The Cherry Bowl Drive-In, so named for its location in Michigan’s northwestern cherry growing region (in fact, the theater is still surrounded by cherry orchards today), opened on July 4, 1953 with James Stewart in “The Greatest Show on Earth” & Barbara Payton in “Bride of the Gorilla”.
In the late-1950’s, its single screen was enlarged to accomodate CinemaScope features. The screen tower is emblazoned with the drive-in’s name, and three bright red cherries on a blue background. The screen is said to be the largest in the northern part of the state.
Keeping with the Cherry Bowl’s classic 1950’s theme, not only is a double feature screened, but vintage cartoons and features, as well. The theater’s season is May through September, and in keeping with its wholesome atmosphere, doesn’t show films with a rating higher than PG-13.
The Cherry Bowl Drive-In is more than a movie experience, however, with a 1950’s-themed minature golf course, volleyball courts, batting cages and kiddie playground on its property–even a 1950’s-style diner is located at the drive-in!
In 2003, the Cherry Bowl Drive-In celebrated a half-century in business, continuing to live up to its motto of “Fine Film, Food, Fun and Family Entertainment.”
[Cinema Treasures] Contributed by Bryan Krefft
The owners of this theater also ran the Crystal at Beulah, the Saukee at Lake City and the Wexford at Manton.