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Located on Route 611 between Bartonsville & Stroudsville. The newly opened Pocono Drive-In was advertised in the Daily Record during June 1951 as the area’s most modern drive-in. It opened on June 22, 1951 with Larry Parks in “The Swordsman”. It was closed on September 25, 1960 with Van Heflin in “Under Ten Flags” & and the compilation silent comedy documentary “When Comedy Was King”. The drive-in fell victim to the construction of the Keystone Shortway, now known as Interstate 80.
Today the site of the former theatre is in the junction of routes 33 and 611 and I-80, according to Monroe County resident Roy E. Phipher in his 2010 book “History of the Movie Theaters in Monroe County, PA”.
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Aerial from 1963 during construction of I80
The entrance to the drive-in was where Red Lobster is today.
HERE is a 1957 aerial photo of the drive-in, courtesy of USGS & Earth Explorer.
Bartonsville, PA 18321
Why the name Pocono?
The Pocono Drive-In (named after the surrounding beauties of the Pocono Mountains) held its private opening for four days before its grand opening to the public by St. Clair native Melvin L. Heimbach on June 22, 1951, with Larry Parks in “The Swordsmen” along with a comedy and a Grantland Rice Sportlight. Heimbach previously operated Ringtown’s Brandonville (later Starlite) Drive-In for the previous two years.
The theater featured installations of a Western Electric sound system, 35mm Matiograph sound projectors, and Hi-Power Ashcraft Arc high-intensity projection lamps by Vincent T. Mate and his Altee Service Corporation of 1618-20 Wyoming Drive of Wilkes-Barre led by J.L. Pyle as the area engineer. The original 60x50ft steel-framed screen was done by Wilson Reitz of Sunbury, and the 60ftsq concession building which also features restrooms for both genders was done by Claude M. Werkheiser of Stroudsburg.
On April 26, 1960, the construction of a new drive-in was announced two-and-a-half miles north of Stroudsburg. Stanley Lesinski, a local manager who worked for Heimbach announced that it will feature installations of a 50x120ft CinemaScope screen and an 800-car capacity compared to the 550-car capacity at Bartonville’s Pocono Drive-In and the 300-car capacity of the longtime Blue Ridge Drive-In in Saylorsburg. And the answer is the Skyline Drive-In in East Stroudsburg. The Skyline held its grand opening by Charles Locke and Jack Lusky who also did attend its help from Heimbach on July 27, 1960 (which will have its Cinema Treasures page soon).
Because of the Skyline’s popularity, the Pocono Drive-In closed for the final time at the end of the 1960 season. The Pocono closed on September 25, 1960, with Van Heflin in “Under Ten Flags” and Robert Youngson in “When Comedy Was King”. Although it was originally closed for three days before being expected to reopen on the 28th, unfortunately, I didn’t see any evidence of the theater being reopened.
The popularity of the Skyline Drive-In which opened two months prior to the closure of the Pocono Drive-In was the main cause of the closure of the Pocono Drive-In. However, the Skyline Drive-In in East Stroudsburg operated as a single-screen theater until late 1973 when it was twinned. Previously that same year, the Skyline Drive-In changed its name to the East Stroudsburg Drive-In (forgot to add that in my own Cinema Treasures page) and remained in operation until its closure in 1989.