017 at 10:17 pm

That name of the Rogers Corner’s founder, co-owner and former president should have been Vincent J. Youmatz, who sued the corporation according to an article in the Dec. 3, 1949 Billboard magazine. “John Youmatz, Winsted, is the present president, with Louis Centrella, New York, as secretary.”

MichaelKilgore on October 6, 2017 at 2:48 am

From the owner via private message:

In the 50’s it was the Peoples Drive In. It was changed to Rogers Corner when Don Heilbron bought it in the 70’s.

Brady Miller and his wife bought it in the late 80’s and changed the name to Pleasant Valley Drive In because Don had resorted to running X rated movies because people stopped going to the drive in and thats what brought the customers in. It took Brady 3 years before people started realizing it was a family venue again and only ran family movies.

I bought the drive in in 1996. This is my 22nd summer. Don Heilbron bought from original owners and Brady bought from Don I believe it was 1987 because he had owned for 9 years when I bought it.

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