drive-in theaters

Circle Drive-In (Open-PA)

Our Visit – October 2018:

We actually visited the Circle Drive-In twice – both times on our annual trip to NY for my husband to go fishing. Unfortunately, the pictures from our first visit (2016) are MIA. So when we were planning our drive in 2018, I added this detour to recapture the lost images.


Visiting in October meant we saw a glimpse of the drive-in’s side job as a haunted attraction. A giant skeleton was hugging the marquee! The marquee itself is my favorite part of the drive-in. In addition to the movie names, there is also a digital time and temperature box above.


The drive-way entrance takes you uphill, and through the ticket booth. Very classic! There are two lanes to enter the drive-in, with a canopy attached to the booth.


After you exit the ticket area, you proceed to a split for the two screens. The left screen and parking is slightly elevated from the screen on the right. The screens are also facing opposite directions, so you see the back of the left screen after you leave the ticket booth. The rows have markers, simply stated with “Row 6” and so on.


The concession stand offers a variety of foods, the basic drive-in fare. There is an outdoor seating area. This was a neat feature!


We did not stay long since they were not open at the time. Hopefully we can make it out there for a set of movies soon!




The Circle Drive-In opened on September 10, 1949. There are different accounts of who originally opened the drive-in, but the October 22, 1949 issue of Billboard stated the Circle Drive-In Corporation, headed by Al Franzell, opened the drive-in.


After that, it is difficult to know exactly who owned and operated the drive-in until the current owners took over. Carload (website – see links at the end) offers information from the Motion Picture Almanac if you are interested; however, I was unable to verify the change of hands.


I looked into the property deeds to try and get a better idea of the ownership, but that only led to further confusion! See below for the breakdown of the change of hands for the deed over the years. It is interesting to note the mining companies involved in the deeds.


It does seem that Michael Delfino took over the drive-in during the year of 1963. Delfino can be seen in a video on the drive-in’s Facebook page, stating the drive-in went up for sale in 1963. Delfino was already operating the Maple Drive-In, which started 10 years previously.


In 1975, the drive-in expanded to include a flea market. Then in 2012 the Circle of Screams haunted attraction opened. This is also the same year the drive-in switched to digital projection. In 2015, the second screen was added.


Recorder of Deeds: 41.942 acres of land

  • June 24, 2010: Mr. & Mrs. Delfino to Circle Realty LLC
  • March 11, 1993: Deed signed: Mr. and Mrs. Delfino (Michael Delfino – President of Circle Drive-in Co, Inc) from Bell Mountain Village (Frank Colombo, Partner)
  • July 12, 1991: Michael Novak & Rita Novak to Bell Realty, Inc
  • July 5, 1978: Michael & Gwen Delfino signed deed from Penn Anthracite Collieries Company
  • Jan 2, 1973: Clare Kane (Beneficiary of Leo C. Parrish)
  • Jan 15, 1970: Executor of Leo C. Parrish’s estate
  • August 19, 1966: Leo C. Parrish from Penn Anthracite Collieries Company
  • August 1, 1951: “being parts of the Daniel Bennett, Sandy McLean and Benjamin McLean Warrants, and a part of the Johnson Colliery properties conveyed to a previous Grantor herein by deed of Elk Hill Coal and Iron Company” (Quoted from the deed)
  • August 19, 1949: Circle Drive In Co, Inc


Links for Sources and Other Information:


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Circle Drive-In
1911 Scranton Carbondale Highway
Dickson City, PA 18508

The Moonlite Comes Back to Life! (Opening Soon!)

For Christmas, I unwrapped my very own pair of drive-in speakers and stand! My husband came through with an amazing gift, and linked me to a fun Facebook page as well.

While browsing the recent posts, I came across some photos of the Moonlite Drive-In Theatre in West Wyoming, Pennsylvania – BEING RENOVATED! The Borough Council accepted the purchase of the drive-in by Eric Symeon and approved a variance for the land to become a drive-in again earlier this year.

I hope some of the memorabilia Mr. Symeon found in the buildings will be put on display – I almost wish I had withstood the heat and bugs to browse the property more when we were there!

