Tinker Drive-In

2311 S. Air Depot Boulevard,
Midwest City, OK 73110

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Tinker Drive-In

Opened on August 10, 1948 with Mickey Rooney in “Summer Holiday”, this was among the first drive-in theatres in the Oklahoma City metroplex. Everything within the compound was designed in a qausi-Aircraft Style, nicely landscaped. It was closed on September 22, 1961 with John Wayne in “Jet Pilot” & John Wayne in “The Conqueror”.

Today no trace of this former outdoor theatre remains.

Contributed by Jeff Chapman

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

NYozoner on January 19, 2011 at 7:07 pm

The address “2301 N. Air Depot Boulevard, Midwest City, OK” was way off, and there were no drive-ins on or near N. Air Depot Rd, according to 1954 aerial photos.

The S. Airport Rd address puts the drive-in just a few blocks away from Tinker AFB Airport, and there just happens to be a drive-in visible there in the 1954 aerial photo.

“2301 N. Air Depot Boulevard” might have been valid in 1950, but is does not map anywhere near the correct location today.

whorton on July 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Actually, the reason the address was off was becasue Midwest city at one point renumbered the street addresses…

From the AIDA database:

Tinker Drive-in (ad)

Opened 10 Aug 1948

Closed 1961 Did not reopen for the 1962 season

Location 2301 S. Air Depot Blvd. Site currently occupied by Texaco Starmart.

Location: N 35° 26.51', W97° 24.43'

1948, Aug 7 Theatre to open

1948-49 Theatre Catalog lists as under construction

1949-1950 Theatre Catalog lists RL Barton as owner M9-C500-D7

1955 Theatre Catalog lists RL Barton as Exec C450

1955 Theatre Catalog lists address as 500 N. Air Depot

1965 IMPA lists owner as RL Barton

1965 IMPA lists capacity as 450

Interesting aside here. This theatre is one of the main things that got my interest started in Drive-in Theatre history. Although it closed at the end of the 61 season, by the late 60’s houses had been built to the south of the then abandoned drive in. Sometime in the ensuing years, there was a fire which destroyed the concession stand and projection booth. My cousin lived in one of the houses built to the south of the drive in.

We used to play and later ride motorcycles in the empty field. The screen tower was still standing and had been incorporated into a auto body shop. During the early summer evenings, the workers at the body shop would play their radio loud enough to be heard. It was like the swan song of the now dead drive in.

All these things together caused me to look into what happened to the drive in years later and develop the basics of drive in research.

Wesley Horton AIDA

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on February 21, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Here is the correct address:

S Air Depot Blvd & Adair Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73110

Uploaded aerial from 1954..closed by 1969

rivest266 on August 26, 2018 at 9:53 am

This opened on August 10th, 1948. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

jwmovies on February 27, 2019 at 1:27 am

A more accurate address for this theater is 2311 S Air Depot Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73110. This points directly to the entrance road. Now AAMCO. The drive in itself is now Autumn House Congregate.

Please update.

MichaelKilgore on April 22, 2020 at 10:59 am

Adding a name, Boxoffice, Sept. 4, 1948: “R. Lewis Barton has opened the Tinker Drive-In west of Midwest City on the Depot drive near the Tinker air force base, the largest military installation in the world.”

whorton on October 7, 2021 at 1:49 pm

AS a poster asserts this drive in was closed by 1969, For the record it’s last showing was Sept 22, 1961 with a showing of “Jet Pilot” and “Conqueror” both with John Wayne.

MichaelKilgore on October 9, 2021 at 9:16 am

More evidence confirming whorton’s closing date comes from Boxoffice, July 23, 1962: “Another of the (Barton) circuit’s drive-ins, the Tinker in Midwest City, is not in operation at this time.”

paweber on March 6, 2022 at 11:42 am

I was a relief projectionist for Barton Theaters in 1958-1959. The Air Depot drive in was one of the places I worked from time to time. The projectors were Simplex XLs (IIRC) with a Peerless lamphouse burning 9mm/11mm carbons. Had a 45 rpm record player for pre-movie music through the lot speakers, but I only ever found one record there to play: “Five Feet High and Rising” by Johnny Cash (then pretty new). The projector lens portholes had no glass, only steel flaps that had to be open (of course), so the projectors' lenses tended to fill with water when it rained during the show (they had to be tilted upward to the screen about 30 degrees). The girls sold Smithfield Hams along with popcorn, sodas, and hotdogs in the concession that made up half the projection booth building.

John Newsom
John Newsom on January 12, 2024 at 10:29 am

Paweber, your comment about rain water getting in the lenses made me cringe. I suppose many film prints were destroyed at drive-ins with no protection from the elements other than a roof and varying degrees of walls. At the Woodstock drive-in in Edmond, I remember being appalled by the projection booth and equipment I saw.

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