Mansfield Drive-In

228 Stafford Road,
Mansfield Center, CT 06250

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MichaelKilgore on November 15, 2019 at 1:44 am

Here’s the first time I’ve ever noticed a drive-in expanding just for a playground. From Billboard, Sept. 4, 1954: “Lou Lipman and Morris Keppner, of the Mansfield (Conn.) Drive-In, have completed a children’s playground on newly acquired acreage adjoining the theater.”

MichaelKilgore on September 28, 2017 at 9:48 pm

Thanks to Google Books, here are some Billboard magazine excerpts. Personally, I love seeing how the story slowly evolves.

Sept. 26, 1953: Morris Keppner, Burnside Theater Corporation, East Hartford, Conn., and Louis Lipman, Hartford auto dealer, have started construction of a 700-car capacity drive-in at Mansfield, Conn. The project will be ready for operation by spring, 1954.

Oct. 24, 1953: Morris Keppner, partner, Burnside Theater Corporation, East Hartford, Conn., and Louis Lipman, Hartford automobile dealer, listed as principal officers of Theaters, Inc., a newly formed West Hartford corporation, have started construction of a $125,000 drive-in, to accommodate 750 cars, at Mansfield, Conn., three and a half miles north of Willimantic, Conn. Completion is planned for spring, 1954.

Nov. 21, 1953: A March, 1954, opening is planned for the $150,000, 750-car capacity drive-in being built at Mansfield, Conn., by General Theaters, Inc., of which Morris Keppner and Lou Lipman are principal officers. The project is the first of several planned theater units for the West Hartford, Conn., corporation. Keppner is partner in the Burnside Theater, East Hartford, Conn., while Lipman is a real estate developer.

Oct. 30, 1954: The largest screen in eastern Connecticut, 116 feet wide and 62 feet high, has been installed at Mansfield Drive-In, Willimantic. The theater is owned and operated by General Theaters, Inc., West Hartford, principals in which are Morris Keppner and Lou Lipman.

Nov. 20, 1954: The 750-car capacity Mansfield (Conn.) Drive-In, operated by General Theaters, Inc., West Hartford, Conn., will be increased to 850 by spring, according to partners Morris Keppner and Lou Lipman.

MichaelKilgore on September 28, 2017 at 5:42 pm

According to a 2016 interview on YouTube, owner Michael Jungden started managing the Mansfield in 1974. He leased the drive-in “a few years” after that, added two screens in 1985, and bought it in 1991.

The 1955-56 Theatre Catalog listed it with Exec: M. Keppner, Liggett-Florin, capacity 950 cars. And here’s what my (International) Motion Picture Almanacs say:

(listed under Mansfield CT)

1955-61: Liggett-Florin, 780.

1963-66: Morris Keppner, 780.

(listed under Willimantic CT)

1969-76: 900.

1982: M. Jungden, 950.

1984-88: M. Jungden, 1 screen.

rivest266 on February 22, 2017 at 12:28 am

This opened on April 16th, 1954. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

bicyclereporter on September 24, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Good story in the Courant about “go digital or go dark” in relation to the Pleasant Valley Drive-In. This theater among others in the state are mentioned.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 2, 2010 at 1:26 am

Thanks Sandy R.I never liked radio sound.

sandyrand on July 26, 2010 at 11:29 pm

One of the darker features to the Mansfield Drive-In was in the early ‘80’s. They did show X-Rated fare. This was in the late fall and early winter months. There were several wrecks on Rt. 32 caused by people seeing the screen from the road. At that time there was only one screen and was clearly (yet dimly) seen at all times of the year! I left Willimantic in 1983 for Florida, but remember seeing dozens of great movies in the 70’s and early 80’s. The playground was always nicely maintained. The only gripe I had was that back then, the speakers were frequently non-operational. Cars were always jockeying for a speaker that worked!

shoeshoe14 on September 15, 2008 at 8:33 pm

Excellent piece in the NYTimes CT Section on this and the other drive-in.

shoeshoe14 on August 8, 2007 at 3:55 am

There was a great piece on this theatre as well as Pleasant Valley Drive-in in last week’s Play magazine (weekly) in the New Haven, CT area. View link

moviectbuff81 on December 23, 2005 at 2:48 am

I went to Mansfield Drive-In this past summer. Being a virgin to theatre drive-ins it was an interesting experience. I love the fact that they have double features. One tip is to get there early to get a good front row spot. The concession stand offers hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, ice cream, popcorn, soda, headache pills, and mosquito spray. The restrooms though clean look like they came out of the 1960’s. They have a playground for the kids open until dark and the FM reception is really good. Bring a blanket because even in the summer at night it gets cool outside. Intermission time is a good time to get refreshments between the movies and watch the dancing popcorn. I look forward to going back in the summer.

mentaltypo on July 23, 2005 at 7:13 am

Mansfield does sometimes stay open until October – it simply depends on the season. Also, ticket prices are now, as of 2005, $8 for adults and $4 for children (Children 3 and under are free, while 12 and up is considered an adult.) Carload night is Wednesday, and is $16. Check out the website at for recently updated info, such as the movies currently showing.
(I heart my drive in.)

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on October 26, 2004 at 12:25 pm

Actually, the Mansfield’s season runs only through September. It is the other CT drive-in, the Pleasant Valley, that runs through October.