HomeDrive-In TheatersOak Drive-In Theatre - Royal Oak, MI

Oak Drive-In Theatre - Royal Oak MI

Address: 2916 Normandy Rd (13 1/2 Mile/Woodward)
City: Royal Oak
State: MI
Zip: 48073
County: Oakland
Open: 1949 (10-19-49) AD
Closed: N/A
Capacity: 1000
Owner History: J. Miskinis
Number of visits to this page: 23308
Disclaimer:

Please note that location entries may feature older photos or post card views that may not represent the current appearance or features of the attraction. This site is intended to be a historical as well as current record of various attractions but it is not always possible to have up-to-date information due to the vast number of locations featured here. We ask you consult the propietor for current information.

General Information:

The Oak Drive-In was opened October 19, 1949 with Frank Sinatra in “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”. Although it was tucked back a few blocks from Woodward Avenue, there was a marquee on top of a store on the east side of Woodward Avenue which allowed passer-bys to see what movie(s) was playing.

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Info Updates:
10/14/2018 - Gail Riddle nee Seeley
My name is Gail Riddle. My father Lorne Burton Seeley and grandfather Albert P. Smith worked at the Oak Drive in. My uncle Alden Smith Owned the Oak Drive in. Ruthann Briggs sold popcorn and candy at the concession stand, I also did frequently. They always had fireworks on the fourth of July. They had cartoons before the movie. Boys used to date me just because we could get in free.
6/1/2015 - Marie
My Uncle Joe owned the Oak Drive In, and my parents owned the Concession Stand. I made popcorn boxes by the time I could hold one, and fold one, about 5 years old. As I grew up and reached dating age, and I had to work at the Concession Stand, my date was allowed to pick me up after First Intermission. In high school, I was asked, Do your dates have to pay to get in?. No, they didn't but I was forever teased by the Projection Crew and the Policemen who walked the aisles. They were great! Girls at Marian High in Birmingham would say, Your Dad owns the Pit? THE PIT!!! Is that what they called it! During a Disney movie, they would cram 2,500 cars in and people would share a speaker. Kids were in PJ's. It was a great time growing up. Today, my Mom is celebrating her 100th birthday. One of the guys who worked for her and Dad in the Concession Stand is making an Oak Drive In sign to put up at her celebration!.
8/5/2014 - Eric Riddle
My Grandfather Lorne B Seeley was the maintenance man at the Oak drive in and my great grandfather Al Smith took tickets there. I have many great memories from those days. My adrenaline rushed at the thought of getting to climb up on the red firetruck. My best memories were going to work with my Grampa Seeley. trying to catch the killdeer, chasing big grey flying grasshoppers (never caught one) looking for change. Grampa Seeley used to put a sawhorse by the killdeer nests so nobody would run the nest over. Wasp nest hunting was fun but spooky. Like others here, there was nothing better than putting on my PJ's and loading up to go watch the show. The big paper sack of popcorn, waking up to being carried into the house and half watched movies are far off fuzzy but fond memories.
2/4/2010 - Marklo
My memories of the Oak Drive-In go back to the early 50's when I was just a kid. Back then, the screen had not yet been extended to accommodate the "new" CinemaScope movies so, when they showed one of those, it was like watching a DVD in letterbox form today. This was, also, before the marquee signage on Woodward Avenue. GREAT TIMES!!!
5/22/2009 - Frank