Best of luck and well wishes during the renovations – the marquee already looks 110% better and only good things can happen from here on out! 3 Cheers for another drive-in theatre brought back to life (Coming: Spring 2018!).

**Make sure to check out my original post about the Moonlite Drive-In! 

Shankweiler’s Drive-In

Date of Visit: April 20, 2013

I was pumped when we decided we would take the hour and a half drive up to Orefield, PA to attend the movies at Shankweiler’s Drive-In. My adventures to visit other (open) drive-ins outside of Delsea DI were really happening!!

  • History:IMG_4306

Shankweiler‘s is the longest-running theater in America – it opened on April 15, 1934 and has been in continuous operation since. Impressive (and quite awesome) to say the least. Shankweiler’s was actually the 2nd drive-in to open in the United States, following the original Camden Drive-In in NJ (…that will be a blog in the near future). Unlike the Camden DI, however, Shankweiler’s has managed to survive!

When they first opened, Shankweiler’s used sound projected from a speaker near the screen. As inventions and technology advanced, Shankweiler’s added speaker poles and car speakers in 1948. As far as sound goes, the use of an AM station occurred in 1982, and then finally the advancement to FM frequency in 1986 (the year I was born!). FM radio is the current sound projection used by Shankweiler’s, as it seems to be with the majority of DI theaters I have researched.

I found it interesting to learn about Shankweiler’s screen… originally it was a simple sheet, stretched out. Then it was a “shadow box” or small screen. However, in 1955 a rough hurricane (I shall not speak her name!) destroyed the screen and projection booth. That same year, a new screen was built, as well as a projection booth/concession stand/restroom location. The screen and building for projections/concessions/bathrooms in 2013 is the same from 1955.  In case you didn’t figure it out, Shankweiler’s has one screen. According to and a few other sites, about 300 cars is the capacity.

  • My Visit

Showtime was 8:15 pm, and we arrived at 6:39 pm (according to my camera). IMG_4279As we came to the stoplight at Rt 309 and Shankweiler Rd, the Neon Sign across the street had me fumbling with my camera for a good shot. I was bouncing in the passenger seat, anticipating the view of the entrance. As we made the left-hand turn, the back of the screen and entrance marquee was prominently in view. I mean, you can’t miss the place! We pulled over and parked right outside to get some photos – crossed the street to the neon sign, and then back over so we could enter the theater.

Entrance Shankweiler's DI

Spot @ Shankweiler's DI

The Perfect Spot

When we pulled in, only about 3 cars were parked already. Since we are a “high vehicle” we had to park between the yellow poles. After 3 tries, we found our perfect spot. Blankets and pillows were arranged, and then I started snapping pictures.

I liked that there was gravel for driving and grass for parking, delineating the spots and allowing a bit more comfort if you chose to sit outside the car. I did see one girl jumping rope before the movies, and a couple of families setting up chairs.

Concession, Projection Booth, Restrooms

Concession, Projection Booth, Restrooms at Shankweiler’s DI

The concession stand had the basics – hot dogs, burgers, popcorn, goobers, and other candy assortments. An entrance on both sides of the building allows customers to get their food easily, regardless of their parking destination. My hot dog was perfect, the large soda was GIANT, and the popcorn was yummy.

I have to say it was VERY COLD that night. Even under sleeping bags and 2 blankets I felt the chill. Definitely not a night to sit outside, and also might be the reason for a smaller attendance rate. It was also the first weekend they were open so word might not have gotten out yet. Let’s face it, not everyone is receiving weekly newsletters or checking websites a few times a week! Regardless, it was a great night.

IMG_4295                             IMG_4285

I had a chance to speak with Susan, one of the owners, before the first movie. What a sweet person! According to their 70 Years pamphlet, Susan and her husband have been part of the Shankweiler establishment since 1971 and then purchased the theater in 1984. Susan shared that they have several, non-local families that visit each year.

Shankweiler’s is truly a great place to visit, enjoy a couple movies, and create your own drive-in memories. Check it out!

Google Maps

Aerial View – So neat to see it like this!

Shankweiler’s Drive-In
4540 Shankweiler Road
Orefield, PA 18069

Some additional photos…


When on Rt. 309, about to turn left onto Shankweiler Road – there is the sign!


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