Urbana Autoscope Drive-In
2867 U.S. 65,
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Previous Names: Urbana Multiscope Drive-In
This was the first "autoscope" drive in. It opened on July 30, 1953, and first feature shown was "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" starring Doris Day. Located 4 miles south of Urbana, it was owned and operated by Tom Smith of Urbana, who invented and patented the concept of "autoscope" drive ins, in which small individual screens were arranged in a circle, and the film was "back projected" on the screen from the projector in the center of the circle. Each car pulled up to its individual screen from the outside of the circle. The Urbana Autoscope Drive-In had space for 42 cars. The Urbana Multiscope Drive-In was closed in 1955.
On May 9, 1957 it reopened as the Urbana Autoscope Drive-In with Virgina Mayo in “Great Day in the Morning”. It operated for one season, closing later in 1957.
In 1954, Tom Smith opened the much larger Buffalo Autoscope Drive-In in nearby Buffalo which had a 122 car capacity.
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