drive-in theater

Moonlite Drive-In (Closed)

Date of Visit: May 31, 2013

On our way to Ricketts Glen State Park for a weekend of camping and waterfalls, Dan and I decided to make a few stops along the way north. His choice: Cabela’s in Hamburg, PA. My choice: an abandoned drive-in of course!

The night before we left I checked my normal sites for information and Google mapped to see which drive-in was close and had visible remains. The Moonlite DI was the winner! (I found the approximate address through cinematreasures.org.)

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Marquee on Shoemaker Avenue

Dan was driving and I was hastily searching my GPS to find where exactly the entrance would be located. In the meantime our conversation went as follows:

Me: I can’t tell from the map! We have to be right here but I’m not sure where to stop… (looking at my phone).

Dan: What was it called?

Me: The Moonlite.

Dan: Well, that sign just said “Moonlite,” I’m going to guess that’s it.

Yup…I’m thankful he is so observant!

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The light bulbs are still there on the Moonlite sign!

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The entrance ended up being directly next to the Marquee, and it seems to be part of a driveway for a house. We parked by the ticket booth and began exploring on foot.

Entrance Road and Ticket Booth of the Moonlite DI

Entrance Road and Ticket Booth of the Moonlite DI


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Unfortunately it was very hot and very buggy, which affected the time I spent discovering and examining the remains of the Moonlite. From my web research of the Moonlite, several people have found interesting remains left behind: several different signs, projectors, & tickets. I did not notice any of these artifacts, but do not be disheartened! The vegetation growth was overwhelming – there could have been pieces of the drive-in hidden beneath the brush.

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The Concession Stand and Projection Booth (same building) looks a bit dilapidated. All windows and doors are boarded up and vines cover the walls. The two doors in the front of the concession stand were not shut or locked but I was too afraid of negative repercussions of investigating inside.

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View of the Concession Stand coming from the ticket booth, facing the screen.

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Open Doors of the Concession Stand

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A neat piece of the concession stand, found lying on the ground.

Speaker poles were present throughout the property. Some were merely poles, others had the holder for speakers. Here are two shots of the speakers, covered with grass and brush.

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If you’d like to see some neat photos from another blogger, I stumbled across this site: http://cherisundra.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/its-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it-the-moonlite-drive-in/. My personal favorite photo comes from this flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hankrogers/5857785765/.

[Some] History:

From what I have gathered, the Moonlite opened in the 1950s and closed in the 1980s. It survived past the large decline of the 1970s but not by much. It was a single screen theater.

Since its closure, the property has attempted several sales to no avail. The Rizzo family, current landowners and last operators of the drive-in, have a suit against the county in regards to the sewer system installed. I was unable to find out the result of that suit or if it is still in the process. However, complaints about the drainage pipes go back to at least August 1997 (Council reports).

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Aerial View of the Moonlite Drive-In site.

Moonlite Drive-In

Closed

1190 Shoemaker Avenue

West Wyoming, PA 18644

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My First Drive-In Night

September 2010 was a fantastic month for me and one of those reasons was my first visit to a drive-in movie. Delsea Drive-In, in Vineland, NJ.

Before this I had never known they still existed! Drive-in theaters sounded like an old-time conversation piece my mom would have been excited to discuss. So when my now-boyfriend (he asked me out later that night!) and friends wanted to have a drive-in hang out, I was a bit curious.

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That curiosity changed to pure excitement when we arrived – pulling up to the ticket booth behind a load of cars, getting my first glance of the screens. We received our “ticket,” which was a folded paper with the movies, FM channels per screen, and a menu for the concessions.

We parked at Screen #2, unloaded chairs and set-up around the cars. Photos were snapped, food was bought, and bottoms were settled into chairs for the first movie. It was chilly as we sat outside, so we also bundled ourselves under blankets.

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The intermission screen glowed with dancing hot dogs, popcorn, and sodas, encouraging the viewers to frequent the concession stand. I remember that we had pizza that night, among other snacks.

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After the 2nd movie we headed back towards home, and I was hooked. I had to go back, and I wanted to experience watching the movies in the car (back of the car to be exact – blankets, pillows, hatchback…;-). I was on Cloud 9 and haven’t come back down yet. ♥

Happy Opening Day!

Today is the day – the Delsea Drive-In, New Jersey’s only operating drive-in theater, OPENS! http://www.delseadrive-in.com/

Unfortunately, I will not be attending opening weekend due to prior engagements; however, I am excited for Drive-In season to begin. My next update will be about my very first trip to the drive-in… I can’t believe that was over 2 years ago!

Cheers to a great season!

Introduction

Delsea drive-in

My 1st drive-in visit: Delsea Drive-in (New Jersey)

September 2010. In the midst of being swept-off-my-feet by an amazing guy, he unknowingly introduced me to my new interest (obsession): the drive-in movie theater. On a group outing with some friends I attended my first drive-in movie and fell in love…

Flash-forward and it is 2 1/2 years later, April 2013. I now own 3 books about drive-ins, I have a bookmarked folder for websites/links, and a goal to visit as many drive-ins as I can. And not just drive-ins that are open, but those that have left remains behind.

This blog is a way for me to share my explorations, my findings, my enthusiasm.

Who knows…maybe you’ll catch some drive-in nostalgia too.