Andalusia Drive-In

724 Bristol Pike,
Andalusia, PA 19020

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Additional Info

Architects: John R. May

Nearby Theaters

Andalusia Drive-In exterior

This drive-in was located in Andalusia, PA on Bristol Pike near the border of Philadelphia. It opened in June 1954 with Richard Burton in “The Robe”. It had a capacity for 700 cars.

Contributed by Robert Batchelor

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

kencmcintyre on October 31, 2006 at 3:30 pm

Here is a list of drive-ins in this area in April 1978:

ANDALUSIA DRIVE IN (Andalusia) â€" “Tne Pack” “Rattlers” “Mansion of the Doomed"
Of Willow Grove) — “The Pack” “Rattlers” “Mansion Of The Doomed"
LINCOLN DRIVE IN (U.S. Route 1 at Phila.
City Line) — “Melting Man” “Journey Beyond” “Raw Meat"
MORRISVILLE DRIVE-IN (Morrisville) â€"
"Annie Hall” “Love And Death” “Monty Python And The Holy Grail"
ROOSEVELT DRIVE IN (Fairless Hills) —“The Pack” “Rattlers”
“Meat Cleaver Massacre"
U.S. No. 1 NORTH DRIVE-IN (Fairless Hills)— “Melting Man” “Journey To The Beyond”

kencmcintyre on December 26, 2006 at 7:03 am

Here is an article about the Andalusia dated 12/8/77:

Vandalism, crime may write Bensalem landmark’s obituary

When my editor recently told me to do a story on the closing of the Andalusia Drive-In, I was just as surprised as the next guy. Had the outdoor movie closed? How come we haven’t gotten any letters or calls about it from its loyal fans out there? Good question. But a better question is this. Is the theater, now boarded up and chained shut, really dead, or is it just in hibernation for the long, cold winter? “That’s one of the great question marks,” said David Weinstein, who should know. He’s general manager of Hellman Theaters, the New Jersey firm operating the Andalusia and Lincoln Drive-Ins in Bensalem Township.

Weinstein gave a non-committal “yes-and-no” type answer. Yes, the theater is closed and is also up for sale to the highest bidder; but no, the neighborhood drive-in may not be dead yet. “I imagine it will open in the spring as a theater,” added Weinstein, by way of explanation. But it appears as though that may be a last resort. Because in practically the same breath, Weinstein mentioned “there is enough acreage there for a lumber yard, a food store or restaurant.” He is willing to sell the ground as long as anything but another theater is opened. After all, that would be competition for our other theaters,“ Weinslein said. However, judging from the Andalusia’s recent history, another theater might have a hard time of it. Looking back to 1963 in the Bucks County Courier Times newspaper clipping files, it becomes clear the theater has gained the most publicity from the vandalism and crime it has suffered.

There were reports after reports of break-ins, suspicious fires and robberies. Last September, the problem peaked when a 17-year-old Philadelphia girl was raped and her boyfriend seriously beaten by a gang of youths. According to Weinstein, the crime was a terrible nuisance, but the recent “drop-off in customers was the final straw in deciding to close the more than a quarter-century old drive-in.
"This will be the first winter the Andalusia will be closed since it opened in the early 1950s,” said Weinstein. “I blame it on the neighborhood kids who tore the place apart.” How bad has the damage been? Weinstein gave two examples. He said he spent $5,700 last spring to replace fencing around the theater which was gradually torn to pieces by youths. A continuing problem, he said, has been the thefts of portable heaters used in cars during the winter months.

