Illiana Drive-In

3290 E. Main Street,
Danville, IL 61834

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Illiana Drive-In

The Illiana Drive-In was was opened around 1954 when it was operated by Wisher Meyer of the East Side Auto Theatre Corp. and S.B. Greiver. Single screen theater with large block screen tower, the base of which still exists. This was the last of the Butler Enterprise theaters to close in 1983

Contributed by Ryan Allison

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Bubba on July 19, 2014 at 12:23 pm

In a Goggle Earth flyover as recent as 2014 the Illiana can be seen as heavily overgrown from decades of apparent abandonment, though you can clearly see where the ramps were. It appears that the concession stand & booth are gone, but the original block building used as the screen is still standing. Incidentally, this “screen” barely accommodated a 1.5:1 aspect ratio so for any 2.35:1 shows the audience lost nearly half of the picture, though no one ever seemed to complain. Located where it was, well outside the city, the Illiana “got away” with many of the more racier films (for that era). The only time the Illiana was ever (temporarily) shut down was in the summer of 1969 for showing Russ Meyer’s VIXEN, after it had been playing to a nightly sellout crowd and held-over for the beginning of a 4th week (film seized, projectionist & mgr both arrested & taken to the Vermilion County jail, along with theater owner Jack Butler). According to local folklore this action was said to be in response to weeks of continuing local clergy outcry. Charges were eventually dropped, but the film was never returned.

Jay Harvey
Jay Harvey on July 20, 2014 at 1:47 pm

wonder what the front side of the screen looks like?

Darren_Snow on September 14, 2014 at 10:32 am

There’s a bunch of 1999 Illiana photos in this set on FLickr:

jwmovies on September 14, 2016 at 2:12 am

The location of this drive in is just west of 3290 E Main St, Danville, IL 61834. This is the address of Blue Cross Danville, the building seen next to the drive in. The screen base is still there.

linval04 on May 28, 2017 at 4:04 pm

My Aunt and Uncle managed it when Jack Butler owned it. I’m pretty sure I have some pictures I will just have to find them. I worked there from about 1968 through 1977. It was a great place to work.

davidcoppock on May 30, 2017 at 2:03 am

Why was the drive-in called Illiana?

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on May 30, 2017 at 3:37 am

Because it is on the border of the states Illinois and Indiana.

MichaelKilgore on October 10, 2021 at 11:18 am

Same drive-in? Motion Picture Herald, Sept. 20, 1952: “Jack Butler is expanding his Ski-Way Drive-In, Danville, Ill., from 900- to 1200-car capacity.”

The Sky-Way was one of two Danville drive-ins (with the Dixie) in the 1952 Theatre Catalog. Owner Jack Butler, capacity 600. on May 10, 2023 at 8:27 am

Is the screen tower still standing?

Kenmore on May 10, 2023 at 12:18 pm

A July 2019 Google Street View shows the screen to still be standing. It doesn’t appear to be in the best shape, but it is still there.

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