Bel-Air Drive-In

Bel Air Drive,
Granite City, IL 62040

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Showing 18 comments

JAlex on July 21, 2018 at 9:13 am

The (Alton) Telegraph story gives the location of the venue as Pontoon Beach. A detailed map search agrees.

davidcoppock on July 21, 2018 at 6:48 am

The Chuck Norris movies were called “Missing in action”.

Drive-In Theatre Preservation Society
Drive-In Theatre Preservation Society on July 21, 2018 at 6:32 am

Sign of the times: Old Bel-Air Drive-In sign dismantled, sold to collector

davidcoppock on February 19, 2018 at 5:01 am

The Vietnam era movie could be one of the Rambo movies or one of the Chuck Norris movies(where went back to rescue soliders though to be missing in action?), i forget the name of those movies?

jwmovies on September 16, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Address is now Granite City not Mitchell. Bel Air Avenue is where the entrance was located. Some of the ramps are still visible.

Please update.

Kenmore on February 26, 2015 at 5:53 am

In addition to the marquee, you can still see a partial outline and some ramps.

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.

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”.

JAlex on December 27, 2009 at 11:47 am

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

kencmcintyre on September 26, 2009 at 10:45 am

It was hidden under another one. No worries.

kencmcintyre on September 26, 2009 at 10:20 am

That photo looks familiar.

DavidZornig on September 25, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Here’s a silly question.
Did the Bel-Air Drive In’s name actually have the hyphen/dash in the middle of it?
The sign appears to have taken some creative license with an extended portion of the “A”. But with the spacing between the “Bel” and the “Air”, it appears to me to really be just the “Bel Air”.

I only ask because all of the posts refer to it as the Bel-Air. Just curious. I guess only the incorporation papers might yield the answer. Just curious.

VentArc on January 26, 2009 at 9:18 pm

As a kid back in the late 50’s, the projectionists (Van and Ronnie, I still remember their names) let me stand in the projection room doorway to watch the action. Strong Super 135 arc lamps, Simplex XL projectors, a changeover every 20 minutes — it was a much better show than the movie. A door on the rear wall led to the motor-generator room (to rectify current for the arc lamps), with a door on the other side leading back to the concession area. The projection ports didn’t have glass but had blowers to keep out the bugs (and cold air in the winter). Seems like just yesterday.

kencmcintyre on November 29, 2007 at 6:08 pm

Here is an April 2007 article about the Bel-Air along with another photo of the marquee:

BlueDevilMN on September 3, 2006 at 8:33 am

The Bel-Air is an integral part of my childhood. My family and I lived in Mitchell, not far from the drive-in, but I can only recall going there a handful of times. The first movie I can remember going to there was “The French Connection,” conking out before the movie even started. Still, if we happened to be out driving somewhere and our route took us past the Bel-Air, I’d have to look at the screen to see what was playing and look at the neon sign in front. I have the distinct memory of seeing Hitchcock’s “Frenzy” as we passed it one night, and seeing the film as an adult I can pick out which scene it was.

I don’t know how common this was among drive-ins, but the Bel-Air would have “dusk to dawn” marathons every year, usually a series of horror movies. I would see ads in the Granite City Press-Record and fliers around town. I never went to one, and I don’t know anyone who ever did.

The BAC chain owned several video stores in the area, and when the drive-in closed, the car speakers were sold in the stores, touted as unique souvenirs.

RangerMK on January 7, 2006 at 11:55 pm

As of January 2006, grading and construction is well underway for the industrial park. In the meantime, the rather tattered sign still stands alongside I-270/US 66.