40 Hiway Drive-In

14201 E. US Highway 40,
Kansas City, MO 64136

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40 Hiway Drive-In

The 40 Hiway Drive-In opened May 14, 1942 with Bud Abbott & Lou Costello in “Ride ‘Em Cowboy”. The single screen drive-in listed the car capacity at 750. It was initially owned by Mr. Philip Smith and later by Kansas City Outdoor Theatre Corp. The 40 Hiway Drive-In was closed around 1986.

Contributed by Chris1982

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

rivest266 on July 30, 2015 at 2:10 pm

April 4th, 1968 grand reopening ad in photo section.

jwmovies on December 3, 2016 at 10:14 pm

The address listed is incorrect. There are ads that state this Drive-in was at I-40 and Noland Road on the web.

The correct address for this Drive-in given aerials at the time the Drive-in was open should be:

14201 E US Hwy 40, Kansas City, MO 64136.

Please update.

jwmovies on December 3, 2016 at 10:18 pm

The Drive-in in the map given is not the 40 Hiway. Sorry Chris. The shopping center overtook the Drive-in. There is no trace of it.

jpr88 on March 3, 2018 at 5:12 pm

I’m pretty sure it closed sometime in the early to mid 80s. There was already a strip mall or shopping center on the site by 1990.

MichaelKilgore on September 17, 2018 at 6:03 pm

The Hi-Way 40 was still on the Motion Picture Almanac’s final drive-in list in the 1988 edition, if that means anything. Historic Aerials make it very clear that it was 100% gone by 1990.

ebhaynz on February 24, 2019 at 6:24 am

My most vivid memory of the 40 Hiway Drive In was about a week or two before I went into basic training in late July 1983..one of the flicks was Officer and a Gentleman and you could see the microphone and boom in almost every scene. The only other movie I remember seeing here was Zapped! in 1982 and some scary movie that really only had one good scene, which was mentioned in the K.C. Times movie review.

50sSNIPES on September 14, 2019 at 9:02 pm

This Didn’t Operate In 1988, It Is Closed Sometime In The Early Or Mid-1980’s.

MichaelKilgore on September 15, 2019 at 11:29 am

50sSnipes, I’m so glad that you’re contributing to the history of these drive-ins, but could you please reference your source(s)?

ebhaynz on February 5, 2020 at 1:44 am

I believe 40 Hiway closed down for good around 1986. The last time I saw a movie there was in 83 or 84.

MichaelKilgore on September 15, 2021 at 2:56 pm

The 40 Hiway was literally across US 40 from the Independence city limits on what was then unincorporated land.

Kansas City Star, April 12, 1942: “This area’s first drive-in theater - the type in which you see and hear the movies in your motor car - now is under construction on U.S. highway No. 40 about 200 feet east of U.S. highway No. 71 cutoff. Completion is scheduled about May 1. The enterprise, to be operated by the Open Air Theater corporation of Kansas City, subsidiary of Mid-West Drive-in Theatres, Inc., will occupy a 15-acre tract, leased several months ago. The site is three miles south of Independence. The main structure will be the 100-foot high screen building. The lower part will house the office. The screen will be 50 by 60 feet. … There will be a capacity of 500 motor cars. Sound amplifiers, individually controlled (?!) from the projection booth, will be provided for each motor car … Philip Smith of Boston is the president of the Kansas City organization and Mike Roth is the manager.”

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