South Salem Drive-In (I)

5800 Commercial Street SE,
Salem, OR 97306

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The original South Salem Drive-In opened its gates on July 15, 1953 with Charlton Heston in “Pony Express” and Jane Powell in “Small Town Girl” with no extra short subjects. It was operated by Forman Theaters and was managed by Frank Schultz. The original drive-in originally housed 450 cars and features a 40x60ft screen.

The original location closed in 1961, followed by destruction from a fire in 1964, and the removal of its original sign in February 1966.

In 1970, the newer and much larger South Salem Drive-In was built seven miles north of the original location on Lancaster Drive Southeast (which has its own Cinema Treasures page).

Despite being abandoned for decades, former traces were still visible, but was projection booth that once occupied the drive-in was demolished several years ago. The projection/concession building previously stood for many years after closure.

Contributed by 50sSNIPES
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