THROWBACK MONDAY – Metro Drive-In, Gateshead

By | March 22, 2015

nostalgic-drive-in-theater-michael-swanson

The Metro Drive-In Theatre, Oakdale Road Gateshead was the first of its kind in the Newcastle region and opened on 20 Feb 1958. It was constructed on the site of what was once a dirt track motorcycle speedway circuit. Built in less than three months at a cost of £350,000 the Metro Drive-in had a huge screen measuring 116 feet by 69 feet. Owned by Oakdale Drive-In Theatre Pty Ltd, it was leased to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The car capacity was 700 but was later increased to 900 in the early 1960’s such was it’s popularity.

The first movie shown was ‘Les Girls’ starring Gene Kelly. There were also the added attractions of the Metro Dine-Inn and a circus playground. In its heyday, patron vehicles backed up as far as Charlestown onto the Pacific Highway causing traffic jams. It was possible to come on foot to watch a movie with seating in front of the snack bar where special speakers were installed. The gates would open at 5.30 pm and the first session would begin at 7.15 (no daylight saving back then!) with a second at 9.45. In 1971, Greater Union took over and continued to manage the drive-in until its closure in the late 1980’s.

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