6187 Lake Avenue,
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The Tower Drive-In is one of the ‘forgotten’ Lorain County drive-in’s, along with the Lorain Drive-In and the Carlisle Drive-In. The Tower Drive-In opened on May 20, 1950, screening the 1950 western “Sundowners” with Robert Preston, Chill Wills and Robert Sterling. The drive-in was named after a large communication tower, which still stands beside the theatre property. It was opened by Interlake Theatre Corporation from Cleveland, OH. Co-Operative Theatres of Ohio were the buying & booking agency. Paul O. Brake was the resident manager. The new drive-in had a 500-car capacity. It was operated by Frank Gidlin in 1952, and Helen Pentz 1953-1954. In 1955 it was operated by Al Boudouris (dba Theatre Operating Co. from Toledo, OH). I think it might have been operated by Selected Theatres after Boudouris.
The Tower Drive-In had gotten into trouble back in 1961 when the theatre was shut down by the Lorain County Sheriff’s Department over complaints lodged against films that contained “scenes of nudes of both sexes and suggestive dialogue”. The movies were “Hide in the Sun” and “The Naked City”. “Hide in the Sun” is a movie about being in a nudist colony and “The Naked City” is a film-noir type movie made in 1948. The latter was also a TV show 1958-1963. The drive-in was shut down as 12:30am at the request of the sheriff’s department. Clifford Deidrick, the theatre manager had to arrange for new movies to be screened the next day. Deidrick was a district manager for Selected Theatres in 1955. That is why I think that Selected Theatres were operating the Tower Drive-In at this time.
In March of 1970, wind gusts of up to 50mph blew down the screen tower. Charles Barnett, manager of the drive-in said “It will cost $18,000 to $30,000 to replace it”. It was replaced by another screen tower.
The Tower Drive-In finally closed for good at the end of the season in September of 1985. I believe that Interlake Theatre Corporation still owned it at that time. Most of the property was cleared, except for part of the screen tower. It is now used to advertise the R&M Tower Mini Storage Warehouse that now owns the property.
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