Bel-Air Drive-In

1117 E. Chain of Rocks Road,
Mitchell, IL 62040

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Bel-Air Drive-In

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Bel-Air opened in the mid-1950’s as a single-screen drive-in, situated off the historic Route 66. It was originally part of the Mid-America Theatres chain, based in St. Louis. In the 1970’s, a second screen was built. At one time, the Bel-Air Drive-In could accomodate about 700 cars.

Its concession building also housed a tiny indoor seating area, with a large picture window, for when the weather was bad (since it was originally open year-round).

BAC Theatres ran the drive-in from 1982 until it closed in 1987. The Bel-Air Drive-In was completely demolished by the mid-1990’s except for its colorful and classy marquee (a large, bright red bell is behind the name of the drive-in), still in fairly good shape (except for the “R” in the “Air” part of the theater’s name is missing).

An industrial park is being constructed on the site of the Bel-Air Drive-In.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 26, 2009 at 9:36 am

That’s not really a silly question. If you search for this theater without using the hyphen on Cinema Treasures, you won’t find it. So it is important that the name is spelled correctly. Cinematour and list it as the Bel-Air. The sign in the photo has no hyphen and the 1985 IMPA lists this drive-in as the Bel Air with a space and no hyphen. I don’t know which one is correct but the majority of the websites that have photos or information about this drive-in use the hyphen in the name.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 26, 2009 at 10:19 am

I don’t if this means anything but notice in this photo that there is no hyphen in the word drive-in either.

kencmcintyre on September 26, 2009 at 10:20 am

That photo looks familiar.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 26, 2009 at 10:25 am

Are you saying that it’s already been posted?

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 26, 2009 at 10:42 am

Sorry about that. I thought I clicked on all of the links.

kencmcintyre on September 26, 2009 at 10:45 am

It was hidden under another one. No worries.

JAlex on December 27, 2009 at 11:47 am

Venue operated from 1953 to 1986. The second screen was added in 1979.

Stomp on September 16, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Saw a war movie here that took place in the Vietnam era. Very violent. A guy was walking down a path and a tree stump with spikes came out of a tree and impaled him. LOL Far out.Wish I could remember the name of the movie. Also saw the Dick Van Dyke flick “Cold Turkey”.

DAL on September 17, 2012 at 9:03 am

That Vietnam movie sounds like “The Green Berets” with John Wayne. Jim Hutton met his demise in the fashion described.

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