406 W Hwy 50, Salida, CO 81201

Comanche Drive In Theatre

27784 CR 339
Buena Vista, CO 81211

phone: 719-395-2766

email: Comanchedrivein@gmail.com
website: comanchedrivein.com

The Comanche Drive In Theatre is located 3 miles west on Highway 306 in Buena Vista, Colorado. It is one of about 330 drive ins left in the country, and one of 8 remaining in Colorado. In 2015, the Comanche was honored by being selected to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Nestled at the head of the Arkansas Valley, at an elevation of 8000 ft, surrounded by magnificent peaks, the Comanche is not only noted for its beautiful view, but is also the highest in elevation of any Drive In in the US.

The Comanche was built in 1966 by John and Pearl Groy and had its first full season in 1967. It has remained a family business since that time. Movies filled the screen each summer and provided movie fun for the community for years. Films were shown using two 1956 vintage RCA carbon arc projectors, which used carbon arc lighting to project onto the large 40×80 foot screen. Movies were interrupted occasionally when films broke or carbons burnt out, part of the “drive in experience”. Cars would honk and then wait patiently for the film to fire back up. Patrons used speakers hung on the window of their cars for sound which at times was scratchy and inaudible, but most customers accepted it as part of the experience. Sound is now by FM radio. Patrons can use their car radio or bring a portable to tune into the movie. We have several FM boomboxes and radio headsets for rent in the concession stand for $1-$2. New technology made it harder to get the newer movies on 35mm film. More and more film distributers phased out the bulky 35mm films and switched to digital. Due to the expense of digital conversion and the unavailability of newer films, the Comanche was able to keep open for several years showing old classics, which were still available on 35mm. Our thanks to the many patrons who supported us during this transitional time. A 4 K Digital projector became available for us the summer of 2018 and after a few setbacks was finally installed and up and running in August. August 10th, 2018, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the first movie in 4K digital clarity, filled the screen. The difference is amazing!! Top Box-office hits are now shown Friday through Tuesdays at dusk. We are closed on Wednesday and Thursday.

With the new projection system, newer movies and new possibilities were available and many new records were set. We had our longest season in 2018 running May 30th through Dec. 1st, and we celebrated Halloween at the Drive-in for the first time ever with scary movies for the month of October. We played Mario-cart on the big screen and had our first movie in a snow storm! We opened early in 2019 and will stay open until the snow flies.

Plans are to remodel and expand the concessions although the historic and nostalgic elements will remain. We hope to keep the Comanche as close to the original as possible. Buena Vista is lucky to be one of the few towns in the country to have a Historic Drive In theatre.

We don’t book our movies more than a couple of weeks out and we do not post an upcoming “schedule” as things can change at the last minute due to movie availability. We announce the upcoming movie at the theatre and post new info on the website by the Wednesday before the opening of a new feature. We will be providing patrons with the latest, most popular movies, but still won’t be able to book them until 2-3 weeks after they are released due to some company restrictions. You can look forward to us showing as many box-office hits as we can get. We try to keep our films on the family friendly side, no hard R’s. Movies show rain or shine. (moonshine that is)

Be sure to check our website comanchedrivein.com, as some other sites can have misinformation. Gate opens about an hour before showtime. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets and join us for a nostalgic evening under the stars!! Concessions are available. We have the best popcorn ever!! Show information can be found on Facebook, on our website, or by calling 719-395-2766. See you at the movies!!!