Tri-State Drive-In

316 S. Tri State Road,
Joplin, MO 64801

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Commonwealth Amusement Corp.

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Tri-State Drive-In

The Tri-State Drive-In was opened April 17, 1948 with Walter Brennon in “Home in Indiana”. At that time it was operated by Commonwealth Amusement, who continued to operate it until at least 1955. The theatre closed on September 4, 1988.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

jwmovies on December 24, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Approx. address for this drive-in was 300 South Tri State Road. The screen is still there.

Farmgal on May 6, 2019 at 9:00 pm

The screen has been torn down. A racing team has a building on the premises.

MichaelKilgore on May 14, 2019 at 2:38 pm

The Joplin Globe reported on April 18, 1948, “Formal opening of the Tri-State Drive-In theater, west of the city, proved to be a success last night as motor cars filled the large arena to capacity to witness the ceremonies, an elaborate fireworks display and the screen attractions.” The article went on to say that the drive-in could handle 650 cars and the movie was Home in Indiana, a 1944 film starring Walter Brennan.

Through the decades, every reference in the Globe listed the name as Tri-State, although a couple of reference works got it wrong.

The drive-in’s first appearance in the Film Daily Year Book was in the 1948 edition as Drive-In, changed in the 1949 edition to Tri-States (sic).

The first Theatre Catalog drive-in list, in the 1948-49 edition, included the Tri-States (sic), capacity 500, owner Jack Braunagle, Tri-States Drive-In Corp. The next year, the capacity changed to 583 and the owner to Commonwealth Theatres Ct. That number returned to 500 in the 1952-56 editions.

The Tri-State was in the Motion Picture Almanac’s first drive-in list in 1950-51, and in the Theatre Circuits section, Commonwealth Theatres included it among its holdings. All MPA drive-in list appearances:

  • 1950-59: capacity 625, owner Tri-States Drive-In Corp.
  • 1960-62: off the list (but still in Commonwealth's holdings)
  • 1963-66: 625, Commonwealth
  • 1967-76: 625 (no owner info)
  • 1977-82: 500, Commonwealt
  • 1983-88: 1 screen, Commonwealt

The Globe ad on Aug. 25, 1988 listed the Tri-State under Commonwealth Theatres. I can’t find references to any other owner.

rivest266 on March 31, 2021 at 12:25 am

Grand opening ad posted.

Found on

MichaelKilgore on September 28, 2021 at 2:53 pm

For once, the Motion Picture Almanac was right. Commonwealth operated the Tri-State for all of its life. I just uploaded its final(?) Joplin Globe ad from Sept. 4, 1988, and it’s the only theater in town under the Commonwealth banner.

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