Plaza Drive-In

2300 W. Clay Street,
St. Charles, MO 63302

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Mid-America Cinema Corp.

Previous Names: St. Charles Drive-In

Nearby Theaters

Plaza Drive-In

One of two drive-ins in St. Charles County owned and operated by Mid-America Theatres, the St. Charles Drive-In was the older of the two and opened on July 11, 1951 with Kenneth Tobey in “The Thing from Another World”. It had a capacity for 800 cars. On March 13, 1959, it was renamed Plaza Drive-In. It started out with regular main stream movies but during the 1970’s they began showing soft-core porn. This created problems with the residents of St. Charles and some of the city officials. After some time they went back to the main stream movies but to no avail.

The Plaza Drive-In closed on September 30, 1983 with Phoebe Cates in “Private School” & Sean Penn in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”. The screen has been torn down but the entrance and the box office are still standing.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

JAlex on October 24, 2008 at 5:09 pm

The drive-in opened in July 1951 as the St. Charles Drive-In.

Renamed the Plaza Drive-In in 1959 when Mid-America took over operation.

Kyle Muldrow
Kyle Muldrow on December 17, 2009 at 9:59 pm

The address should be 2140 West Clay, not West Clary…

Cholla on October 8, 2010 at 4:57 pm

One day a few years ago I took a “tour” of what was left of the concession stand/projection booth. I found in some of the rubble a couple film takeup sprockets from a projector. These became part of a project at work in which I modified a long roll 35mm still camera.
I think I still have one of those spools in my desk somewhere….

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on October 8, 2010 at 6:48 pm

You can find quite a few “treasures” in old Theatres.I have a basement full.

Kyle Muldrow
Kyle Muldrow on October 9, 2010 at 4:18 pm

In Wehrenberg’s 100th Anniversary book, the Plaza is listed as a theater they operated? Is that true? It had to have been in 1983-84 timeframe and could only have been for a very short time (less than a year), as it closed in either ‘83 or '84.

JAlex on October 9, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Let’s just say that was (another) mistake in the Wehrenberg book. My research has shown it was advertised as a Mid-America house from when they took over operation in 1959 (and renamed it the Plaza) until closing night on September 5, 1983.

Kyle Muldrow
Kyle Muldrow on October 10, 2010 at 4:15 pm

That’s what I thought, JAlex…I couldn’t remember Wehrenberg ever running that place. Thanks for clearing that up…and thanks for the closing date. That does sound about right.

CSWalczak on October 10, 2010 at 5:32 pm

A slightly blurry picture of the Plaza from 1974 can be seen here:

jwmovies on March 12, 2019 at 12:57 am

The address above is incorrect. This is now Lindenwood’s J. Scheidegger Center For The Arts @ 2300 W. Clay St. St. Charles MO. This points directly to the drive in itself. The address listed is further east.

Please update.

50sSNIPES on February 10, 2024 at 3:08 pm

The St. Charles Drive-In opened its gates on July 11, 1951 with Margret Sheridan in “The Thing” (unknown if extras were added), and was renamed the Plaza Drive-In on March 13, 1959.

  • Despite opening successfully, two protectors from the Projection Operators Union made an appearance in protest of the employment of a non-union projection operator at the establishment on grand opening day. The two picketed the theater throughout the entire show and there is no trouble ensued. More pickets continued within the following week and they want the projectionist in the theater to get kicked in the pants. The spokesman for the corporation who operated the drive-in said that he explained that plans to operate the drive-in without a union projectionist were formed months ago. But the union said that it h is understood that as many as eight men have joined although a maximum of three operators are required in St. Charles. He does understand that the projectionists have their rights to join the union bit do not have a contract with any of the theater owners, including the drive-in’s first manager, Ms. Ethel Somborn. According to her, she believes that the organizers are letting the contract slide in order to force the drive-in to capitulate first and thus force the other theaters to conform. The union scale is said to be an estimate $156 a week while operators in St. Charles draw about $65 presently. They replied that members of the corporation cannot meet the higher salary but they desire to keep out of trouble as they are not going union until the other local theaters such as the Strand Theatre to do so. They promised that they never been approached by anyone with an offer to sit down and talk the same thing over and over again. Theaters including the Strand made it first and they think they should’ve be the first to settle the matter.

The Plaza Drive-In closed for the final time on September 30, 1983 after a 29-day run of “Private School” and “Fast Times At Ridgemont High”.

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