Manchester Drive-In

12610 Manchester Road,
Des Peres, MO 63131

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: General Cinema Corp.

Previous Names: Drive-In

Nearby Theaters

Manchester Drive-In

The first drive-in in metropolitan St. Louis, the venue opened as the Drive-In on May 24, 1940 with David Niven in “Raffles”. It was part of the Philip Smith chain. Capacity was 500 cars.

With other drive-in theatres opening, the facility was renamed the Manchester Drive-In in 1949. In 1954 it was expanded to accommodate 900-cars.

Located on Manchester Road just west of Ballas Road in Des Peres (a St. Louis suburb), theatre was doomed in 1965 when it was announced a shopping center would be built on the site.

Theatre closed on June 18, 1967 under the management of Philip Smith’s successor firm, General Cinema Corporation.

Contributed by Jerry Alexander

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

bigred on July 8, 2008 at 11:58 pm

This was open by the company founded/owned by Philip Smith. The company. It was the National Theatre in Boston and initially known as Philip Smith Theatrical Enterprises. By 1937 the company became Midwest Drive In with the opening of a drive in in Cleveland and Detroit. In 1951 it became Smith Management Company.In 1960 it becomes General Drive In with 20 drive ins and 19 indoor theatres. In 1964 the name changed again becoming General Cinema Corporation. In 1992 General Cinema buys Harcourt Brace Jovanovich and in 1993 becomes Harcourt General making Harcourt and General Cinema the major divisions. After the spin off the theatre div became GC Companies with all entertainment divisions and cash. Harcourt remained Harcourt General.

Kyle Muldrow
Kyle Muldrow on July 22, 2011 at 5:28 pm

In the street view, if you scroll around, you’ll see the West County Center mall. That is the former location of the Manchester Drive-In. Ironically, if you keep scrolling, you will also see the green cathedral roof of Wehrenberg’s Des Peres 14 Cine, which is on the other side of I-270 on Manchester Road.

jwmovies on October 20, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Approx. address for this drive-in was 12610 Manchester Rd.

rivest266 on February 22, 2016 at 3:31 pm

May 24th, 1940 grand opening ad in the photo section.

davidcoppock on June 27, 2019 at 10:15 am

Opened with some short subjects(not named), and “Raffles”.

DavidZornig on June 26, 2020 at 9:05 pm

May 24, 1940 photo added courtesy Vintage St. Louis & Route 66 Facebook page.

MichaelKilgore on July 27, 2021 at 8:22 am

Independent Film Journal, April 17, 1954: “Manchester Drive-In is adding three more ramps to accommodate 200 cars, increasing its capacity to about 900. It will also have a new 50x102 screen.”

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