French Village Drive-In

8601 California Drive,
East St. Louis, IL 62202

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Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on May 7, 2013 at 2:33 am

More pictures and information HERE

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on May 7, 2013 at 2:29 am

The St. Clair Ave address was the correct address back in the day, but they made St. Clair Ave a limited access road. So an access road was built so 8601 California Dr. is the correct address now.

jwmovies
jwmovies on October 4, 2012 at 7:06 pm

To map correctly, enter 8601 California Dr.

DAL
DAL on September 17, 2012 at 6:00 am

This location was a Plitt Theatre in 1976 when I joined the company. It was in the far south end of Ed Konradt’s district, which also included (at that time) the Wildey in Edwardsville, the Grand in Alton, and the Madison and Palace in Peoria. Plitt closed it within a few years; maybe that was when Bloomer took over. Sadly, years after its closure but before its demolition, the body in a murder case was discovered on the grounds.

Stomp
Stomp on September 16, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Saw the Raquel Welch flick “One Million Years B.C.” here in the 1960s and saw “The Omen” when it came out in the 70s. About 10 miles from my home. There is one other Drive in theatre here in the metro east St. Louis area about 6 miles away from this theatre called Skyview in Belleville Il Ive never been to that one and its still going strong! Amazing. Yes this license plate was for sale on Ebay BJ 5666 LOL!

rally67red
rally67red on July 11, 2011 at 7:43 pm

This was my favorite drive-in during the Seventies. Always favored it over the Skyview. I remember seeing a Disney double-feature…“The Cat from Outer Space” and “The Shaggy D.A.” My neighbor had a station wagon and we threw our sleeping bags up on the luggage rack. The first and only time I watched a movie on the roof of a car. Also, back in the day, we went to see “Star Wars” at French Village. My parents had a van (Seventies Van Craze Days!) as well as some friends of ours. We pulled one van in straight, backed the other van in next to ours, and opened the side doors. You could jump from one van to another. Too Cool! I was 8 and Star Wars blew my mind.

bbrown1
bbrown1 on April 15, 2009 at 3:07 pm

A picture post card image of the French Village Drive-In from the 50’s can be found by going to the following link and then clicking “View the Record” at the bottom of the page:

View link

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on September 8, 2008 at 5:54 am

Was mentioned in the documentary “Drive-In Movie Memories” in 2001.

bbrown1
bbrown1 on July 11, 2007 at 4:59 pm

The French Village Drive In was actually opened through about 1989, as I saw THE FLY II and I’M GONNA GET YOU SUCKA there is what I believe was its last year of operation. BAC had pulled out, and it was operated as an independent in its last year. It was never actually an X-rated theatre, but during the it’s later years with BAC, they ran X-rated features at midnight on Saturday night after the regular features had ended. They cleared the field before letting you in for the X rated show, and if you had been there earlier, you had to come back in and pay a second time (and obviously prove you were over 18!)

Even in its last year, The French Village was impressive though worse for the wear after so many years. It broke my heart to see it decay after it closed. I seem to remember that in the late 90’s, there was talk about it being reopened, but nothing ever came of it. A church bought the property, and plans to build a new church building there.

For many years, the French Village was the last active movie theatre in East St Louis, and there have been no theatres at all in East St Louis since it closed.

Bob Brown