Holiday Auto Theatre

1816 Old Oxford Road,
Hamilton, OH 45013

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Holiday Auto Theatre

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The Holiday Auto Theatre is a drive-in that opened on September 3, 1948 as the Hamilton Outdoor Theatre. The name was changed in 1951 to Holiday Auto Theatre. This drive-in has a capacity for 850 cars and is open all year.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

kencmcintyre on May 22, 2006 at 3:04 pm

This theater may be gone soon, according to this article:

hanksykes on June 16, 2007 at 1:53 pm

Recent death of owner Charles"Fred"Baum on Memorial Day 2007 at age 64 has not left the Holiday Auto Theatre with a dark screen. Current co-owner Gregory Reinhold and The Holiday employees continue to operate this venue as Fred would have wished, even though Baum put the Drive -In up for sale in 2006. This is Butler County’s only remaining Drive-In which Baum had purchased in 1995. At least the theatre is open for the summer season.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 14, 2008 at 1:55 pm

Looks like its still open. Here is a December 2007 photo.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 26, 2008 at 7:33 am

This drive-in is still open under new ownership. This is another photo.

tgilkey on October 17, 2008 at 8:31 pm

This Drive in is alive and well and does great business in the Cincinnati area. 2 gentleman looking for a drive in to operate found it in a national real estate listing and purchased it. They have kept up the year round films that Mr. Baum did and sometimes have retro weekends and special horror or other theme films all through the night. They are commited to keeping the place going. It is very family oriented as well.

oxtown on August 31, 2011 at 11:03 pm

The Holiday is still doing well in 2011…a link to their website:

Hellvis on December 3, 2011 at 11:48 pm

I love going here…still going strong and shows first run double features!…sometimes triple features.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on July 24, 2012 at 3:34 pm

DATE: March 26, 2006

PUBLICATION: Middletown Journal (OH)


HANOVER TOWNSHIP – Butler County’s last drive-in movie theater, one of only a handful in the country open all year, is up for sale, and its owner says it’s not likely a buyer will continue the operation. The Holiday Auto Theatre has been open on Old Oxford Road since 1948. But, after fighting with the county for seven years to add more screens needed to make the business viable, owner Fred Baum said it’s likely this will be the end of an era.

The property is listed for $650,000 with Re/Max Alpha of Oxford. “The reason for this is actually pretty simple,” theater spokesman Jeff Zeismann said. “The extra screens enable somebody to go to a movie this weekend and come back next weekend and see a different movie. It allows repeat business to cycle through quicker.” Zeismann said it’s nearly impossible to survive as a single-screen theater in a multi-screen world facing declining box office sales. After spending more than $50,000 in legal fees suing the county, architectural studies and the like trying to get the extra screens in, Zeismann said it’s no longer a smart investment. “They don’t have the money to continue to try to navigate the bureaucracy,” he said. “After a while, you just throw up your hands.” Baum’s request to add two screens was denied by the county’s board of zoning appeals in 1999 for fear that the added screens would distract drivers on Old Oxford Road and that the extra business could cause traffic jams. Because the drive-in predates the county’s zoning codes, the drive-in is allowed to operate on residentially zoned land. Any changes to that operation, though, must be approved by the zoning appeals board, said Butler County Department of Development Director Mike Juengling. Baum offered to sell the theater to adult entertainment businessman Jimmy Flynt after the commission turned down the added screens in 1999. Baum then sued the county, but lost. Juengling said Baum came back to work with the county’s planning and zoning staff, but refused to work through the process. “They came back to us wanting us as a staff to OK it, and we can’t do that without going back to the board,” Juengling said. “I’ve explained several times that we do not have the authority to do this.” Zeismann said he can’t understand why the county wasn’t more willing to work with the drive-in. “It will probably, once it is sold, be sold for some use other than a drive-in,” he said. “Apparently the county wants that. That’s the only conclusion we can come to. We find it utterly fascinating in view of the number of jobs and the number of businesses lost in the city of Hamilton and in Butler County.” In the late 1960s, there were nearly 200 drive-in theaters in Ohio. Only about 35 survive today. The nearest theaters are the Melody 49 in Brookville and the Starlite Drive-in in Amelia. Baum purchased the theater in 1995 and spent about half a million dollars renovating the place. He worked there as a teen and said he has a strong emotional attachment to the business. “We never intended to pull the plug on this,” he said. For now, the theater is operating only on the weekends, down from its week-long schedule for the first time in a decade.

rivest266 on February 5, 2014 at 3:37 pm

September 3rd, 1948 grand opening ad uploaded in the photo section.

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