East Stroudsburg Drive-In

221 Skyline Drive,
East Stroudsburg, PA 18301

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Skyline Drive-In

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East Stroudsburg Drive-In

The Skyline Drive-In was announced on April 26, 1960, when the construction of a new drive-in was built at a 30-acre tract at the Eagle Valley Corners, two-and-a-half miles north of the city of Stroudsburg. The land itself was purchased by Melvin L. Heinbach Enterprises led by Melvin himself, who previously first operated the Brandonville Drive-In (later the Starlite) in Ringtown and was the manager and main operator of the Pocono Drive-In in Bartonville.

Stanley Lesinski, the local manager for Heinbach, said in a statement that the new drive-in will be the largest in all of Monroe County, featuring an 800-car capacity (compared to the 550 at the nearby Pocono Drive-In), a modern cafeteria-style concession stand, and a 50x120ft CinemaScope screen with the present screen being 105ft wide.

Shortly before the Skyline Drive-In opened its gates, 16-year-old George Harps and 6-year-old Jackie Luckey (the son of Jack Luckey who was one of the two owners of the Skyline) on July 15, 1960, made local headlines after they both lit up a Line-Material lantern that was manufactured in East Stroudsburg on July 13, 1945, for the first time since its only test that day after the death of the war. Both Luckey and the other owner of the Skyline, Charles H. Locke (future Country Cousins operations manager), looked through a catalog when they saw the light advertised for $15. Back then, they both bought the light from the surplus company in Nebraska after it had been shipped to the Yakata Airfield in Japan. Jokingly enough, Luckey made a funny comment about the 55-pound lantern. The manager of the Line-Material plant manager, G.L. Smrz, responded in a funny way saying that it is typically a “funny thing”. Smrz also stated a question on its comparison between the lantern and the lights that were in surplus in Jersey City or Allentown.

Locke and Luckey (along with his wife), Vincent M. Tate (who also installed the projection and the sound systems for the nearby Pocono Drive-In), Marvin Sands, Ernest Bartleson, and design engineer Dee Adolph Rake began working on the theater after ground broke on May 11, 1960 and finished its construction of the theater two months later.

The Skyline Drive-In opened its gates by Locke and Luckey fame on July 27, 1960, with Glenn Ford in “The Mating Game” and Gregory Peck in “Pork Chop Hill” with no extra short subjects. Despite the theater holding its grand opening that day, a playground and a go-cart race track were still under construction at its grand opening.

The Skyline Drive-In’s popularity in the area led to the closure of the nearby Ponoco Drive-In in Bartonville a couple of months after the opening of the Skyline Drive-In.

The theater remained as a single-screen theater until being announced on December 20, 1973, when the East Stroudsburg Zoning Hearing Board heard four requests for the city itself, including an expansion of the Skyline Drive-In from a single-screen drive-in into a twin drive-in with a second projector and a smaller screen facing the opposite side of the original screen. It was renamed East Stroudsburg Drive-In.

Judging by aerial results, it did have two screens with the smaller screen facing the opposite side of the original CinemaScope screen, continuing into the 1980’s but the East Stroudsburg Drive-In was under its last legs in the same decade.

The East Stroudsburg Drive-In closed its gates in 1989 and was demolished entirely in the 1990’s. Nowadays, a street named Skyline Drive leading to the Eagle Valley Mall was dedicated to the old Skyline Drive-In.

Contributed by 50sSNIPES
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