After a 30-year hiatus, the Bangor Drive-In will be re-opening in the summer of 2015. The drive-in is located on Outer Hammond Street, Route 2, just over the Hermon line.
“We think the Bangor Drive-In will reintroduce a fun, family-oriented option to Bangor’s growing entertainment sector,” said Carol Epstein of Cinema Bangor LLC. “Drive-ins are a true American tradition, and generations of people in this area have wonderful memories of their drive-in experiences. We look forward to offering the next generation of movie goers this classic experience.”
The Bangor Drive-In initially opened on June 7, 1950, and closed in 1985 after a 35-year run. The target re-opening date is July 1, 2015.
Upon re-opening, the Bangor Drive-In will offer:
• An authentic 1950s drive-in experience (sans the crackling speakers and sometimes shaky projections)
• Two screens offering double features seven days a week
• State-of-the-art digital projection for a crystal clear picture
• FM sound through your car stereo
• Pricing will be per carload. (No need to hide in the trunk anymore!)
• Full concession with hamburgers, fries, pizza, ice cream, soft drinks and popcorn
Cinema Bangor LLC also operates the Bangor Mall Cinema ten-plex located on Stillwater Ave. Cinema Bangor is a partnership of the Epstein family from Bangor and Joe O’Donnell of Belmont Capital from Boston. Both families have many years of history in the movie industry, operating and supplying movie theatres throughout New England.
The Epsteins started in the theatre business in Bangor with the Graphic Theatre in 1917. Sid Epstein and his partners went on to be involved in many theatres, including the Bangor Cinema on Main Street, theatres in Dexter & Dover-Foxcroft, the Brewer Cinema 4 and, of course, the Bangor Drive In.
Belmont Capital has been in the theater business for over 40 years, having managed over 30 indoor theaters and “a dozen or so” drive-ins, as well as having owned Theater Merchandising, the company that supplied wholesale candy and popcorn to most theaters in New England for decades. Belmont owns the Rustic Drive-In, the only drive in operating in Rhode Island.
“For 35 years, the flickering light of the movie projector has played across the face of the Bangor Drive-In’s giant screen,” wrote A. Jay Higgins in Bangor Daily News on July 25, 1985. “The projectionist shut his ‘magic lantern’ off for the last time after the conclusion of ‘Rambo: First Blood Part II… The Bangor Drive In closed its gates to the young families and romantic couples who once flocked to outer Hammond Street for the shows that ran ‘from dusk to midnight.’”
According to the United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association, at its height of popularity in the ’50s, there were over 4,000 U.S. drive-ins. In 2014, there were 393 drive-in locations in the continental U.S., with five in Maine. According to UDITOA, “there have been a number of new builds and reopened theatres in the last decade marking a resurgence of interest in the drive-in entertainment option”.
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