Morton Grove Drive-In

9500 Waukegan Road,
Morton Grove, IL 60053

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Previous Names: Drive-In

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Morton Grove Drive-In

The Drive-In opened June 12, 1941 with Robert Young in “The Trial of Mary Dugan”. It could accommodate 1,160 cars. It was located at Waukegan Road and Golf Road. Later known as the Morton Grove Drive-In, it was still open in 1957.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

EricV on October 9, 2008 at 3:44 pm

Tribune-12/7/40:Plan Open-Air Drive-In In Morton Grove
The leasing of a 30 acre tract in Morton Grove yesterday by the Illinois Drive-In Theaters company, Inc. started work towards the third open air movie theater for the Chicago area. The site is on the west side of Waukegan road, a quarter of a mile north of Beckwith Road.
A preliminary payment of $3,000 was made on the $18,750 rent total for the 10 year term. The lessee has an option to buy prior to Nov. 1, 1945 for $30,000. After that date the price will be $40,000,
according to the lease filed for record yesterday.

EricV on October 9, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Tribune-6/8/41:Huge Drive-In Theater Will Open Thursday
The largest drive-in theater in the world, located at Waukegan and Golf roads just west of Evanston, will open Thursday (June 12, 1941)
The $165,000 theater covers 20 acres which allows parking space for 1,160 cars. The screen is seven and a half stories high, mounted on a nine story elevation.
When a car arrives, girl ushers on bicycles will guide the driver to a stall. Vacant stalls are indicated on a large electric sign. Each car is in back of and elevated above the car in front. The incline also allows those in the back seat to see over those in the front seat. Cars are arranged so that a person can enter or leave during the performance without disturbing others.
There are individual loud speakers for each car and in the winter the speaker will be attached to the heater in your car. Upon request ushers will serve refreshments, and service station attendants will check tires, gas and oil during the performance.

EricV on October 9, 2008 at 6:14 pm

CORRECTION ON THE LOCATION-Did some further checking and the theater was indeed located at the southeast corner of Golf & Waukegan. Found a real estate subdivision ad from 1945 that had a map and the drive-in is shown taking up that entire corner. Maybe the location plans changed from 1940 to 1941 or the Trib just got it wrong. Sorry for the confusion.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on October 9, 2008 at 6:37 pm

There is a large Avon cosmetics plant located on that corner now.

It must have been distracting to have railway trains passing during the movie presentation.

EricV on October 11, 2008 at 5:36 pm

Avon bought the land (20 acres) circa May 1955 for approximately $360,000 per the Tribune of June 5, 1955. Groundbreaking started July 14, 1955 for the (350,000 square foot) $3,000,000 building.

DavidZornig on February 15, 2009 at 3:47 am

There used to be a regular police presence for traffic control, when Avon employees left in mass every afternoon after work.
Not sure whether Avon or a drive-in would accumulate more cars at a given time. But it goes without saying that the 1940’s & `50’s would have had way less cars on the road.

rivest266 on June 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm

This opened on June 12th, 1941. It’s grand opening ad is in the photo section for this theatre.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on July 22, 2012 at 3:37 am

Upload article from Box Office May 24,1941

DavidZornig on May 27, 2017 at 2:42 pm

1944 print ad added via David Floodstrand.

MichaelKilgore on July 20, 2019 at 3:18 pm

The June 25, 1944 Chicago Sun carried a short story that the “Drive-In Theater” would have a fireworks show on July 4 as part of a War Bond drive.

From the Sept. 9, 1945 Chicago Sun:

“With the removal of gasoline restrictions, the Drive In Theater has enjoyed such an upsurge of business that architects have been called in to reconstruct the entire left wing of the screen area to provide another ‘hold-out’ lot for 250 cars.

“Two weeks ago, a similar lot was opened on the right side of the theater to expedite entrance into the landscaped auditorium.”

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