42514 Oberlin Elyria Road,
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Previously operated by: Co-Operative Theatres of Ohio
Once one of four former drive-ins in Lorain County in Ohio, the Carlisle Drive-In was in operation from June 23, 1949 when it opened with the 1948 western “Whispering Smith” with Alan Ladd, Robert Preston & Brenda Marshall. The Drive-in was opened by a partnership of John Tender & James Cardasis. Cardasis passed away January 26, 1973. Tender also owned the Tivoli Theatre in Lorain, OH. Co-Operative Theatres of Ohio were the buying and booking agency. The drive-in ramps could park 450 cars each with a RCA sound system and in-a-car speakers. The screen tower was 58ft x 80ft with a playground for kids at its base.
There was one tragedy that did happen at the Carlisle Drive-In back in May of 1981. John Rundle, 17, of Elyria, who apparently hid in the trunk of a friend’s car to avoid paying the theatre’s $3.50 admission price was trapped and burned to death when the vehicle caught fire during a rear-end collision. The car was struck by another car driven by a 16-year old youth. The gas tank on the first car ruptured and the vehicle “burst into flames instantly”, Tender said. Rundle, a sophomore at Elyria High School, apparently fought to escape from the trunk, kicking the lid and screaming “Get me out!”. “Several men came to my office looking for a crowbar or anything to pry open the trunk with”, Tender said. “When they tried to open the trunk they couldn’t because the heat was so intense. It’s sad that a young man lost his life over a lousy $3.50 ticket”.
John Tender closed the Carlisle Drive-In at the end of the season in 1984. On May 25, 1988, John Tender sold the property to Browning-Ferris Industries. In June of 1990 the screen tower, marquee, and concession stand were demolished. The property is now used for storing trash dumpsters.
Jeff Yates reminiscences “My mother went to many of the movies shown there when she lived in La Grange, Ohio, including "Old Yeller”. Towards the end of it’s life at the end of the seasons the drive-in showed X-rated movies after schools opened up and kids wouldn’t likely be able to get there on weekends anyways.
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