Cactus Drive-In Theater

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Additional Reading

Hugh Downs and the Cactus

Grand Opening Advertisement

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Cactus Drive-In - 1975

Visit the web site of the NEW Cactus Drive-In to be built in
Tucson, AZ

The Cactus Drive-In was remodeled and became the 3 screen DeAnza on February 1, 1977. Here's a 1975 photo of the original single screen theater.

This may not be the original Cactus screen as it appears to have blown down during one of our summer monsoon storms and was rebuilt.

The original screen was of the telephone pole and plywood construction and the new screen was made of steel and aluminum and sized to show wide screen features. I believe that happened around 1956.

Here's some drive-in ads from the January 16, 1974 Arizona Daily Star. The Cactus Corporation owned most of the drive-ins in Tucson at that time. Notice the logo of the little cactus man? See the photo below for another picture of him.

Drive-in Ads

This was taken on December 31, 2000 at the Cactus bowling alley parking lot on Alvernon Way. The Cactus people also owned the bowling alley at one time. Note the cactus man is identical to the logo in the 1974 ads.

That's screen number 4 of the DeAnza drive-in on the right and screen number 1 of the original Cactus drive-in can barely be seen on the left behind the trees and billboard. This is right across the street from the drive-in.

Cactus Bowl Sign

There used to be a two story tall orange and yellow slide in the south Cactus bowling alley parking lot in the late '60's. You paid 10 cents to slide down the slide on a burlap sack.

In the late '60's, a young college student's date would go like this:

Pick up your date at the UofA dorm around 5:30PM. Come over to the slide and play for about an hour then go to the drive-in across the street. Catch a double feature and have some popcorn and ice cream and cuddle up close.

If you were old enough (or knew someone old enough), you might even have a couple of beers to share with your date at the drive-in. Now we all know this is frowned on but how many people actually did this? A show of hands now!

After the drive-in, drop by either Sambos restaurant at Broadway at Park or Bob's Big Boy at Swan and Speedway for a cup of coffee before dropping your date off at the dorm before 12:30 AM curfew. A perfect night!

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Last Updated Jan 02, 2001 GWC