57 Outdoor Theater

2855 Old State Highway 57,
Grafton, WI 53024

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Marcus Theatres

Previous Names: Port Outdoor Theater

Nearby Theaters

Screen Front Lower Portion 1992

Opened as the Port Outdoor Theater in 1953, this drive-in was located just off Highway 57 North, for which it was later renamed. In its later years, it showed adult movies. The 57 Outdoor Theater closed in 1985, and was mostly demolished afterwards, though its projection booth still stands and today houses an animal shelter.

The 57’s screen was replaced not long before it closed, and is today being used at the Moonlight Outdoor Theater in Shawano, which opened in 2000.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

NYozoner on January 12, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I should also mention that I vigorously reviewed the 1955 aerial imagery for Hwy 57 in the areas around Thiensville, and there was no trace of a drive-in theatre. My conclusion was that the Thiensville address is not accurate.

NYozoner on January 13, 2011 at 1:35 am

That is why I have resorted to using historical aerial imagery to obtain accurate, documented address information for drive-in locations. Address information from 50 years ago is frequently outdated, as roads have been renumbered and renamed over time. People’s memories can also get fuzzy, leading to more erroneous addresses.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 13, 2011 at 7:25 pm

I have it being owned by Port Outdoor Theatres,Inc in 1956.

Subcarrier on May 15, 2013 at 10:21 am

I added some photo scans that I took in 1992.

markheller on April 11, 2015 at 7:06 pm

I was the projectionist there, from 1973-76. They showed X-rated, when there was a severe ‘slump’. The wooden screen was blown down in a freak April snowstorm, featured on Walter Cronkite’s CBS Newscast, and rebuilt as metal. Two projectors (no pancakes) and carbon arcs. Snack area was adjacent to booth, and toilets. PS. The pay was $15 per night, as it was a ‘non-union’ theatre. At the time, all Milwaukee theatres has union deals…this was one of two ‘exceptions’.

MichaelKilgore on June 14, 2017 at 3:10 pm

The 1955-56 Theatre Catalog listed the Port Outdoor, Hwy 57, Exec: Erwin L. Nowak, capacity 550.

The 1959 IMPA listed the Port Outdoor in Grafton, capacity 576, owned by Port Outdoor Theatres, Inc.

The 1963 IMPA said the Hy 57 Outdoor in Grafton, capacity 576, was owned by Ben Poblocki. I guess he renamed it after buying it from the corporation. The 1969-76 IMPAs listed it as just Hy 57 in Grafton.

The 1982-88(!) IMPAs list the Highway 57 Outdoor (capacity 600) in neighboring Cedarburg, even though that’s on the other side of Grafton, with owner “Marcus”.

LeslieB on March 28, 2018 at 1:24 pm

Marcus Corp. bought the theatre known as Port Outdoor Theatre, in Xonia on March 9, 1960. At the time of purchase it was a 550 car drive-in. They changed the name to 57 Outdoor Theatre. Not sure about the Hwy part. That isn’t listed in my document.

jwmovies on March 20, 2019 at 7:43 am

A more accurate address for this theater is now 2055 Old State Hwy 57, Grafton, WI 53024. This points directly to Pace Distribution which is where the entrance road was located.

Please update.

robboehm on September 9, 2021 at 3:12 pm

Uploaded an ad from the days when it was the Port Outdoor Theatre.

MichaelKilgore on December 8, 2021 at 5:17 pm

The Feb. 20, 1960 Motion Picture Herald had a short article about Ben Poblocki, patriarch of the Poblocki & Sons sign company of Milwaukee.

“Six years ago … Ben Poblocki … decided to be an exhibitor himself. He bought the 600-seat Plaza in Burlington, Wis., and later added a drive-in at Grafton, the Highway 57, plus a drive-in restaurant adjoining the outdoor theatre. Recently he sold all of those properties … Harry Melcher, who operates the Rivoli theatre in nearby Cedarburg, Wis., bought the Highway 57.”

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