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The Drive-In Theater

Updated on April 4, 2013

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In my home town, the drive in was THE place to be in the summertime. One of the greatest things I remember as a child is when my parents would go on a date and take me and my brothers with them to the local drive-in theater.

The theater always had a play ground for kids, and a concession stand for snacks, and depending on where we went, there would be one, two, or three movie screens. One would be playing a Disney animated feature, another would be an action or drama.

The Magic City Drive In

Support Your Local Drive-In

We are lucky to still have a few drive in theaters in Ohio. Here is a little bit of information about our local "Magic City Drive-In."

"The Magic City Drive-In was built and opened by Vince Lauter (West Theatre) and Lou Ratener (Montrose Drive-In) in 1953 as a single screen drive-in. It was sold just a few years after opening to Selected Theaters who added a second screen in the mid seventies.

Gary Greive purchased it in 1980. Capacity 700 cars. Two screens which both face west. There is a special projection booth at the back of the lot to handle screen 2. Radio sound." -- Magic City Drive-In

The proprietors of The Magic City Drive-In of Barberton, Ohio are also affiliated with The Blue Sky Drive-In of Wadsworth, Ohio. The The Blue Sky Drive-In was built in 1947, and is still in business today.

The Concession Stand

If you are ever in Wadsworth, Ohio, go to the drive-in theater to see a movie.

Visit The The Blue Sky Drive-In to print out this coupon and Save!

Our party usually involved several cars. The whole drive-in ambiance was like being in a giant TV room outside with your friends. Unlike the theater atmosphere where everyone is in a quiet room filled with people, the drive-in allowed one the freedom to talk, bring their own food, and come and go at their leisure without interfering with strangers seated next to you.

YouTube Drive-In

Many people have seen their drive in theaters come and go. The worst cases are the drive ins that were totally abandoned. Friends of drive in theaters remember the good old days by filming drive in ghost towns in an effort to save some of those memories for future generations.

The History Of Outdoor Theater

Between the late 1980s and 1990s, our favorite local theater, "The Montrose Drive In" was demolished and replaced a with K-Mart - Builders Square shopping plaza. The plaza is still there, but is now occupied by J.C. Penny, Oriental Garden, and Home Depot. That is only three of the dozens of stores, restaurants, and shops that now occupy the area where so many people used to gather to watch the movies on weekends with family and friends.

Many drive in theaters did not withstand the test of time. Some drive-ins were abandoned with their signs and structures still standing. Others, like The Blue Sky, are still in operation. "Drive In Theaters: A History From Their Inseption" is one of many books that provide information about how the drive in theater became popular.

Theater Relics From The Past

Often one can find interesting drive in memorabilia on eBay.

Local Drive In Theater Map

show route and directions
A markerThe Magic City Drive-In of Barberton, Ohio -
5602 S Cleveland-Massilon Rd, Barberton, OH
get directions

B markerThe Blue Sky Drive In of Wadsworth, Ohio -
959 Brpad Street. Wadsworth, OH
get directions

Special Features

One of the founders of The Magic City Drive-In was also the founder of The Montrose Drive-In Theater. During the early 1980s, The Montrose Drive-In was still in full operation, and on either Friday or Saturday night (depending on work schedules) my sweetheart and I would venture out to the drive in to picnic and watch movies out doors with friends.

If you have a drive-in adventure or link you would like to share,

you are always welcome to drive in here. Thank you for stopping by.

The Guest Book Drive-In

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    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      There's only one drive-in theater left in my area. I do miss them.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I always enjoyed going to the local drive-in especially when I didn't have to ride in the trunk.

    • profile image

      Echo Phoenix 5 years ago

      I love this lens! I also recall going with my parents on their dates to the drive-in. It was as you said, a movie for the Family first followed by a more mature film which was when the kiddies were supposed to lay down to sleep while the adults enjoyed the late night film. I was a night owl though and often stealthily watched the more mature films rather unbeknownst to my parents. This backfired the night Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds was playing. I never gave myself away while watching yet for months later I was haunted with nightmares about the pigeons at my window.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Brings back memories.

    • profile image

      TheSwedishLady 6 years ago

      Thanks for the memories.

    • profile image

      TheSwedishLady 6 years ago

      Enjoyed going down memory lane.

    • LabKittyDesign profile image

      LabKittyDesign 7 years ago

      Recently returned to our hometown for the first time in 20+ years for a reunion. Decided to take a drive by the ole' drive-in theatre.

      It's now a Walmart.


    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      My eyes lit up when I saw this lens, I worked at one of the few drive-ins in Australia for 5 months and it was pretty sweet. It's clear they aren't as numerous as they used to be but it's good seeing some of them still going strong. Nice lens

    • missbat profile image

      missbat 7 years ago

      I miss the drive-in theater we had just up the block from our house. They razed it and put in low-rent apartments a few years back. Sadly, the only drive-in theater here now is pretty far away. Thanks for the nostalgia!

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 7 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Drive-ins were fun.

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 8 years ago

      Drive-Ins were fun as a kid and also for date nights. Brings back memories.

    • groovyfind profile image

      Samantha Devereux 8 years ago from Columbia Mo

      I really miss drive ins...there isn't one near me anymore.

    • Teddi14 LM profile image

      Teddi14 LM 8 years ago

      Cool idea for a lens. I so have vivid memories of the drive-in as a kid. Fun!!! 5*'s

    • squid-janices7 profile image

      squid-janices7 8 years ago

      Wow - does this lens take me back to my childhood. We lived about 5 miles from the drive-in and spent many-a-night there. Unfortunately it was torn down when I was around 10 or so. Great lens!