LANCASTER – When the late Carlos Crum opened the Skyview Drive-In to the public in 1948, drive-in movie theaters were all the rage in America. Over 3,000 existed, catering to the explosion of the American middle class that owned cars, and wanted new and exciting activities to participate in.
But 71 years later, the luster of the drive-in has become a memory of a by-gone era, of the three thousand, roughly one in ten still exist, and only nineteen are open for business in the state of Ohio.
According to Walt Effenger an employee that became the owner in 1994, the key to success in keeping the Drive-In alive has been the family friendly environment. “People came out when they were little, brought by their parents. And now they’re bringing their children out. And now the grandchildren of those people are coming out. It’s been generation after generation.”
Expect to stay awhile when you come, though. Cars begin to line up when the Drive-In opens at 7:30 pm the first movie plays at 9:00 pm. Each ticket (which is $4 to $8 depending on age) is good for two movies, and on rare occasions, a triple-feature is offered. Food options are more reminiscent of a restaurant drive-in, as burgers, fries, and fish tail sandwiches are available, among other things.
Although the drive-in has been around for decades, the technology that powers the experience is not. According to Walt, they’ve installed digital HD projectors which cost the theater $80,000 plus service contracts. The traditional car audio speakers that look like they are from the 50’s are still available, but they have upgraded sound to digital audio as well.
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