Halsted Twin Outdoor Theatre

745 W. 138th Street,
Riverdale, IL 60627

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davidcoppock on February 4, 2021 at 6:31 am

Opened with “Daughter of Rosie O'Grady”.

DavidZornig on May 23, 2019 at 5:20 am

Because it was located at the intersection of Halsted Street and 138th Street. It is in the first sentence of the description/Overview at the top of the page.

davidcoppock on May 23, 2019 at 5:07 am

Why the name Halsted?

MichaelKilgore on May 20, 2019 at 11:27 am

To pick up on Joe Vogel’s comment here from 2008, here’s a note from the Motion Picture Herald of June 19, 1954 about how and why the Halsted got renamed and reopened:

Four-Screen Drive-In, 138th and Halsted, $325,000 installation that ran into projectionists trouble and remained closed last season, reopened with a single huge screen measuring 50 by 90 feet. The outdoor theater has been renamed the Halsted drive-in.

Billsko on August 29, 2016 at 6:09 am

Summer 1986 was my best memory of the Halsted Twin.

Lethal Weapon, The Fly, Texas Chainsaw II,Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, etc.

I had HELLA fun!

Thxpix on October 20, 2014 at 4:11 am

When the Halsted Drive In was a four screen operation, they used beam splitters so they were really only showing 2 movies. Their idea was to provide a closer image to each car. I worked on all of the drive in equipment in the greater Chicago area although at that time they were back to a twin operation. Jerry C. Local 110

Thxpix on October 20, 2014 at 4:11 am

When the Halsted Drive In was a four screen operation, they used beam splitters so they were really only showing 2 movies. Their idea was to provide a closer image to each car. I worked on all of the drive in equipment in the greater Chicago area although at that time they were back to a twin operation. Jerry C. Local 110

Kris4077 on July 8, 2014 at 8:38 am

This concept may have worked if all for screens came from one projector, then there would not have been any need for the projectionist to strike. If they could have taken the Cinema 360 concept with a screen for every car and scaled it down to four screens.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 13, 2013 at 6:20 pm

good stories alanjw.

carl3615 on September 13, 2013 at 3:26 pm

One of screens and some signage of the demolished Halsted Outdoor is presently (2013) in use by the Melody Drive In, Knox, IN. I’ve added an earlier article and a pic of Halsted.

rivest266 on June 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm

1936, 1952, 1962, 1988, 1998 and 2007 aerial photos uploaded in the photo section for this theatre.

alanjw on April 23, 2009 at 9:30 pm

I worked there in the early 80’s. I worked as a carhop. I took the money from the cars and gave it to the cashier. I gave them their receipt and told them how to proceed. Highlights of the two years were a molotov cocktail being thrown from over the fence. I put out three car fires. One night the fog rolled in. We had to give rain checks to everyone. Me and a few others had to disassemble the fence so a pregnant lady could get to the hospital. The entrance would flood a couple times a year. Enough people would get stalled. One night a guy drove fast and water was rushing over the hood. He didn’t stall. It was weird seeing headlight underwater.good

Dawn on December 5, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Thanks. I just looked at Life and found a few more. I grew up in this area and knew this theatre, yet never knew it was a four screen. Pretty cool.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm

Dawn: If you search the Life Magazine archive hosted by Google, you’ll find a few more photos of this drive-in (search term: Drive Ins) and also several night shots (search term: drive-in theatres) of what I think might be the 4-screen drive-in opened at St. Ann, Missouri, in 1951.

On michigandriveins' Flickr page with the photo of this drive-in, there’s a link to an aerial photo from 1952. Click on the 1962 link on its page for an aerial showing the theater after its conversion to a single-screen. The screen in use is at upper left in that photo, and is obviously a CinemaScope replacement, but you can see that one original screen is still standing at lower left, undoubtedly being used as the entrance sign. The other two screens have been removed.

If the disused screens had been moved to new drive-ins in 1952, they’d still have become obsolete soon. The first CinemaScope movie was released in 1953, and by 1955 over half of Hollywood’s product was being released only in wide-screen formats.

Dawn on December 5, 2008 at 1:14 pm

Any more photos of this? Anyone know what happened to the screens? Were they moved to other drive-ins?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 5, 2008 at 12:08 am

The September 2, 1950, issue of Boxoffice Magazine revealed that the 4-Screen Drive-In was designed by Los Angeles architect Lewis Eugene Wilson. Wilson was also the architect of the Baldwin Theatre in Los Angeles, opened in 1949, and in 1951 a second four-screen drive-in of his design began operating in St. Ann, Missouri (Cinema Treasures page here.)

Boxoffice published an item in its December 15, 1951, issue, announcing that Chicago’s 4-Screen Drive-In, operated by the Essaness circuit, would not open for the 1952 season. Edwin Silverman, speaking for the company, blamed “featherbedding” by the projectionists union for the decision to remain closed. He said that the union was “…demanding four men at the highest wage scale in America,” and that the operation of the theater was impossible under those circumstances. Apparently, the company was unable to resolve this conflict with the union, and this drive-in never returned to four-screen operation.

KingBiscuits on December 3, 2008 at 7:05 pm

They probably weren’t getting enough cars to run the same film on four screens. Running the film on one screen likely cut operating costs.

Dawn on December 3, 2008 at 6:46 pm

That’s interesting. I wonder why they got rid of the screens, as well as where they went.

Michigandriveins.com on December 3, 2008 at 6:29 pm

This drive-in was called the “Four Screen Drive-In” when it opened in June, 1950. It was later converted to a single screen, and then a twin. The actual address was 745 W. 138th St. Riverdale, IL 60827. Here’s a photo.

GrandMogul on February 8, 2007 at 7:37 am

Chicago Tribune, Sunday, December 16, 1962, s. 5, p. 10, c. 1 (item)

The Halsted Outdoor theater has completed installation of electric in-car heaters and will be open all winter. The current double feature screen fare is “Assignment Outer Space,” in color, plus “Phantom Planet,” both science-fiction thrillers.

Dawn on April 17, 2004 at 11:08 am

I forgot to mention that I know for a factit was closed for a couple years. In 1990, I drove by during the summer, and it was closed. It was at night, so otherwise it would have been open.

Dawn on April 17, 2004 at 11:06 am

The theater closed for a couple years after 1987 or 1988. It reopened summer of 1991, but then closed after the fatal shooting during Boyz in the Hood, which was summer 1991. It was torn down 1994 or 1995, not sure which. I do know by 1996, the post office was there.

PrinzII on November 26, 2003 at 4:11 pm

Actually, the theater closed circa 1989. Attendance declined after a fatal shooting at the theater during the movie “Boyz in The Hood.”