54 Drive-In

631 Fair Street,
Kankakee, IL 60901

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MichaelKilgore on October 9, 2021 at 6:02 pm

Motion Picture Herald, March 29, 1952: “Rube Levine has installed 500 metal chairs at his 54 Drive-In, Kankakee, Ill., to take care of "walk-in” customers."

MichaelKilgore on June 7, 2019 at 7:25 pm

The 54 Drive-In was first listed in the 1950 edition of the Film Daily Year Book, implying that it was open in 1949. A note from the July 1, 1950 issue of BoxOffice:

KANKAKEE, ILL. – The capacity of the 54 Drive-In near here is being increased from 625 to 900 cars, and other improvements are to include a new fence around the parking area, and additional equipment for the playground.

jwmovies on March 22, 2019 at 10:13 pm

FYI this theater was opened 1952 or earlier and closed earlier than 1973 per historical aerials. By 1973 there was no indication this drive in even existed. No trace whatsoever.

mred8 on August 20, 2011 at 9:05 pm

The 54 drive-in was really the poor man’s outdoor theater compared to the Starlite. The old man loved it because it was cheap and the whole family could squeeze in the car and sit on a blanket if you wanted to get out of the car later. My first trip to the 54 I saw the Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and was scared stiff. I literally wet my pants! The dinosauer eats Coney Island and crunches buses with people inside! Ray Harryhousen at his early best. The fact that the thing was on this giant screen and we were in about row five made it all the more alarming.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on March 25, 2010 at 8:51 am

The 54 comes from being located on Illinois State Route 54, which in about 1972 was changed to Illinois State Route 50.

The Drive-In site is now a housing subdivision.