Welcome to CinemaTour!  Sign In

Cinema History Around the World  
 Contact Cinematour ·· Help & Hints ·· About Cinematour

61 Drive-In Theatre

2001 Photo from The Evil Sam Graham collection
Highway 61 S
Maquoketa IA 52060
(319) 652-3535

Visit Website Outdoor Theatre
Record #7389  
 Opened: 1950
Architectural Style(s):
National Register:
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As:

Information for this tour was contributed by The Evil Sam Graham.

Dennis Voy is a showman. His voice, seasoned by 43 years of broadcasting at Voy-owned KMAQ , reminds one of Robert W. Morgan. His presence is larger than life. He has a warm friendly greeting for everybody and you see that any time he approaches a customer at his 61 Drive-In. He knows the regulars and thanks them for returning. The customers know who he is and are visibly impressed when he expresses his appreciation to them for coming. Dennis is like a campaigning politician, except that Dennis comes off as genuine. Dennis just knows how to make people smile.

Dennis is not the only family member making you feel welcome. Son Dave at the ticket booth was eager to say hello and discuss the photo shoot. Granddaughter Sara, carrying an armful of pizzas, saw me coming and said "Are you Evil Sam?" and introduced herself immediately, "He's (Dennis) not here yet, but come on in and let me know if you need anything!" Other family members pop in and out though the evening. Dennis's youngest granddaughter runs around the lot with her Glow-Pop in hand.

Dennis threaded the film up and did his own pre-show presentation over the FM radio system, talking about the new season, what was new at the snack bar, and impromptu snack bar specials (on this particular night, the snack bar had a "hot Ham and Cheese sandwich special" thanks to leftovers from a promotion at the radio station earlier in the week). Dennis even acknowledged the single-feature (the 61 only occasionally does double-features), and awarding prizes of free admission and free snack bar items from coupons he has laid out on the top platter.

From a patron standpoint, the 61 is immaculate, looking like it could have been built recently. And in many ways, it is new. The fence and screen are new from the past couple of years due to tornado damage and some changes required for the "new" Highway 61, now a four-lane interstate-grade highway. Locals feared the highway would be the end of the drive-in, but everything worked out wonderfully. The 61 has excellent visibility from the highway and, being just off a main exit with a brand new access road, easy access. Customers come from nearby Dubuque, Clinton, and the Davenport-Quad Cities area. With the Hillcrest now gone in Cedar Falls, the 61 may even now pull displaced customers who were driving there from Cedar Rapids.

The snack bar/projection booth is the classic standard of any small-town drive-in. The snack bar is brightly painted and as good as new. Projection comes from a Century projector, a 1200-watt lamphouse, and a Christie platter. Dennis feels he needs to brighten the picture, but the existing brightness is on par with most drive-ins I attend, likely thanks to the fact that the only ambient light competing with the projection is that of the moon. Sound is FM radio driven and is excellent.

The lot is a beautiful grass landscape on a sloping hill (no speaker poles). "I used to gravel the driving lanes" says Dennis, "and there's a lot of gravel embedded under that grass as a result, so even after a hard rain, the lot stays pretty firm."

"Our yard has NEVER looked this good" mumbled my wife.

At the end of the night, Dennis says to me what I have heard him say to every patron he's talked to throughout the night, "You have to come back." He wants you to know you're welcome back again and again, and he wants you to feel that way. Because he knows something so many of us seem to have forgotten...If you feel welcome, you will be back.

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

2001 photos from The Evil Sam Graham collection.

22 KB · 450x353
The screen and marqu...

30 KB · 450x347
The entrance with th...

21 KB · 450x292
The screen with kids...

14 KB · 450x274
Lying under the scre...

20 KB · 450x261
From the back of the...

14 KB · 450x306
Cars arrive at sunse...

22 KB · 450x345
Your ticket sellers.

18 KB · 450x324
The snack bar entran...

26 KB · 450x279
Inside the snack bar...

26 KB · 450x371
Snack bar employees ...

32 KB · 450x406
The Christie platter...

27 KB · 450x324
Lamphouse with eveni...

29 KB · 311x450
Projector and lampho...

30 KB · 329x450
Dennis Voy threads u...

26 KB · 450x328
Dennis does his pre-...

29 KB · 450x311
Prize winners pick u...

11 KB · 450x318
Photographic evidenc...

12 KB · 450x271
The previews are run...

13 KB · 450x354
On with the show.

25 KB · 450x298
Thanks for coming!

26 KB · 450x239


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

Last featured 2002-12-27. Last edited 1/18/2005.

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.

© 1995-2018 Vision Entertainment Services. All rights reserved.
Use of this site signifies agreement to terms of service.

www.cinematour.com :: 0.58 MB :: 5.96 MB