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  • Douglas Towne

Fun by the Carload Thanks to Homes & Son

In today's busy world, who has time for a double-feature at a theater?

Double-features were the policy of the one-screen Indian Drive-In Theater when it opened at the northeast corner of 27th Avenue and Indian School Road on August 27, 1948.

Patrons rolled in to see Randolph Scott in the Western, "Coroner Creek," and Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles in "The Lady from Shanghai." The latter film ended with a memorable shootout in a fun house hall of mirrors.

Garfield Anderson, who also owned the Phoenix Drive-In and Pioneer Drive-In, operated the Indian Drive-In, which had a capacity of 1,360 cars. Customers fondly recall the theater’s playground that featured a merry-go-round with wooden horses, and the carload deals where teenagers packed into a vehicle for one low admission price.

In 1966, the Indian Drive-In had a $100,000 upgrade that included new restrooms, concession areas, a projection room, and offices. Architects George R. Walsh of Phoenix and Henry G. Greene of New York designed the update, which was built by Homes and Son Construction Co.

The theater closed in the early 1980s and the land was redeveloped into the Willow Springs Apartments, which according to online reviews, has become a challenging place to live.

Read this and other fascinating articles in the just-released July/Aug issue of Arizona Contractor & Community magazine.

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