Autoview Drive-In

1202 N. Pearl Street,
Tacoma, WA 98406

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Autoview Drive-In

The Tacoma Autoview Drive-In at S. Tacoma Way and 99th Street was opened in 1947 and closed on August 31, 1948 when the screen was destroyed by a fire.(It has its own page on Cinema Treasures).

This second Autoview Drive-In was along Pearl Street in Tacoma’s West End, and opened on April 39, 1950 with Olivia De Haviland in “The Heiress” and John Payne in “Captain China”. The highway leading to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge passed by the drive-in, and drivers could try to see what film was playing there.

It was owned initially owned by Frank B. Smith who had operated the first Tacoma Autoview Drive-In. It was later operated by Forman Unit and managed by Homer and Bell Kiehl. There was room for 725 cars.

The drive-in closed in 1986 and was demolished to make way for apartments.

Contributed by Kate DeWeese

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

RobertR on October 14, 2008 at 2:56 pm

A great 50’s double bill

kencmcintyre on February 10, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Here is a photo from circa 1947:

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 17, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Great picture Robert. Peter Cushing a class act!

TLSLOEWS on September 17, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Great name for a Drive-in.

rjh on March 7, 2018 at 6:20 pm

Used to live in Tacoma, and had friends who lived in the Polynesia apts. right behind the parking lot of Autoview. We used to sit on the back fence of the drive-in and watch the films. I probably saw Jaws 50 times while hanging out with friends back there. We were like ally cats on the back fence. :)

The police would come by, sometimes, to see what we were up to. As long as we didn’t cause any problems, they would let us stay, and even turned up a few speakers in the very back, so we could actually hear as well as watch.

We had a lot of fun hanging out there, on those warm summer nights, in the early 70’s.

rivest266 on July 12, 2021 at 1:37 pm

Last season: 1986.

kennerado on August 22, 2021 at 10:31 pm

It looks like this was open as early as 1947.

50sSNIPES on June 29, 2023 at 9:09 am

The second Autoview Drive-In is a replacement of the first Autoview Drive-In after the first Autoview Drive-In’s screen was destroyed from a large early morning fire on August 31, 1948.

The second Autoview Drive-In opened its gates on April 13, 1950 with Montgomery Clift in “The Heiress” and John Payne in “Captain China” with no extra short subjects, featuring installations of RCA speakers, a 60ft high-tensile steel screen (which is larger than the previous 40x50ft screen that was used in the first Autoview), and ultramodern fireproof equipment. The second Autoview was first managed by former first Autoview operator Frank B. Smith of Tacoma.

The theater closed on September 6, 1986.

Jamey_monroe45 on July 11, 2023 at 1:24 am

Now 1202 Pearl Apartments directly west of The University of Puget Sound. Please update.

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