54 Drive-In

7801 E. Kellogg Avenue,
Wichita, KS 67207

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54 Drive-In

O.F. Sullivan opened the 54 Drive-In on September 4, 1947 with Gregory Peck in “The Yearling”. He also owned and operated a number of additional theaters in Wichita, Kansas and Oklahoma City.

The 54 Drive-In was permanently closed down by Commonwealth Theatres on October 29, 1972 and demolished in January 1973.

Contributed by Billy Holcomb / Billy Smith / Don Lewis

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

keysenior on October 5, 2011 at 8:51 am

My future wife and I went to the 54 Drive In many times in high school and college. The only problem was that the B-52 bombers from McConnel AFB coming back from missions flew over the theater and drowned out the sound for as long as 30 minutes at a time.

kwilkin1962 on September 11, 2013 at 10:41 pm

The 54 Drive-In opened on September 4, 1947. It’s first showing was “The Yearling” starring Gregory Peck.

Lyndon on November 26, 2013 at 7:09 am

For more memories of the 54 Drive In, see: “I Used to Drag Douglas”

jwmovies on October 18, 2014 at 4:53 pm

The above address is incorrect. This drive-in was located further east at 7801 E Kellogg Drive Wichita KS 67207. It is now Holiday Inn across Hwy 54 from the mall.

MichaelKilgore on August 14, 2019 at 9:19 pm

A three-page story about Merta and Truman Slothower in the July 4, 1960 issue of Boxoffice included: “The 54 and 81 drive-in theatres were acquired in 1956 from Nu-Vue Theatres of Kansas City.”

MichaelKilgore on February 11, 2021 at 12:25 pm

Sometimes Boxoffice jumped the gun in its opening announcements. I wonder if this was one of those times.

Boxoffice, Aug. 23, 1947: “O. F. Sullivan’s second outdoor theatre in Wichita, with a capacity of 750 cars, … opened this week.”

rivest266 on April 6, 2021 at 10:45 am

Grand opening ad posted. It opened on September 5th, 1947

MichaelKilgore on May 3, 2021 at 11:32 am

Boxoffice, Nov. 5, 1955: “Mrs. O. F. Sullivan notified Kansas City exchanges that the Crest, Crawford, Palace, Tower and Civic theatres, which had been leased to Consolidated agencies, reverted to Sullivan operation October 27 … The 81 Drive-In and 51 (sic) Drive-In were purchased by Consolidated and will continue to be operated by that circuit.”

Boxoffice, Sept. 8, 1956: “Mrs. T. H. Slothower took over the operation of the 54 Drive-In and the 81 Drive-In on September 1. The outdoor theatres were originally part of the O. F. Sullivan chain, but have been operated the last few years by Consolidated Theatres out of Kansas City. The Slothower theatre circuit consists of numerous other theatres in the Wichita and the surrounding area.”

dallasmovietheaters on November 4, 2022 at 8:43 am

Commonwealth Theatres closed up here at the expiry of a 25-year leasing agreement on October 29, 1972 with a triple feature of Robert Redford in “The Candidate,” Ruth Gordon in “Harold and Maude,” Richard Harris in “Man in the Wilderness.” The East Side National Bank & Trust Co. purchased the land and created a 9-story bank with the drive-in becoming its parking lot following its January 1970 demolition.

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