Welcome to CinemaTour!  Sign In

CinemaTour
 
Cinema History Around the World  
 HOME ·· CINEMAS ·· LINKS ·· BOOKS
 Contact Cinematour ·· Help & Hints ·· About Cinematour
 

Watertown Drive-In Theatre

Frost Bridge Rd & Echo Lake Rd
Watertown CT 06795

Demolished 2004 Outdoor Theatre
Record #9466  
 Opened: June 30, 1955
 Closed: 1984
 Demolished: 2004
Capacity: 992 cars
Architect(s):
Architectural Style(s):
National Register:
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As: Drive-In City of Watertown
 Previously operated by: Jade Theatres

Information for this tour was contributed by Charlie Crowell.

WATERTOWN DRIVE-IN THEATER TIMELINE

1953-54 - Plans to build the drive-in off Litchfield Road north of the center of Watertown receive strong opposition and eventually the idea is abandoned.

1955 - The Watertown Drive-In officially opens June 30th to sold out crowd.

1955 (Aug 18) - After being open only six weeks, the "Flood of '55" washes everything away except the screen.

1956 - The rebuilt drive-in reopens 366 days after original opening.

1958 - This was the peak year for the drive-in business nationally.

1963 - Running low on fuel, a lost New York pilot lands his Piper Cub at the drive-in. The plane suffers minor damage, pilot was unharmed.

1965 - After the completion of Rt. 8, headlight from passing motorist shined on the screen. The owners approached the state for damages to the tune of $40,000+.

1973 - Original owners Fred Sirica and John Quatrano sell (and finance) the drive-in to Jade Theaters.

1976 - Sirica and Quatrano foreclose on Jade Theaters.

1976 - LaFlamme family purchase the site for $205,000. They would run it for 8 years but their intention was to use the land for a dog track. During their ownership an audio system allowing patrons to listen to the movies on their car radios was installed.

1978 - The plan to build a dog race track is voted down in a town referendum by 466 votes.

1970s - Porn films begin playing, some motorist on Rt. 8 protest what can be seen from the highway, others pull over and watch causing a hazardous situation.

1979 - Two smaller additional screens are added.

1984- The Watertown Drive-In closes.

1989 - A damaging tornado sweeps through Watertown, the closed drive-in is used as a dumping ground for mountains of debris.

1990 - A proposed mall for the site, like the dog track 12 year earlier, is rejected.

2002 - The concession stand is demolished.

2004 - Screens taken down

2006 -With the State of Connecticut owning the property, a warehouse is planned for the site.

FACTS - The drive-in covered 21.43 acres -- it was designed for 1000 cars -- hand painted Disney characters were originally used in the decorating scheme -- the original screen was 100' x 52' and towered 90' high -- the first movies shown in 1955 were "Daddy Long-Legs" a musical with Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron and "Canyon Crossroads", a western with Richard Basehart -- in the 70s admission was $5 a carload -- for many years the drive-in was open year round and car heaters were available -- for rainy nights special windshield visors were available.

With the exception of a 1965 aerial view, there are no known photographs of the drive-in during it's years of operation.

 Photos
 Photos remain the property of the Member and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Member.

Photos from the Roger Katz collection.


36 KB · 450x338

45 KB · 450x338

43 KB · 450x338

40 KB · 450x338

50 KB · 450x338

60 KB · 450x338


 External Links

---
---

Return to the top of this page   or   Return to the main page


Last featured 10/23/2004. Last edited 4/13/2013.

 
Fandango
Buy movie tickets, look up showtimes, watch trailers and more!

The content of this website is a research work in progress and is being provided to the public for informational purposes only. As such, articles may contain errors, bias, duplication, or need to be cleaned up. Some documents, images and logos contained in these documents belong to various organizations and corporations. Their inclusion here is for the benefit of the reader and for the benefit of the particular organization, but they are, in fact, the copyrighted property of those organizations. Their presence here does not imply any endorsement of CinemaTour by those organizations. CinemaTour is not affiliated with any cinema or circuit.

© 1995-2014 Vision Entertainment Services. All rights reserved.
Use of this site signifies agreement to terms of service.