19 Drive-In

5853 Highway 19,
Cuba, MO 65453

250 cars

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19 Drive-In (Official)

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19 Drive-In

The 19 Drive-In opened in June 1955 with a capacity of 250 cars. It operates March thru October. Sound is via traditional drive-in speakers or radio FM. The 19 Drive-In is still open playing first-run movies and operating seasonally. It was closed at the end of the 2021 season.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

Norman Plant
Norman Plant on July 14, 2012 at 11:09 pm

The Drive-In is still open though on the market. They are showing The Amazing Spider Man this weekend along with Brave.

JHJHJH on July 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm

but times of movies?

Chris1982 on August 10, 2014 at 6:20 am

The 19 Drive-In has made the conversion to digital projection. website

MichaelKilgore on April 4, 2017 at 6:48 pm

Opening for the 2017 season on April 14. Per its Facebook page.

Also, the 19 charges just $1.16 (probably $1.25 with tax) for a small popcorn. Know of any theater selling popcorn any cheaper?

MichaelKilgore on May 22, 2019 at 3:28 am

Looks like the 19 opened in June 1955. From the June 25, 1955 Motion Picture Herald: “The new 19 drive-in theatre on Highway 19, just north of Cuba, Mo., held its grand opening the other day with a large turnout of people. The drive-in will accommodate 200 automobiles and has a refreshment stand.”

The 19 was absent from the 1952 Theatre Catalog but listed in the 1955-56 edition, capacity 160, owner A. P. Meier.

The 19’s first appearance in the Motion Picture Almanac was the 1957 drive-in list. All MPA mentions:

  • 1957-66: capacity 250, owner A. P. Meier
  • 1967-76: 250 (no owner info)
  • 1977-82: 200, D. R. Spreng
  • 1983: off the list

Huh! Was the 19 closed for a while?

MichaelKilgore on May 30, 2019 at 7:02 pm

The Sept. 28, 1957 issue of BoxOffice said that 19 owner Adolph Meier was soon going to reopen the indoor Cuba Theatre, which had been closed for the summer.

MichaelKilgore on July 17, 2019 at 2:33 pm

A 2018 issue of Rural Missouri, posted at the 19 Drive-In Facebook page, said that Donald Spreng owned and operated the drive-in from 1964 until his death in July 2011. It’s now run by the oldest of three children, Karen Spreng, who is a full-time student at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla. The opening of the 19 was delayed in 2019 because she was swamped with school work.

MichaelKilgore on January 10, 2020 at 7:09 pm

Boxoffice, Aug. 6, 1955: “The recently opened Cuba Drive-In on Route 19 near Cuba, Mo., a 175-car project, has a screen 36x72 feet.”

MichaelKilgore on September 22, 2021 at 11:45 pm

According to aerial photos, between the time it opened and 1984, the 19 added two more ramps in the back. It started as a 200-car drive-in, but a 2005 story said the drive-in could pack 300 cars onto its field, thanks to radio sound.

Also, Karen Spreng is taking a one-year break for 2021. She told me she was having projector problems and was looking for a contractor to redo the concession building. And that she was generally busy with other stuff. Let’s hope the 19 answers the bell in 2022.

MichaelKilgore on May 13, 2023 at 8:50 pm

As I type, the 19’s web site says that it’s “Closed for the 2022 season”. From what I’ve seen, the drive-in is ready to reopen any time someone wants to flip a switch, but if no one’s flipping, it might be time to call it closed, for now.

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