Leawood Drive-In

12120 State Line Road,
Leawood, KS 66209

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Dickinson Theatres

Styles: Colonial Revival

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Leawood Drive-In

The Leawood Drive-In was a single screen drive-in theater located on the west side of State Line Road. It opened June 26, 1953 with Jean Peters in “Lure of the Wilderness” & Howard Hill in “Tembo”. Operated by Dickinson Theatres, advertisements listed the location as 120th and State Line. However, that would locate it on the slope of a hill and I do not remember it as being on a hill. My recollection is that it would have been on the top of the next hill at about 123rd Street.

Contributed by Charles Purvis

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

wmu81 on April 21, 2011 at 6:13 am

According to the view at HistoricalAerials.com this theater was located on the NW corner of 123rd St. and State Line Road

JoelWeide on April 21, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Following Link, Thanks!

cpurv69 on April 22, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Thanks for the link! That proves that the south boundary was what is now 123rd Street, and the north boundary was south of 121st. I have old KC Star newspaper ads in which the Leawood states that it is located at 120th and State Line, so apparently there was some re-numbering of roads at some point.

I didn’t remember the ’S'-curve type entrance road but the photos don’t lie.

ornurse362 on May 9, 2011 at 10:27 am

I never really cared about the exact address …

I mean, I’d just drive south on State Line Road and turned right at the last drive-in theater before the airport.

rivest266 on August 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm

1955 aerial uploaded here. It looks like it was still under construction.

Texas2step on August 18, 2016 at 7:05 am

This one opened June 26, 1953.

WadeWilliams on December 2, 2018 at 8:55 pm

I remember that week in 1953 when the theater opened. The Manager Frank Phipps worked for Dickinson and lived in a little house next door south of the theater.

The theater was impressive and had an elegant facade like Tara from Gone With the Wind. The property was on the outskirts of some high priced properties and large estates and homes were being built.

I was friends with the Projectionist and would spend time in the booth while he ran the movie. It had very hot “arc lamps” and they were water cooled like a radiator and always leaked. The booth was next to the Concession Stand so when the door was opened you could see in the booth. The two projectors were SIMPLEX XLS with large arc lamps. The screen seemed a mile away which presented a problem.

The theater was designed in 1952 and opened in 1953 a year before Cinemascope and a year later this large square screen was not wide enought for Cinemascope and the picture ran off the right and left edge when they booked Cinemascope films.

Near the screen was a small KiddieLand with swings, a merry-go-round
and other kid’s toys. Something for Everyone.

My grandparents wanted to see LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME a Cinemascope film and I remember them setting in the car looking at a partial picture.

My favorite memory was watching RIDERS TO THE STAR a 1954 early Cinecolor movie about exploring near orbit space. I loved the film and still do. When the film closed I took the large poster and still have it. I also have the 35MM Projectors from the theater I acquired several years after the theater closed. They were transferred to the Fairway Theatre until it closed. The Leawood Drive In was glamorous in design, it fit in the area and when the land became valuable it was sold and sub-divided.

jwmovies on February 17, 2019 at 10:41 pm

A more accurate address for this theater is 12120 State Line Rd, Leawood, KS 66209. This points directly to the entrance road. The entrance is now the UPS Store. Part of the neighborhood west of the shopping center was the drive in itself.

Please update.

MichaelKilgore on May 20, 2019 at 6:57 am

This one’s for you, WadeWilliams. From the April 17, 1954 Motion Picture Herald:

The Leawood drive-in had “Riders to the Stars,” Wednesday through Saturday, first run in Kansas City. The drive-in is near the southwest corner of Kansas City, Mo.

MichaelKilgore on January 3, 2020 at 2:36 pm

Boxoffice, July 4, 1953: “The Leawood Drive-In was opened Friday (27)(sic) to a near-capacity crowd. A Dickinson Theatres operation, its screen tower is designed as to look like a southern mansion from the highway, with lamps in windows and other decorations carrying out this same pleasing effect. Inside are the manager’s office and storerooms. … Fireworks were set off between the two films, “Lure of the Wilderness” and “Tembo.” ”

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