Circle 360

6110 University Avenue,
Cedar Falls, IA 50613

120 cars

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50sSNIPES on August 26, 2023 at 5:00 pm

This autoscope drive-in has two names throughout its short history.

This started life as the “Circle 1 Drive-In” (or Circle One Drive-In). It was named after their company that was formed in January 1971 by Don Bowin, the manager of the Waterloo Theater and former state representative who had previous theater experiences since 1948, known as the Circle One Incorporation.

The Circle One opened its gates on December 9, 1971 with Clint Eastwood’s “Paint Your Wagon” and Barbra Streisand’s “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever”, featuring 120 individual 3x5ft screens in a circle, and closed for the 1971 season way later than usual on January 7, 1972 with “Jenny” and “The Baby Maker”.

At the start of the 1972 season, the theater is renamed “Cinema 360”, and dropped its short-lived “nearly” normal run policy for adult features. However, this didn’t last long at all, not even a single month. The Cinema 360 only operated for five days at the start of the 1972 season, with the only films shown that week are “Vanishing Point” and “The Notorious Cleopatra” (both X-rated features). During its third day of the five-day 1972 season, major disturbances from neighbors began picketing with the theater on April 28, 1972. According to reports saying that neighbors can see immediately see the mature features from the back porch of several homes nearby. Parents had to tell their children to stay away from the porches because of the projection. However, it managed to operate for two more days after it closed for good on April 30.

They started a petition calling for the Cinema 360 either to be restrained from showing anymore adult features or build a high fence around the screens. The management of the theater did not receive any comment after its unexpected closure.