Orange Ave Drive-In
120 W. Grant Street,
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Previous Names: Kuhl Ave Drive-In
The Kuhl Ave Drive-In opened on September 20, 1949, screening the 1949 comedy, “Once More, My Darling”, with Robert Montgomery and Ann Blyth. All proceeds from the grand opening night were donated to Goodfellows, Inc., a non-profit Christmas charitable organization. The new airer was opened by Jim and Bob Partlow dba United Orlando Theatres. The Partlow’s were operating the Prairie Lake Drive-In, which opened in 1948. Later on they would go and build new drive-in theatres in the Orlando area. The car capacity was 450 cars with 160 outside seats for movie goers. Outside seats for the walk in movie goers was popular in the late-1940’s -1950’s since some people did not have a car. The Kuhl Ave Drive-in was remodeled November 11, 1953. With a new “Panoramic Wide Vision Screen” (45 ft. X 90 ft.) aka CinemaScope screen. More car capacity was added from 600 to 1,000 spots (dubious), and with a new cafeteria style snack bar for faster service. The Kuhl Ave Drive-In was renamed to the Orange Ave Drive-In on October 9, 1960. The reason why it was renamed was that the Orlando City Council renamed Kuhl Ave to Orange Ave on May 19, 1960.
Starting in 1962, Floyd Theatres was the operator of the Orange Ave Drive-In. On February 19, 1963, tornadoes went through the Orlando area and caused damage to the screen of the drive-in. Bob Partlow said the drive-in screen was split down the middle. He said, “It will take several thousand dollars and a week to repair the screen and the drive-in.” Partlow was a little off on his assessment and repair time frame of the damage. The Orange Ave reopened on February 23. On September 6, 1966 the Orange Ave was closed to be rebuilt.
The drive-in was completely rebuilt with a new Cine Magic Screen and a new concession stand. The layout was changed and shows the new screen tower and concession stand in the middle of the lot behind the old location, looking west. The grand reopening was held on October 19, 1966. “The Cannonball Run 2” and “The Great Hitch-Hike Race” were the last movies to be screened at the Orange Ave Drive-In on July 19, 1984. Harold Spears, president of Floyd Theatre’s Inc., explained the closing by saying that “the tremendous influx of indoor screens has adversely affected the drive-in business". It is a Super Target Store and other retail businesses now.
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