Aug. 11: Sundance Kid Drive-In, Oregon OH

It’s Day 223 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. The drive from Norwalk OH to the Sundance Kid Drive-In in Oregon OH (suburban Toledo) took a little over an hour.

Once again, Cinema Treasures has some drive-in history that I can’t find anywhere else. The Sundance began its life in April 1949 when it opened as the Parkside Drive-In. The drive-in got its name because it was (and is) across North Avenue from Pearson Metropark. It opened as a single screen with a 622-car capacity, owned by Jim Dempsey.

Ray Searles purchased the Parkside from Jim Dempsey. After Searles’ death in 1960, his sons Dan and Edward, took ownership.

In 1978 a second screen was added to the Parkside, at that time part of the Co-Operative Theatres of Ohio chain and the Jack Armstrong Circuit. Later the Great Eastern Theatre Company took over management of the drive-in.

In 1987 it was renamed the Sundance Kid. It’s the last drive-in standing in the Toledo area. In the August 1998 issue of Playboy, Don Sanders, co-author of The American Drive In Movie Theater, provided a top 10 drive-ins list and the Sundance Kid was there. Jim Walter, president of the Great Eastern Theatre Company told The Press in 2013, “We had an indication two or three months earlier. They had stopped by and taken pictures. We had been selected, but we didn’t know what it was … That was a real neat thing — a real pleasant surprise. That was good stuff.”

A tornado on November 17, 2013 knocked down the original screen tower. The YouTube video of the day comes from WNWO, Toledo’s News Leader, which shot a short segment with the rebuilt screen in Spring 2014.

Rather than watch the latest movie, The Nut Job 2, I picked Dunkirk on Screen 2. It’s my second viewing, but Dunkirk’s actually a good movie while The Nut Job 2 has bad reviews and is likely to be my only choice a time or three over the next few weeks.

Miles Today / Total:  62 / 27036 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Dunkirk / 137

Nearby Restaurant: I’m always on the lookout for authentic German cuisine, which is why I landed at the Black Forest Cafe. It had been much too long since I had a Schweineshaxe, the amazing slow-roasted pig knuckle that tastes so much better than it sounds. Add a glass of Paulaner and I was all set.

Where I Virtually Stayed: I was back at another Hampton Inn, this one another TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence winner. Everything was top-of-the-line Hampton, from a comfy room with a full set of amenities, a pool and hot tub outside, and the solid breakfast in the morning. What more can I say?

Only in Oregon (OH): Just two miles away at the edge of Toledo is Tony Packo’s Cafe, which is known for its mentions on M*A*S*H and its Hot Dog Bun Museum. Over a thousand hot dog buns line the walls, and every bun was signed by somebody famous.

Next stop: Summer Drive-In, Plymouth MI.

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