El Capitan Drive-In

1900 E. 5th Street,
Metropolis, IL 62960

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Malco Theatres Inc.

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El Capitan Drive-In

Opened in April 1949, in the far southern Illinois town of Metropolis (the fictional hometown of Superman). The El-Capitan Drive-In was an indoor/outdoor theater, with around 450 parking spaces and 520 seats indoors. In its later years, the El Capitan featured mostly adult fare.

It closed in 1973 and was demolished a few years later. The site has remained vacant ever since.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

rivest266 on June 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm

1952 aerial photo added to this page. it was on E. 5th and Bullock Lane.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on June 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm

2012 Goggle View. You can still see the car ramps yet.

jwmovies on September 28, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Approx. address for this drive-in was 1900 E. 5th St.

MichaelKilgore on June 13, 2019 at 10:02 am

From the Aug. 13, 1949 issue of BoxOffice:

METROPOLIS, ILL. – The 600-car El Capitan Drive-In Theatre on Route 45 one mile west of here has been sold by Russell Baker to Malco Theatres of Memphis, Tenn., headed by M. A. Lightman. The drive-in was opened last April. Its acquisition marks the entry of the Malco Theatres into the St. Louis film trade territory.

MichaelKilgore on June 23, 2019 at 3:12 pm

“The El Capitan Drive-In at Metropolis re-opened July 11. Its screen tower was wrecked in a tornado on June 13. The new screen tower is of concrete block construction and designed to withstand a wind of 120 miles an hour.” —BoxOffice, Aug. 8, 1953

MichaelKilgore on April 7, 2021 at 6:08 pm

This must have been when the El Capitan added the 520 seats, but I wonder what enclosing a whole ramp looked like.

The Exhibitor, Oct. 8, 1952: “In Metropolis, Ill., Eddie Clark plans enclosing one ramp at his El Capitan Drive-In to provide space for some 500 seats for persons.”

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