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Theater of pain

Route 128 Drive-In, Burlington MA
Looks like nobody was injured in this mishap except the marquee.

The Loew’s 128 Drive-In movie theater is now the Burlington Crossroads shopping center at 34 Cambridge Street. As soon as the theater opened in 1954, and even before it opened, it provided plenty of real-life drama that probably exceeded anything on the movie screen. Look at these entries from the 1954 Burlington police blog.


Route 128 Drive-In
HOLLYWOOD CLIFFHANGER — A worker rappels along the 128 Drive-In screen to wash it off.


Pinehurst drive-in, Billerica, MA
Here’s the affiliated drive-in on Route 3A and Cook Street in Billerica. The entrance is now home to Steve’s Pinehurst Tavern, and the theater area is now an unexciting office park behind the tavern.

Steve's Pinehurst Tavern


Gas line Pinehurst, Billerica 1973. Photo credit: Jeff Benrimo
Pinehurst, Billerica during the early 70s gas crisis (Jeff Benrimo photo). The drive-in screen is visible on the left in the distance. Below, the same spot today.

Pinehurst 2019


So what happened to drive-in movie theaters? They fell victim to soaring cost of property in populous areas, the rise of comfy mall-based theaters with shopping as an attractive sideshow, and the advent of cable TV, and the challenge of poor weather, and the lousy sound quality, and the cost of high-resolution projectors demanded by the industry. And now even indoor theaters are under pressure from Netflix. Movie theaters are doomed, inside or outside!

4 thoughts on “Theater of pain Leave a comment

  1. I always felt that a big factor in the decline of the Drive-In was the polio vaccine. Before that most people avoided crowds and indoor activities in the summer.

  2. For the 128 Drive In we would all chip in for the driver to get in, but before he went in, he would drop us of at the power line on Mountain Rd ( it went all the way thru then) we would walk along the power line to the back of the Drive In and meet the driver in the back row. At the Pinehurst Drive In there was a wooden fence along the back by Cook St, there was a lose board we could get thru, sometimes there would be a line waiting to sneak in.

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