Rio Drive-In

198 Park Street,
Thermopolis, WY 82443

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Leo's Drive-In

Nearby Theaters

Leo’s Drive-In was located on the east side of the town right next to the river. It was opened on May 12, 1950. By 1955 it had been renamed Rio Drive-In and was operated by Fred Curtis who died in June 1961. It was then owned and operated by J. Hayek. It was still open in 1976.

Today, the drive-in has been demolished and is now an open park with no trace left save for the general outline, faint ramps and screen foundation.

Contributed by Ken McElhaney

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

MichaelKilgore on November 26, 2019 at 7:33 pm

Boxoffice, May 10, 1976: “Karen Cory has taken over the operation of the Orpheum Theatre and the Rio Drive-In, Thermopolis, Wyo.”

Boxoffice, Sept. 20, 1976: “Jeremy Hayek has taken over the operation of the Orpheum and Rio Drive-In, Thermopolis, Wyo.”

MichaelKilgore on December 18, 2019 at 7:28 am

Leo’s did not became the Rio, which didn’t open before 1954. A 1962 topo map points to the 198 Park Street address for a drive-in (the Rio), and a 1964 aerial shows it active, but a 1954 aerial photo of the site looks a lot more like an empty field than the 1964 drive-in.

That site was just north of town, and here’s the note that pointed me to the actual location of Leo’s (at present-day 162 Lane 3 in Thermopolis).

Boxoffice, Sept. 22, 1951: “Leo Roncco and Leo Roncco jr. have sold the Leo’s Drive-In to Fred Curtis, owner of the Tepee Theatre. The ozoner is located south of here.”

MichaelKilgore on December 18, 2019 at 6:46 pm

Early story of the actual Rio; I wonder whether it opened as the Terrace. Boxoffice, Nov. 17, 1951: “THERMOPOLIS, WYO. – Dietz Lusk of Kansas City, who has designed 26 of the largest drive-in theatres in the country, was here recently laying plans with Fred Curtis for the new Terrace Drive-In, Walk-In Theatre at the junction of Highway 20 and Park street, which was formerly the elk pasture on State park land. It was stated that work on the new theatre grounds will get under way this fall.”

MichaelKilgore on January 31, 2020 at 3:16 pm

Boxoffice, June 5, 1961: “Fred Curtis, owner of the Tepee Theatre and the Rio Drive-In at Thermopolis, Wyo., died at the age of 55 after a lengthy illness.”

Boxoffice, May 28, 1962: “Paul Cory is taking over operation of the Rio Drive-In and the Tepee Theatre in Thermopolis, Wyo., from the estate of the late Fred Curtis. He will continue to operate the West Drive-In at Riverton”

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