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NeonMichael. As I’m sure you well know, the concessions at all theaters, is where the profits are made, particularly with a Drive-in situation. People rarely consider going to watch vintage movies these days, with the exception of special events. This means that movie suppliers rent the theaters their products at higher percentages for “new” productions, and lower, or flat rates for older. If a theater, that provides services, such as clean restrooms, maintained speaker systems, updated sound, a clean and well maintained screen and lot are to survive, some budgets need to be followed. Hat’s off to the 88 for keeping the tradition alive for people to experience!
Sadly, the Midway has shown its last. The projection building/ snack bar have been all but gutted and rebuilt as office space for the existing RV sales operation. The pole speaker system is no longer, all of the projection equipment has been removed, and the ramps in the lot, or the majority have been leveled. The only redeeming factor is that the screen, with its anodized aluminum sheeting, is still relatively intact. The speaker system could be replaced with an FM system, and replacements for the projectors can be had, BUT, the cost involved is prohibitive. The property is owned by the RV dealer, but the realtor sign still remains. It would take a small army to remove it.
There are still a few people around that had worked there, and we are still pretty close, but only separated by distance. Funny how people of like mind can stay as close as family. That, in part is what made working at the drive-in enjoyable.
Outstanding Anthony! Updating is a good thing. Keeps efficiency up, long run costs will be lower afterwords. I look forward to checking into this!!!
Come to find out, my office is not far away, so the occasional Saturday night will be the thing to do this summer!
See you at the movies!
Thank you for posting the picture Ken. No idea of how it could have ended up with an Ohio tag on it, but we know different.
On a sad note, the original projectionist, and the person that closed the downer for the last time here, has recently passed. He had owned the blue Moon Glo lights on top of the building, that had originated at the San Francisco ex abutilon in 1932. They are still there of last report, but sadly, Conkey is gone.
Thanks for posting. It helps keep this site alive.
Wow, sorry to read this! I’ve just moved to the area and was wanting to take the family to a Drive In Theater again. I worked in one as a kid, and customer service from figuring snack bar prices up in your head, counting chance back correctly, policing the lot for two hours before, during and after the show, as well as making sure the restrooms were clean and stocked ALL NIGHT was just part of the job. I am still going to check this theater out, and if not satisfactory, will make a detailed comment to the manager, as well as post the comment and response here. These theaters are quickly vanishing. They need to be run well to survive!
Just had a flash memory. Our old projectionist pointed out a steel I-beam to me one night on the west end of the booth. There were shards of glass stuck in it. That’s ¼ inch plate at six feet away. Back before Lexan shields in the lamp houses, the xenon bulb was open, unprotected inside the housing. One little impurity, such as a finger print, and the bulb was history. He had one actually melt, and BLOW UP one night, blowing off the door to the housing, and sticking the glass shrapnel in the beam. As far as I know, it just might still be there. Just an old memory from an old Ozoner. Thanks again for remembering the old place. John.
Larry, Mike, Sam and all.
Thanks for remembering the old Midway Drive-In. It would surely be interesting to hear from some of the people that had worked there and cared for it over the years, but like you said, getting people together that really cared for the experience, rather than just a paycheck are two totally different things. I have just relocated to the Denver area, where we still have an operating drive-in, the 88, up in Commerce City. I am also planning an overnight trip to Nucla,CO and look up the old Uranium Drive-In. With a name like that, I have to have a peek. Thanks again.
The Eureka Theater sign and marquee are, were, wrapped in neon. The large letters were sequential at one time, but due to neglect and expense, they were eventualy changed over to a continuous mode. A shame, the sequential mode looked great. There were also two neon strings wrapping the awning around the outside, and “Vegas” style rotating lights in the cieling of the italian blue tiled entrance. In it’s day, it was a real show piece. George Mann spared very little when he built a new theater. And this was one of his nicer ones.
Nice to see some interest in the old drive in. I am wondering if there are any ex-employees on here that might relate stories. I worked at the Midway from 1981 to the cloing night in 1986, shutting off the marquee on the way home. That was a sad night. Anyone out there work at the Midway back in the day?
Not exactly one of the new owners better ideas. Renting video tapes would not have been tolerated if Mr. Rickard was still in charge. Buzz was as old school as it got. And a nicer employer one might never find in a lifetime.
If anyone at the Eureka Theater is curious about that gray wire hanging down inside the box office cabinet, just inside the right side front door, it is a wire to an alarm for the back doors of the downstairs theater. It runs up inside the marquee, across the ceiling and down the wall behind and to the right of the right side exit, in what used to be the carpenters room. The homemade ladder goes up to the attic. Just follow the wire up the ladder, across the attic, and down inside the marquee to the box office. Watch the wiring, it’s pretty old. A long single piece of wire. Just thought someone might be interested. It was quite the climb.