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Airway Drive-In Theatre

Photo from the Norman Plant collection.
10634 Saint Charles Rock Rd
Saint Ann MO 63074

Demolished 1992 Outdoor Theatre
Record #7546  
 Opened: September 21, 1948
 Closed: November 2, 1986
 Demolished: 1992
Capacity: 1000 cars
Architectural Style(s):
National Register:
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As:
 Previously operated by: Philip Smith Theatres, General Drive-In Corporation, General Cinema Theatres, Wehrenberg Theatres

Information for this tour was contributed by Darren Snow.

This 1000-capacity drive-in bounced from proprietor to proprietor over the years; it was part of the Phil Smith Circuit (out of Boston) in the early '50s, then spent at least 20 years under the General Cinema banner before spending its final decade as a Wehrenberg property.

In May 1954, when the Airway was offering a "ferris wheel, airplane and midget auto rides" for the kiddies, the "Largest Panoramic All-Steel Screen In America" was installed. Like a lot of drive-ins, the Airway shifted from family fare (I remember seeing at least two Disney movies there in the early '70s) to more violent and/or sexual offerings in its waning years, as the marquee's neon burned out tube by tube and the letters on the sign became an ever-more-chaotic mix of large and small, red and black. When the drive-in finally closed in the '80s, the developer who bought the property expressed interest in retaining the huge neon majorette marking the entrance, as well as the attractive glass-block towers at the gates. As a grocery store was built on the site, the majorette was hauled away and reconditioned. When the sign was returned to the site, she had been repainted and her multicolored neon replaced with all-white tubing -- but she still marches in place and twirls her baton, and she's still visible for more than a mile down the road.

General Cinema operated this theatre from June 1, 1949 to August 31, 1974.

 Photos remain the property of the Member and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Member.

February 2004 photos from the Darren Snow collection.

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1987 photos from the Darren Snow collection.

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Photos from the Darren Snow collection.

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Photos from the Norman Plant collection.

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Last featured 2002-12-27. Last edited 12/24/2021.

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