Moonlite Drive-In

1190 Shoemaker Avenue,
West Wyoming, PA 18644

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Milgram Theaters

Functions: Movies (First Run)

Nearby Theaters

Moonlite Drive-In

An inexpensive drive-in with a good snack bar. The Moonlite Drive-In was opened in 1951. By 1955 it was operated by James Rizzo & Milgram Theaters. It closed in 1988. It is due to be reopened in June 2019, but that deadline passed due to a lack of permits, which had been approved by August 2019. It reopened October 4, 2019

Contributed by sandlr

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

LouRugani
LouRugani on April 9, 2019 at 10:43 am

After being closed for 32 years, Exeter resident Eric Symeon plans to reopen the Moonlite Drive-In in West Wyoming in June Symeon recently flew to the closed Cascade Drive-In in Chicago and purchased a digital projector. He learned about the projector for sale after reading an article that the Chicago drive-in would close after 58 years in business.

He said he looks forward to re-opening the theater in West Wyoming to offer families in the area something to do and a fun night out for a reasonable price. The cost to see two outdoor movies at the Moonlight Drive-In is $8 for adults and $5 for children. Work is ongoing to reopen the concessions stand and Symeon said some electrical work still needs to be completed as well. Symeon purchased the Moonlite Drive-In in 2017 and the Luzerne County Zoning Board granted him a variance to operate the theater. Last summer, he said a missing panel was replaced on the movie screen and the screen was repainted. He posted a photo of the digital projector on Facebook and the post received more than 700 “likes.” Several people posted that they can’t wait for the drive-in to re-open.

Other drive-in theaters in the area include the Garden Drive-In in Hunlock Creek and the Circle Drive-In in Dickson City. While many drive-in theaters have gone out of businesses, these two have lasted for decades.

The Circle Drive-In, built in 1945, is one of the longest running drive-in theaters in America. It is open for the season and will play movies “Dumbo” and “Captain Marvel” on one screen and “Wonder Park” and “Pet Sematary” on another screen this weekend. Movies are shown Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

The Garden Drive-In announced on its Facebook page it will begin showing movies this Friday and will hold its first flea market for the season on Sunday. The movies showing this weekend were not yet announced.

The Gardens Amusement Co. built the Garden Drive-In, which opened in July 1952, and it remains in business more than 66 years later. Kim Barbacci’s family bought the drive-in in the 1980s from the Cragle family.

The Laurel Drive-In in Hazleton temporarily closed last season because while other drive-ins have gone digital, it has continued to use 35mm film. It’s not clear if the drive-in will reopen this season. Efforts to reach anyone at the drive-in were not successful on Monday.

Luzerne County formerly was the site of a host of drive-in theaters that have all closed, including the West Side Drive-In in Edwardsville, the Comerford Drive-In in Dupont, the Wilkes-Barre Drive-In in Wilkes-Barre Twp., the Riverview in Pittston and the Dallas Drive-In in Dallas Twp.

Today, there are less than 350 drive-in movie theaters in the U.S. That marks a big decline from more than 4,000 drive-in movie theaters that once operated when they reached the peak of their popularity in the 1950s and 1960s.

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on April 10, 2019 at 11:52 am

That great news, that a former Cascade projector will enable the Moonlite to reopen this June, is from an April 9, 2019 article by Denise Allabaugh in The Citizens Voice. There’s a nice image gallery there including close-ups of the unrestored marquee.

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on April 10, 2019 at 9:51 pm

That Citizens' Voice story said that the Moonlite had been closed for 32 years, which would mean that it closed in 1987.

When did it open? So far, my guess is 1951. The Moonlite’s first Theatre Almanac appearance was in the 1952 edition, exec: James Rizzo.

The first appearance in the Motion Picture Almanac series was in the 1951-52 edition as the Moonlight Drive-In, capacity 100, owner Wm. Kopelo. In 1960, the capacity was updated to 350 and the owner to J. Rizzo. In 1972, the spelling was finally corrected to Moonlite and the capacity upped to 375, then to 400 in 1977. And that’s how it stayed through the final MPA list in 1988.

KenLayton
KenLayton on June 15, 2019 at 11:58 pm

Looks like it will be a beautiful theater again.

dansdriveintheater
dansdriveintheater on August 14, 2019 at 5:34 pm

It opened two days after your post Ken Layton according to there website please list as open

dansdriveintheater
dansdriveintheater on August 14, 2019 at 6:10 pm

They haven’t actually reopened but they finally got the permits to do so

markp
markp on October 2, 2019 at 1:21 pm

I saw a story on a facebook group (cant remember the name) that this theatre is scheduled to open this weekend Oct 4.

Johnny62
Johnny62 on October 2, 2019 at 1:59 pm

Wishing The Moonlite Di The Best for their Opening Weekend!

KenLayton
KenLayton on October 2, 2019 at 10:30 pm

hope somebody can get some current pictures of the theater when it opens!

Denny Pine
Denny Pine on December 16, 2019 at 10:31 am

Congrats to the owners of the Moonlite for bringing it back to life! Being a Pennsylvanian (from Pittsburgh), the Moonlite is now one of three drive-ins in my home state that I have to visit for the first time, the others being the Sky Vu in Gratz and the Mahoning in Lehighton. Come next spring, I’m going to plan a road trip to visit all three during the summer.

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