Hartford Drive-In

2322 Berlin Turnpike,
Newington, CT 06111

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: E.M. Loew's Theaters Inc.

Previous Names: E.M. Loew Drive-In

Nearby Theaters

Hartford Drive-In

The Hartford Drive-In opened July 12, 1947 with “Bandit of Sherwood Forest” and “Life with Blondie”. It was operated by the E.M. Loew Theatres chain and was one of the first drive-in’s to open in Connecticut. It also wound up being one of the last four operating until it closed in 1996. There was a drive by a couple preservation groups to rescue and revive the drive-in but I am not sure of the outcome.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 30 comments)

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on January 8, 2008 at 4:08 am

The Pike wasn’t way down there. It was like a block from the Hartford DI. I think there’s a supermarket there now.

doctordialtone on January 8, 2008 at 6:03 pm

The Pike was 1/8 mile South of McDonald’s back behind DQ. I think it’s a Shaw’s now.

It was owned by Bernie and Sy Menschel, who also owned Vernon Cine ½, Manchester Drive In and Berlin Cine ½.

The Berlin Drive In was where Home Depot is in Berlin on Rt 160. The Berlin became adult movies and took heat from the neighbors, because in the end they installed a sound system that broadcast over the car radio…They had to install very high fences to keep people from stopping on the road nearby to watch – and listen.

rgdei8 on October 26, 2008 at 7:47 pm

Was it bigger back then?

trackmac77 on February 16, 2009 at 8:59 pm

My not-even close, absolute, hands down, all-time favorite Drive-In!!! The Hartford and it’s open-all-Winter triple horror features were a secial treat of the highest order. Films like ‘Zombie Island Massacre’, ‘The Rats Are Coming! The Werewolves Are Here!’, ‘Pieces’, ‘Toolbox Murders’, ‘The House That Cried Murder’, ‘The Hills Have Eyes’, ‘The Deadly Spawn’, ‘Equinox’ (now out on a special Criterion edition!), and the perfectly appropriate ‘Ruby’, not to mention the occasional short subject before the show, dozens of classic and vintage trailers and even some local ads during intermission time. Great popcorn and the best french fries anywhere, all overlooking the effervescence of a sparkling soda in Snack Canyon, the twinkling lights of the valley below and the stars above. Unfortunately, it’s since been sacrificed on the alter of cancerous commerce and now houses…townhouses. I’m thinking it would only be fitting that those townhouses suffer a similar fate as the house in Poltergeist, as characters from films shown there in days gone by all return to reclaim their Hallowed ground…

Dave Lounder THE DRIVE-IN THEATRE PRESERVATION SOCIETY TheDriveInGuys.com on June 22, 2011 at 8:04 pm

My former partner and I attempted to re-open the Hartford Drive-In (about 775 car capacity by our count if I remember correctly — Drive-Ins routinely lied about how many vehicles could be held to help them fleece the film companies who were unsupportive of them at one time — the distribs weren’t stupid by any means as they sent out car-counters to ascertain the amount of business). The reason we did not lease the property is because the owners' (The Elias M. Loew descendants) attorneys wanted something in the ballpark of $75k for a really short season, and in return offered us NOTHING but the keys! The manager’s name was Richard “Dick” Buzzell, not Fred. I worked there, at the Pike, and at Newington Cinema I II III (I have the cinema parking sign in one of my home theaters … for the right price, I MAY be willing to part with it!). I also have a color copy of a photo of the marquee when it was in pretty good condition, from the late 70s, which I am planning to use for an upcoming business venture. Dave Lounder (DaveLounder.com)

Cinerama on October 27, 2015 at 12:35 pm

I took my children to see a double feature of Disney’s Aladdin and another Disney movie back in the 1990’s. It closed shortly after that. It’s now a condo complex.

rivest266 on February 21, 2017 at 1:19 pm

This opened on July 12th, 1947. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

ArtBuzzell on February 23, 2018 at 3:57 am

My name is Art Buzzell and I am the grandson of Richard Dick buzzell. He was the manager of the Hartford Drive-In the entire time I knew of him as my grandfather until he passed. A lot of good memories there. Through that Drive-In I have met Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price. It is interesting that just this morning I’m watching a documentary on drive-ins and Hartford Drive-In is mentioned. My grandmother worked at the box office for admission Counting Cars also. I would go there when I was in high school and say to Nana the next 5 cars behind me are with me! But every Saturday and Sunday I have to go to the drive-in and pick up garbage because that was the time when you just threw your garbage out the window and loved it… Can’t do that today. Thanks for reading keep the memory alive

dansdriveintheater on January 16, 2019 at 10:51 pm

video of the demolition!


Dave Lounder THE DRIVE-IN THEATRE PRESERVATION SOCIETY TheDriveInGuys.com on January 17, 2019 at 4:44 pm

@dansdriveintheater: Hey, Dan. The video you’ve referenced isn’t from the Hartford Drive-In. It looks to me to be the Edgemere, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. – Dave Lounder {TheDriveInGuys.com}

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