“I used to be able to buy the heaters for $12 each,” Weinstein said. “Now they’re $29 apiece, and the kids rip them off because they think they can use them at home. They can’t. Their home voltage doesn’t match that of the heaters.” Weinstein, who doesn’t have any doubt “neighborhood kids” are behind the vandalism, said he doesn’t know why the destruction continues. According to Bensalem Township police, the destruction has been particularly bad the last six months. Lawrence Michaels, township police chief, said youths, not necessarily from the neighborhood, have been involved in fighting, smashing windows and breaking in to the theater’s concession stand. Those responsible, who are hardly ever caught, are hit-and-run vandals from the city and also local youths, Michaels

“The neighbors evidently resent the theater,” concluded Weinstein. “Yet the theater has been there long before many in the neighborhood.” Police verify Andalusia residents are not all that happy about the drive-in. They have complained of the noise of the loudspeakers at night and the litter and trash, allegedly from the theater, which winds up in their yards. According to one police officer, residents along Colonial and Walnut Avenues will be most pleased to see the theater’s closing. But Weinstein still remembers better times. “The Andalusia was always a family-type theater,” he said. “I remember when it had a playground with swings and sliding boards.” Like so much else there, however, the playground fell victim to the vandals, he said.

At one time, things were much different. The Andalusia’s heyday was in the 1950s, according to a former theater employee. Frank Harper, of Cornwells Heights, who worked for both the Andalusia and Lincoln for 17 years, saw some of the happy times. “The kids would go to the drive-in to make love, not see the picture,” said Harper. “There were none of these X-rated movies and entire families could go to the drive-ins, too.” As far as Harper is concerned, though, Andalusia had always had less business than the Lincoln. “Cars used to line up on Roosevelt Boulevard from the Lincoln in Trevose to Byberry Road in Northeast Philadelphia,” Harper remembered. “The Andalusia never enjoyed that type of business.” But the cars used to “bottle up” Route 13 for the Andalusia just the same, said Harper.

Although he hasn’t been involved in the theaters' operations since 1964, he believes times have changed since he depended on young people from the Mayfair and Kensington sections of Philadelphia for customers. Weinstein agrees. “People have come from as far away as Chester,” Weinstein said. “They take I-95.” The now dark screen at Andalusia is the site of one of the oldest drive-ins in the Philadelphia area. According to Weinstein, the Lincoln, one of the oldest drive-ins in the country, is just a few years older than Andalusia. Whether the Andalusia’s obituary has been written today remains to be seen.

kencmcintyre on September 25, 2007 at 2:57 pm

Here is a November 1968 ad from the Bucks County Courier Times:

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 28, 2010 at 7:43 pm

For what it is worth it was operated by Earle-Swigert theatre service. In the late 50’s.

InNJ on January 16, 2011 at 9:35 pm

I was a part-time projectionist here for about 4 years beginning around 1969. Single screen and a pair of Simplex XL projectors and Strong carbon arc lamps. I remember running a dusk to dawn Clint Eastwood marathon… you couldn’t see the last reel because the sun came up.

TripNines on February 8, 2012 at 2:23 am

Johnny Maestro died recently and it reminded me of the one and only time I saw him in person. It was at a Drive-In show in the early 60’s and I’m fairly certain it was at the Andalusia (though it may have been at the Lincoln). We arrived late and all the “good spots” were taken. We thought we would have to get up and stand for the entire show so we parked as close to the screen as possible. This left us right behind the concession stand and shortly after getting there, they started setting up for the show. ON TOP OF THE CONCESSION STAND!

I watched the entire show from the hood of my mom’s ‘56 Chevy. I remember he did two numbers with the Crests, “Step By Step” and “16 Candles”.

Anyone else remember?

Nickcat5 on March 11, 2012 at 4:17 am

Worked there during the summer of 1970. When it was still a class operation. We had to wear dark pants,white shirts & the'Soda -Jerk' hats.

MichaelKilgore on November 12, 2019 at 7:47 am

Billboard, July 3, 1954: “Andalusia (Pa.) Drive-In opened with 20th Century-Fox’s CinemaScope "The Robe.” The open-airer, built by the Kauffman brothers and Laska, is the first in this part of the territory to play CinemaScope. The feature will be presented in single-track magnetic sound thru the use of a mixer. The theater is being serviced by the Theater Service Company, buying and booking agency operated by Earl M. Sweigert, Philadelphia."

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