Broadway Drive-In

4300 S. Broadway,
St. Louis, MO 63111

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Broadway Drive-In

The Broadway Drive-In was the only ozoner within the city limits of St. Louis. Opened on May 30, 1954 with Gary Cooper in “Return to Paradise” & John Payne in “99 River Street”. The Broadway Drive-In had a 550 car capacity.

It was located on S. Broadway right next to the City workhouse. (Part of the St. Louis Jail System) Tuesday night was buck night whereby admission was 1 or a carload for $1.00.

The Broadway Drive-In was closed in October 1964 and was demolished to make way for Interstate 55 as it made its way through the city. From the back side of the drive-in you could look out and see the Mississippi River.

A strip shopping center replaced the drive-in and the old city workhouse. It has a Walgreens Drug Store and had a super market that is now a Big Lots Closeout Store.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

JAlex
JAlex on February 17, 2006 at 2:23 pm

Some corrections are needed:

1) The Broadway Drive-In was not the only ozoner within the St. Louis city limits. The THUNDERBIRD, at Natural Bridge and Goodfellow, also qualifies.

2) The Broadway was not built by Mid-America. The venue, which opened in May 1954, was a Ray Parker operation. Parker, then mayor of the suburb of Brentwood, also was involved with the Skyline Drive-In in Bridgeton.

3) The Broadway was always the Broadway. It was never known as the Holiday, which was an operation in the county on Page (and a Mid-America operation).

Kerry Manderbach
Kerry Manderbach on June 18, 2009 at 7:11 am

There are still some stores there, Family Dollar, Subway, Radio Shack, Hardees, etc. The Hollywood/Blockbuster video is out of business. Also a new O'Reilly’s Auto Parts has just been built close to the Big Lots building, which is still unoccupied.

JAlex
JAlex on May 29, 2014 at 2:11 am

The advertisement above saying opening night will be May 26th does not reflect the minor delay in opening the venue. Actual opening took place on May 30th, 1954 with a double-bill of “Return to Paradise” and “99 River Street.”

The drive-in did not close in 1962, but hung on until October 18, 1964 when it closed with the triple-bill of “Bikini Beach”, “Comedy of Terrors” and “Her Bridal Night.”

Architectural credit was given to James L. Willingham & Associates.

rivest266
rivest266 on February 27, 2016 at 2:52 pm

May 30th, 1954 grand opening ad in the photo section. It has a aerial drawing of the drive-in.

Norman Plant
Norman Plant on June 25, 2019 at 11:30 pm

The victim of eminent domain. I-55 cut right through where the screen and the east field of the drive-in was.

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on June 25, 2019 at 11:47 pm

Starting in December 1954 and continuing for at least a year, the Broadway hosted a shuttle for folks who wanted to park there and shop downtown. It cost 10 cents to park, 35 cents for the round-trip fare.

The Oct. 4, 1961 St. Louis Post-Dispatch said that A. Ray Parker, mayor of Brentwood, “divides his working day between the mayor’s job and management of an outdoor motion picture theater which he owns”. He had headed six corporations owning movie theaters, but only one was active at the time of the article, presumably the one with the Broadway.

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on June 25, 2019 at 11:56 pm

The 1955-56 Theatre Catalog and all Motion Picture Almanac drive-in list appearances (1956-67) for the Broadway list a capacity of 800, owner A. R. Parker.

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on June 26, 2019 at 12:14 am

In 1963, Broadway Drive-In Theatre, Inc. lost a lawsuit against the US regarding taxes collected in 1955-57. The full decision, on Leagle, and the part I find most interesting is the list of corporation members:

  • A. R. Parker, Pres. & Treas., 120 shares, 24%
  • Edward E. Bischoff, 1st Vice Pres., 120 shares, 24%
  • Benjamin Hess, 2nd Vice Pres., 120 shares, 24%
  • Earl E. Rafferty, 3rd Vice Pres., 120 shares, 24%
  • Norman C. Parker, Secretary, 10 shares, 2%
  • Francis C. Flynn, Ass't Secretary, 10 shares, 2%
davidcoppock
davidcoppock on June 26, 2019 at 3:51 pm

Opened with “The man behind the gun” and “Sabre Jet”.

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on June 26, 2019 at 5:26 pm

As JAlex’s comment indicated, the Broadway was planning to open with The Man Behind the Gun and Sabre Jet, but it didn’t actually open until a few days later when Return to Paradise and 99 River Street were booked.

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