I have very fond memories of the Oak. It's hard to believe one could love a place, but I did love the Oak. I can't tell you how many times me and the wife would either pack up the kids and take them down there or hire a sitter to watch them and head down ourselves. I retired to Florida in 1993 and was back in town for my Grandson's wedding this past week. I ended up driving by the site on which the Oak sat. I decided to search it on Google and instantly noticed the close date was not listed here. Well, I can tell you with 100% accuracy that the Oak Drive In closed up shop after their final showing on October 30th, 1980. The last 2 features to show there were "Caddyshack" and "Up the Academy" (I was there!). That year's season began on Friday, March 28th with "The Jerk" and "Animal House" (yes, I was there too!) and featured an interesting mix of films. From movies such as the Disney double bill of "The Black Hole" and "Sleeping Beauty" to a horror double bill like "Zombie" and "The Hills Have Eyes", (all of which made up our "drive in seasons" that year!) I always thought the Oak could be family friendly at times, but a true "70's drive in" at others. It was nice reading memories of the Oak and to know I'm not the only one who has them! Thanks to those who also posted the pictures! What a trip down memory lane!
7/27/2006 - Dave Gerhardt
This drive-in has priceless memories to me. As a brother to 2 other brothers and 1 sister, I can remember going in my dads brand new 1959 Chevy station wagon (with the rear seats that faced towards the rear, not forward). The smell of the oil on the dirt (to keep down dust), the trains that used to go by, and the warm summer nights. Our world has changed so much in the last 40 years where its not even safe to smile at someone driving in the car next to you. On top of that, I can remember us leaving our front door open to get as much air in as we could. Or leaving the keys in the ignition while going into the drug store. Yes, the Oak Drive-in was one of those memories that I will cherish as long as I live. Thanks for putting it on this site!
5/9/2005 - John Eisenhart
Concrete tower screen, about 60 feet high with flashing star lights and a giant "OAK DRIVE IN." I lived a few blocks away. In mid-late 1970s a number of people use to hang out in the back industrial building area and watch the movies across the fence.( no sound) Near the Grand Trunk Railroad tracks.The damn cops would come back and clear people out. But inside was the place to see a good trashy movie. Kansas City Bombers, Groove Tube, Death Race 2000, Crazy Larry and Dirty Mary, etc. Yup. They had a fire engine ride for the kids, swing sets up front and a cool snack bar.
8/7/2003 - Ruth Bielec
The Oak Drive-In closed, I believe, in the early 70s, 72 or 73. One of the local rock and roll stations (WABX, WLLZ?)staged an "afternoon shift" show which started at midnight and ended at daybreak. It was overrun with cars and was a great time! If I remember right, it was a last ditch effort to show that people would come and support the drive-in. Sadly, it didn't work.
1/6/2003 - Drive-Ins.com
This was a very neat drive-in--in its heyday it had a firetruck, a merry-go-round, pony rides, and a playground by the screen. And it actually opened in October of 1949, not in 1950. Ive never gotten over the fact that it was torn down. Jim Bowman
 Photos:18
Oak Drive-In Theatre - OAK 2 8-1980
OAK 2 8-1980
Oak Drive-In Theatre - OAK 8-1980
OAK 8-1980
Oak Drive-In Theatre - OLD PHOTO FROM HARRY SKRDLA
OLD PHOTO FROM HARRY SKRDLA
Oak Drive-In Theatre - MARQUEE - PHOTO FROM RG
MARQUEE - PHOTO FROM RG
Oak Drive-In Theatre - SCREEN THEN - PHOTO FROM RG
SCREEN THEN - PHOTO FROM RG
Oak Drive-In Theatre - KEITH MILFORD NIGHT ENHANCEMENT - PHOTO FROM RG
KEITH MILFORD NIGHT ENHANCEMENT - PHOTO FROM RG
Oak Drive-In Theatre - KEITH MILFORD ENHANCEMENT - PHOTO FROM RG
KEITH MILFORD ENHANCEMENT - PHOTO FROM RG
Oak Drive-In Theatre - OAK DURING DEMO COURTESY GREG OSULLIVAN
OAK DURING DEMO COURTESY GREG OSULLIVAN
Oak Drive-In Theatre - OAK DURING DEMO COURTESY GREG OSULLIVAN
OAK DURING DEMO COURTESY GREG OSULLIVAN
Oak Drive-In Theatre - OAK DURING DEMO COURTESY GREG OSULLIVAN
OAK DURING DEMO COURTESY GREG OSULLIVAN
Oak Drive-In Theatre - AERIAL SHOT FROM CITY OF ROYAL OAK
AERIAL SHOT FROM CITY OF ROYAL OAK
Oak Drive-In Theatre - OLD SHOT OF MARQUEE ON WOODWARD
OLD SHOT OF MARQUEE ON WOODWARD
Oak Drive-In Theatre - OLD PIC FROM RON GROSS
OLD PIC FROM RON GROSS
Oak Drive-In Theatre - OLD AD
OLD AD
Oak Drive-In Theatre - AD
AD
Oak Drive-In Theatre - TOPO ANIMATION
TOPO ANIMATION
Oak Drive-In Theatre - OLD AERIAL
OLD AERIAL
Oak Drive-In Theatre - LODI NEWS SENTINEL PURTAN STUNT
LODI NEWS SENTINEL PURTAN STUNT
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