Bartow Drive-In

2850 US 17,
Bartow, FL 33830

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Additional Info

Previous Names: Outdoor Theatre, Outdoor Drive-In, Bartow Outdoor Twin Theatre and Bartow Outdoor Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Bartow Drive-In

The Outdoor Theatre was opened on October 18, 1949, screening the 1948 drama “Bodyguard” with Lawrence Tierney and Priscilla Lane and the 1948 drama “King of the Gamblers” with Janet Martin and William Wright. It had a capacity for 275-cars with Ballantine in-a-car speakers. The new ozoner was opened by James & Juila Raulerson and their son Grant. I believe at this time he was also operating the Rex Theatre in Tampa, FL. Raulerson also operated the Outdoor Theatre in Clearwater, FL. James Raulerson died in January of 1966. In April 1966 the screen tower was damaged when a squall line of thunderstorms that went through Polk County. The drive-in started screening XXX movies in the early-1970’s They also had a flea market on Saturdays and Sundays. In July of 1972 the Bartow Outdoor Theatre was twinned.

In May of 1974, Julia Raulerson sold the outdoor theatre to Harold Turbyfill (dba Drive-In Theatres of Florida Inc.). On December 12, 1978, it was sold to Wilbur R. Acord. After this the property was sold many times over. The theatre got raided several times for screening obscene movies but all charges were dropped. At some point a small indoor theatre was built at the outdoor theatre. In October of 1978, they were raided for screening 16mm adult movies. The charges were dropped because the Polk County Sheriff seized the film without a search warrant. In looking at movie advertisements, it appears they stopped screening adult movies on July 18, 1987. After that it was just used as a flea market. In 2016, the property was cleared and it is the site of S&S Welding & Fabrication.

GPS Coordinates: 27.860976,-81.828096

Contributed by Andy, Randy Studer

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 7, 2010 at 12:25 am

Andy, your OUTDOOR DRIVE-In parked 275 cars and was owned by Mrs.J.E.Raulerson in 1956.

TLSLOEWS on April 8, 2010 at 11:46 pm

Nice name,you do not see many indoor drive-ins!

FloridaDriveIns on November 26, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Video from 1996:

jwmovies on November 10, 2014 at 10:38 pm

The address for this drive-in was 2850 U.S. 17. It is now the Bartow Flea Market.

Please update.

Drive_in_Freak on November 30, 2017 at 1:15 am

This one was completely demolished in 2016. Sadly, not even the flea market remains.

Drive_in_Freak on November 30, 2017 at 1:40 am

I’ve uploaded a few shots of what was left in 2010.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.