|Skyvue Drive In Theater
New Castle, Indiana
|Skyvue Drive-In Theater located on state Road #3 South in New Castle, Indiana.
Photo by Mark Sean Orr©
Abridged from the New Castle Courier-Times, June 7, 1967
Thanks Kathie Ward!
The Skyvue (Sky-Vue) Drive In Theater opened in New Castle, Indiana on Friday June 9, 1967.
The Skyvue is located 5 mile south of New Castle on State Road 500S, just west of Ind. 3.
The new theater was built like a stadium with an eight-foot incline from the front screen area to
the rear of the parking section. This provided easy viewing over the tops of cars and from all
the 800 car spaces in the drive in.
The largest screen in this part of Indiana, it measures more than 100 feet across and 60 feet
high, or the equivalence of five stories high. "It has a new miracle surface plus the latest
development in light source which provides great brilliance and depth to the picture."
The theater was open nightly at dusk with late shows on the weekends. Featured at the outdoor
theater is a spacious center building, which house the projection room, rest rooms and a
complete stainless steel and formica appointed restaurant that served everything from snacks
and pizza to a complete meal. The concession was operate by ABC Consolidated Corp.
The play area for children consisted of merry-go-rounds, an electric train and "Lucky Mines"
where children could dig for prizes in the sawdust.
Extra services provided by the theater included helping customers if they ran out of gas, blew a
fuse, ran down their car batteries or just needed help. The theater also provided chairs for
walk-ins and free milk to babies whose bottles had run dry.
The original owner of the Sky-Vue was Y & W Management Corp., who also ran drive-ins at
Muncie, Gary, Bloomington and Gary.
Ray Brenner, long-time manager of the Castle Theater in New Castle was director of the new
drive-in facility. Ed Clinton of New Castle was the manager of Sky-Vue.
The first features at the Grand Opening were "8 On The Lam" starring Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller,
Jonathon Winters,Shirley Eaton and Jill St. John and "Return of the Seven" starring Yul Brenner.
|Grand Opening ad for the Sky-Vue Drive-In Theater as it
appeared in the June 8, 1967 edition of the Courier-Times
newspaper in New Castle, Indiana.
The theater was open nightly from "dusk to ?" . The theater
gave door prizes every Friday and Saturday nights. The
theater ran two shows every night and the cost was $1.00
for adults and children under 12 were free. The theater
offered a complete restaurant.
|Skyvue in 2009 - Photo by Mark Sean Orr©
Gala Opening of the Sky-vue Outdoor Theater in New Castle, Indiana. This ad ran on the night of the opening;
June 9, 1967. The featured movies were "8 On The Lam" and "return of the Seven".
In 2011, the Skyvue Drive-In theater in New Castle, Indiana closed it's doors with no immediate
plans to re-open. The cost of converting from film to digital is one of the main reasons the
Skyvue and many other drive-in theaters across the country are closing forever.
Drive-In theaters have been a staple of American entertainment for more than 80 years.
The first patent for the Drive-In Theater was issued on May 16, 1933. With an investment of
$30,000, Richard Hollingshead opened the first drive-in on Tuesday June 6, 1933 at a location
on Crescent Boulevard, Camden, New Jersey. The price of admission was 25 cents for the car
and 25 cents per person.
In their heyday, there were more than 4,000 outdoor theaters in the U.S. That number has
decreased to about 350 today. In Indiana there are fewer than 25 drive-in's currently in
operation. America is losing one of it's finest and most nostalgic forms of family entertainment.
A concerted effort is needed to save these great venues. In Henry County, that effort is being
undertaken by several concerned citizens. The owners, G.W. Pierce Auto Parts say the
property is still available for sale or lease.
See article by Eldon Pitts: Courier-Times Newspaper
Paul Goodson, a Hagerstown, Indiana resident and movie enthusiast, is among a local group
hoping to save the Skyvue. The group has a "Friends of Skyvue" page on Facebook.
Goodson states ""We're trying to get as many people as possible to join the group," he said,
(which now has nearly 900 members). "I've estimated that at this point, for as little as $25 a
person you could get (the drive-in) open."
The Skyvue Drive-In property is for sale by the Pierce family for the price of $250.000 or is said
to be available for lease for about $9,000.
Another person who is interested in the Skyvue is Don Dzikowski, a Kearny, N.J. resident, who
has the Nostalgic Drive-In Theater Ads page on Facebook. Dzikowski is saving his money and
hopes to be able to lease or buy next spring if the theater is still available (2014).
Goodson and Dzikowski both have fund raising pages (see links at bottom of page).
|Skyvue Grand Opening!
June 9, 1967
|The Skyvue Goes Dark in 2011
|"Creature Feature - Photo by Mark Sean Orr©
Death of the Drive In
The coming year marks the 80th anniversary of one of the greatest venues of entertainment of
the 20th century, the drive in theater. Since it's beginning in 1933, the drive in theater has been
the source of many wonderful memories for thousands of people of all ages for several
If you've never watched a movie on a giant screen, beneath the summer stars, in the comfort of
your car, with your family, a date or just hanging out with friends...you have missed a piece of
true film Americana. In their heyday, there were more than 4,000 drive-in theaters in the U.S.
That figure is now estimated conservatively at about 350 theaters still operating.
The local drive-in theater of this writers home town, the Skyvue drive-in, located in New Castle,
Henry County, Indiana, U.S. closed it's doors last year (2011) for good. Truly the end of an era.
The biggest loss is not the fact that movies are less available. It's the fact that all the great
things associated with drive-in's are lost. Things like packing your car, and sometimes trunk, full
of people to see a new movie in the great outdoors. The sound was piped into your car through
metal speakers that attached to your window, the concession stand was only a few steps away
with some of the greatest American junk-fast food ever! Buttered popcorn, hot dogs, pretzels
with cheese, real "fountain" cokes and a plethora of every kind of candy imaginable.
Intermission was the time to grab some snacks and meet up with all your friends.
Some of my best drive-in movie memories are of watching great horror flicks on the huge
screen. Midnight showings, dusk to dawn, special attractions and guest appearances by creepy
personalities. Indiana's creepster was 'Sammy Terry', part ghoul, part vampire and a TV and
public appearnace superstar. I am saddened to think that it is now a thing of the past. You
haven't really seen "Creature from the Black Lagoon" until you've seen Roicou Browning in that
monster wetsuit on a 40 x 50 foot screen. Or the great scene in 'Jaws' when Captain Quint
becomes shark food. Even the sound seemed better at drive-ins, with the reverberating echo
provided by hundreds of speakers hanging from car windows. "You're going to need a bigger
boat"! "Here's Johnny"!, and the famous line in almost every great, campy horror movie...."I
think we should split up". You knew people were about to get picked off one by one by the
monster duJour! You could hear the groans of incredulity from movie goers in almost every car
in the lot.
Indoor theaters are great and I've even viewed a few movies online, but for my money...if you
want the real experience...."you're going to need a bigger screen".
Please help our drive-in theater re-open by visiting the following site and showing your support!
Mark S. Orr
March 15. 2013
|Skyvue Drive-In Theater Ticket Booth - Photo by Mark Sean Orr©
Music is "Movie Memories" by Simon Husberg
|Skyvue Drive-In Concession Stand - Photo by Mark Sean Orr©
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|Skyvue Drive In Theater
New Castle, Indiana