RETRO BLAST – Rustic Drive-In

By May 24, 2019Inside Rhody, RetroBlast

Ah, the Drive-In’s. Built 1951, this three screen Drive-In Theatre is the last operating Drive-In in the state, showing movies from late April to early October every year. In 1958 there were 4,063 of Drive-In’s nationwide. Now, there are only a little more than 400.

During the “golden age of the automobile”, drive-in theaters and other car-oriented concepts could be found everywhere. Through the 60s and 70s, Drive-Ins suffered closures and general stagnation. Some turned to other sources of income, or other types of movies that had a guaranteed draw. Local tourist traps started sprouted up along major thoroughfares to get people out of their cars and into shops to spend money. Route 146 was one of these roads, especially before Route 95 was completed in 1969.

Despite hard times for Drive-In owners, Beverly and Clem Desmarais bought the Rustic in 1986 and turned what had been an all-year single-screen “adults only” operation, into a three-screen seasonal family-oriented theater. In addition to introducing radio broadcast for the movies’ audio. After their passing in 2001, their daughter took over the operations.

The Desmarais family sold the drive-in to the Boston Culinary Group in April, 2008, who continues to operate the facility. The company’s theatre division owns and operates 23 theaters throughout the northeast managing all aspects of theatre operations, including the projection booth, concessions stands and box offices.

For more information about Rustic Drive In’s, visit their website or call 401- 484-5452