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Local Legends: Remembering The Crest Drive-In

I remember driving by it as a kid and asking “how come we never go see a movie there?”

I was asking about the Crest Drive-In theater in Okemos. My mom said “they show smut films.” Like most 10 year-old knows what that means? But I did. I always tried to see if I could sneak a peek of the good stuff on the way by but never could.

I get most of my reflection info from this story from the State Journal archives. Click here to see it. The Crest Drive-In opened on September 8th, 1950. It was a family experience that offered a playground and featured a merry go round.

In 1972, it became an X rated theater, despite complaints from the locals, until it closed in 1988. After it was knocked down it became St. Martha’s Catholic Church. A bit of irony?

Every time I drive by now, I tell my wife, “that church used to be a porn theater.” She no longer laughs but it’s still funny to me.

I was 14 when it closed. The closest I ever came to seeing anything there was attending a wedding reception. There were no young ladies trying to compensate mustached pizza delivery men. There were no pillow fights. Quite a let down.

Courtesy of Ron Gross photos
Courtesy of Ron Gross

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