Rodeo Drive-In

5101 S. Nogales Highway,
Tucson, AZ 85714

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Additional Info

Architects: Bernard Friedman

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The Rodeo Drive-In opened on November 3, 1949 with Gary Cooper in “Task Force” & Yvonne De Carlo in “Black Bart”. Located in southern Tucson off S. Nogales Highway. The rear of the screen tower featured a painted mural 44 feet high, of a lasso-twirling cowgirl. A smaller ‘rodeo girl’ featured on the roadside attraction board.

It had a capacity for 600 cars, and in front of the concession/projection building there were 200 seats for walk-in patrons. It was operated by Cactus Theatres Operating Company. The Rodeo Drive-In was closed on November 8, 1981, and was demolished within a week of its closure. A community college was built on the site.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on September 8, 2010 at 10:26 pm



210 E. Pennsylvania Drive was the original posted address. When I looked it up on Google Map it is a good address, but seeded like a strange place for a Drive-In. Every place I looked gave the new address I added and old aerial photos matched this new address. Sorry Ken.

The site of the Drive-In is now Soccer Fields.

The original screen burned down in ~1953 approxamate?

Showed Spanish Movies ~1975-~1981 approximate?

Closed ~1981 approximate?

You all are welcome to verify and come up with exact dates.

Need more info and photos.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 9, 2010 at 11:47 am

Ken and Bob, It was owned by Rodeo Drive-In Theatre Corp,in 1956.And parked 600 cars as Ken reported.

rivest266 on January 7, 2011 at 6:48 pm

November 3rd, 1949 grand opening ad is at
View link
and View link
Aerial photo at View link

davidcoppock on March 1, 2020 at 3:52 am

Opened with “Task force” and “Black Bart”.

dallasmovietheaters on June 19, 2021 at 7:45 am

The Rodeo Drive-In Theatre closed November 8, 1981 with Eric Lee in “Weapons of Death.” Demolition commenced in November of 1981 within a week of its closure as it became home to a community college.

MichaelKilgore on July 12, 2021 at 5:59 pm

(Flagstaff) Arizona Daily Sun, Dec. 3, 1954: “The Rodeo Drive-in movie was shaken but undamaged by an explosion yesterday. Similar explosions have damaged other Tucson theaters owned by Hugh Downe and Wes Becker, owners of the Rodeo.”

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